As the world watched Venezuela fall under the shadow of complete tyranny over the past couple of years, many of us have been asking if there is anything we could conceivably do about it short of a military intervention. I’ve written on the subject extensively and I’m ashamed to say that the answer always seemed to be no. But what if there is a drastic measure short of sending over some bombers and cruise missiles which could turn things around?
The Daily Caller reports that President Trump is now considering a move which would certainly be drastic, but could conceivably force Venezuelan tyrant Nicolas Maduro onto a new and hopefully more stable path. Word on the street is that Trump is seriously considering a full embargo on oil imports from that nation. It’s a move which could take their already collapsing economy and push it over the edge.
President Donald Trump’s administration is seriously considering placing an embargo on Venezuelan oil, which could be the final blow to an economy and nation that are on the verge of total collapse.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Venezuela on Feb. 4 that the administration might impose restrictions on Venezuelan oil imports in order to pressure socialist President Nicolás Maduro to return to a constitutional form of government.
Venezuela can’t afford to lose its trading ties to the U.S. The nation’s oil production is at a three-decade low, producing at roughly half the levels it was in the 1990s, according to a January report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Oil revenues account for 90 percent of the Venezuelan government’s hard currency, and the U.S. is the nation’s largest buyer.
A lot of thought will need to go into this because such an action will have severe consequences. Venezuela is teetering on the edge of complete fiscal collapse right now and their genius dictator is trying to fix it by dabbling in cryptocurrencies rather than addressing the underlying problems. People have no food or medicine (unless they are in the good graces of the ruling socialist party) and their currency is presently worth more as wallpaper than actual money.
Oil production is way, way down despite the nation sitting on what are still some of the richest deposits of sweet crude in the world, mostly due to the corruption and incompetence of the Maduro regime. Their limited markets are unstable, and being barred from selling to the United States (their largest customer) would likely sink the Venezuelan economy entirely. It’s true that this might possibly force Maduro to relent and restore some semblance of socialist democracy to his nation, but it’s the people who would suffer from the final collapse of their monetary system.
But then again, how much worse off could they be? As we reported here previously, the vast majority of the citizens are already starving to death. The nation’s neighbors are already being flooded with Venezuelans trying to flee the country and the situation is rapidly growing into a refugee crisis which some analysts say could wind up being worse than Syria. An American oil embargo could make those situations incrementally worse, but the disaster is already upon them. Perhaps the short term damage could be accepted as part of the cost of victory if it drives Maduro from office or at least forces him to hold actual, honest elections.
Then again, Maduro still has friends. Russia, China and Iran are all on friendly terms with him and don’t favor any sort of intervention. If we cut off their oil exports, would they ride to the rescue and take up the slack? It’s a complicated mess to be sure, but if President Trump is ready to take action to resolve it, cancelling oil imports is still a far less drastic measure than military action.