US Sanctions on Venezuela: More Sparks on the Way

David Smilde

As is well known by now, President Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela a threat to US national security has caused an uproar in Venezuela and the region. There is little chance it will die down this week. On Tuesday the Senate Western Hemisphere subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee will have a hearing on Venezuela that will surely provoke the Maduro government to respond.

Sub-committee Chairman Marco Rubio has stated that the goal of this meeting is “to continue pressuring the Obama Administration to do more to help Venezuelans and defend our values and interests.” Rubio said that the sanctions implemented so far “have revealed the disaster that Nicolas Maduro and his regime have inflicted on Venezuelans.” However, he suggests, “it is necessary to give more and more attention to this humanitarian crisis which threatens regional security.”

It is important to remember that all but two of the members of this sub-committee voted for Venezuelan sanctions and they are going to defend and justify that vote. Furthermore, witnesses that support this position have been carefully chosen. We can expect salacious language and efforts to explain just how Venezuela is a “national security threat,” most likely by drawing links with Iran.

The hearing will, of course, receive ample and instant coverage in the Venezuelan media.