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Trump Sanctions on Venezuela Will Cause More Harm PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 28 August 2017 16:18

Trump Sanctions on Venezuela Will Cause More Harm


by Mark Weisbrot

This article was published by The Hill on August 28, 2017. If anyone wishes to reprint it, please let us know by replying to this message. If this email was forwarded to you, subscribe to CEPR's email lists here


The Trump administration announced new, unprecedented sanctions against Venezuela on Friday that are designed to cut off financing to Venezuela. The Trump team pretends that the sanctions are only directed at the government. But as any economist knows, this is clearly false. By starving the economy of foreign exchange, this action will harm the private sector, most Venezuelans, the poor, and the vulnerable.

These sanctions will deepen the severe depression that Venezuela’s economy has been in for more than three and a half years, which has already shrunk income per person by more than a third. They will worsen the shortages of food and essential medicines. They will exacerbate the country’s balance of payments crisis, and therefore feed the spiral of inflation (600 percent over the past year) and depreciation of the currency (on the black market) that has been accelerating since late 2012.

And they will further polarize an already divided country. Opposition leaders who support the sanctions, or are associated with them because of their longstanding ties to the US, will be seen as treasonous ― much as Republicans in the Trump administration, including Trump himself, are portrayed by those who believe they collaborated with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.

Trump’s sanctions are also illegal under both US and international law. They violate the charter of the Organization of American States (Chapter 4, Article 19) and other international treaties that the US has signed. To comply with US law, the president also has to lie and say that Americans are suffering from a “national emergency” due to an “unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” posed by Venezuela. This is obviously ridiculous.

The sanctions do their damage primarily by prohibiting Venezuela from borrowing or selling assets in the US financial system. They also prohibit CITGO, the US-based fuel industry company that is owned by the Venezuelan government, from sending dividends or profits back to Venezuela. In addition, if Venezuela wanted to do a debt restructuring, so as to reduce debt service during the current crisis, it would be unable to do this because it wouldn’t be able to issue new bonds. Basically, Trump’s executive order will cut off most sources of potential financing, other than from Russia or China. This would cause imports, which have already fallen by more than 75 percent over the past five years, to fall further. This means more shortages and further economic decline, since much of Venezuela’s domestic production is dependent on imports.

The executive order carries an exemption for oil imports from Venezuela.

Why would Trump do something that even his right-wing allies in Latin America, and most of the Venezuelan opposition did not support when Trump threatened to do this last month? As with many apparently irrational decisions by this president, it’s not that easy to know for sure. But it seems that the strategy is to further destroy the economy to the point where people will rise up and overthrow the government, or perhaps to provoke a military coup.

In the last few weeks, the violent street protests have died down. Most of the opposition leaders have agreed to participate in the long-delayed October regional elections. This is a positive development for those who would like to see a peaceful resolution of the conflict. But for regime-change extremists like Marco Rubio, whom Trump seems to be listening to on Venezuela, peace is bad news, especially for the media strategy of “if it bleeds, it leads.” They may see exacerbating the economic crisis and suffering to their advantage, hoping to bring people back into the streets and away from the negotiations that will be necessary to settle the conflict.

Finally, we cannot discount the possibility that Trump has also issued this order as yet another distraction from his bad political fortunes at home. Distraction has been his modus operandi since his presidential campaign last year. In this case it is particularly dangerous because he has also threatened military action against Venezuela, and US sanctions of this magnitude have often been followed by military attacks.

As Trump’s disgraced presidency continues to putrefy, the urge to rescue it with war will certainly grow. Venezuela is not the best target for public relations purposes because the “security threat” is a tough sell. But Trump and his advisers may see it as less risky than some of the alternatives, such as North Korea, Iran, or Syria.

 

 
World Still Lagging on Indigenous Rights 10 Years After Historic Declaration, UN Experts Warn PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 07 August 2017 10:06

By Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Albert K. Barume and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz|

Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine is Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Albert K. Barume is chairman of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

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Women from Nepal's indigenous tribe. Credit: Mallika Aryal/IPS

GENEVA / NEW YORK, Aug 7 2017 (IPS) - The world’s indigenous peoples still face huge challenges a decade after the adoption of an historic declaration on their rights, a group of United Nations experts and specialist bodies has warned. Speaking ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, the group says States must put words into action to end discrimination, exclusion and lack of protection illustrated by the worsening murder rate of human rights defenders.

The joint statement from the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples reads as follows:

Read more...
 
