Venezuela demands unblocking of its $4.8bn

VENEZUELA is demanding that governments of the US, Canada, England, the Swiss Confederation, as well as the European Union immediately unblock its US$4.8 billion.

A study has also revealed that more than 40,000 Venezuelans have died between 2017 and 2018 following Washington’s application of an economic, financial and commercial blockade against Caracas.

According to a January-April 2019 SURES (Studies and Defence in Human Rights or Estudios y Defensa en Derechos Humanos [Spanish version]) Unusual & Extraordinary report, a series of unilateral coercive measures by the US and its allies against the Nicolas Maduro government affect the normal functioning of the Venezuelan economy, hinder productive development and the provision of public services.

SURES observed that for over four years, the US has issued legal instruments aimed at preventing the commercialization of Venezuelan oil and gold, blocking the use of the international financial system, attacking the development of the state’s own cryptocoin “petro”, retaining Venezuelan goods and money in the US territory and making it impossible to acquire essential goods and services.

“The blockade impossible by the political leadership of the United States against Venezuela has the explicit objective of overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro Moros, who was recently democratically reelected on May 20, 2018 in universal, direct, secret, transparent and competitive elections,” SURES states. “However, it also seeks to obtain, appropriate and exploit the wealth of our country, including the large reserves of oil, gas, gold and coltan…. The blockade against Venezuela has been invisible in the international community. The United Nations has avoided pronouncing itself on its immorality, illegitimacy and illegality.”

Last month, Americans Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sach of the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a report entitled, “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela” indicating that, “One result of the sanctions […] is to deprive the Venezuelan economy of many billions of dollars of foreign exchange needed to pay for essential and vital imports.”

“The sanctions implemented in 2019, including the recognition of a parallel government, accelerated this deprivation and also cut Venezuela off from most of the international payment system, thus ending much of the country’s access to these essential imports including medicines and food, even those that could normally be bought with available dollars. There is no doubt that all these sanctions, since August 2017, have had severe impacts on human health and life,” stated the report in part. “More than 300,000 people were estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment. This includes an estimated 80,000 people with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017, some 16,000 people need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and four million with diabetes and hypertension – many of whom cannot obtain insulin or cardiovascular medicine. These numbers by themselves virtually guarantee that the current sanctions, which are much more severe than those implemented before this year, are a death sentence for tens of thousands of Venezuelans. This is especially true if the projected 67 per cent drop in oil revenue materializes in 2019… the death toll going forward this year, if the sanctions remain in place, is almost certainly going to be vastly higher than anything we have seen previously.”

SURES charge that the blockade and threats imposed by the US government of President Donald Trump on the international financial system have prevented the Venezuelan state from using its economic resources to guarantee the human rights of the population, specifically in basic areas such as medicines, supplies and health services.

It states that banks and other financial institutions, under the threat of unilateral coercive measures by the US government, have chosen to withhold or confiscate the money of the Venezuelan state and people.

“SURES demands the governments of the USA, Canada, England and the Swiss Confederation, as well as the European Union to immediately unblock Venezuela, to respect the human rights of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and to economic and social development,” it stated. “SURES demands the immediate unblocking of the amount of 4.8 billion dollars, owned by the Venezuelan people, arbitrarily and illegally held by the Bank of England, Clearstream, Citibank, Novo Banco, Sumitoro Bank, UnionBank, BanqueEni, Delubac and Euroclear.”

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