“More than 40,000 people have died in Venezuela since 2017 as a result of US sanctions,” according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The results of this left-wing think tank have been cited by Washington political figures as gospel truth, as they make the preposterous claim that the Venezuelan situation has not been caused by socialism, but by the sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on politicians linked to drug trafficking and terrorism.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ilhan Omar echoed the study, citing economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot, whose report states that US sanctions have reduced the availability of food and medicine in Venezuela and have increased rates of disease and mortality.
“US sanctions are deliberately aimed at destroying Venezuela’s economy and, therefore, leading to regime change. It is an unsuccessful, ruthless, illegal, and unsuccessful policy that causes serious damage to the Venezuelan people,” says Sachs.
Dem. Rep. Ilhan Omar Blames America For The Crisis In VenezuelaIlhan Omar’s response is another anti-American comment from someone who came to our country as a refugee. She clearly hates America and says things against the country that took her in as a refugee as often as she can.Omar says the U.S. has “helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, ”and accuses the U.S. on 'bullying' the Maduro regime.Apparently, Maduro’s starvation of his people and armored trucks running them over in the streets is not worthy of criticism in her eyes.
Posted by The New Revolution II on Wednesday, May 1, 2019
However, both the economists and Oman, conveniently ignore the fact that the sanctions were not on the nation, but aimed at politicians and businessmen linked to the regime, accused of both drug trafficking and financial and logistical support for terrorism in the Middle East.
“President (Donald) Trump wants to send a clear message to the people of Venezuela that the United States is on their side,” explained US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, when the sanctions was launched in February 2017.
Mnuchin added that “the sanctions are the result of a very long effort, but the implication is important to send a message that we are not going to allow illicit activities such as drugs and terrorism.”
Among the sanctioned individuals was then Vice President of Venezuela, Tareck El Alsami and Samark López Bello, accused of being his front man.
Both Venezuelans were placed on the list that already includes other key Chavistas accused as drug traffickers by the Office of Foreign Assets of the Department of the Treasury (OFAC).
"It started with #sanctions in 2017 that prevented, essentially, the country from accessing international capital markets and the oil company from restructuring its loans. That put #Venezuela into a hyperinflation. That was the utter collapse." – Sachs https://t.co/8RMPApwYFc
— CEPR (@ceprdc) May 1, 2019
The US government froze the assets abroad of the politicians and businessmen linked to the regime, but did not take away economic options for Venezuelan citizens.
Sachs says the sanctions isolated Venezuela from capital markets. However, the reality is that when Juan Guaidó assumed power as constitutional president and Maduro was displaced as the illegitimate president, Venezuela not only participated in the international market but also sold oil to the United States and imported fuel from that country.
The current sanctions are aimed at defunding Maduro and his allies, and making it easier for state funds to be handled by the Constitutional president, Juan Guaido.
Contrary to what was said by Oman, the Venezuelan economist Jorge Jraissati explains with figures from Harvard University that what caused the Gross Domestic Product of Venezuela to collapse by 60% was Maduro’s policies, as well as a 97% decline in the purchasing power of the minimum wage. This prompted alarming rises in mortality in Venezuela…these were, of course, policies undertake by the socialist dictatorship.
And the situation has only worsened under the management of Maduro, who, instead of facing the facts about shortages – which is the result of the lack of production – resorts to justifying it.
Desde el 2013, las políticas de Maduro han colapsado el PIB Venezolano en un 60% y el salario mínimo en un 97%. Como comenta @dougbarrios, dicha diferencia porcentual refleja como Maduro deliberadamente ha pulverizado el sueldo mínimo a través de su política económica. pic.twitter.com/eRXTxEf6OD
— Jorge Jraissati (@JraissatiJorge) May 2, 2019
When in 2013 there was a shortage of basic hygiene products, Maduro ordered the military occupation of the factories to “liberate” the products that, according to him, were being held by the opposition and the businessmen to hoard, in order to “disappear” popular products from super-market shelves, and prompt a rebellion.
According to the Minister of Commerce, Alejandro Fleming, the justification for the regime was that there was an “over demand” for items such as toilet paper; in Venezuela the monthly consumption thereof amounts to 125 million rolls.
But the most memorable excuse given by Chavismo was that of the president of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Elías Eljuri, who said that Venezuelans are eating “three and four times a day.” He memorably added that “definitely, people are eating more.”
The National Assembly eventually approved an USD $82 million loan for the purpose of importing toilet paper, soap, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, and diapers.
Since 2013, the government has intervened in the economy in an attempt to ensure access to basic products.
But according tothe US economists who defended the Chavez regime and now Maduro, the problem in Venezuela is that since 2017 there are economic sanctions.
However, the evidence affirms the opposite. Since socialism demands that the means of production be centralized, the Venezuelan economy became dependent on the profits of the oil sector, an industry run entirely by the state.
The fall in the price of oil was explosive, and went from affecting half of the population to the majority.
In January of 2017, before the sanctions, more than 60% of Venezuelans went to bed hungry, and 63.2% of adults admitted that they only ate twice a day to feed their children better .
This, in turn rejects what was said by regime officials regarding food consumption and toilet paper usage.
In fact, in 2017, the average Venezuelan dropped 25 pounds. According to the Encovi (Living Conditions Survey), 70.1% of households do not have money for healthy meals.
This malaise unleashed in 2017 inspired massive marches against the government, in which the demonstrators were brutally repressed by the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro.
130 opponents were killed and another 2,000 were wounded by paramilitary groups and state forces in the first two months of protests.
However, the mainstream media got the story wrong. In the US, MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow, a sympathizer of the political left, told television audiences that the protests were against Donald Trump.
According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence in 2017 there were 89 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. 5,535 homicides were committed by state security forces out of a total of 26,616 homicides in the year.
In short, violence, hunger, infant mortality and murders- many of them committed by the regime’s forces against the civilian population – are not caused by US sanctions.