Venezuela

34 Lawmakers Want Trump to Sanction Venezuela

The calls arise after allegations of corruption and human rights abuses under Maduro.

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Carlos Díaz / Wikimedia Commons

Some 34 U.S. lawmakers from both parties have sent President Donald Trump a letter urging him to address Venezuelan officials' corruption and human rights abuses with sanctions, the Associated Press reports. The letter was co-written by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–Florida), the former chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Sen. Robert Menendez (D–New Jersey), a ranking member of the foreign relations subcommittee that oversees Latin America.

The letter calls for a comprehensive probe into accusations of drug trafficking and support for terrorist organizations by Tareck El Aissami, the vice president of Venezuela. It also describes military officials profiting off the crisis by trafficking much-needed food. The allegations were partially inspired by an earlier Associated Press investigation into corruption in the Venezuelan government and the rapidly deteriorating state of the country.

The lawmakers call for increased funding for pro-democracy and civil society works in the Latin American country, as well as for the Treasury Department to issue regulations to prevent U.S. companies from violating the Foreign Corruption Practices Act, which prohibits Americans from paying bribes to foreign officials. According to the AP, U.S.-based global food traders Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., and Cargill have already stopped selling to Venezuela.

U.S. relations with the socialist-led Latin American country are rocky. The AP notes that in 2014, then–President Barack Obama sanctioned Venezuelan government officials who were accused of violating protestors' rights. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, in turn, has condemned U.S. foreign policy, especially America's military interventions in the Middle East. In 2015, Reuters reported that Maduro accused the United States of harassment at a United Nations human rights forum.

What little Trump has said about Venezuela suggests he too may take a hard-line stance. On the campaign trail he once proclaimed that "Venezuelans are good people, but they have been horribly damaged by the socialists in Venezuela and the next president of the United States must show solidarity with all the oppressed people in the hemisphere."

Maduro says he has yet to formulate an opinion on the new American president, however. "There's been a brutal hate campaign against Trump all over the world," he said at a news conference in January, according to Bloomberg. "I say let's wait and see. All I'll say is that he won't be worse than Obama."

He might change his tune if Trump pursues sanctions.

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  1. Great idea. Sanctions toppled the Cuban and North Korean dictatorships, and they forced Iran to stop sponsoring terrorism.

    1. Yeah, just let them topple on their own, that way we’ll be less of an effective scapegoat. They’re screwed as it is.

      1. The only reasonable course IF one is serious about fixing what is wrong with Venezuela is to invade, conquer, and colonize or absorb (depending on proximity).

        If we aren’t going to invade and run the place ourselves – and we should make a commitment to at least a century of rule if we do – we should butt the hell out.

    2. South Africa says hi.

    3. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do

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  2. The allegations were partially inspired by an earlier Associated Press investigation into corruption in the Venezuelan government and the rapidly deteriorating state of the country.

    That darn AP, eating the CIA’s lunch again.

  3. Sanction them how? They don’t even have toilet paper FFS.

    Probably the only thing you could do at this point is nuke them.

    1. So the plot of Seveneves is coming true?

      1. I hope not. SPOILER ALERT The notion of 1/7 of the world’s population being descended directly from HRC is horrifying.

    2. …from orbit? It’s the only way to be sure.

  4. the third paragraph proved what i assumed was the ultimate goal, more money for more insurgents/rebels/ freedom fighters in South America. When will we get people to understand half our problems are our fault let the nation die on its own. Our insertion of any form will only embolden them.

    1. We’ll create a bigger Cuba.

    2. Correct, that and it’ll unite the population behind them. They’re about to fall over on their own from what I can see.

  5. Trump has said about Venezuela suggests he too may take a hard-line stance. On the campaign trail he once proclaimed that “Venezuelans are good people, but they have been horribly damaged by the socialists in Venezuela and the next president of the United States must show solidarity with all the oppressed people in the hemisphere.”

    In a democracy, when ‘good people’, over the course of time, consistently elect bad leaders, the people are not good.

    1. Y-you’re talking about America now, right?

    2. Yeah, I don’t think Trump gets it. Even being a lot closer to our own society as they are, say compared to most Islamic nations, a large percentage of South Americans are still clinging to the idea that the government are their caretakers and should provide everything desired in life. The reason it keeps failing is that they’ve been electing the wrong socialists. So they need to elect a new socialist who will somehow be the right one this time. We have to let them learn this on their own. And we already have an insurgent left in our own midst to deal with. Now they’re running around smashing store windows, setting stuff on fire, and making death threats to people. You know, acting like real leftists. We have our own problems.

      1. Trump’s quote above doesn’t really suggest he’s got a hard on for sanctions. It’s looks like standard boilerplate.

        1. Well, I hope that’s the case.

          1. Americans just elected a new socialist who will somehow be the right socialist this time.

            1. Well, he is the first socialist in history who has called for massive regulation repeal. Got to give him originality points for that one.

              1. Yes, indeed on that score.

    3. You know who else wanted to show solidarity with the oppressed?

  6. Wut? The.fuck? They’re fucking starving. Just let it collapse and hopefully the peasants will hang Maduro from a lamppost. Geebus, can’t some people understand that there’s times to just leave a situation alone? Noooo, get involved in the mess so that the left can blame Murika! Great fucking idea, morons.

