We applaud the sanctions

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thumbs upUp until now, we´ve resisted taking a position on the Menendez-Rubio act imposing sanctions on Venezuelan human rights violators. That stops now: all of the CC bloggers agree that this is not something we are going to oppose.

This bill is targeted at certain individuals. The idea that these sanctions are somehow hurting the Venezuelan people is pure BS, propaganda in its purest form. Anyone repeating it simply needs to put on their glasses and read the damn thing. If this bill were to somehow hurt the Venezuelan economy, we would obviously oppose it. It doesn’t, so we don’t.

Furthermore, the bill itself does not impose sanctions. Only the President and the State Department can do that, and so far they have not exercised that right. So far, it’s only a threat.

Some claim that sanctions play into the government’s hands by unifying chavismo and playing the “imperialist” card. We disagree. While this is a valid point, we think that its effects on solidifying chavismo are grossly exaggerated and lacking in evidence. In order for something to “solidify” chavismo, it would have to be the case that chavismo is somehow “less solid” than it could be. Where is the evidence? There is none.

As for boosting Maduro’s popularity, in all my years writing about Venezuela I have yet to come across the first foreign policy issue that really made a difference in public opinion. People care about bread-and-butter issues. Luisa Ortega’s visa … is not one of them.

Oh, some will say, the US will be made into the scapegoat by the chavista propaganda machine. They will blame the economic crisis on the sanctions, and somehow escape.

True, the propaganda aspect has already begun. But … guess what? We’ve been under an “economic war” propaganda barrage for more than a year, and it hasn’t worked. Yes, chavismo will lie. Yes, they will decry imperialism. They always do. That has not prevented Maduro’s popularity from falling. The man simply can’t govern, and no amount of propaganda can belie that. People are not stupid.

In fact, sanctions can accomplish some positive things. It gives the US something to negotiate – much like holding Alan Gross gave Cuba something to negotiate. It may even force a slight crack inside chavismo. There are undoubtedly more than a few people who will be affected by this bill who will seriously regret being part of this circus. Anyone who has ever encountered a Venezuelan general’s wife dressed head to toe in Louis Vuitton and Cartier will immediately know what I’m talking about.

Ultimately, the true measure of the bill is whether or not it gets us closer to getting Leopoldo López and the rest of the political prisoners freed. Given the absolute reticence on the part of the government, the total unwillingness to even sit down to talk about our issues, and given the horrible treatment being inflicted on Lopez and his friends, it’s hard to see how this bill makes things worse for him and his cellmates.

This bill is a step in the right direction. We applaud the US Congress, and we urge the Venezuelan government to release the political prisoners.

1 COMMENT

  1. “(1) an assessment of the current level of Fed
    eral funding dedicated to broadcasting, information
    distribution, and circumvention technology distribu
    tion in Venezuela by the Board before the date of
    the enactment of this Act;
    (2) an assessment of the extent to which the
    current level and type of news and related program
    ming and content provided by the Voice of America
    and other sources is addressing the informational
    needs of the people of Venezuela; and
    (3) recommendations for increasing broad
    casting, information distribution, and circumvention
    technology distribution in Venezuela”

    Hmmmmm.

  2. It’s high time the U.S. shifted from the kind of dumb, livelihood destroying sanctions they tried for half-a-century against Cuba and towards the kinds of smart, targetted-at-the-guilty sanctions in this bill. I think the decisions taken yesterday and today are deeply congruent that way. Now if they’ll only include Daniela Cabello in the target list I’ll be truly happy…

    • “It’s high time the U.S. shifted from the kind of dumb, livelihood destroying sanctions they tried for half-a-century against Cuba and towards the kinds of smart, targetted-at-the-guilty sanctions in this bill.”

      JAJJAJJAJ ~ this means I’m editor in chief by proxy.

      Is Japan NATO territory atm?

  3. One blow after another! The regime can keep trying to put lipstick on it, but it’s not going to look any better. Implosion time is coming… at last!

    • Economic sanctions against an entire country vs. sanctions against government officials who travel to the US. How will this backfire?
      Does the fact that Luisa Ortega Dias can no longer go to NYC to buy jewelry and designer clothes somehow impede the revolution from proceeding?
      Is Vielma Mora not being able to take his kids to Disneyworld a big enough scandal to rile the people in the barrios up?
      Can you somehow make people believe that our balurdo generals use their greenbacks in their foreign accounts to provide the good people of Venezuela with food and other imports?
      No?
      Then this bill is a good thing.

  4. Joe : read Franscico’s comments , these are different kind of sanctions , phocused on individuals not on the regime itself , their usefulness lies not in that by themselves they will topple a regime , only that it makes its life more difficult and calls attention to their crimes .

    Also they are well deserved which no one doubts.

