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We have read with interest the so-called “open editorial” that U.S. Ambassador Linda Taglialatela arranged to have published in newspapers all across the Caribbean, as she once again sought to subvert the collective position taken by the Heads of Government of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the current crisis in Venezuela.
For some strange reason Ms. Taglialatela seems to think that she is capable of exerting greater influence on us — the people of the Caribbean Community — than our own Heads of Government. What a delusion!
What we found strange though is that nowhere in her “open editorial” does Ms. Taglialatela refer to the regime of economic and trade sanctions that has been imposed on Venezuela over the past five years.
Surely, if the United States ambassador wanted the argument that she made in her “open editorial” to be given any degree of serious consideration by conscious and informed citizens of the Caribbean, she would have needed to outline that over the past five years Venezuela has been treated as follows :-
(1) made the subject of a law that was enacted by the UNITED STATES CONGRESS on 18th December 2014 entitled the “Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act”, that set out a framework for the application of sanctions by the powerful U.S. government against Venezuela – sanctions pertaining to the freezing of Venezuelan assets in the U.S. and to the prohibition of the import of Venezuelan goods into the U.S.;
(2) subjected – on 24th August 2017 – to a Decree or Executive Order of the President of the United States of America prohibiting financial transactions or other forms of business between U.S. citizens/corporations and either the government of Venezuela or any of the country’s state corporations;
(3) subjected yet again – on 19th March 2018 – to a second President Trump Executive Order imposing new sanctions prohibiting U.S. citizens/corporations trading in or in any way permitting usage of the Venezuela dollar;
(4) targeted – on 18th May 2018 – with a third President Trump Executive Order imposing even more sanctions prohibiting any transactions connected with loan financing to the Venezuela government or to any entity in which the government of Venezuela has a shareholding of 50 per cent or more;
(5) faced with – in September 2017 – the government of CANADA enacting a “Regulation on Economic Matters” that froze the assets of specified Venezuelan citizens and businesses in Canada, and prohibited any Canadian (resident anywhere in the world) from engaging in economic transactions or providing financial services to said Venezuelan citizens and businesses;
(6) made the subject of three different sets of sanctions by the powerful EUROPEAN UNION (EU) – on 13th November 2017 and 22nd January 2018 — that impose sanctions on a host of Venezuelan governmental officials and institutions; and
(7) targeted by the government of the UNITED KINGDOM via the adoption by the U.K. government, on 15th November 2017 and on 22nd January 2018, of a number of the European Union’s sanctions against Venezuela.
As Ms. Taglialatela must surely know, the combined effect of all of these sanctions has been to :–
. decimate Venezuela’s trade with the countries that it most depends on for importation of consumer items – the USA, Canada, the European Union, and the U.K.;
. severely restrict Venezuela’s access to such goods as medicines, medical instruments, corn, wheat, soybean flour, other food items, refined oil products, chemical products, and the list goes on;
. make it extremely difficult for “third countries” to continue to trade with Venezuela;
. decimate the value of the Venezuela dollar;
. make it near impossible for Venezuela to utilize the international banking and financial system;
. deprive Venezuela of access to international credit and loans;
. cause the bank accounts of the Venezuela’s Central Bank and of Venezuela’s most important state enterprises to be shut down in the USA; and
. make it extremely difficult for Venezuela to access and pay for imports.
In light of the foregoing, it should be clear to Ms. Taglialatela, and to every other observer of the situation in Venezuela, that a pre-condition of any solution to the crisis in Venezuela is the removal of these sanctions — all of which, incidentally, constitute elements of “economic warfare” and are illegal under international law.
ROBERT “BOBBY” CLARKE
CARIBBEAN PEACE MOVEMENT