In a significant escalation, President Donald Trump announced a total economic embargo on Venezuela yesterday, issuing an executive order that would block all transactions with the government and its officials and freeze their property and assets in the United States.
The move came on the eve of a meeting in Peru held by the Lima Group, a multilateral body of Latin American countries that supports opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, rather than Nicolas Maduro. Fifty-nine countries, including the United States, are attending. The Venezuelan government and its few remaining partners, such as Russia, are not.
The announcement of an embargo quickly focused attention back on the Trump administration’s hard line against Maduro, at a moment when the already dire humanitarian situation in Venezuela keeps deteriorating. Maduro’s increasingly repressive and mismanaged government is primarily to blame, but U.S. economic sanctions are making things even worse for Venezuelans.