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Pocan, Conyers, Khanna Statement Regarding Trump's Executive Order on Venezuelan Sanctions

Aug 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (August 25, 2017) – In response to President Trump’s signing of an executive order that imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela today, U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), and Ro Khanna (CA-17) released the following statement and reiterated their call for a diplomatic solution to Venezuela’s political and economic crisis.

“With its announcement of the most extensive U.S. financial sanctions against Venezuela to date, the Trump Administration is once again pursuing aggressive unilateral measures abroad in an attempt to distract attention away from the sustained outrage over the president’s disgraceful antics at home–all while designing his sanctions in accordance with the interests of oil-industry lobbyists.

“While we remain deeply concerned over President Maduro’s efforts to supersede Venezuela’s duly elected National Assembly, these unilateral sanctions will only further complicate efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the country’s political crisis and threaten to create greater economic hardship for ordinary Venezuelans. As we and other progressive lawmakers noted last month in a letter to Secretary Tillerson, U.S. economic sanctions are overwhelmingly rejected by Venezuelans and only undermine dialogue by strengthening the hand of hardliners on both sides of the political divide while weakening the voices of moderation. By applying financial sanctions to Venezuela, President Trump is threatening the country’s ability to access foreign currency, which is desperately needed to alleviate widespread shortages of food, medicine and basic goods.

“Prior to ratcheting up hostilities through these latest sanctions, President Trump absurdly suggested a ‘military option’ in Venezuela, publicly betraying his campaign promise to avoid regime-change efforts that have undermined U.S. security interests. Such a reckless maneuver, absent Congressional authorization and UN Security Council approval, would be clearly unconstitutional and illegal. A sensible approach to Venezuela’s crisis is obvious: the United States needs to work with other governments in the region to support mediation and negotiations that involve respected international actors such as the Vatican and the United Nations.”