In 1996, soon-to-become Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked by CBS’ Leslie Stahl on TV’s 60 Minutes if the death of 500 thousand Iraqi children was worth the price of US sanctions. Albright answered, yes, it was. The killing sanctions by the Clinton administration in the 1990s failed to overthrow Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, so three years into his term President G.W. Bush resorted to using the US military to do the job.
Sanctions supposedly aimed at Venezuela’s political leadership killed 40 thousand Venezuelans between August of 2017 and 2018 by forcing oil exports to free fall, increasing hunger, disease and displacing millions. In 2019, after President Trump tried unsuccessfully to install his choice to rule Venezuela and added new sanctions, oil exports fell precipitously resulting in Venezuela’s inability to purchase food, medicine, medical and other equipment necessary to serve the people.
Sanctions deny a country food and medicines, prevent the building or repair of critical infrastructure providing clean water and health care and prevent banks from doing business abroad. They pointedly target the poorest and most vulnerable, not as claimed the oligarchs of a society. Sanctions are a method of class warfare intended to squeeze the majority so hard the people will overthrow leaders who promote independence and sovereignty and replace them with servants of the US government, and the politically and economically powerful billionaire class.
To add to sanctions on Venezuela imposed first by Barack Obama and then tightened by the current president, Trump has seized CITGO, the US incorporated oil company owned by the Venezuelan people. He has made it all but impossible for Venezuela to pay its debts or provide for its people by blocking sales and shipping of its oil. US ally Britain also seized Venezuelan gold reserves. Countries, like Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Venezuela, under whose soil lie huge volumes of oil are particular targets for sanctions.
Because the US dollar is the international currency and because the US economy so dominates international trade, US-imposed sanctions on any country have devastating effects. To the pain of a violent war on the people of Syria waged by terrorists al Qaida and ISIS who received support from US allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as admitted by then Vice President Biden (he avoided including the US and its NATO allies), to an audience at the Harvard Kennedy Center in 2014 the US has added deadly sanctions. These sanctions even prevent attorneys from obtaining visas to present Syria’s case before European and World courts. US troops continue to remain in Syria guarding oil wells to prevent the oil from benefiting the Syrian people.
The US has imposed over 8000 sanctions on 39 countries, affecting a third of humanity (English). Wherever sovereign governments take political or economic paths that fail to fall in line with US government and monopoly corporate policy, the US installs sanctions. Sanctions are used sometimes instead of and sometimes along with US massive military power distributed among over 800 bases around the globe.
In addition to being invaded in its infancy, revolutionary Cuba has suffered and withstood an illegal US embargo since 1962, its economy has suffered hundreds of billions of dollars damage, while the US economy also suffers but to a much lesser extent. Adding to the embargo are Trump’s International Days of Action Against Sanctions and Economic War, March 13-15, 2020 sanctions on Venezuela preventing it from delivering oil to Cuba. Annually for 28 consecutive years the US has ignored resolutions from an overwhelming number of United Nation member states calling on it to end the embargo.
Iran has been sanctioned since 1979 when its people deposed the vicious dictator Shah Pahlavi, whom the CIA initially installed in 1953 by overthrowing the democratically-elected Mossadegh government. These sanctions were reduced briefly after the US under President Obama, UK, France, China, Russia, and the European Union signed a nuclear agreement with Iran in 2014, but Trump shredded that pact and reimposed even harsher sanctions. Among other severe depredations, such sanctions kill Iranians who, ill from diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s and the current epidemic of corona virus among others, cannot obtain or afford medicines.
Some of the other countries sanctioned illegally by the USA include China, Congo, Iraq, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Zimbabwe. These economic sanctions are intended to kill, and do so as international extortion in what can only be construed as a crimes against humanity, indeed war crimes.
It is hard to conclude other than the United States is acting as an outlaw nation using economic weapons of mass destruction, political sabotage, or its massive military to control people and resources around the world.
Sanctions kill. We call on those who believe in sovereignty and the right of all peoples to determine their own destinies to demand an immediate end to sanctions, embargoes, invasions, regime-change wars and other weapons of mass destruction. Support the International Days of Action Against Sanctions and Economic War, March 13-15, 2020.
Call your members of Congress 202-224-3121: No Sanctions! No Wars! Stop Subsidizing Weapons of Mass Destruction!
Join the Connecticut Peace & Solidarity Coalition to vigil outside the office of Senator Dick Blumenthal, 90 State House Square, Hartford, CT, Friday, March 13, 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM.