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US VICE-PRESIDENT Mike Pence announced more sanctions on Venezuela today in a speech that suggested Washington is unsure how to advance its regime change agenda.
On his visit Colombia, Mr Pence announced further sanctions on individual Venezuelans but was hard-pressed to intensify the crippling economic sanctions the US has already imposed.
He called on other countries to do more to confiscate Venezuelan property abroad and stop it trading.
“It’s time to do more,” he said, following a setback for the US when the EU, which has supported Washington’s recognition of unelected national assembly chief Juan Guaido as self-declared “president,” clarified that it was not prepared to endorse military intervention.
“What is explicitly quite clear, from our perspective, is that we need a peaceful political and democratic and Venezuelan-owned resolution which obviously excludes the use of force,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
That contrasts with open threats of war from President Donald Trump and Mr Guaido’s plea that Western militaries keep the option of invading Venezuela on the table.
The US has been wrongfooted by the Venezuelan people’s response to Mr Guaido’s declaration: enormous demonstrations in defence of the Bolivarian revolution in the capital and many in the provinces.
The elected government of Nicolas Maduro remains in control of all state functions, while US calls on the military to mutiny and overthrow the government have not been heeded.
Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, said that further sanctions would increase Venezuelan suffering.
He dismissed the US claim to be desperate to deliver aid to Venezuela when its economic war is heavily responsible for shortages in the country.
“The ‘humanitarian aid’ this weekend was a public relations stunt since the aid was just a tiny fraction of the food and medicine that they are depriving Venezuelans of with the sanctions,” Mr Weisbrot said.
“As the Trump administration admitted, it was an attempt to get the Venezuelan military to disobey Maduro. It was a farce and it failed.”
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