Wednesday, April 08, 2015

U.S. Policy and Latin American Reaction

In another sign of policy mismanagement, the Obama administration has come out and said it does not consider Venezuela a national security threat. At the time the policy was announced, the administration was comparing the Venezuelan situation to Iran and Syria, then later Roberta Jacobson wondered why no one in Latin America saluted when the sanctions flag went up.

What this boils down to is lack of foresight about how the new policy would be received in Latin America. Otherwise this walking back never would've been necessary in the first place. At the time I was reminded that all this threat language was just statutory, and my response was that words matter anyway--now the Obama administration seems to be waking up to that fact, belatedly realizing that regional leaders have to deal with the words and can't explain them away in legal niceties.

As a result, the U.S. goes to the Summit of the Americas under a cloud, and by its own words and actions has made Venezuela into a victim, which is the opposite of what the Obama administration wanted.


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