- by Jesús Rojas
- The Guardian
- Issue #1963
The US government has imposed multiple “sanctions” on Venezuela.
Washington’s aggression against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and other countries is a flagrant violation of human rights since its prime objective is to destroy these societies’ material and spiritual foundations by attacking their prosperity, health and the sense of well-being, joy and autonomy. Regrettably, this crime against humanity has not moved international bodies to demand that Washington put an end to these policies. Nor has it moved into action the large number of NGOs, supposedly concerned about respect for human rights, who look the other way when it comes to condemning the crimes of the empire in the above-mentioned countries and many others.
The aim of these cruel policies is the destruction of nation-states. For nearly twenty years, the United States government has been attacking Venezuelan sovereignty, and with heightened ferocity during the last five years, aiming at regime change, trying to remove President Nicolás Maduro from power through violence and terrorism.
The US government has imposed multiple “sanctions” on Venezuela. It has embargoed the export of oil which provides ninety-five per cent of the nation’s income. It has blocked the Venezuelan state from using its bank accounts abroad to import medicine and to carry out its social welfare programs.
Between December 2014 and July 2020, the unilateral coercive sanctions targeted 401 commodities and individuals, adversely affecting the Venezuelan economy. Furthermore, even amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US has denied access by the Venezuelan government to the foreign exchange required for importing food, medicine, spare parts and essential raw material for its economic activity.
The aggression against Venezuela comes not only from the United States’ imperialist government, but also from its European allies. In January 2019, about 14 tons of gold reserves, with an estimated value of $1.8bil, deposited by the Venezuelan government in the Bank of England, were illegally confiscated by the British government. In a letter of October 9th 2020, addressed to the international community, President Nicolás Maduro denounced the sanctions legislation, and seven decrees or executive orders, as well as 300 administrative measures, which together, since 2014, make up a sophisticated policy of multi-pronged aggression against Venezuela.
In a report entitled “Economic sanctions as collective punishment: The case of Venezuela,” published in May 2019, Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot, North American economists at the prestigious Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, concluded that the unilateral coercive measures of the United States government represent a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans a year, with more than 40,000 deaths since 2017, a figure that, no doubt, has since increased.
According to these experts, such measures represent a “punishment” that amounts to collective suffering. They claim that if the US government had not taken these measures, the Venezuelan economic situation would be buoyant.
And it is certainly the case that Venezuelans had been enjoying an increasing measure of well-being prior to the imposition of the collective punishment by the United States. The Bolivarian Revolution had reduced poverty and social inequalities. Social projects and welfare programs had improved the quality of life for many Venezuelans.
The US’ unilateral coercive policies have sabotaged those gains, and the unbearable economic decline has driven a constant flow of Venezuelans across the borders.
One may justifiably say that unilateral coercive sanctions are, practically, weapons of mass destruction: a form of war where tanks, planes, bombs and missiles are replaced by economic and financial blockades dealing a destructive blow to national production and foreign trade.
Meanwhile, the Bolivarian Government has made great efforts to enhance its capacities in terms of social protection and welfare.
So far, we have managed to prevent a famine in Venezuela and mitigated the disastrous effects that would have taken place in the absence of the socialist shield and the social protection measures that the Bolivarian Government has been implementing.
In response to the imperial aggression, and in defence of the national heritage, sovereignty, dignity, peace, development and well-being of the Venezuelan people, on October 8th October 2020, the National Constituent Assembly approved the “Anti-Blockade Law for National Development and the Guarantee of the Rights of the Venezuelan People.”
This special legislative instrument will provide the Venezuelan government with the ability to improve the country’s income, generate rational and adequate incentives, stimulate domestic economic activity, and form productive alliances that would generate foreign investments aimed at developing our motherland.
In search of justice and seeking to uphold international law and institutions, Venezuela has complained to the International Criminal Court (ICC) against this continued abuse by the most pernicious power humanity has ever known.
The time has come for international legal institutions to denounce the egregious abuses of the North American plutocracy, which threatens peaceful coexistence, human rights and the lives of millions of people throughout the world, endangering the very existence of humanity.
The peoples of the world are advancing towards the building of a new global society. They are formulating new paradigms to achieve ecological and environmental balance and overcoming the social ills and deficiencies endemic to capitalism, hence reinventing and expanding the limits and definition of democracy.