Something more than sanctions needs to be done to protect Venezuelan people from their leader

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is well aware of the powerlessness of leaders in this country and others upset about his ongoing repression of his own people. Despite enormous oil reserves, Venezuela’s economy is a shambles and Maduro’s regime is in the process of making liberty no more than a fond memory.

On Sunday, Maduro proceeded with a sham election he claims gives him approval to rewrite the country’s constitution. He has made it clear his goal is to gain more power to crush dissent.

Then, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Maduro sent his thugs to arrest two leading opponents. That may have been a preview of what lies ahead for those who dare to oppose the regime.

President Donald Trump and a few other world leaders have vowed to penalize Maduro. It is difficult to see how that can be done without harming the Venezuelan people, however.

Cutting off imports of Venezuelan oil could make that country’s economy, already teetering on the brink of disaster, collapse.

Sanctions against Maduro and his cronies are appealing, but as so often is the case with totalitarian governments, finding all the leaders’ sources of income and bank accounts would be quite challenging.

Still, it is something Trump should have both financial experts and intelligence agencies exploring. Doing nothing while the Venezuelan people suffer should not be considered an option.


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