On March 9 President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a “national security threat,” deepening sanctions against the country, and ordered additional restrictions against seven officials, blocking or freezing their property and interests in the United States and denying them entry. The two countries have not had full diplomatic representation since 2008, though the U.S. remains Venezuela’s largest trading partner, and Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of crude petroleum to the U.S.
There are tens of thousands of Cuban medical personnel throughout Venezuela, and Caracas supplies Cuba with the majority of its crude oil at heavily discounted prices.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez visited Caracas March 14 to show the Cuban Revolution’s solidarity with Venezuela. The time for the U.S. “to treat Latin America like its backyard has ended,” he said. “The U.S. government needs to understand that it can’t handle Cuba with a carrot nor Venezuela with a stick.”
— MAGGIE TROWE
Vol. 79/No. 11, March 30, 2015