Trudeau Must Rescind Its Sanctions Against Venezuela

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence March 19, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP) (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Aug. 5, 2019, Global Affairs in Ottawa issued the following News Release in part support of the Michelle Bachelet statement on Venezuela:

“Parliamentary Secretary Oliphant to attend International Conference for Democracy in Venezuela….

The conference will include representatives from more than 50 countries, which clearly demonstrates the widely shared objective of the international community to achieve a peaceful end to the crisis in Venezuela.

 Millions of people have been affected by the economic, political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. The Venezuelan people continue to suffer every day at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. This tragedy has gone on for too long. It is time for the international community to come together and take a united stand in support of a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela.”

In July 2019, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, published a report on the human rights situation in Venezuela.

Over four million Venezuelans have been forced to flee their homes since 2015 in search of food, health care, and other basic services:

Full statement here

On March 24, 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issued the following very mild statement, which reads in part:

“Bachelet calls for easing of sanctions to enable medical systems to fight COVID-19 and limit global contagion”

“GENEVA (March 24, 2020) – Broad sectoral sanctions should urgently be re-evaluated in countries facing the coronavirus pandemic, in light of their potentially debilitating impact on the health sector and human rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday.”

“It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion,” Bachelet said. “At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended. In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”

“Humanitarian exemptions to sanctions measures should be given broad and practical effect, with prompt, flexible authorization for essential medical equipment and supplies,” Bachelet said.

She provides the following examples:

Iran, Cuba, Venezuela Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Zimbabwe

“No country can effectively combat this epidemic on its own. We need to act with solidarity, cooperation, and care,” she said – echoing last week’s call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for “coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action” to counter the spread of COVID-19.

Her statement here

If Trudeau cited and approved the 2019 Bachelet Report, what about this one just issued?

Arnold August is a Canadian journalist and lecturer, the author of Democracy in Cuba and the 1997–98 Elections, Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion and Cuba–U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond. He collaborates with many web sites, television and radio broadcasts based in Latin America, Europe, North America, and the Middle East, including teleSur.  

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