Photo by Joka Madruga, Flickr CC

Following food shortages and civil unrest in Venezuela, President Trump has vocalized the possibility of US military intervention in the South American country, and has also taken steps to impose harsh sanctions on Venezuela as part of a general critique of Venezuela’s President Maduro. In an article in The News Observer, Tulane sociologist David Smilde explains how the costs and benefits of sanctions aren’t just economic, they are also social  — a large part of the Venezuealan story involves Maduro’s supporters’ ability to rally the general populace against perceived enemies. From the article:

David Smilde, a Tulane University sociologist who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said blanket economic sanctions that cut off the government’s cash flow and hurt the population are likely to strengthen Maduro in the short-term.

“They would bolster his discourse that Venezuela is the target of an economic war,” said Smilde.

However … action from an increasingly concerned international community represents the best chance of reining in Maduro, he added.