Yesterday, the White House announced that it was going to impose new sanctions on Venezuela. The sanctions are in response to a series of crackdowns by Venezuelan President Nicolas Madero on the Venezuelan opposition. Madero, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, is an avowed Marxist and the country’s economy has been all but destroyed.
Here’s what the White House says are its reasons for imposing sanctions on Venezuela:
President Obama today issued a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela. The targeted sanctions in the E.O. implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the President signed on December 18, 2014, and also go beyond the requirements of this legislation.
We are committed to advancing respect for human rights, safeguarding democratic institutions, and protecting the U.S. financial system from the illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela.
This new authority is aimed at persons involved in or responsible for the erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations and abuses in response to antigovernment protests, and arbitrary arrest and detention of antigovernment protestors, as well as the significant public corruption by senior government officials in Venezuela. The E.O. does not target the people or the economy of Venezuela.
The United States imported 806,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela. As tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela increase, the likelihood increases that Venezuela will cut those oil exports off to the U.S. The argument against that is Venezuela desperately needs the money and U.S. refineries are among the few that can process Venezuela’s heavy oil.
There is an alternative to Venezuelan oil, but President Obama just recently vetoed it. The Keystone XL Pipeline should pump 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Western Canada to refineries in Texas. The oil from Keystone XL completely replaces all imported oil from Venezuela. What would you rather support, a failing socialist dictatorship in Venezuela or a Canadian democracy that has fought alongside America in Afghanistan and now in Iraq?
The problem is many on the left have already made a choice and they chose the former. Kevin Williamson had a great piece at National Review about how the American left has been supportive of the Venezuelan dictatorship. Oh by the way, how’s that thaw in relations with Cuba working out?
The American left needs to get over its love affair with socialist dictators. In college, it’s a relatively harmless delusion. When these same idealistic leftists take charge, it puts America’s national security at risk. We could all pay the price for it.