US Blockade Prevents Venezuela From Basic Necessities: Arreaza

The Venezuelan official described the U.S. comments about sanctions not preventing the acquisition of basic necessities as "an immense lie" concocted by Washington to hide the inhumanity of their blockade. 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced on Tuesday the ongoing blockade imposed by the U.S. administration on the Bolivarian Republic.

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Arreaza highlighted the fact that the U.S. blockade has prevented the Venezuelan government from accessing hundreds of million dollars of its own money; this money would have allowed the Bolivarian Republic to purchase basic necessities like medicine and food.

Through his Twitter account on Tuesday, Arreaza tweeted that the U.S. comments about sanctions not preventing the acquisition of basic necessities as "an immense lie" concocted by Washington to hide the inhumanity of their blockade. 

"The financial system is controlled and threatened by Washington; they close the accounts and bank routes of Venezuela without contemplation," Arreaza said.

Last April, Arreaza told the United Nations that the U.S. administration was committing serious human rights violations through their ongoing financial blockade. Arreaza said that the Trump administration was purposely misappropriating Venezuelan assets in order to punish the Bolivarian Republic.

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Food, fuel ships to Venezuela are being sabotaged, says Maduro

Ships carrying food and fuel intended for Venezuela have been sabotaged to prevent them from reaching their destination, President Nicolas Maduro has said, labeling the acts “torture to the economic body of the country.”

Vessels carrying food “were sabotaged and did not leave the ports where they were going to leave,” said Maduro during Monday’s meeting with party leaders in Caracas. He added that ten boats carrying fuel were also sabotaged.

At a meeting of the United Socialist Party which leads, Maduro also drew a link between the alleged acts of sabotage at sea and the international sanctions against Venezuela, spearheaded by US administration.

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“During the last 5 months of imperial aggression, we have endured financial persecutions, sabotage and coup skirmishes,” Maduro tweeted from his English-language Twitter account.

Despite the damage to the boats, the issue “is in the process of being resolved,” Maduro added.

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The US, EU and other countries have sanctioned Venezuelan officials in recent years, targeting the Maduro government, but a UN report notes that these measures made already-difficult living conditions worse. After a US-backed opposition leader declared himself the interim leader of the country in February, Venezuela’s gold reserves in European banks were frozen and several rounds of sanctions against the country’s oil industry were imposed.

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Maduro: US Suspension of Venezuela´s Flights Is Part of Coup

The suspension of commercial and private flights between the United States and Venezuela is part of the agenda to promote a coup, President Nicolas Maduro said.

The announcement is an illegal decision against free air circulation, they are prohibiting flying to the northern nation from any airport in the world, the president noted, after Washington said that private planes with the YV license, which identifies Venezuela, and US airplanes (NOV) are banned from traveling between the two countries.

This new measure is part of the imperial blockade against all Venezuelans, without distinction of ideology or social condition, Maduro said on Wednesday at Miraflores Palace, the venue of the Government.

He described the decision as a consequence of hatred and revenge from the US Government, after the failed coup d'état on April 30.

Donald Trump is warned about the consequences and the damage that he is doing to bilateral relations, especially he is aware of the lack of results in his policy for destabilization and regime change, coup and interventionism that has been counterproductive so far, he underlined. (PL)

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U.S. suspends flights between the U.S. and Venezuela

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday ordered the suspension of all passenger and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela, citing reports of unrest and violence around airports in the South American country.

In a letter to the Transportation Department requesting the halt, the Department of Homeland Security said “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew traveling to or from that country.”

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Pence lifts US sanctions from Venezuela's defector general, hopes to inspire more turncoats

The US has lifted sanctions from a former Venezuelan spy chief, who recently defected from President Nicolas Maduro's side. US Vice President Mike Pence hopes this incentive will prompt others to defect as well.

Pence announced the decision to remove all sanctions from General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, the former director general of Venezuela's National Intelligence Service, at a conference in Washington on Tuesday.

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Figuera broke ranks with Maduro in the wake of the failed coup attempt, which was orchestrated by a small group of soldiers last week. In a letter that had circulated on social media, the high-ranking general said he switched sides in order to "rebuild the country," citing rampant corruption as one of the most glaring faults of the Maduro presidency.

