Venezuela, Sanctions and Their Limitations

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel gauges the outlook for regime change in Venezuela in the wake of the Trump administration's first economic sanction salvo.

As the totalitarian and criminal Venezuelan regime closes its grip on its population, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions to the South American country.

This perhaps is the second time in recent hemispheric history that the US imposes sanctions. And while the world ponders what follow up activities can be undertaken to accompany the U.S. in its intentions to do away with a regime that increasingly is becoming a regional threat to democracy and security, many analysts seem to think that the Venezuelan regime will most probably dodge the impact.

Those subscribing to this line of thought ground their stand on the fact that the Venezuelan regime allegedly is taken over by organized crime. Consequently, it can access illicit financial networks that are disguised under an unending chain of shell companies registered in Bermuda, the Netherlands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, the Island of Man, San Marino, Luxembourg, and the British Virgin Islands.

These networks will provide the Venezuelan government with enough resources to cling to power through repression and extortion. Meanwhile the population — which clearly is against the regime — will be massively tortured by means of denying essential food and medicine to those that dare to express their dissent.

Accordingly, Venezuela will continue its march towards somalization posing a greater threat to hemispheric security in the near future. Inevitably the U.S. and the rest of the region will have to deploy military force to destroy what would seem to be the direct heir to the Star Wars rogue planet.

Yet another group of well-informed financial cum political experts believe the current set of sanctions will trigger enough international pressure over Venezuela for its regime to consider a negotiated solution. Such pressures would come from countries like Russia that has been using PDVSA as a business platform to escape sanctions.

As PDVSA increasingly becomes useless for this purpose, Russia could attempt a geopolitical swap with the U.S. Same reasoning would apply to Cuba’s involvement in Venezuela. As Russia and Cuba pressure Venezuela, a negotiated end to the ongoing quagmire could stand a chance.

To my mind, current sanctions are simply an escalation of the conflict with Venezuela and a very savvy way to dry-up the spring of lubricating bribes that tie the current government of Venezuela to economic elites inside Venezuela and within the diaspora.

It is no secret that trade in Venezuelan bonds has become a very effective vehicle to launder money and to make those who collaborate with the regime immensely rich. Drying this fountain of sudden prosperity is a good approach towards destroying the operatives acting as proxies to the Venezuelan government in the financial system.

Current sanctions will be followed by more stringent measures which the Trump administration will uphold. And while inside the country people will continue to suffer disease and famine, sanctions coupled with other measures geared towards compromising governance in Venezuela could at the end perhaps liberate the embattled country.


Published by on Monday August 28th, 2017

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*