  5. “Up until now, we´ve resisted taking a position on the Menendez-Rubio act imposing sanctions on Venezuelan human rights violators.”

    Nagel, you were so excited about foreign entity oaths. Are you certain your editorial line is making sense?

    Quotes from one of your articles, http://caracaschronicles.com/2014/05/08/the-scandalous-mr-aveledo/

    “During a hearing in the United States Senate, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said, under oath, that “members of the MUD” had explicitly asked her to not impose sanctions on representatives of the Venezuelan government”

    “Aveledo owes Venezuelans a clearer answer, as do other MUD representatives […]”

    MUD representatives other than Lopez and VP, which you and Obama seem to adore.

    You will always be the money quote gipsy, Nagel.

  6. I can’t applaud sanctions motivated by the decadence of my country and the roguish behaviour of its officials.

    Do I support them?

    Sanctions haven’t worked in N Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe or Burma. Although it is possible that some officials, somewhere, decide it is better to comply with US demands instead of follow the line imposed by narcomilitary cartel bosses who live down the street. My thinking is that they will just remain as they are.

    A direct threat on your life, and the lives or your relatives; not to mention ostracism, torture and harassment, can be more compelling than what your wife wants to shop for. Although I readily admit that family pressure is a powerful motivator,

    Chavismo may, or may not be solid, but it is unanimous in recognising the need to stay in power (or face justice) These sanctions will galvanise chavistas, possibly push them into worse behaviour (yes, there is MUCH worse).

    As I said before, this sounds like Marco Rubio trying to find a new act. The Republican party is forever looking for the next boogeyman.

    HOWEVER, given that Cuba will not support Venezuela against the US and risk their new situation, now the sanctions could have more bite than I think.

  7. Although not a supporter of the regime in Ven, I’m conflicted about getting behind the US sanctions. For one, the sanctions are the project of Cuban-Americans politicos who I believe are more interested in advancing their own agendas and political careers at home. The sanctions bill passed because the US mid term elections have signalled a turn to the right in the House & Senate, a more favourable environment for the politics of Marco Rubio et al. Moreover, the bill refers to human rights violations at a time when Obama has firmly refused to address the crimes documented in the report about CIA’s torture & detention program during the Bush administration. And while the sanctions are said to ‘target’ specific gov’t officials, historically sanctions have had little impact elsewhere. The sanctions also seem to conflict with the recent US positive turn towards Cuba, and with the lack of reaction from the U.S. to the 43 disappeared students in Mexico and the continued human rights abuses there.

    • Sanctions are the most effective tool the U.S. has these days in impacting foreign policy. They have worked incredibly well in Iran, and are the primary reason they have come to the table and engaged so vigorously in the non-proliferation talks. Sanctions against Russia last summer have already taken a huge toll. What people forget about the mechanism of how sanctions work is that even if a target (individual or company) doesnt have bank accounts, property, etc in the United States, that doesnt mean sanctions won’t hurt them. Any time they try to access the U.S. financial markets, they will be blocked. That means, unless they decide to try and transfer money strictly in Euros or whatever other currency besides dollars, their *dollarized* transfers will eventually have to pass through U.S. banks, where they will be frozen. Complicates things a great deal…

  8. The sanctions will actually be levied by OFAC, and will target any financial holdings that the designees have in the U.S., effectively shutting them off from the U.S. financial system. I’m sure they’ll be happy keeping their hard-earned fortunes in bolivares from now on, right?

  9. Sanctions are the most effective tool the U.S. has these days in impacting foreign policy. They have worked incredibly well in Iran, and are the primary reason they have come to the table and engaged so vigorously in the non-proliferation talks. Sanctions against Russia last summer have already taken a huge toll. What people forget about the mechanism of how sanctions work is that even if a target (individual or company) doesnt have bank accounts, property, etc in the United States, that doesnt mean sanctions won’t hurt them. Any time they try to access the U.S. financial markets, they will be blocked. That means, unless they decide to try and transfer money strictly in Euros or whatever other currency besides dollars, their *dollarized* transfers will eventually have to pass through U.S. banks, where they will be frozen. Complicates things a great deal…

    • Thanks for the details and explanation. About how the sanctions will be applied, I can’t help but be skeptical and think that there are ways to circumvent restrictive actions of body’s like the OFAC. About, sanctions against Iran & Russia, I think the sharp drop in oil prices have been more significant there than sanctions.

    • Juan, you are absolutely right in your post and above. Financial transactions internationally frequently pass through the U. S. banking system domestically or through overseas affiliates/subsidiaries; this fact alone has created problems for Russians holding financial assets. Yes, there are ways to get around this (Chinese currency/deposits, etc.), but it makes things ever more difficult/insecure for the holder of the financial assets.

