Truth about sanctions against Venezuela

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There is a sense that once an election result doesn’t conform to the wishes of some, it is rigged. Whether you lose by seven million or you refused to contest on the belief that it’s not free and fair.

It’s startling that a country will interpret another country’s constitution and decide, against the will of the people, who ought to be recognised as the legitimate leader of that country and begin threatening it. But these are the shameless and indefensible actions that we are witnessing robustly defended on the world stage.

Regardless of how much a lie is told it will not become the truth. Sanctions against Venezuela was not started in 2017 as stated by the US ambassador but was in fact started by the Barack Obama administration in 2014 and continued to be intensified yearly, especially over the last four years.

It is highly disingenuous to say that Venezuela’s perils had nothing to do with sanctions, when the very purpose of sanctions is to achieve exactly what we are witnessing today.

Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela, says UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy. His comments follow the imposition of sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company by the US.

“Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state. The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law,” he says.

Jazairy adds: “Economic sanctions are effectively compounding the grave crisis affecting the Venezuelan economy, adding to the damage caused by hyperinflation and the fall in oil prices. This is a time when compassion should be expressed for the long-suffering people of Venezuela by promoting, not curtailing, access to food and medicine”

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March 2017, has criticised the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela, which he said is hurting its economy and killing Venezuelans. In de Zayas’s report to the UN he recommended, among other actions, that the International Criminal Court investigate economic sanctions against Venezuela as possible crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

Hence this hypocritical play on words cannot obfuscate the problems and the reality of the imposed sanctions against Venezuela.

TERRANCE BROWNE