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President Trump issued an executive order on Monday imposing a new round of economic sanctions on the Venezuelan government. The action sends a clear message to Venezuela’s top military brass — the regime’s chief pillar of support. The United States will not be satisfied until President Nicolás Maduro is ousted, and Venezuela is on a path toward democratic elections.
And yet Washington’s mounting threats and sanctions have failed to persuade the upper echelons of the Venezuelan military to abandon Mr. Maduro. In fact, they have remained loyal to the Chavista regime, in the face of economic collapse and a countrywide humanitarian crisis.
The executive order freezes the property and assets of the Venezuelan government and those individuals who provide support to the Maduro regime, building on individual, financial and oil sanctions. The American national security adviser, John Bolton, explained Tuesday at an international conference on Venezuela in Lima, Peru, that sanctions are aimed at denying “Maduro access to the global financial system” and further isolating him internationally. Mr. Bolton left no doubt that the United States was ready to penalize “third parties” (such as China and Russia) who did business with the regime.