by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz
The Obama administration passed a few sanctions against Venezuela this week. No, the sanctions had nothing to do with the Pollo and Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade.
Instead, the sanctions are against individuals linked to the bloody repression of student protesters this year. In our days of “smart diplomacy,” this is what passes for sanctions these days – Andres Oppenheimer points out:
- These are not economic sanctions against Venezuela, but against about two dozen officials, including cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and judges
- The officials remain unidentified
- They don’t go after the targeted officials’ financial assets.
Instead, Oppenheimer states,
They should seek to freeze the U.S. assets of Venezuelan officials and government cronies involved in human rights abuses, and expose the fortunes they have amassed since late President Hugo Chávez rose to power 14 years ago.
“Smart diplomacy” dictates a toothless travel ban against officials involved in actions that left 43 dead, 50 documented cases of torture, and more than 2,000 unlawful detentions – officials that will remain nameless.
Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez call for sanctions against Venezuela: “We need to sanction their assets.” Their bill calls for freezing U.S. bank accounts, U.S. stocks held in any U.S. and foreign banks, and U.S. real estate belonging to the officials. Oppenheimer points out,
Other Venezuelan human rights violators’ assets should be traced by the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments through mutual assistance treaties with other nations.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.