  10. One fact often overlooked by the many who view the Us sanctions as useless is the inmense resources the soviet union in the past and the current venezuelan regime more recently have had to spend shoring up Castros failed parasite economy . These resources have cummulatively hurt the soviet economy and the venezuelan regimes economy enormously , These sanctions work at many levels and eveni f we dont see them toppling governments they are factor in making them ( and their sponsors) weaker .!!

  11. For internal political purposes sanctions against Venezuela and these sanctions are the same. Chavez prayed every night for such a political present.

  12. The sanctions involve no effect on Venezuelas trade with the US only in the private affairs of some criminals to the extent they have interests in the US , The sanctions have no effect in Venezuelas internal economic situation which is already terrible for reasons all know have nothing to do with the sanctions . Even the regime spokespersons dare not say that the sanctions worsen the economic situation in any way. so there is no way the sanctions can be exploited by the Venezuelan govt the same way they were exploited by the Cuban regime in the past. In fact the regime has made a lot of noise about it desire to privlilege trade with the rest of latam and china at the expense of trade with the US . Already 80 % plus of the people have lost their faith in the capacity of Maduro to get us out of the crisis . This is not going to change that opinion , its aready set in.

    • They may have lost their faith in Maduro, but not in the revolution. They blame the person, not the system. The sanctions can and will be exploited politically. 80% of the people won’t know the difference, to them sanctions are sanctions. Heck, I hear “educated” people talk about the cuban “bloqueo” . You would think they know the difference between a bloqueo and an embargo. And you expect the people in the barrio to know????

      • The biggest problem with chavismo has always been that the base never ever “lost their faith” or dared to place ANY speck of the smallest infinitesimal guilt or responsibility on any official with a name, proven from the countless times those dumbasses always said “It’s not chavez’s fault! It’s the people surrounding him!”, and you could apply that to EVERY imbecile that sit in an office with a red shirt, even the most inept councilor or low lever worker was always free from any responsibility.

        It’s part of the personality cult that makes a vital part of chavismo, based on the same impunity that leads them as a whole to always blame the victims of crimes instead of the criminals (“¿Quién lo mandó a salir a esa hora? ¿Quién la mandó a vestirse como una puta? ¿Quién lo mandó a cargar plata en la calle?”) and many others.

        • If the chavista hard core base is so brainwashed that it is impervious to reason and the messages of reality so that Chavista leaders can do no wrong and they are to be believed every word they say , then the sanctions are irrelevant in respect of them , there are others however who are not so brainwashed and who will interpret the sanctions for what they are. these may be more than people think and to them the imposition of sanctions is heartening because they tell them that they are not alone , that there are people of consequence in the world who have taken notice of their plight . Now this may not mean anything inmmediately practical but in time it can become more relevant than appears now.

          To many the sanctions are simply an act of justice against criminals which venezuelan faux justice will not touch, who welcome the sanction precisely because they reflect justice and not just because of their inmmediate practical effect.

          • There is a chavista softcore sector, huge. To them the sanctions are not irrelevant, they will sold and bought as an attack on the patria.

          • Then they are not just softcore but soft brained , I guess they will also believe that our travails are the result of an imperialist economic war. !! If so many people were incensed at the sanctions then the attendance at the last rally should have been tremendous , no sign of that !! Oh I get it, just as in Nixons time they are part of a Silent Mayority.

          • You are overestimating the barrio. They watch VTV, have very little formal education and a lot of resentment. They are not happy with the way things are, but they are still red.

  13. The murderers, swindlers and rapists in the chaburro ranks are foaming at their mouths ’cause 50-so turds got their visas revoked:

    https://comments-dolartoday.netdna-ssl.com/gobierno-de-maduro-planea-sanciones-contra-eeuu-y-obama/

    https://comments-dolartoday.netdna-ssl.com/por-apoyar-sanciones-de-eeuu-asamblea-nacional-enjuiciara-chuo-torrealba-por-traicion-la-patria/

    Yep, expect lots and lots of vicious vitriol trying to ruin the few xmas joy for the people, I’m laughing at seeing them squirming so much xD

    • They are not squirming, they are laughing all the way to the political bank. It’s a big political present, patriots defending the sacred homeland.

      • More like they’re laughing while pooping in the rest of the country, as “payback and revenge” for not being able to buy in GAP stores nor being able to go to Disney Land again.
        Typical bully behavior, which has been the only thing chavistas are good for.

  14. Same reasoning as regards the death penalty , that it lacks dissuasive effect on future homicides and yet to some justice is served where a murderer is subjected to capital punishment even if it has no effect on the behaviour of future murderers. Deterrence is not the only function of sanctions or punishments , there is ths deeply rooted moral sentiment in humans that crime is to be punished . Can we forget this ??