    1. Not getting involved is good policy but it isn’t necessarily good politics. Americans love themselves some South American intervention.

      1. The left are falling apart in South America. There’s a city in Brazil right now that is basically anarchy with people just being gunned down in the streets by gangs in broad daylight. There’s no cops because the government ran out of other people’s money and can’t pay them. And they have some of the toughest gun laws on earth. But there are plenty of guns in circulation. Unfortunately, criminals own all of them and the citizenry are sitting ducks. I saw a video yesterday filmed there where 2 kids rode up to a bus stop on mopeds and robbed about a dozen people in broad daylight. When they rode off, the people were throwing rocks at them. This is what the Democrats want for us here in the USA.

        1. This is what the Democrats want for us here in the USA.

          It’s not what they want. It’s what they’re too stupid to realize will happen.

        2. What they want is to turn the USA into Norway. You know, an all-white, oil-rich country of about 5 million people. Not sure how you turn the US into that without a lot of corpses.

          1. Whites are going to be a minority in Norway pretty soon.

  7. The lawmakers call for increased funding for pro-democracy and civil society works in the Latin American country

    Or we could just beam A Waltons’ Christmas at them, nonstop. The dinner table scenes will move them to take revolutionary justice in a new direction.

    1. You ought to work for the CIA. Your idea is cheaper, less risky and more likely to work in the long run than anything that outfit ever came up with.

    2. The TV show Dallas played a role in setting the conditions for Romanians to string up Ceau?escu, IIRC.

  8. According to the AP, U.S.-based global food traders Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., and Cargill have already stopped selling to Venezuela.

    Just what a starving country needs: less food. That’ll teach Maduro a lesson.

    1. The starving country needs to get rid of Maduro, and that’s up to the people who live there.

    2. I’m going to guess they did this less out of a sense of moral approbation and more due to the problems inherent in selling to a tinpot dictatorship, like having your property randomly seized and being paid in money that depreciates faster than the food spoils.

    3. Well, ADM and Cargill are nearly as socialist as Venezuela so if they’ve given up it must really be bad.

      1. Kids say the stupidest things – Art Linkletter

  9. Maduro says he has yet to formulate an opinion on the new American president, however. “There’s been a brutal hate campaign against Trump all over the world,” he said at a news conference in January, according to Bloomberg. “I say let’s wait and see. All I’ll say is that he won’t be worse than Obama.”

    Who disagrees with Maduro?

    1. “All I’ll say is that he won’t be worse than Obama”

      About the only time I can imagine saying “I hope Maduro’s right”

  10. Venny like somalia and brazil is just going thru the phases of marxism to utopia

  11. Open Letter to the 34 Lawmakers: Venezuela is not our fucking problem.

  12. As has already been argued here, sanctions are pointless and even counterproductive. Venezuela is reaching failed-state status with no one to plausibly blame but its own government. However, U.S. sanctions may embolden the Maduro regime by providing a convenient scapegoat for the country’s economic turmoil; indeed, such a tactic has been used by the Cuban regime, among others.

    1. Yeah, but it’s not like Maduro is close pals with the Castros….oh, shit.

  13. Maduro says he has yet to formulate an opinion on the new American president, however. “There’s been a brutal hate campaign against Trump all over the world,” he said at a news conference in January, according to Bloomberg. “I say let’s wait and see. All I’ll say is that he won’t be worse than Obama.”

    Uh oh this one is clever.

  14. Maybe Trump should appoint Sean Penn to be ambassador to Venezuela.

  15. We posted our constitution on the internet.

    Any country in the world could choose to copy it.

  16. Sanctioning a regime like Venezuela is absurd.

    It’s not like they have a nuclear weapons program that’s run afoul of the NPT and we’re trying to make them burn through their foreign currency reserves and drive them to the bargaining table.

    If you want to influence a country like Venezuela, you don’t cut off trade with them. You offer them a free trade deal.

    China is a much more responsible player on the world stage since they joined the World Trade Organization. The idea that our relations with them or the way they treat their own people would have improved if only we’d 1) not supported their entry into the WTO and/or 2) rejected them for MFN status in the ’90s, that’s preposterous.

    It’s like arguing that Greece’s overspending politicians would have been more responsible on their budgets if only they’d been insulated from the punishment of international markets.

    Subjecting foreign countries to the realities of market forces is the most devastating thing we can do to undermine a command economy like Venezuela’s, and sanctions cut them off from that. Sanctions in this case are just a stupid idea.

    1. China is a much more responsible player on the world stage since they joined the World Trade Organization.

      WTF? They’re far more dangerous now than they were then. Our one-sided trade with them has accomplished little other than giving them the resources to challenge us militarily.

  17. We really, really don’t want the PRC to get a bunch of naval bases and missile installations in Venezuela.

    Which is probably going to happen as they get more and more desperate, unless we intervene.

  18. Sanction them how? A toilet paper blockade? I have heard rumors of cannibalism (The Carribe Injuns, the inspiration for naming the Carribbean ‘The Sea of Cannibals’) originated in the Orinoco river valley in Venezuela and were eating their way through the Arawaks as they crept up the island chain. The Spaniards showed up when they were half-way up the chain. There is your Deux Ex Machina.

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