Bye-bye Landrieu

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US-POLITICS-CONGRESS-SENATE
“I’ve made a huge mistake”

Perhaps you remember U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana?

You know, the one who blocked the bill to impose sanctions to certain members of the Venezuelan government because Citgo asked her to do so back in August?

Well, she lost her re-election bid this weekend to Congressman Bill Cassidy. She lost badly. After 18 years, she will leave Congress on January 3rd.

Putting schadenfreude aside, what does this mean for the proposed sanctions bill? With the holidays, there is not much the current Congress can do, and it’s not like Landrieu will have time to lift her hold on the bill – a lady’s got packing to do!

It will be to the new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as Republicans will control the Senate (both chambers of Congress, actually).

The only hope for chavismo is the possibility of a presidential veto. It looks like the Obama administration is preferring to find a compromise, with the condition that the proposed sanctions don’t affect the Venezuelan people. The main proponent of the bill, fellow Senator Marco Rubio (Republican from Florida) is already pushing for the revival of the bill. In the meantime, Maduro is adopting a harsh tone with regards to the US. The approval of the sanctions bill could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Regardless, we here get a little bit of satisfaction from knowing that Citgo … will simply have to find another Senator to work with.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think this and other CC posts misread Landrieu. *Despite* being a democrat she has run against the party line and thrown her support behind big oil, because it is a central industry in her home state. But because of her voting record (she repeatedly backed Obama) she made a surprisingly easy target for Republicans (Bill Cassidy ran an anti-federalist campaign, under the banner of “the government is there to serve, not dictate”). The fallacy is to believe that Bill Cassidy would have voted differently from Landrieu on oil matters. He is also fervently in favor of keystone, and they ran against each other on who could do most to push its construction through the chambers of congress (Cassidy managed in the House but Landrieu fell short by one vote in the Senate). But the key point is that Landrieu could not have given a rats behind who ran Citgo, as long as jobs stay in her state. I am not sure how Cassidy would have responded to Citgo’s blackmail, but I suspect he would also have backed away from sanctions.

    • I think so too.

      I am not sure of the wisdom of a sanctions bill when the country is in the advanced stages of collapse. It will just give Maduro a scapegoat and attract regional solidarity against ‘Yankee imperialism’

    • She didn’t vote against the bill because of jobs, that was the excuse. simply Citgo possible contributions to her campaign tipped the balance for her. Citgo will pay again, this time to the republican. It will depend on said republican strategy if supporting Rubio will matter to him or not. At the end it does not matter to them what Venezuelan’s are going through.

  2. The sanctions bill is mostly a Marco Rubio vehicle to enchant his constituents; there’s no reason to believe it would hurt any Venezuelan leader, who have dozens of options for investing their stolen money. In Louisiana, it ties the Venezuelan opposition to the Tea Party senator they helped elect. Expect more resistance from US moderates who won’t want to help the far right, or the Rubio campaign.

    • It’s not black and white Jeffrey, I voted for a good democratic senator in NJ but some democrats were really bad candidates. This is one of those cases. But that said, voters punished her because of the association with Obama, her position about Vzla didn’t even register with voters, so it’s not that a much better candidate would have saved the seat. In any case this is all irrelevant, the race for 2016 is on and if democrats get the White House again as it’s likely, they will probably recover the house in the wings of the presidential vote. Whatever the scenario Vzla is a footnote in a long list of foreign policy disasters with new crisis everyday.

  3. The only hope for chavismo is the possibility of a presidential veto. It looks like the Obama administration is preferring to find a compromise, with the condition that the proposed santions don’t affect the Venezuelan people.
    And since by self-definition Chavistas are “el pueblo,” the people, no sanction will ever be applied against a Chavista, no matter how wealthy.
    Grammar Nazi comment: “santions” misspelling.

  4. Sanctions would a mistake. It will accomplish very little, compared to the propaganda value the drowning Chavista regime will try to gleam from it.

  5. “The approval of the sanctions bill could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”?! What camel? Whose camel?

    Sanctions will have absolutely no effect on bringing about positive developments in Venezuela Nor will the sale or non-sale of PDVSA for that matter. The idea that who the US senator is in Louisiana makes one bit of difference to the future of Venezuela is, well, …. well, unfortunately it reflects the level of ‘politics’ among much of the opposition.

