A new European initiative is demanding the suspension of sanctions against Venezuela during the pandemic so that Venezuelan resources, illegally retained in various European financial institutions, can be liberated so that Venezuela continues saving lives and fighting against Covid-19.
Many progressive political parties and other social organizations, including social movements and trade unions, have formally adopted the resolution, which is being distributed to gather support.
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“We believe that the unilateral coercive measures implemented and intensified by President Trump against the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are illegal and unjustified. Moreover, in the current circumstances that humanity faces the Covid-19 pandemic, they become inhumane measures that undermine the efforts made at the international level to overcome the current difficult situation.
This decision may cost the lives of many ordinary Venezuelans and will further deny Venezuela access to food, medicine and vital health supplies.
We note that a wide range of voices at the international level – including His Holiness, Francis I, as well as the UN Secretary General, the Non-Aligned Movement (Mnoal), ALBA-TCP, UNASUR, Antonio Guterres, the EU (Josep Borrell, EU foreign minister has publicly called for this three times), US senators, numerous Latin American and Caribbean governments, CARICOM, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), and many national trade union federations (including the UGT, Spain’s largest national trade union confederation, and the CC. OO, the CGTP-In of Portugal; as well as parties both for and against the government in Venezuela itself, and many others – have called on the United States to abandon this approach of applying increasingly more punitive sanctions against Venezuela.
In a letter to Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Treasury Department, 11 U.S. senators noted that while countries subject to sanctions such as Venezuela “struggle to respond to their domestic health crises, U.S. sanctions are impeding the free flow of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies because of the broad crippling effect of sanctions on such transactions, even when technical exemptions exist.”
As is well known, the United States economic sanctions – illegal under international law – are in fact unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States government on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that not only violate the United Nations Charter and the international law, but also generate an adverse impact on the enjoyment of human rights, both civil and economic, social and cultural, which is accentuated in the context of the global expansion of Covid-19.
This was one of the central points made by Alfred de Zayas, former independent expert for the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order of the United Nations, during the videoconference “Unilateral coercive measures, weapons of mass destruction.”
These measures have devastated Venezuela’s economy, creating food and medicine shortages, impoverishing the nation and driving many Venezuelans out of the country. The Venezuelan people do not need sanctions but constructive dialogue and help.
Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya, whose government strongly supports allowing sanctioned countries to purchase medicines, health supplies and other materials to combat the pandemic, has spoken a poignant truth: “Until we are all safe, no one is safe.
Now is the time for international cooperation and humanitarianism in the fight against the Covid-19 virus and its devastating effects around the world. As signatories to this statement, we join the growing number of international voices demanding that U.S. sanctions be lifted immediately.
There is a precedent for the suspension of sanctions on the procurement of vital inputs to save the lives of thousands of human beings, with the creation of the INSTEX trade mechanism that allowed a first transaction of medical material with Iran, one of the countries most affected by Covid-19, on March 31, 2020. This, in the current conditions sets a very important precedent.
Identify all financial institutions that illegally retain resources belonging to the state and people of Venezuela (a direct consequence of the extraterritoriality US sanctions) and demand that these resources be immediately and unconditionally returned to their legitimate owner through INSTEX and that the transactions required by Venezuela in terms of food, medicines and health supplies be carried out through the same channel.”
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Observatorio de Trabajador@s en Lucha
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