Venezuela’s leading pollster Luis Vicente León weighed in on targeted sanctions in his weekly column in El Universal. Here is a translation of the last two paragraphs.

Big actions against [government] officials do not damage the President’s image, but rather provide him with an opportunity to justify the crisis and the failure of the dialogue. The population will ask itself who gave a foreign power a candle to hold at this funeral, and nationalist sentiment will be exacerbated. Internal political discourse will be filled with renewed arguments and denunciations of coups and intervention. Unasur’s foreign ministers will reject the measure and consider it an attack on their efforts to generate agreements through dialogue. But beyond them, the majority of Latin American countries, including those who are not natural allies of chavismo, will see the US Congress’s actions as a new mode of post-Ukraine intervention that threatens them too. This will unify Latin American governments against the decision and strengthen the international position of Maduro in this affair.

I’m not analyzing whether those being punished are guilty or innocent. I’m only saying that the decision to sanction them from the United States is untimely and inconvenient. It’s impact will be the inverse of what is intended and negative for those who are struggling to resolve these problems in situ. This looks like a decision that is more politically useful for its strongest promoters in the US than to resolve problems here.