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The United States is stepping up sanctions against Venezuela, calling it a "security threat". A failed strategy, Latin American scientists believe.


"An unusual and extraordinary threat to US national security and foreign policy." This is the wording of a decree issued by US President Barack Obama on Monday 9 March. Neither radical Islamists nor Russian aggressors are condemned in the White House statement, but the left-wing radical government in Venezuela, led by Nicolás Maduro. Maduro and his allies in the region have responded to the condemnations and sanctions with rage and accusations of sabotage. "It is the same visa as always, […] what the United States wants is to destabilize the progressive governments in the region," Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said in response to the sanctions, according to Latin American broadcaster Telesur. However, it is not just Venezuela's allies who are reacting to the North American strategy. Both Norwegian and international Latin American connoisseurs believe that the efforts of the American authorities strengthen the position of a very unpopular Nicolás Maduro. Crisis. Since then, both the economy and Venezuela's international reputation have received several blows to the bow: A rapidly falling oil price in the last six months has led to rising inflation and commodity shortages in the country, and since May US authorities have stepped up pressure on the authorities. The condemnation in March was followed by new sanctions against the government and several government officials who believe the US government helped create the 2014 wave of violence. planned coup d'état against the government. A similar rationale was given when Antonio Ledezma's mayor of Caracas, the Mayor of Caracas, was arrested in February this year. Venezuela has also plunged into the fight for American public opinion: "Our people believe in peace and respect for all nations," it said in an open letter in The New York Times on Tuesday, December 17. The letter was from the Venezuelan government and addressed to the American people. "Clumsy". After a month of diplomatic crisis, several experts on the relationship between the two countries have reacted to the US strategy. "This seems clumsy if the goal is to help Venezuela return to a democratic, center-oriented administration," Barbara Kotschwar, an economist and Latin American expert at Georgetown University in Washington, told the conservative journal Foreign Policy. Several other observers have noted that calling Venezuela "a security threat" may resonate with a population that is responsive to anti-imperialist rhetoric. Benedicte Bull, professor at the Center for Development and the Environment at UiO, believes that the proposal from the US government is as much about internal affairs as it is about foreign policy. "Obama is dependent on congressional support in his approach to Cuba and due to the peace process in Colombia. Then he must be able to give something to the forces that want an uncompromising line against the left-wing radical government, "Bull told Ny Tid. "But," she adds, "it could also be an attempt to pressure Latin American leaders to take a more critical stance on Maduro. In that case, it has failed. " A January poll shows that the popularity of the Caracas government has plummeted over the past year. It now has the support of only 22 percent of the population. A falling oil price has hit hard in an oil-dependent society that has long struggled with productivity, and economics is the most important key word to explain the crisis of legitimacy. At the same time, Maduro stands on solid ground in its own region. In the conflict between the government and Washington, the regional cooperation bloc Unasur has given clear support to Maduro, across political divides. More startling is the fact that other global powers, Russia and China, have also made statements of support to Venezuela. Thus, the United States is quite alone in the international tug-of-war over Venezuela's future. "China has previously been very cautious about making a political mark in Latin America, despite strong economic interests. Russia has clear strategic interests in the region, and gathers support where they can, "Bull said. Monetary gallop. Among analysts who have expressed support for Maduro, accusations of close ties between the opposition parties in the country and US state and non-state actors have been important. The leadership of Maduro's ruling PSUV party has repeatedly pointed out that opposition organizations received North American tax money through the federal aid program USAID and the political endorsement National Endownment for Democracy (NED). They use this diligently as an argument that the United States planned a coup in the country. In connection with the riots last year, the left-wing radical writer Eva Golinger pointed out that the US State Department has in recent years increased support for "non-state democracy projects" in Latin American countries with left-wing governments. To Ny Tid, Benedicte Bull says that it is quite possible that the opposition in Venezuela receives support from American organizations. "But that does not mean that they are supporting a coup. The Norwegian authorities have also supported movements associated with the opposition in various countries, including Guatemala. Then, of course, it has been on condition that basic democratic rules of the game are followed. " Can such support do more harm than good? "Yes. The Venezuelan opposition has a lot of money, so foreign economic contributions are probably not crucial. At the same time, the opposition becomes easier to delegitimize, "Bull believes. Believe in solution. Ironically, the negotiations on Cuba and Colombia can also serve as a motivation for a solution. Venezuela has been Cuba's closest ally in the region for the past 17 years, and the United States is dependent on the goodwill of both countries as facilitators of the peace process between the Colombian government in Bogotá and the guerrilla movement FARC-EP. In April, heads of state from across the continent will meet at the Pan-American Summit in Panama, and the tense situation between Venezuela and the United States is expected to be discussed. "Neither party has an interest in the crisis escalating, but there are strong political forces in both countries that make the process difficult," Bull said. She believes that negotiations led by South American Unasur can lead to progress. Then, however, the opposition in Venezuela must play a role in the negotiations, and this is unlikely to happen without concessions from the government. "The arrested opposition leaders López and Ledezma must be released, and measures must be taken to improve the economic situation," Bull concluded.

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