“The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues.” – Mike Pence
Following the election victory of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on 20 May, President Donald Trump announced further sanctions against the South American country. Maduro, who won with a margin of more than four million, has been the target of claims his socialist party rigged the election, and that it was a ‘sham’. Trump’s claims come shortly after a failed attempt to fabricate claims that Tareck El Aissami, Maduro’s Vice President, was a ‘drug kingpin’. Various US politicians have also refused to recognise the election results, including Florida’s Marco Rubio, who only in the last few years spearheaded a campaign pledging a further twenty million US dollars to the opposition party.
In response to the election results, with which Trump is evidently not pleased, the United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela in an attempt to assist with the ousting of Maduro. These include the clamping down on the selling of Venezuelan debt through the prevention of asset ‘fire sales’, but the Whitehouse lacked the ability to impose oil sanctions which Trump had previously threatened. Opposition leaders of Venezuela have reportedly called on the international community to propose sanctions on Maduro’s government, and evidently, they have listened-with 14 American nations all chilling their diplomatic relations since the election. Ever the self-imposed international player, the United Kingdom also recalled fourteen ambassadors from Venezuela since the 22 May.
Meanwhile, the western mainstream media reaction to the election has been largely one of condemnation towards Maduro. Typically mutually-contrary publications Guardian and Daily Mail have both run news articles regarding Venezuelan people ‘lamenting’ the state of their electoral system. Putting aside the fact these reports have overlooked the mass-boycotts from the opposition of the election, it appears even liberal news media reluctantly back Trump when it comes to condemning socialism. Venezuela, it seems, is being economically and diplomatically besieged in a way not dissimilar to Cuba.