Don’t blockade Venezuela!

The Trump administration threatened a naval blockade against Venezuela and the sanctions are going to get worse. Let’s tell Congress to keep Trump’s hands off Venezuela!

President Trump has threatened a naval blockade of Venezuela. Under U.S. and international law, a naval blockade is an act of war. The administration does not have the authority to impose a blockade or take any other military action, and Congress must work to prevent such unauthorized actions from taking place.

This threat of a blockade came after the president threatened to “smash” the Venezuelan government at the State of the Union address. In the weeks after the threat, President Trump and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Colombian President Ivan Duque, to either lobby for or plan coordinated actions. According to regional analysts, a U.S. naval blockade, followed by the militarization and closure of the borders by Colombia and Brazil could spark not just an internal conflict in Venezuela, but a broader conflict in an already unstable region.

The Trump administration is already carrying out a hybrid war against Venezuela, as exemplified by the economic sanctions that are tantamount to an “economic embargo”, as the Wall Street Journal put it. According to former U.N. special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, the sanctions have killed 100,000 Venezuelans. These are innocent civilians caught in the middle of a geopolitical conflict.

Finally, there is an ongoing dialogue in Venezuela between the Maduro government and most sectors of the opposition. This represents an opportunity for the country to depolarize and resolve its issues peacefully. Congress should support these efforts and ensure that the Trump administration does not sabotage them. Dialogue is the only sustainable way forward in Venezuela.

Thank you,

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