Saturday, July 02, 2016

Doing "Something" in Venezuela

One constant of all calls for the U.S. to "do more" in Latin America is that they get really, really vague when it comes to specifics. Here is one from a Venezuelan American group in the United States. The argument is that the United States needs to "exert pressure" and "turn the screws on regional powers" to make them agree 100% with Luis Almagro.

Let's set aside how counterproductive such an approach would be, which is a given. Let's wonder instead about how screw turning (or what LBJ called "nut pinching") would actually work in practice. By definition, it involves punishment or the threat of punishment.

He does not say what regional powers he's referring to, but I assume Brazil is one. Brazil is in crisis and its president can't exactly lecture Venezuela on democratic principles so what punishment are we thinking of? I can't actually think of a good one. Argentina? I guess the U.S. could punish Mauricio Macri's government somehow, though he's intent on an Argentine getting that UN General Secretary position. Who else? Maybe we could punish Mexico because of course that wouldn't rebound on the United States at all.

So here's what I want from these op-eds. I want them to specify the exact ways the U.S. can threaten Latin America, and the likelihood of those threats bearing fruit.

Update: coincidentally, Moisés Naím and Francisco Toro have an op-ed in today's Washington Post, asking why the international community hasn't "run out of patience." I assume patience refers to the OAS, but they don't say.


shah8 3:51 PM  

Gotta roll my eyeballs at this...

I'm halfway convinced that the leadership is going to go Mugabe. Venezuela will do its best to pay off bonds, citizens be damned (gotta shoot the hostages!).

They are already under grave threat. There is nothing you really can do to the Venezuelan elite in charge that wouldn't be massive controversial, or, as you say, counterproductive.

The catastrophe of US policy has everything to do with a perpetual support of a lazy and worthless opposition that thinks it's beneath them to offer a positive vision of the country and its future to the average Joes and Janice of Venezuela. Being an anti-Chavista, no matter how good the dang vintage is, isn't actually a solution to anything. It's all true! The Chavistas in charge are corrupt and incompetent!

So what?

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