Saturday, March 13, 2021

Sanctions - Siege Warfare

 The Socialist Party has revealed the lie about the humanitarianism of sanctions as humbug. We see their detrimental effects upon working people around the world when they are imposed on the so-called "pariah" states, with the subsequent effect of reducing them to "failed" states. 

The medical journal, The Lancet has pointed out that "although sanctions do not seem to be physical warfare weapons, they are just as deadly, if not more so. Jeopardising the health of populations for political ends is not only illegal but also barbaric."

In February, Alena Douhan, a UN special rapporteur, published her preliminary report on the impact of US and European sanctions upon Venezuela which concluded that the long campaign of economic warfare had impacted upon Venezuela's economy, thwarting the government's ability to provide basic services both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The government's revenue was reported to shrink by 99%, with the country currently living on 1% of its pre-sanctions income," Douhan found, impeding "the ability of Venezuela to respond to the Covid-19 emergency." She then urged, "the governments of the United Kingdom, Portugal and the United States and corresponding banks to unfreeze assets of the Venezuela Central Bank to purchase medicine, vaccines, food, medical and other equipment."

Her findings supported an earlier study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) that estimated that sanctions were responsible for over 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017–18.  While accepting sanctions were not the only factor driving economic hardship, CEPR found that they:

"...exacerbated Venezuela's economic crisis and made it nearly impossible to stabilize the economy, contributing further to excess deaths. All of these impacts disproportionately harmed the poorest and most vulnerable Venezuelans."

Most of the mainstream media attributes sole responsibility for economic and humanitarian conditions to the Venezuelan government of Maduro, thereby using the misery provoked by sanctions as the rationale to validate even more stringent sanctions.

The former US Attorney General William Barr gloated that the pandemic was:

"good timing, actually. The [Trump] administration is taking a kind of "kick them while they're down" approach, seemingly with the hope that by piling on sanctions and other actions, the administration can capitalize on the virus in Iran and Venezuela to spur greater public opposition to the incumbent governments and perhaps regime change."

The media typically presents the effects of sanctions as mere accusations and allegations of Maduro such as he claims "…US sanctions were hurting his administration's ability to buy medicines and foodstuffs" or implicitly blames him, for example, "continuing chaotic situation under Nicolás Maduro leaves hospitals and health services desperately unprepared."

The media would rather suggest that all of the 4 million Venezuelans who have now fled the economic and humanitarian chaos was because of the corruption of this regime without any mention of the complicity of those nations engaged in economic warfare against it.  Neither the Guardian, New York Times,  Washington Post nor BBC carried reporting of Douhan's findings.

Sanctions (other than against specifically named individuals) is collective punishment which is a crime against humanity under Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Sanctions constitute violations of international law.

Adapted from here

Opinion | UN Rebuke of Crushing US Sanctions on Venezuela Met With Stunning Silence (

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