Capital paralysis: The scope and impact of Washington-imposed sanctions on Venezuela in the context of international law

In consideration of SID, international regulations prohibiting collective punishment can be found in Article 50 of both the 1899 and 1907 Hague Regulations, which specifically address civilians, Article 26 (III) of the 1949 Geneva Convention which prohibits “[c]ollective disciplinary measures affecting food,” Articles 87 (III) and 33 (IV) of the 1949 Geneva Convention which prohibit collective punishment, along with Article 75(2)(d) of the 1977 Geneva Convention Additional Protocol I, Article 4(2)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, and Article 20(f)(ii) of the International Law Commission’s 1996 Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind.[32] While several of the aforementioned protections are intended for conflict scenarios, the applicability of these protections are relevant if and when the stated objective in imposing sanctions is regime change, when desired outcomes are aided by subversion, when the threat of military intervention is utilized by the sanctioning body, and when sanctions escalate to armed conflict initiated by the sanctioning body. In the case of Venezuela, the former three conditions are applicable at this time, while the latter is, according to US President Donald Trump, “on the table.”[33] Despite the aforementioned protections, international law has proved an ineffective means of deterring sanctions,[34] perhaps due to the asymmetrical nature in which sanctions favor hegemony, leaving no mechanism for accountability of comparable stature.
...
... Reports in May 2019 indicate Washington seeks to sanction CLAP, a community food distribution program designed to relieve inflation-related hunger, under corruption allegations. ...
...
Assertions that Venezuela was already in crisis prior to the 2017 sanctions attempt to absolve Washington of culpability and place blame wholly on the Bolivarian government, but absent from this argument is the economic momentum of prior US hostilities, antigovernment activity sponsored by Washington through democratic intervention, and a private sector partial to regime change all prior to 2017.[68] In contrast, assertions that Venezuela’s economic crisis rests wholly on external forces avoids the Maduro government’s failure to address foreign-exchange challenges and restructure its debt prior to the issuance of sanctions, but absent here is that these options are no longer available nor have they been since 2017, calling the morality and coercive nature of sanctions into question.[69] Neo-extractivists will challenge the Bolivarian government for remaining dependent upon basic-commodity exports,[70] but George Ciccariello-Maher describes Venezuela’s lack of economic dynamism as a product of “centuries of perversion of development,”[71] and world-systems and dependency theorists alike may validate Bolivarian rhetoric in contending that commodity export vulnerabilities are remnants of neocolonialism that previous administrations opted not to address. The Chavez administration’s initiatives to increase dynamism were funded with oil revenues and fell short of fruition due to declining oil prices and domestic obstruction from the Washington-backed opposition.[72] Chasing the multidimensional origins of Venezuela’s economic crisis down the rabbit hole of history to determine if and the precise moment when Washington’s imposed sanctions generated SID [Sanction-Induced Deprivation] may prove unnecessary, for if deprivation exists, regardless of the cause, and sanctions persist, they are thereby illegal. As the 2019 sanctions target the heart of the Venezuelan economy alongside frequent threats of intervention and the stated objective of regime change, Washington’s boastfully purports to knowledge of deprivation and seeks to enhance it, which is thereby a declaration of guilt. In light of this, Washington at present is in violation of international law, and if CLAP is targeted, another violation is irrefutable.

Capital paralysis: The scope and impact of Washington-imposed sanctions on Venezuela in the context of international law

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.