Sanctions Are Suffocating the Venezuelan People
AFP reports on the harm that U.S. sanctions on Venezuela are doing to the civilian population:
But Saavedra says those new sanctions hurt average citizens more than they do the Maduro regime.
“They’re suffocating us, ordinary citizens,” he said.
“I don’t know how long it will last. In any country (sanctions) affect everyone (but) less so those in government.”
Venezuela was already suffering from a severe economic and humanitarian crisis before the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, but those sanctions have definitely made both crises worse. Starving the government of revenue has not forced Maduro out, but it is reducing how much Venezuela can import. That increases the cost of living for everyone in the country and that deprives the people of food, medicine, and other goods that they rely on. Some essentials will inevitably be in short supply or may become unavailable. Broad, sector-wide sanctions are bound to have destructive effects on the population, and the sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector are no exception. In this case, the sanctions are even more outrageous and difficult to justify because the country was already in such dire economic straits. It’s as if a surgeon began amputating one limb after another to treat a virus.
We haven’t heard much from Washington about Venezuela recently, except for the occasional deranged rantings of the warmongering senator from South Carolina. The Trump administration seems to have grown bored with the Venezuelan crisis when it did not immediately and neatly resolve itself in their favor, but the sanctions’ crippling effects continue to be felt there. Unsurprisingly, the ones to suffer under sanctions are the Venezuelan people and not the regime and its cronies:
But David Smilde, a senior fellow specializing in Venezuela at the Washington Office on Latin America think-tank, says sanctions are only helping to entrench Maduro in the presidential palace.
“The oil sanctions will drive the population into further poverty, hunger and tragedy and weaken them vis-a-vis the Maduro government and allow the latter to continue in power,” he told AFP in April.
Our government wants to starve the Venezuelan government of resources in the hopes of forcing regime change. All that they have managed to do is starve the people of basic necessities and increase the burden they are forced to bear. Once again, sanctions have failed to achieve their ostensible political goal, but they remain in place to devastate the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of innocent civilians. Since our government won’t ever lift the sanctions until their fantasy of regime change is realized, there will be no sanctions relief for the thirty million Venezuelans who suffer because of them. Far from doing no harm, U.S. interference is compounding Venezuelans’ existing problems and deepening their misery for the sake of a political goal that seems increasingly remote. It is collective punishment, it is wrong, and Congress should be fighting to put an end to it.