End the cruel Venezuela sanctions!

Congress must end inhumane Venezuela sanctions! U.S. residents: fill out the form to contact your Reps and Senators.

It is beyond inhumane that the Trump administration is intensifying its sanctions on Venezuela. Three years of broad economic measures have done nothing to further the administration’s regime change efforts. Instead, the sanctions strategy has hurt innocent civilians and is a factor in the regional migration crisis.

The United States is causing untold suffering for innocent Venezuelans with its cruel sanctions policy. Lift the sanctions and engage in dialogue!

Here is what the experts have to say about the sanctions on Venezuela:

We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory.

The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law.… I call upon the international community to engage in constructive dialogue with Venezuela to find solutions to the very real challenges being faced…. 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.

The sanctions against Venezuela have exacerbated the economic crisis caused by the collapse of oil prices, leading to a serious scarcity of medicines and food, other shortages, distribution delays, etc. As a consequence Venezuelan children have died, as have adults and elderly people. Keeping in mind that sanctions are not accidental but planned and deliberate, this amounts to criminal liability, and the situation must be brought to the attention of the General Assembly with a view to adopting resolutions that clearly declare the sanctions illegal and criminal.

The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and, to a lesser degree, Zimbabwe, to name the most prominent instances, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food.

I am deeply worried about the potentially severe impact on the human rights of the people of Venezuela of the new set of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US this week. The sanctions are extremely broad and fail to contain sufficient measures to mitigate their impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the population. I fear that they will have far-reaching implications on the rights to health and to food in particular, in a country where there are already serious shortages of essential goods.

I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity not exclusion…. Let us remember that we are only as strong as the weakest health system in our interconnected world.

And finally, here is what U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, Chris Van Hollen, Tom Carper, Tim Kaine, Ben Cardin, Tom Udall, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and Patrick Leahy wrote in a March 26 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin:

"As these countries struggle to respond to their domestic health crises, U.S. sanctions are hindering the free flow of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies due to the broad, chilling effect of sanctions on such transactions, even when there are technical exemption. While the shortcomings of these national governments are largely due to their endemic corruption, mismanagement, and authoritarian behavior, broad-based U.S. sanctions have exacerbated the failing medical response. Helping these nations save lives during this crisis is the right thing to do from a moral perspective, but it is also the right thing to do from a national security perspective".

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