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A price for repression

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For years the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has avoided punitive action or even harsh words against the authoritarian, populist government of Venezuela, despite its systematic violations of human rights. The thinking is that Hugo Chavez and now his successor, Nicolas Maduro, would use the United States as a foil, distract attention from their failings and earn unjustified sympathy from other Latin Americans who bridle at any hint of U.S. meddling.

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