Despite previous sanctions leading to over 40,000 deaths in Venezuela over two years, the U.S. is escalating its economic offensive, writes *Kevin Young.
On August 5, the Trump administration issued an executive order escalating its sanctions against Venezuela. The order froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and threatened third parties around the world with punitive action if they trade with the Venezuelan government. The next day, National Security Adviser John Bolton delivered a speech to a meeting of foreign governments in Lima, Peru. “We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” he said. “There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States.”
In response, the Nicolás Maduro government cancelled its negotiations with self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, which had been scheduled for later that week in Barbados. The Venezuelan foreign minister plausibly speculated that Washington was “trying to dynamite the dialogue.”
The move is the Trump administration’s latest escalation of its coup campaign in Venezuela. In August 2017, Trump imposed sanctions that cut off the government’s access to U.S. financial markets. In January 2019, it recognized the right-wing Guaidó when he anoint-ed himself president and imposed sanctions that prevented Venezuela’s state oil company from exporting to the United States.