COVID 19 & the Economic War against Venezuela

Monday, August 17, 2020 - 1:00pm
Andrés Eloy Ruiz & Sair Ramses Sira Méndez

In the midst of the pandemic, the war against Venezuela has been escalating. U.S. sanctions have driven Venezuela’s oil exports to their lowest levels in nearly 80 years, starving President Nicolas Maduro’s government of its main source of revenue. In mid-July, U.S. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams threatened to “go after” shipping companies that continue to transport Venezuelan oil.

On July 2, a decision by the U.K.’s High Court blocked the Venezuelan Central Bank’s efforts to repatriate gold reserves being held by Bank of England on the pretext that the U.K. recognizes U.S.-backed Juan Guaidó--an opposition figure who has appointed himself “interim president”--as Venezuela’s leader. The government had planned to sell the gold, valued at an estimated US $1.2 billion, and transfer the proceeds to the United Nations Development Programme in order to import food, medicines and healthcare equipment needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venezuela remains one of the countries in the region least devastated by the pandemic--so far. However, cases are rising steadily and, stripped of much-needed economic resources, the Venezuelan healthcare system is struggling to save human lives in the midst of the crisis. Despite the sanctions and aggressive Washington policy, the Bolivarian Revolution remains committed to building a new society based on human solidarity and the interests of the majority.

Counsel Minister Andrés Eloy Ruiz and First Secretary Sair Ramses Sira Méndez from the Venezuelan Embassy provide an update on the situation in Venezuela.