Senate Hearing: Obama at Odds with Elected Representatives over Sanctions on Venezuela


EspañolSenate hearing on May 8 revealed conflicting opinions about the appropriate strategy for dealing with the Venezuela crisis. Most notable, the Obama administration demonstrated concern that individual sanctions would aggravate the situation, “escalating” it into a fight between governments rather than a struggle between people and governments. On the other hand, Senate Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the administration for a “far too timid” approach in pushing back against Maduro.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of the most vocal critics, arguing that the United States uses sanctions elsewhere (including Ukraine). “We sanction human rights violators all the time,” Rubio said. “The only difference between those sanctions, those people, and others, is they spend their weekends in Miami.”

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) posed the question, “If we’re not going to use military force, what are sanctions that might result in a positive outcome?”

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State Department official Tom Malinowski remarked that sanctions “work in some places; they don’t work everywhere. Timing is extremely important.”

The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 “would authorize sanctions on persons involved in serious human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in Venezuela, or those who have directed crackdowns on people exercising freedom of expression or assembly,” according to the Bellingham Herald.

Source: Bellingham Herald.

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