Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thoughts on Venezuela Sanctions

News of the House passing targeted sanctions against Venezuela as well as an open letter from some members of Congress (all Democrats) opposing them have been circulating around.

Some observations:

1. There are already targeted sanctions on Venezuela that as far as I know have had no measurable effects (thanks for Steven Bodzin for pointing out their continued existence, though he makes a different point).

2. U.S. legislators disdain Latin American organizations even while claiming to want partnership. Like it or not, the region is opposed to sanctions.

3. Final passage is likely because U.S. legislators don't care whether the sanctions will really work--they just want to look "supportive" and/or "tough." Plus, there is no cost of any kind to bear for voting in favor.

4. Approving sanctions to show moral or ethical support even when they'll likely have little to no effect is bad policy.

5. Unilateral sanctions are ineffective, even more so when they are actively opposed by everyone else.

6. Sanctions are being driven by a very small minority of Congressmembers and wealthy Venezuelan-Americans.

7. Assuming passage, President Obama will likely enact them but can pick and choose who are the "human rights abusers" in the Venezuelan government. Supporters want some big fish but it is not likely that will happen.

8. The net effect of all this will be of the "tempest in a teapot" variety.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP