Monday, April 28, 2014

Using Targeted Sanctions in Venezuela

The Obama administration has placed targeted sanctions on Russians:

The Obama administration on Monday imposed new asset freezes and visa bans on seven Russian government officials and sanctions on 17 companies linked to President Vladi­mir Putin’s “inner circle,” saying that the measures were a response to Russia’s failure to cease provocative acts in Ukraine.

This is highly relevant for Venezuela, since there are calls from Congress to do the exact same thing there (oddly enough, a Republican is holding up a Senate proposal to that effect). What I hope, though perhaps do not expect, is a discussion about whether they are working or not in Russia before placing them on Venezuela.

One reason not to expect that is that this is more about political posturing than anything else. I am not sure whether those who want sanctions actually expect them to work, especially the proponents are also the banner carriers for the Cuba sanctions, which do not work but are politically desirable for a small group of politicians. In general, we should at least be skeptical about their utility, as the research on them suggests caution.


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