Darth Vader grip Venezuela
A US official boasted that sanctions on Venezuela are like Darth Vader's death grip (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Trump official boasts crippling US sanctions on Venezuela are like Darth Vader’s death grip

A Trump administration official bragged that US sanctions on Venezuela are “like in Star Wars when Darth Vader constricts somebody’s throat.”

By Ben Norton

Trump administration officials are now publicly boasting about how their sanctions are suffocating Venezuela, comparing them to the iron grip of the diabolical villain of Star Wars.

The menacing language comes at the same time when the United States is overseeing a coup attempt in the oil-rich country, which the Trump White House claims is aimed at protecting “human rights.”

A senior US government official bragged at a briefing on March 22, “The effect of the sanctions is continuing and cumulative. It’s sort of like in Star Wars when Darth Vader constricts somebody’s throat, that’s what we are doing to the regime economically,” according to a report by Univision.

The Trump administration expanded its aggressive sanctions against Venezuela on March 22, targeting the state-owned Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank (BANDES) and four more affiliated banks.

Russ Dallen, the managing director of the Venezuelan investment bank Caracas Capital, told Univision, “It sounds like they want to make Venezuela radioactive. They want to choke off the money flow.”

US sanctions have bled Venezuela of many billions of dollars. Venezuelan civilians have suffered gravely, as Washington’s explicit campaign of economic warfare has prevented Caracas from importing medicine and medical equipment.

Economist Mark Weisbrot, a co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and leading expert on Venezuela’s economy, told The Grayzone in a recent interview that the Trump administration’s 2017 sanctions on Caracas established a de facto “financial embargo.”

Weisbrot added that the sanctions on Venezuela that were expanded in early 2019 “are very definitely among the worst sanctions ever imposed by the US on any country, if not the worst.”