WINDHOEK - Approximately US$5.4 million or the equivalent of N$77 million of Venezuelans funds meant for social programmes are held, frozen and confiscated in international banks, as a result of the economic blockade of Venezuela.
The economic sanctions are being spearheaded by the USA government.
The total losses and costs incurred between 2015-2018 by the Venezuelan economy as a result of the economic blockade imposed by the USA are estimated at around N$1.820 billion (U$130 million).
These major international banks are in various countries, including Portugal, England, USA, Belgium, France, amongst others.
This was revealed by Venezuelan Ambassador to Namibia Omar Paredes yesterday as part of the #Trump Desbloguea or unblock Venezuela # world campaign supporting the Venezuelan people. Paredes said if this economic blockade is lifted, then these resources would be channelled for its intended purposes for the purchase of food and medicine, as well as raw material equipment for the industry.
“We have the money to provide medicine and food to our people, but it’s difficult to import food and medicine because they blocked our money. The banks decided to keep the Venezuelan money illegally. I want to denounce banks in the US, Europe which have confiscated the money,” he remarked.
Further, he revealed that during October 2017, the Swiss bank blocked the payment of resources destined towards the purchase of vaccines. This, he says, generated a delay of four months in the vaccination programmes, severely affecting the Venezuelan population.
Additionally, Paredes disclosed that in 2017, international banks blocked the payment of approximately N$126 million (U$9 million) destined towards the acquisition of supplies for dialysis. He said this hefty action affected the treatment of 15 000 haemodialysis patients.
“Between 2017 and 2018, banks of Europe and banks of the USA prevented the financial operations of the government of Venezuela by a total of U$300 million [N$4.200 billion] intended for the purchase of food,” the ambassador said. According to him, these unilateral coercive measures or sanctions make up a systematic and conscious strategy of massive violation of the rights of the Venezuelan people and have been classified by the United Nations as crimes against humanity.
Between December 2014 and April 2019, the US government issued laws and seven executive decrees that punish and penalise the Venezuelan economy by applying certain sanctions.
These include blocking and confiscation of financial assets; ban on negotiation of the sovereign debt of Venezuela and the debt of its state-run oil company PDVSA; increase in the country’s risk and financial costs; ban on operations with gold and cryptocurrencies; confiscation of assets; sanctions on the oil trade; sanctions against the central bank of Venezuela and fines and administrative penalties on trade.
The latest troubling events in Venezuela are the most recent episode in a political crisis that has been festering since the death of Hugo Chávez six years ago. Following President Nicolás Maduro’s inauguration for a disputed second term in January, the speaker of the opposition-dominated parliament, Juan Guaidó, declared himself “interim president” of the country.
Guaidó was immediately recognised by the US, Canada and a group of Latin American conservative governments, who called upon the Venezuelan military to rise up against Maduro. And today the UK, France, Spain, Germany and other European countries recognised Guaidó after Maduro refused their demand to call fresh elections.
Since Guaidó’s declaration, the US President Donald Trump’s administration has imposed new sanctions on Maduro’s government and seized billions-worth of Venezuelan oil-related assets on US soil and started making barely veiled threats of military intervention.
Economically destroyed and socially unstable, the country is now fighting an ever more alarming spectre: hunger.
In the slum of Petare in the metropolitan area of the capital, Caracas, refrigerators remain empty, supermarket queues grow longer and the necessity of procuring something to eat drives young people to violence, international media report.
“These sanctions by the US are illegal. The intention of the sanctions is regime change. They want a government close to their interest in oil. We have the biggest reserve of oil – more than Saudi Arabia and Iran. It’s good interest for them to have access to Venezuelan oil because it only takes days to transport the oil barrels compared to getting it from the Middle East,” Paredes said.
2019-05-22 08:32:41 3 months ago