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Getting Venezuela to Behave

What Trump Can Do

A Venezuelan living in Mexico holds a sign that reads, "Goodbye clown," in a demonstration against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Mexico City, Mexico, April 2, 2017. Edgard Garrido / Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump has embraced a surprisingly hard line toward the Venezuelan government. On February 14, the United States sanctioned the recently appointed Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami and his close associate, Samark José López Bello, for suspected involvement in drug trafficking. The following day, Trump met with Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, and tweeted shortly afterward that López should be “out of prison immediately.” Undeterred by the Venezuelan government’s  ban on broadcasts by CNN’s Spanish language channel two days later, a U.S. State Department statement expressed “dismay and concern” about the more than 100 political prisoners held by the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and called for “respect for the rule of law, the freedom of the press . . . and the restoration of a democratic process that reflects the will of the Venezuelan people.” Moreover,

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