READ MORE: Venezuela to prosecute turncoat lawmakers following failed coup - court

Pence says he hopes that Figuera's exoneration will trigger an exodus from the Venezuelan army ranks.

"As President Guaido builds a brighter future for Venezuela, we hope the action that our nation is taking today will encourage others to follow the example of General Cristopher Figuera and members of the military who've also stepped forward and taken a stand for the Bolivarian constitution and libertad," he said.

The US Treasury Department has confirmed the move. In a statement issued on Tuesday, it said that the US shows its goodwill by removing sanctions from designated persons "who take concrete and meaningful actions to restore democratic order" and "speak out against abuses committed by the 'illegitimate' Maduro regime."

After the failed coup attempt, Washington seems to have reinvigorated its efforts to entice high-ranking officials to side with self-proclaimed 'interim president' Guaido, after he blamed the plotters' defeat on a lack of manpower and allies at high levels of the Venezuelan government.

"We still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it," Guaido said, effectively admitting that the broad military support of which he had boasted is non-existent.

Pence also reiterated Washington's threat to impose sanctions against all 25 magistrates of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, which on Tuesday asked the Constituent Assembly to greenlight a criminal probe against seven opposition lawmakers.

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Imagine Venezuela, according to Elliott Abrams

US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams reiterated Thursday the vision of the future that the empire proposes for the South American country and made a new and open call to the overthrow of legitimate President Nicolas Maduro.

In a speech delivered before the Atlantic Council in Washington and in the style of the old carrot policy, Abrams promised "high levels of prosperity and great benefits in case a government change takes place in Venezuela".

"In the future, billions of dollars will be invested in Venezuela to rebuild the agricultural and industrial sectors", Abrams predicted. "What is stopping the beginning of the rebuilding and reconciliation? [...] The short answer is: Nicolás Maduro", a note published Friday by Russia Today outlines.

According to the dispatch, the special envoy affirmed he shares the view of that nation’s self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, about a Venezuela "where liberty reigns", and described it in detail.

Cynically, Abrams said: "Imagine a Venezuela without blackouts and with clean water”. They are some of the “improvements” that Abrams asked to figure out for a Venezuela without Bolivarian Revolution, at the same time that he admitted “it will not be an easy or quick project, but yes, it is possible”.

But Abrams "forgot" to review the context and say, for example, that the affectations to power and water services, shortage and in short, the ordeal that according to the US government and its regional stooges the Venezuelan people is living, result from an ongoing and increasingly aggressive economic and political war, led from Washington against the Bolivarian Revolution.

It is about the implementation of a State Terrorism that has used all ways and mechanisms to erase from the terrestrial map the example of independence and self-determination of Venezuelans: economic sanctions, sabotages to the main economic items, persecution to financial assets, selective blows that cause scarcity in the sectors that hit the population the most, such as food and health, attempts of political isolation, diplomatic sanctions, promotion and money for subversion, media war, which complete a long list of all kind of aggressions....

Of course, activities and practices that Abrams knows and directs. As analysis website recalls in a recent article, the envoy for Venezuela recently confirmed to the press of his country that the Department of State and other agencies of US government were monitoring the commercial and financial activities of Venezuela, including shipping companies and banks that were related to the country, to state “they should not do that".

Abrams’s cynical statements were quickly bared by Venezuelan FM Jorge Arreaza in a press conference from the United Nations: “It is as Mr. Elliot Abrams says. He told me that and has publicly said so: “Since the coup d’état failed, now we are seeking the collapse of your economy”.

But one cannot make a lot of effort to imagine the Venezuela that Abrams and his government dream of. As I recently wrote, after fabricating the demonization and suffocation of the Bolivarian process for years, the bright future they yearn for Venezuela is just the restoration of the “natural order”: its return to the fold of subservience and dependence of Latin American “backyard”, as well as to the long neoliberal night lived by the region, which made it the most unequal in the world in terms of wealth distribution. So we already know, history has demonstrated it like that: “the millions of dollars and high levels of prosperity” that Abrams promises for Venezuela will not come in rivers of money neither to hills surrounding Caracas nor to the poorest and most disadvantaged areas, those that have been the core of the resurrection of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

US imposes sanctions on Venezuela's foreign minister

Washington has slapped sanctions on Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and a judge based in Caracas. The sanctions come a day after a damning report implicated US sanctions in the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans.