    • We are talking about the political effects. Of course they should be punished, although judging by the number of boligarchs here in florida, it’s a bunch of BS. It’s a show, a political show for floridian voters. Congress doesn’t give a shit about venezuelans, why now????? And please nobody tell me better late than never or I’ll throw up.
      Do you think Ros-lethinen doesn’t know the effect this will have on venezuelan internal politics??
      Does she care??

      • It’s not like we’ve been less than a year under chaburrismo’s boot, everybody knows these bastards’ve used anything as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for nothing.

        The fact that the sanctions have “political effects” in Venezuela is nor relevant, since if chaburros were not accussing people for supporting them, they’ll accuse for something else (Like “planning turdicide” or “be the mastermind of the evil guarimbas”)

  15. I have a hunch that the effect of Chavist propaganda is at a low ebb because it repeats itself so much , not that thats going to get people to switch sides that easily ( many are hooked on their histrionic revolutionary identity) only that few people are going to get excited about it . Delivery is boring , the topic has been done to death, there are also other distractions which point to the other way and they are far more inmediately pressing, like finding those diapers or that milk or paying for the rising cost of living or finding the repair parts for your broken down motor bike. The polls definitely do show a waning of Maduro popularity , its not just the numbers but the intensity of the emotions that can be ellicited by harping again and again on the same old messages. I wonder what the rating is on all those cadenas , they must be brain dead by now with all the boring stuff pouring on their poor heads day after day.

    The motives of the congressman sponsoring the sanctions dont matter much , the important thing is the way they call attention to things that dont always get much attention and how eventually it all adds up . Now if youre a good republican the cause of Venezuela is a banner to make you proud , funny how the human mind works . The effect we havent seen yet , and maybe wont see for a year or more . Understand mr Rublio is going to have some role in the congressional commitee on hemispheric affairs , by playing on peoples indignation at something they know very little about he may think that he can win a political advantage, dont now where that may lead , well know in due time.!!

  16. Hi, I understand there are real differences between targeted smart sanctions and the deep cutting economic sanctions but I also think, on the other side, there is a real difference between symbolic politics and real policy. In the case of this bill and the issue, the White House already possesses the authority to carry out these visa and financial transaction restrictions. There is also no sunset clause in the bill that would give the abusers a reason to believe these restrictions would end if their behavior changed. It may be pie in the sky to think behavioral change could happen through this tool, but, it bears asking, what the sanctions are for if they are not compelling political change. I tried to do that here:

    http://aulablog.net/2014/12/18/u-s-sanctions-on-venezuela-to-what-end/

    thanks

  17. The Bottom Line: Folks, Whoever thinks that sanctions do not work in countries mentioned is wrong. Iran, Russia and DPRK are at their knees. However, this does not mean they will give up. Sanctions are an extremely valuable and useful tool or would you rather bypass the sanctions and go straight to aerial bombardment.

    Comparing Venezuela to Russia, Iran, DPRK and other sanctioned regimes is faulty because Venezuela is not Russia or Iran. If you really think about it, the United States has Venezuela by the balls. The United States is Venezuela’s lifeline and the commerce between both countries is clear proof of that.

    The Unites States has been and is being extremely generous towards Venezuela. The U.S. has looked the other way and turned a blind eye to Venezuelan (and Cuban) shenangigans both at home and abroad (Western Hemisphere) for a long time. It’s all a matter of priorities.

    President Obama has been fumbling his foreign poilicy agenda meddling and intervening where he is not wanted and needed while ignoring the critical basket case of Venezuela. The president came into office wanting to pull us out from Iraq and Afghanistan but the reality is we cannot and the president is now preparing for a Spring offensive in Iraq and Syria.

    Venezuela is a clear and present danger to U.S. national security interests and to Western Hemisphere security. That is the official position of the U.S. military (the Pentagon).

    Application of sanctions against Venezuela (and not individuals) could lead to military action. All roads lead to military action. The United States military has bigger fish to fry. Once you down the military road, you open the Pandora’s box. It’s not yet the time to deal with Venezuela and it may never be the time depending on how events unfold. For the Bolivarians, avoiding inciting the wrath of the U.S. military is key and they should have no problem doing this. The biggest worry for US intelligence and the Pentagon are WMDs meaning Venezuela hosting Russian nuclear bombers. I doubt this will happen for it will really piss off the Americans.

  18. Also, Venezuela has been sancioned since 2006 and those sanctions where revised last November to broaden them and put more teeth into them. Current sanctions prohibit export and transfer of articles to Venezuela Military and for Military End-Use. You folks don’t see this business because none of you are military of former miltiary. It’s significant business. Even buying parts from third-countries will be prohibited so anyone doing business with Venezuela miltiary does at their own risk. This is going to take it’s toll on fleet readiness and airworthiness among other things. Morale will suffer. This is only going to get worse for the Venezuelan miitary.

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