U.S. Policy on Venezuela Formally Shifting Toward Regime Change

Oct 4, 2018 | 10:30 GMT

A controlled flame burns behind a storage tank at an oil refinery complex in Venezuela.

A controlled flame burns behind a storage tank at an oil complex in Paraguana, Venezuela. The South American country exports about 575,000 barrels of crude oil per day to U.S. Gulf Coast refiners.



  • A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is considering a more aggressive approach toward Venezuela with a bill calling for human rights prosecutions and a major U.S. role in the country's recovery.  
  • The legislation would make the already unlikely prospect of negotiations between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments virtually impossible.
  • Though support appears to be building in Washington for greater legislative action to address Venezuela's humanitarian crisis, direct U.S. military intervention remains extremely unlikely.

While the U.S. government is moving toward a policy of regime change in Venezuela, its actions may simply lead to a prolonged standoff. In the U.S. Senate, lawmakers are working on a bill that largely codifies much of what is already existing policy, but the measure could also lead to a loss of political and economic power for Venezuela's rulers, as well as prosecutions for crimes against humanity. While the bill's approval would be significant, its stipulations make a negotiated solution to Venezuela's political stalemate highly unlikely. The current government won't agree to talks under the bill's conditions and will instead cling ever more fiercely to power....

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