Arreaza and the judge, Carol Padilla, are the latest Venezuelan officials targeted for the loyalty to President Nicolas Maduro. A host of military and police officials were sanctioned in February, while Madruo’s wife and several key allies were targeted by a separate round of sanctions last September.

foreign minister and a judge added to sanctions list by .

Friday’s sanctions came two days after Arreaza condemned US efforts to “impose a dictatorship” at the United Nations by lending support to Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Arreaza slammed Washington’s "blatant attempt to expel or withdraw recognition of the credentials of member-states with full rights such as Venezuela."


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Civilians are the real victims (and targets) of Trump’s Venezuela sanctions

The Trump administration claims that its increasingly punitive sanctions on Venezuela “do not target the innocent people” but the government of President Nicolas Maduro. A new report on the effects of sanctions debunks that myth.

The analysis, compiled by Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), found that the sanctions have increased hunger, disease, mortality, have displaced millions of Venezuelans and exacerbated the country's economic crisis. Overall, the report says the measures have caused “very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths” between 2017 and 2018.

Weisbrot and Sachs, both well-known American economists, wrote that:

The sanctions in fact “fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population” as described by the Geneva and Hague conventions, as well as being “illegal under international law.”

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Yet, a totally different narrative has been adopted by mainstream media in the US, which seems to unquestioningly accept the Trump administration’s claims that civilians are not the targets. Ever since Trump recognized unelected opposition figure Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s self-declared “interim president” in January while calling for the overthrow of Maduro, big chunks of the media have cheered on his efforts. It barely even raised eyebrows when national security advisor John Bolton went on Fox News and admitted that oil was the US’s major interest in the country.

Sanctions imposed by the White House in August 2017 prohibited the Venezuelan government from borrowing in US financial markets — a punishment which prevented it from being able to restructure its foreign debt and, in turn, hampering any possible economic recovery.

That round of measures also impacted oil production, which crashed and was “very likely the main shock that pushed the economy from its high inflation” into a state of “hyperinflation,” the report says.

Study finds that US sanctions on Venezuela have killed at least 40,000 Venezuelans since 2014. Liberals who applaud sanctions should be ashamed

The fresh rounds of sanctions introduced in January and February 2019 cut Venezuela off from its largest oil market, the US, which had purchased 35.6 percent of its exports in 2018. Oil revenues are now projected to fall by a “cataclysmic and unprecedented” 67.5 percent from 2018 as a result of those measures and US pressure on other countries, including India, to refrain from buying Venezuelan oil. The 2019 sanctions have also cut Venezuela off from most international payments systems, “thus ending much of the country’s access” to “essential imports including medicine and food.”

US sanctions have also contributed “substantially”to the “the length and economic damage of power outages” that occurred in March since they have limited Venezuela's access to diesel fuel, which it needs to run backup thermal generators.

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In a revealing exchange with AP reporter Matt Lee in March, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as much as admitted that civilians are the real victims of US sanctions, saying the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is “increasing by the hour” and “you can see the increasing pain and suffering” that the people are enduring.

If, as Pompeo claimed before, that “innocent” Venezuelans were not the targets, surely such visible increases in human suffering would be troubling to him and would perhaps make Washington think twice about imposing harsher and harsher measures. Yet, Pompeo appears to see increasing hardship as proof that sanctions are working, laying bare the reality that the US’s goal is to inflict so much suffering that the people eventually revolt against Maduro and support US regime change efforts out of sheer desperation.

The CEPR report also highlights that US executive orders since March 2015 have declared the US is suffering from a “national emergency” with regard to the Venezuela crisis. Such a declaration is "required by US law in order to impose such sanctions." One of Trump's executive orders even describes the situation in Venezuela as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” of the US — a claim which Weisbrot and Sachs say has “no basis in fact.”

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The so-called “emergency” regarding Venezuela was invoked under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, which happens to be the same law Trump used to declare a “national emergency” at the US's southern border in February. That move prompted outrage across much of the mainstream media, but barely any media batted an eyelid when he declared Venezuela’s domestic crisis to be a US national emergency.

Ultimately, despite claims to the contrary, Weisbrot and Sachs say that US sanctions have locked Venezuela into “a downward economic spiral” which has “severe” consequences for the civilian population.

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