The rare move by the United States to place economic sanctions on Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro will do little to reduce criminality within his regime and across his beleaguered country. The question is whether matters could get worse in criminal terms.
The latest round of sanctions by the United States against high-ranking Venezuelan officials claim to punish human rights abuses, but several of these powerful figures have also contributed to the growth of organized crime in the crisis-stricken Latin American country.
Colombia has extradited a Venezuelan former army captain with ties to the administration of President Nicolás Maduro to face drug trafficking charges in the United States, in a move that likely has Venezuela's government worried over what stories he might tell US authorities.
Cracks have appeared in Venezuela's increasingly criminal regime. Dissidence has set in within the military, which is propping up the flailing government, and a key opposition leader is calling for more soldiers to defect, while the attorney general continues to challenge the president.