August 16, 2016
When the United States blacklisted John Angel Zabaneh, a banana farmer and exporter in Belize, for alleged ties to a top drug lord, it did more than just sideline one local businessman from the global financial system
The action, designed to target only Zabaneh, his alleged associates and their businesses, also dented Belize’s banana exports for months from last October, throwing hundreds of people out of work and undercutting a main source of hard currency for the tiny Central American country.
Broad U.S. sanctions against entire countries have drawn criticism for impoverishing millions while doing little to hurt those at the top. But Zabaneh’s case shows that even laser-targeted actions against individuals and firms — a strategy the United States is increasingly using — can cause collateral damage.