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Venezuela: Do U.S. Sanctions Seek Regime Change? Maybe Not in the Short Term ...

September 08, 2017

The Trump administration slapped tough sanctions on Venezuela last month that for the first time aimed to restrict the teetering southern neighbor’s access to international financial lifelines.

And it raised a smoldering question: Is the United States gunning for regime change?

For some – including embattled Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro – any doubts as to the answer were erased by President Trump himself. He punctuated the sanctions decision with a threat of US military intervention if Venezuela’s slide into what he called “dictatorship” is not reversed...

But few regional analysts equate the financial sanctions with a blatant stab at full-on regime change...

...“President Trump’s latest sanctions are qualitatively different in many ways. They are more institutional in nature than the earlier sanctions on individuals, including President Maduro, and they aim to penalize certain behaviors by the Venezuelan state,” says Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society in Washington and a former White House adviser on Western Hemisphere policies.

“But I don’t see it being about regime change,” he adds. “It’s about raising the cost of behavior by the government in Caracas that the international community has clearly rejected.” Moreover, the objective is to “incentivize” the government “not to pursue certain actions, like violating demonstrators’ human rights, but to undertake others,” like dialogue with the political opposition, Mr. Farnsworth says....

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