Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump Sanctions Tareck El Aissami

The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami with sanctions. As I wrote last week, this is an easy decision for Trump. He can just continue President Obama's policy, ratcheting it up a bit because the target is quite high, and call it his own.

In a way, this works out fine for Nicolás Maduro as well. When people are targeted by the U.S., they're more likely to remain loyal.

The sanctions mark an extraordinary step against the second-in-command of a foreign government and are sure to lead to a further deterioration of U.S. relations with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who appointed El Aissami as vice president on Jan. 4 amid a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis.

Maybe I am being too blasé after being numbed by following Venezuelan politics so long, but I feel like this is extraordinary only if you ignore how the Obama administration was already dealing with the Venezuelan government.

The bigger question is whether Trump takes this any further. I don't figure he will because he's not particularly interested in Venezuela and has other things occupying his time. Plus, even that congressional letter didn't ask for much more. But obviously he's unpredictable.


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