Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Economic blockade as a weapon against peoples

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

By H.E. Mr. Félix Plasencia González, Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

The world’s peace and stability face today new and serious threats. It is a sophisticated war, but no less cruel and merciless because of it, where military armament and siege are accompanied, and in some cases replaced, by economic harassment, financial persecution, commercial attacks and plunder of assets from sovereign States. The application of Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCM) is more than an illegal action; it is a crime against humanity. It therefore demands the joint action of the international community.

Venezuela is one of the more than 30 countries that are currently fighting to overcome the consequences of the economic, financial and commercial blockade resulting from the imposition of UCM, which in bad faith are presented to the world as ‘sanctions’ in an attempt to justify the harm caused to the people, a harm described as ‘devastating’ by Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

The devastation caused by the blockade, which has been imposed since 2014 and aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic, is evidenced in figures such as the loss of up to 99% of the country’s foreign exchange incomes, impacting the import of food, medicines, supplies for the health sector, spare parts and goods, and thus affecting the productive apparatus and the economy, particularly the provision of basic services such as water, electricity and domestic gas.

State-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the country’s most important company and main revenue generator, has lost over US$ 100 billion due to a production fall caused by the direct ‘sanctions’ imposed by the United States Government that have also reached different economic-productive sectors and third countries.

The seizure of Venezuelan companies located abroad such as CITGO constitutes  property damage amounting to more than US$ 30 billion. Also, the blockade and diversion of resources from this PDVSA subsidiary in the U.S. have resulted in another unquantifiable loss: the death of at least 14 Venezuelan children that were waiting for liver, kidney or bone marrow transplants, and the risk for hundreds of patients assisted with CITGO resources through the Simón Bolívar Foundation, whose health program was brought to a standstill in 2017.

The UCM against Venezuela represent an unprecedented aggression in our history. On average, the country went on to lose US$ 30 billion annually for 6 years; US$ 6 billion were frozen in foreign banks, and 31 tons of gold have been held at the Bank of England. The U.S. and European Union’s countries have issued direct measures against at least 192 people, 150 companies (140 of them private), 69 ships, 58 airplanes and 30 tankers. Venezuela is the fifth most sanctioned country in the world.

U.S. Government’s spokespeople from the last three administrations of Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden have openly stated that the goal of these ‘sanctions’ is to inflict the greatest possible pain on the Venezuelan people in order to cause reactions leading to a ‘regime change’ in the country. This policy constitutes a crime against humanity, and it has been denounced as such by Venezuela before the International Criminal Court.

This brutal and systematic attack reaches all sectors of the country and affects all the spheres of the country’s life. Faced with this reality, the Venezuelan Government and people, with the support and solidarity of their allies and friends in the world, are working every day to overcome the serious consequences of this attack. Thus, we have succeeded in maintaining peace and stability, and we have managed to move forward towards the recovery of the welfare state achieved by the Bolivarian Revolution, which, before the imperial attacks, placed the country among the first in the region regarding inclusion, equality and social security levels.

            Today, out of respect for international law and the principles of humanity, sovereignty and independence that should guide the relations among peoples and governments, it is imperative to put an end to the application of Unilateral Coercive Measures, which are rejected by the United Nations as practices amounting to ‘threats or the use of force.’

In her recent report at the UN Human Rights Council, the special rapporteur has urged ‘to lift sectoral sanctions, which were mostly imposed in the name of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as they undermine these very principles, values and norms.’ This is also our demand and call to all the peoples and governments so that, in each scenario and opportunity, they join the task of making the respect for self-determination and multilateralism govern international relations.

The barbaric action of applying UCM, and the consequent economic, financial and commercial blockade, is a policy which, under confession, expresses that their executors aim to cause pain and suffering to an entire people and meddle in the States’ domestic affairs to provoke political changes.

Therefore, it does not only deserve the rejection of the international community but also demands decisive and firm collective actions to stop these practices in the name of the noblest values of humanity and peaceful coexistence of the world’s nations.

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