Sanctions will be leveled against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, according to Reuters and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. After holding an election Sunday that the U.S. called “flawed” and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley called a “sham,” sources say the U.S. government is considering several measures.
Before the election, violence erupted in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. Common citizens and authoritarian police forces clashed on Saturday, with protesters fearing the Madura was rigging the vote, and that his socialist government would become so powerful that it would evolve into a single-party authoritarian system.
After Maduro’s re-election, the U.S. said the people of Venezuela had been trying to “restore their country to a full and prosperous democracy. ”
Saying it was a “flawed election,” the U.S. State Department released a statement on Sunday.
“We will continue to take strong and swift actions against the architects of authoritarianism in Venezuela, including those who participate in the National Constituent Assembly as a result of today’s flawed election,” the statement read.
According to Reuters, the U.S. may not impose oil-related sanctions, “but such measures remain under consideration, according to congressional sources and a person familiar with the matter.”
Venezuela has been on a steady descent into chaos and poverty for years, with crime on the rise. Robberies are becoming more common as money is in short supply. The country is reported to have one of the highest murder rates in the world annually, yet only six of every 100 crimes yield a conviction.
In desperation, citizens have reportedly been dealing harshly with criminals, including public beatings, lynchings and even burning fellow citizens alive.
According to Geoff Ramsey, a Venezuelan associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, civil war is a possibility.
“It’s fair to suspect that widespread food and medicine shortages are taking a toll of the loyalty of the military,” he said. “Everyone is affected by this.”
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