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The Fracas in Caracas
Congress Approves Venezuela Sanctions

The U.S. is set to impose sanctions on human rights violators in the Venezuelan regime after a measure passed both Houses of Congress this week, The Financial Times reports:

The US Congress on Wednesday voted to restrict travel and freeze assets on some Venezuelan government officials it accuses of human rights abuses during a crackdown on protests against socialist President Nicolás Maduro earlier this year.

More than 40 people have died during a wave of protests by students and members of the Venezuelan opposition against curbs on democratic liberties, rampant crime and a deteriorating economy in the embattled Caribbean nation.

The US Senate approved the measure earlier this week. Now the House of Representatives has passed it, it will be sent to President Barack Obama to sign it into law.

The sanctions appear to be targeted measures in the vein of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 measure which went after specific Russian officials who had been involved with the murder of a Russian lawyer in 2009, and not broader, national sanctions a la the Cuban embargo.

As much as governments such as Maduro’s deserve sanctions, it’s important to remember that the strategy has its costs; it allows rogue regimes to play the victims of U.S. aggression, distracting attention from their crimes. Meanwhile, Venezuela is pretty busy collapsing under its own weight. Despite massive oil reserves, it is teetering on the brink of default: this week Caracas even started selling diamonds stored in the central bank to make ends meet.

 As we’ve said before, the Bolivarian Revolution is the best advertisement for capitalism in the world. The Maduro regime is disintegrating due to its own contradictions. Maybe we should let it.

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