Organisation of American States meets for discussions on Caracas tumult

Organisation of American States meets for discussions on Caracas tumult

US Vice President Mike Pence will address the Organisation of American States (OAS) today where he is expected to outline

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US Vice President Mike Pence will address the Organisation of American States (OAS) today where he is expected to outline the Trump administration’s policy against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government.

Venezuela is in the midst of an economic and humanitarian crisis as hyperinflation causes food and medicine shortages. This has led to an estimated 1.5 million people fleeing across the borders.

Today, the White House aims for an OAS resolution condemning Maduro’s refusal to accept humanitarian aid as a starting point. However, more is likely to come.

Despite past Trump rhetoric, a military intervention is unlikely as Maduro would use it to rally traditional Venezuelan scepticism against the US. Sanctions on oil are also difficult as they would affect US jobs and gas prices as well as hitting ordinary Venezuelans—80% of whom are reliant on food handouts. Current sanctions targeting Maduro’s inner circle have had limited success. A divided opposition has also means that forcing Maduro from power in an internal coup also faces significant challenges.

Ultimately, the White House may seek to isolate Maduro within the OAS and eventually force him to step down.