As tensions in the Persian Gulf are taking up most of the headlines, the Trump administration is still seeking regime change in Venezuela. Since coming into office President Trump has had an aggressive policy towards Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. The Center for Economic Policy and Research determined in April that US sanctions were responsible for 40,000 deaths in Venezuela since 2017.
Well, those sanctions are still in full affect. A report released last month by Torino Economics concluded, “There is no logical reason why Chavez’s irresponsibility, Maduro’s incompetence and U.S. economic sanctions cannot all have contributed to worsening the plight of Venezuelans.” Francisco Rodriguez, the economist who prepared the report, is no fan of Maduro. He served as an advisor to Henri Falcon, one of Maduro’s opponents in the 2018 election. Yet Rodriguez still recognizes the damage US sanctions are inflicting.
The report focused on the effect sanctions have had on Venezuela’s oil production. It makes the point that oil production had been slowly declining, but it decreased drastically once the August 2017 sanctions were imposed by the US and when more sanctions were added in January 2019.
In an interview with Journalist Aaron Mate, Rodriguez warned US sanctions could lead to a famine in Venezuela. Rodriguez said,
“The most reasonable conclusion based on the data is that a famine is going to occur in Venezuela over the course of the next twelve months.”
Since declaring himself President in January, opposition leader Juan Guaido has failed to actually take power from Maduro. In April, he called for the military to rise up and take out Maduro. But the coup was short lived. The military has overwhelmingly stood by Maduro, and there are over a million militia members willing to fight for him.
Even though there is plenty of opposition to Maduro in Venezuela, Guaido is seen as a US puppet. Just last week, the Trump Administration announced they would be diverting over $40 million worth of aid from Honduras and Guatemala to Guaido and his crew. This comes after members of Guaido’s opposition party were accused of embezzling money that was for “humanitarian aid.”
The idea of cutting aid to Honduras and Guatemala is to make the governments of those countries increase efforts to curb migration.