Reflections

U.S. Sanctions Won't Drive Out Venezuela's Government

Feb 7, 2018 | 23:52 GMT
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during a Feb. 4 news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during a Feb. 4 news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tillerson floated the possibility of restricting the sale of Venezuelan oil abroad.

(ALBERTO RAGGIO/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States may soon find that using sanctions to curb authoritarianism in Venezuela is easier said than done. As the South American country sinks deeper into economic despair, its government under President Nicolas Maduro has cracked down on his opponents and tightened political control. This crackdown has prompted international concern, and recently, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson floated the possibility of restricting the sale of Venezuelan oil abroad. It's likely the White House will soon begin internal debates about implementing heavier sanctions on the government in Caracas. But while Venezuela's government is extremely weak compared to that of the United States, it still controls most important institutions in the country. Thus, any sanctions against it may fail to achieve their goal and actually end up drawing government elites closer together as they cling to power....

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