On December 18, 2014, US President Barack Obama signed into law a bill authorizing the executive to impose individual sanctions on Venezuelan government officials alleged to have perpetrated “serious human rights abuses” in connection the violent anti-government protests earlier that year. This move came literally one day after Obama unveiled his administration’s historic “normalization” with Cuba. Less than three months later, the Obama administration designated Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security, creating the legal framework for further unilateral coercive measures from Washington. Since then, numerous rounds of sanctions have been imposed on Caracas, which target not only top officials but also include Donald Trump’s August 2017 executive order prohibiting new financial dealings with PDVSA and the Venezuelan State. Even Venezuelan opposition economists such as Torino Capital’s Francisco Rodriguez agree that these measures are exacerbating Venezuela’s deep economic and social crisis. To explore this pressing issue, Lucas, Jeanette, and Greg spoke with Professor Steve Ellner, a renowned Venezuela expert who has just completed a cross-North America speaking tour on the topic of US sanctions.