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Friday, March 05, 2004

What to do about Venezuela?

What should the U.S. do about the worsening crisis in Venezuela? Stephen Johnson of the Heritage Foundation has some answers.

Having rejiggered electoral regulations in his favor, [Hugo] Chavez risks plunging Venezuela into a civil war. During the last week, his troops have shot seven unarmed demonstrators to death, and Milos Alcalay, his ambassador to the U.N., resigned in protest. Chavez is betting that the Bush administration will not react, fearful that he will cutoff petroleum exports to America and its allies.

But U.S. officials should not shrink from challenging this bully.

They should bring his undemocratic actions before the Organization of American States for debate, freeze accounts of law-breaking Venezuelan officials, and negotiate alternate petroleum supply arrangements with other countries. If they don't, Chavez will have carte blanche to consolidate his authoritarian rule and destabilize other governments and markets in the neighborhood.

There's more. Read the entire article.

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