Solidarity activists continue to press US representatives to demand the end of deadly sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba.

by Celina della Croce, Peoples Dispatch

May 28, 2023 will mark exactly two years to the date of Rep. Jim McGovern’s letter imploring President Biden to “stop using the Venezuelan people as a bargaining chip.” “The impact of sectoral and secondary sanctions is indiscriminate, and purposely so,” the congressman wrote in what has been referred to by policy experts as “the best letter that we’ve ever seen out of Congress on sanctions, period.”

His letter was applauded by his constituents and human rights defenders around the world and remains frequently cited by leading experts in the field – including supporters of the Venezuelan opposition who are calling for an end to the US sanctions.

Large Cuban flag hanging vertically on a facade of colonial building Inglaterra Hotel in the historical center of Old Havana.

But, two years later, the sanctions remain intact, and negotiations between the Biden and Maduro administrations on the issue have stalled. During this time, tens or even hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have died, primarily due to a lack of medicine that was once provided by the government, which – as a result of the sanctions – no longer has the funds to provide its citizens with basic services.

The sanctions are widely considered to be an act of war (“hybrid war,” which uses unconventional, non-military but highly deadly tactics to further US interests and seek regime change), leading Venezuela to experience “the largest economic collapse outside of wartime since 1950” according to a recent report by economist Francisco Rodriguez. In Cuba, meanwhile, the tightened unilateral coercive measures contributed a 10.9% contraction in the economy in 2020, pushing 220,000 economic refugees to leave the country the following year – the largest exodus in the country’s history.

Read More