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Pompeo pushes for Venezuelan sanctions in South America

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with leaders in Paraguay and Peru on Saturday as part of a tour of four South American countries. Hari Sreenivasan spoke to Chris Sabatini of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and editor of TheGlobalAmericans.org for more on what issues Pompeo will face during his trip.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting with leaders in Paraguay and Peru today part of a tour of four South American countries that will end on the Colombian border with Venezuela tomorrow. For more on the issues Secretary Pompeo who is facing on this trip we turn to Chris Sabatini of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He's also editor of The Global Americans dot org and he joins us from Corning, New York via Skype. So about three million Venezuelans have now left the country in the last few years many have gone to the countries that are currently on the secretary of state's trip. What is the U.S. trying to do with them?

  • Chris Sabatini:

    Well what is trying to do first of all with these countries is trying to rally them to support and get behind U.S. sanctions. The U.S. and many of those countries all of them recognize it is an interim president the president of the National Assembly and it's been two and a half months now since they recognize why though the current Venezuelan government is not budging. So they need to put more pressure on this government.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Can the leaders of these countries look like they are siding with the Trump administration given at this point our policy on migration and towards Central American countries?

  • Chris Sabatini:

    That's exactly the problem here is that this is really this is there are three issues that are driving U.S. policy toward the region the first of them is its policy towards Cuba. Second the policy toward Venezuela and the other is immigration. It's cut off of aid to Central America or it spread to cut off its right to cut off the border makes it a very difficult government for many Latin American leaders to get behind and support on this issue of Venezuela which is critical. The Trump administration's levels of public approval are very very low right now in the region.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Secretary Pompeo is also placing a bit of the responsibility on China and Russia feet. What does that mean?

  • Chris Sabatini:

    Well this is part of the problem is that after refusing to recognize Maduro government and recognizing Guaido, Russia sent two airplanes three weeks ago and an unloaded military equipment and 1,000 Russian troops and that's really as a show of force in support of Maduro and against the U.S. policy. And then there's China which has lent at least 60 billion dollars to Venezuela. So what the U.S. is trying to do is to demonstrate that these are risky partners and this is it's unfortunately citing the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 which goes a long way back it doesn't have a really pleasant history in Latin America but it is very worried that this this possible regime change in Venezuela speaking on a scale of geopolitical dimensions with Russia and China now and the U.S. does not like having China and Russia meddling in its own if you will what it considers its backyard.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And one of the leaders that they're trying to pull is the purchase of five G network equipment and whether these countries purchase from China and Huawei or whether they buy from the U.S.

  • Chris Sabatini:

    China has been on a real terror in terms of trying to invest in its investment in Latin America increased by 24 percent in recent years. And it's become one of the largest investors and one of the largest export markets for Latin American countries in recent years. So it's it's really becoming a challenge toU.S. influence mostly soft power but also its economic power in the hemisphere.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Alright Chris Sabatini thanks so much.

  • Chris Sabatini:

    Thank you very much Hari.

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