Tags: America's Forum | Otto Reich | Venezuela | sanctions | Obama

Ex-Ambassador: Obama Right to Sanction Venezuelan Officials

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 12:07 PM

President Barack Obama's characterization of Venezuela as an "extraordinary threat to the national security" of the United States is in keeping with language used in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to impose sanctions if he feels a country presents a "seriously threatening set of circumstances," former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich said Thursday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
 
This week, Obama signed an executive order authorizing the American government to freeze the U.S.-held assets of seven Venezuelan law enforcement and military officials, who U.S. officials maintain are "responsible for human rights abuses or violations of democratic due process," according to The New York Times.

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There is a reasonable case to be made that, because so many high-ranking Venezuelan officials are involved in illicit activities such as "money laundering, narcotics trafficking, hiding hundreds of billions of dollars in our financial system or hiding them in other countries," Venezuela poses a threat to the American financial system, according to Reich.

"These are not sanctions directed at the government or the country of Venezuela, but only [at] a few people who have been involved in massive corruption or in massive violations of human rights," he said. "You can criticize the administration for using that language and then only sanctioning seven individuals that are not even in the highest ranking."

Other than on the part of the Venezuelan government and government elites, there is not an anti-American sentiment in the country, he added.

Predicting how long Venezuela's "repressive government" will remain in power is difficult, Reich said, noting that other regimes that have also destroyed their economies have managed to stay in power due to the lack of freedom.

"If people rebel, they're jailed, in some cases killed, or leave the country," said Reich.

"We can only hope that the international community will put pressure on Venezuela to stop the repression, go back to the democratic roots that this government promised when they came into office in 1999, and that the Venezuelan people will be allowed to have a normal democracy again."

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President Barack Obama was right to issue an executive order authorizing the American government to freeze the U.S.-held assets of seven Venezuelan law enforcement and military officials, Otto Reich told Newsmax TV.
Otto Reich, Venezuela, sanctions, Obama
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Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 12:07 PM
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