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Whose emergency in Venezuela?

Bello

The region should ignore ill-advised American sanctions and hold Nicolás Maduro to account



Mar 21st 2015 | From the print edition









IT WAS the kind of diplomatic clumsiness for which the United States has a unique capacity. 



On March 9th Barack Obama issued an executive order declaring “a national emergency” because of the “extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States posed by Venezuela. 


Really? 

Is Uncle Sam scared of a country with a government that is incapable of organising a reliable supply of toilet paper, an army whose best-known capabilities are coups, petrol smuggling and drug trafficking, and a president who spent most of January touring the world to beg for cash?




The explanation is that American law requires the administration to use such language if it wants to impose sanctions on individuals in another country. Congress has voted to do this in the case of Venezuela. Critics of this initiative argued that its only practical effect would be to give Nico…