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US sanctions have cost 40,000 Venezuelan lives

Christian Fernsby |
The Washington DC-based Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) published a report on the effects of US sanctions against Venezuela.

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The 27-page paper was authored by economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, who determined that sanctions have “inflicted very serious harm to human life” in Venezuela.

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR, said in a press release. For his part, Sachs added, “American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change.”

Weisbrot and Sachs pointed out in the report that 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.”

While the legal groundwork for sanctions was laid by President Obama’s 2015 executive order declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security, Washington significantly escalated its unilateral coercive measures in August 2017 when the Venezuelan government and state oil company PDVSA were cut off from financial markets.

The authors contend that the impact of the sanctions went well beyond US financial markets as other international financial actors“had good reason to fear that there would be further sanctions affecting them,” something which would indeed happen later.

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