The Obama Administration has apparently been ratcheting up the threats against the Venezuelan government in the wake of their offer of asylum to whistleblower Edward Snowden, threatening huge economic and diplomatic retaliation.
Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly called Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elias Jaua to announce that a number of Venezuelan officials’ visas were being revoked, and that this was just the beginning.
Kerry also is said to have told Jaua that the US was considering suspending the sale of gasoline and oil byproducts to Venezuela. Though the Venezuelan government is a huge exporter of crude oil to the United States, it is increasingly reliant on the US for refining capabilities.
In most of the world, this is considered mutually beneficial trade, but for the US, the prospect of using it as a weapon to really stick it to Venezuela is too good to pass up. That halting the trade is likely to be much more damaging to the US than Venezuela is likely not considered.