    • Come on, this is unfair. Just *yesterday* we heard how regime hierarchs abuse their privileges to take vacations in Colorado, Florida and Hawaii. It’s plain that hitting their ability to enjoy their ill-gotten loot in the U.S. will hit regime figures where it hurts.

      I don’t think anybody has ever argued that who has that senate seat from Louisiana will make *that* much of a difference in Venezuela. But it would take a heart of stone not to smirk realizing that this oily pol who tried to save her skin by selling Venezuela down the river lost anyone. It’s *very* thin consolation, obviously, but beggars can’t be choosers…

      • Landrieu would have “defended jobs” at Citgo in Louisiana no matter who owns Citgo.

        I guess my concern esp. is driven by this: The more the opposition gets a reputation for supporting the unsavory crowd of Republicans (who have been uselessly sanctions-happy with Havana for decades) just because they are for sanctions on Venezuelan leaders, the more it reinforces the idea in the US that the Venezuelan opposition is a bunch of primitive derechistas connected with Republicans and their transparently business-interests-driven LatAm politics. This sort of happiness that Landrieu is defeated just because she didn’t want sanctions seems just really self-defeating. It goes further in the US to seeing this as a hopelessly polarized extreme-right v. extreme-left conflict, undermining enthusiasm for the opposition as an alternative to Chavismo.

    • I agree with you sanctions against the country are bad. Still, it wouldn’t hurt if the US government published a list of “corrupt HR violators like Mr Cabello, Jaua etc” who cannot enter into US territory. That
      The point would need to be made that there are no economic sanctions, that only Diosdado & Jaua and those cannot go to Disney. That would hurt Chavismo.

      • Repeat after me: sanctions against Venezuela are not in question. The issue here is sanctions against human rights violators!

        I mean, Rafael Ramirez, his wife, and his kid go on skiing vacations in Colorado … and using public planes no less. HOw does it hurt Venezuela if a bill takes away their visas and their assets?

        • Juan, I know but the ones repeating that should be others: the US media and somehow our politicians and our students. And be sure: VTV and all that rubbish will keep saying that anything that happens in Venezuela is due to the “economic sanctions in place by the US congress” (although we know it is abou Diosdado not being able to go to Disney)

  6. Two likely scenarios in case of sanctions against certain Venezuelan officials :

    1.- The govt will use it to create a propaganda bit where ‘Venezuela’ is the victim of Imperialist aggression against a brave sovereign nation that stands its ground , riling up those who support it anyway.

    2.- The govts image falls into further disrepute internationally making it more difficult to get financial help and investments and other resources from western sources. Sanctions can hurt ( look at Putins Russia with a 100 billion USD piggy back) . In time this lack of financial help resources can lead to other consequences we dont see now.

    In either case the govts of other Lat Am nations will continue to look the other way and make synpathetic noises in response to the regimes wimpers . ( now its best friends have big problems of their own ) .

    I am quite certain that the govt would rather avoid scenario 2 even if in defense it activates scenario 1 and that as we speak they are actively starting to move inside the US to stave of the first possibility .

  7. Regarding the Sanctions Bill, I truly don’t see this affecting the Venezuelan government, other than as an annoyance to some officials. On the negative side, it gives Maduro, et al, a propaganda card to play. I think this is one of those times when the U.S. should seriously consider the “do nothing” response.

    “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, don’t disturb him.”

    • I dont see the Regime officials as the true target of the sanctions, the true goal of the sanctions is to showcase and advertise, and in a way officialize the regimes unsavory ‘outlaw’ reputation creating a climate of opinion in certain sectors (financial , business , diplomatic) that make it recieving international help and cooperation from the western world more difficult and (if we are talking financially) more onerous . The govt as expected is bound to use this measure to make propaganda among its already brain washed supporters playing to the tilt the valiant victims role . so nothing new there.

      This is a difficult time for the regime , its in a state of deepening crisis , its going to need financial help from the west one way or the other , they know this , their trapped by their own rethoric but they really would prefer to improve relationships with the west to be able to access international help from international institutions , something that stinks to their noses but which they NEED . These sanctions arent going to help .

  8. So el Dipshit wants to call wolf one more time. Getting kind of loud, old and weary this last week don’t you think? He talks as the rest of the world pisses on him. Not sure the US needs the oil, China either these days. With Landrieu gone also come the Canadian/ North Dakota shale black from the north. Wish the best for the people of Venezuela, cant say the same for the Burro and the Pig.;

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