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Venezuela sinks and scares the US


US President Barack Obama issued an executive order declaring Venezuela “a threat to the national security”. The country that holds the largest oil reserves on earth, and now plagued by famine, recession and growing popular anger, could be a ticking bomb, and the State Department wants to be prepared.

It is the worst diplomatic crisis since president Nicolas Maduro took power in 2013, following the death of populist, and popular, Hugo Chávez. Two weeks ago Caracas ordered Washington to trim the staff of the American embassy from 100 to 17, and made visas mandatory for American tourists.

“The E.O. does not target the people or the economy of Venezuela,” said the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest briefing the press. “It wants to persuade the government to change its behavior (…) Corrupt actions by Venezuelan government officials deprive Venezuela of needed economic resources that could be invested in the Venezuelan people and used to spur economic growth”.

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