AnalysisDemocracyPoliticsSouth AmericaWorld

Latin America: history of treaty used to impose sanctions on Venezuela shows it’s a clumsy way to advance democracy

With a war scare on the Colombian border, duelling presidents in Caracas, and schemes to rescue a collapsing economy with cryptocurrency, the Venezuela crisis lurches forward even as the international community struggles to change the facts on the ground.

In the most recent escalation of regional pressure, a group of western hemisphere countries including the US, Canada and a host of South American and Caribbean states voted in September to implement coordinated sanctions against Venezuelan incumbent Nicolás Maduro under the Rio Treaty. These call for extraditing and freezing the assets of certain members of the Maduro regime suspected of criminal activities or human rights violations.

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But this decades-old pact is unlikely to give these states the leverage to …

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