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to Naomi Klein about creating a better world PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 21 July 2017 09:07

creating-better-world - Green Left Weekly/July 18, 2017

"Social justice isn't copyrighted," British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told Naomi Klein in an  on Thursday Common Dreams said that Klein, a left-wing writer and activist whose new book is  No Is Not Enough, spoke to the socialist Labour leader about discuss [sic] Labour's stunning results in last month's elections,the Trump administration, Bernie Sanders, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Grenfell Tower and much more.

Despite attacks from his own party establishment and hostility from all the corporate media, Corbyn led Labour to win the reatest rise in proproption of vote for Labour in any election since the end of World War II (with Labour winning almost 10% more than in the 2015 elections).

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 01:17
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Venezuela Needs Dialogue and Negotiation to Avoid Civil War; Not Trump-Supported “Regime Change” PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 20 July 2017 12:44

This column was written for Tribune News Services, in response to the question, "Should the United States support regime change in Venezuela?" It was distributed by the Tribune Content Agency on July 19, 2017, and published by the Sacramento Bee and other newspapers.

The question of what role Washington should play in Venezuela’s crisis is a simple one, given its recent history. The answer is the same as it would be with regard to the role we would want the Russian government to play in US politics and elections: none at all.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:35
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World Rejects Nuclear Weapons in 122-1 Vote at UN PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 07 July 2017 22:25
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
by john halam
 
World Rejects Nuclear Weapons in 122-1 Vote at UN
 
At the United Nations in New York, a meeting convened by a December 2016 vote of the UN General Assembly has voted to make nuclear weapons illegal.
 
The decisive vote of 122 'yes' to 1 'no' vote took place this morning in the vast and packed Conference Room 1 just off the first sub-basement of the UN, after the Netherlands called for a vote. They were the sole 'NO' vote though Singapore abstained.
 
The vote was followed by prolonged cheers and clapping both from the many nongovernmental organisations present in the completely full Conference room 1 and in an overflow room, also completely full.
 
The President of the conference, Ambassador Elaine Whyte-Gomez of Costa Rica, could be seen with a number of other delegates, wiping away tears as the numbers flashed onto the electronic voting board.
 
As the vote was announced, she announced that there was a very long list of Governments that wished to speak about the decision. In fact as I write this release in the lunch-break that list has not been exhausted. 
 
The vote followed three weeks of often agonizing negotiations, as well as two days of preliminary negotiations in March. 
 
The Nuclear Prohibition Treaty arguably reinforces what is already implicit in both International Humanitarian Law and in article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), namely that nuclear weapons are illegal.
 
While it could be argued that nuclear weapons are already illegal this treaty for the first time provides an explicit multilateral legal instrument that outlaws them.
 
In taking the floor, country after country noted the historic nature of what was being done. Other weapons of mass destruction such as biological weapons and chemical weapons, as well as landmines, are illegal. Yet until today, a specific instrument outlawing nuclear weapons has not been in existence. Now, there is one. Governments also noted the critical role of civil society in bringing about this result, as well as its existential necessity.
 
People for Nuclear Disarmament's nuclear weapons campaigner John Hallam, who has been present for the full three weeks of the negotiation as well as participating in some of the conferences leading up to it, noted that:
 
" Nuclear weapons remain the only weapon that can destroy both civilization and much of the biosphere in less than a couple of hours and can do so by mistake - a mistake that has nearly taken place on upwards of a dozen terrifying occasions already."
 
"To eliminate nuclear weapons completely is an survival imperative that civilization cannot evade. Its clear that the overwhelming majority of the worlds Governments understand that narrow considerations of so called 'national security' cannot override the imperative of the survival of civilization and of the human species, which nuclear weapons place in jeopardy. We call on all Governments without exception, including especially the Governments of the 'official' nuclear weapon states and other states that possess nuclear weapons, to do their moral duty to the rest of the planet and to join the treaty and eliminate their nuclear arsenals."
 
"Ultimately, if we completely fail to eliminate nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons will eliminate us. Nuclear abolition is not a 'feel-good some-century' ambition. It is an urgent survival imperative and needs to be prioritised as such. The majority of the worlds Governments have shown that they understand that very well. Now the states that have nuclear weapons must come on board"
 
"We call on all Governments without exception, no matter what kinds of military alliances they may be involved with, to join the Treaty and to make the necessary changes in their security policies."
 
John Hallam,
 
People for Nuclear Disarmament
 
Human Survival Project
 
United Nations
 
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 July 2017 00:05
 
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