The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

U.S. Sanctions Against Venezuela:
Economic War

Feb 18, 2019

In an attempt to show their humanitarian actions, the U.S. government, through the media, complained about the Venezuelan military. They showed the Venezuelan military blocking “humanitarian aid” consisting of food and medicine from the U.S. government and its Venezuelan allies in early February.

But even the United Nations and International Red Cross criticized this caravan for being linked to U.S. efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government. “Humanitarian aid should never be used as a political pawn,” said the U.N. Secretary General.

No, the U.S. government is not trying to relieve the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Over the past five years, U.S.-imposed sanctions have cut Venezuela off from most financial markets, a policy that has been carried out by Republicans and Democrats alike. In 2015, President Obama imposed the first set of sanctions by declaring Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security. These sanctions have been sharply escalated under President Trump.

U.S. sanctions have caused Venezuelan oil production to plummet. This drop in production, along with the fall in oil prices due to the ongoing economic crisis, has brought about one of the most catastrophic declines in living standards of any country in Latin America, outside a time of war. The World Health Organization reported that Venezuelans lost an average of 24 pounds in body weight in 2017.

That was before the new set of sanctions imposed by Trump on January 28 that completely cut the Venezuelan government off from the U.S. financial system. The ripple effects of the sanctions are already spreading far beyond American borders. One economist, Francisco Rodríguez, told the New York Times (February 8) that he expects that these sanctions would cut Venezuela’s exports by two-thirds, to just 14 billion dollars this year, and lead to a further 26 per cent reduction in the economy’s size. This would drastically worsen the already dire shortages of food and medicine.

And for what? As John Bolton, National Security advisor to Donald Trump, told Fox News on February 7, “It would make a difference if we could have American companies produce the oil in Venezuela. It would be good for Venezuela and the people of the United States.”

U.S. imperialism is starving the Venezuelan people in order for the U.S. oil companies and the U.S. banks to completely control Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, even larger than those in Saudi Arabia.