Newspaper article International New York Times

Failing Ties with Venezuela

Newspaper article International New York Times

Failing Ties with Venezuela

Article excerpt

President Maduro wears American sanctions as a badge of honor.

By imposing sanctions this week on seven officials in the Venezuelan government, the Obama administration took a gamble. The move appears intended to signal to members of that government that persecuting the political opposition and limiting an independent press will have consequences. Yet the step could end up backfiring if President Nicolas Maduro is able to use it to bolster his bogus contention that the United States is trying to oust him through a coup.

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Maduro called those who were singled out heroes and said that the sanctions were a badge of honor. Acting with characteristic brashness, he appointed one of the blacklisted officials, Gustavo Enrique Gonzalez Lopez, as the interior minister. Mr. Maduro also asked the National Assembly, which his party controls, for extraordinary powers to face off American "aggression."

The sanctions were announced days after Mr. …

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