Venezuela is closer geographically than, and at least as important to the United States as, Ukraine. Yet the persistently blurred focus of the Obama Administration has been far less on violent Cuban inspired repression in Venezuela than on Russian repression in Ukraine.
Here’s a new presentation by Senator Rubio on the continuing mess in Venezuela:
The constitutional crisis in Venezuela has apparently been far less disturbing to the Obama Administration, and to the “legitimate” media, than the less violent mess in Ukraine. It has drawn far less media attention than the disappearance of Malaysian flight 370, coverage of which has been extensive and continuous but abysmally uninformed. Here’s the best analysis of the disappearance of Flight 370 that I have found; it highlights the persistently incompetent media coverage.
Perhaps the relative lack of media coverage of the crisis in Venezuela is a good thing.
Is the Obama Administration trying to convince Europeans that it is capable of standing up to Russia?
It won’t work. How about trying to convince Latin American nations that we still care about what’s happening there? Perhaps even that, despite President Obama’s inability significantly to affect happenings in Ukraine, we remain more important to Latin American nations than substantially smaller, poorer and less powerful Venezuela?
Does President Obama prefer the Cuban model of Governance, that el Presidente Chávez adopted and el Presidente Maduro has extended, to Putin’s model of Russian Governance? It seems so. Or is He just blowing soap bubbles in hopes that His declining numbers of admirers will be sufficiently impressed with His ability to do at least that?
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The truth, simply put, is that Ukraine and, more broadly, Europe are more important to U.S. national interests than Venezuela for all manner of geopolitical and historical reasons. However, that doesn’t mean that an administration with the ability to conduct global foreign relations should ignore Venezuela and Latin America. The sad fact is, Obama & Co can’t handle even one or two foreign policy problems.
If forced to prioritize problems the U.S. faces at this moment, I would say Ukraine and Russian expansionism, Iran, the Middle East peace process, Syria, North Korea, and China. Could Venezuela rationally be inserted into that list? I don’t think so.
It doesn’t make sense, Dan. If US sanctions crashed the Ven economy, Cuba’s economy would crash as well. Then the US would have another wave of “Hispanic” refugees floating into Florida. What more could a good Democrat hope for?
To apply sanctions further weakening the already moribund Venezuelan economy would be among the worst things we could do. Not only would that further harm the protesters and those on the sidelines, it would give Maduro et al a credible excuse for the worsening economy and for their persistent failures to make it better. Such sanctions would give them a big boost: their far less than credible excuses must already be seen, increasingly, for what they are. That is a process that we should encourage, not kill.
Sanctions imposed on Chavistas with stashes of illicitly gained funds in U.S.(and perhaps other) financial institutions, however, would penalize those responsible for the mess without further damaging the Venezuelan economy, the protesters or those on the sidelines. It might also be a useful lesson for those Chavistas’ associates, enablers and emulators in Venezuela and elsewhere.
Would such sanctions bring freedom and democracy to Venezuela? No, but the protesters have a decent shot at doing that themselves if they don’t become too weary and give up..Even modest encouragement given them by the United States might well refresh them, help them to continue and perhaps even to increase their efforts. Freedom and democracy cannot be “given” to them. They need to grab and hold both, themselves. Otherwise, those treasures are likely to be quite transitory.
Will the Obama Administration do it? Probably not.
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Could it possibly be, that Venezuela has less to contribute financially to either the IMF or His regime and thus the detachment? The Russian Federation can easily float a few boats in Venezuela and a more serious threat could be arguably posed as a result, though He and Kerry have stated the Monroe Doctrine in Their opinion, is unenforceable and outdated. You wouldn’t want Him, to do anything considered a “pink line”, or “uncool”, now would we? Very surprised, as an opportunity to destabilize a government is being overlooked by Him. Perhaps within the next couple of years?
Is Venezuela is jeopardy of becoming a Free-Market Capitalist Society with a Constitutionally Limited Government? No? So What’s the Crisis?