In her last report, Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner of the U.N. Human Rights Council, suggested that sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela were not the cause of the enormous crisis we in Venezuela are suffering. However, each time she speaks of Venezuela and the political crisis, Bachelet mentions the sanctions and dismisses them as the cause. While contending in her report that the deterioration of Venezuela began before the sanctions and that there are deep and persistent patterns of human rights violations in all national political and economic endeavors, the High Commissioner of the U.N. Human Rights Council also expressed the thought that the sanctions are not a solution but, instead, aggravate the situation for Venezuelans.
To avoid the negative effects of sanctions, it would be interesting if, instead of dismissing them, Bachelet would present alternatives, solutions that would be less traumatic for our country. The present High Commissioner of the U.N. Human Rights Council and her team should take into account the list of reasons for the imposition of U.S. sanctions. Maduro, in several national addresses, along with officials from both Socialism of the XXI Century* governments, has acknowledged corruption in Venezuela in recent years and the flow of ill-gotten money to international monetary markets. Many higher-ups in the governments involved in diverting funds have actually admitted guilt in the diversion of billions of U.S. dollars to their own personal accounts from the accounts of PDVSA** and all the institutions of the country. Front men have emerged who have circulated this ill-gotten money via global financial channels.
Bachelet should work with the U.S. and should provide alternative ideas for methods of blocking illegitimate capital derived from the corruption in Venezuela from entering the global financial system. I agree that sanctions affect all Venezuelans negatively without separating the bad from the good. However, before criticizing the sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Venezuela, Bachelet and her work team should, for example, demand that to avoid imposing sanctions affecting Venezuela and its inhabitants, the Maduro team must allow a supervisory body made up of international members to oversee suppliers and payments of PDVSA and all government institutions with foreign currency transactions. In terms of human rights, Bachelet and her team could also request that a committee of international jurists serves in a supervisory capacity before the U.N. International Court of Justice in order to guarantee human rights in the country and compliance with the constitution. The U.N. and Bachelet should join the U.S. with solutions to the challenges posed by corruption and violation of human rights in Venezuela rather than criticize the sanctions imposed precisely because of the lack of U.N. support. Also, Bachelet and her team should request U.N. direction in the event that the Maduro team does not accept recommendations offered by international U.N. observers.
If Bachelet neither approves U.S. sanctions nor proposes alternatives such as the ones mentioned, corruption and the violation of justice in Venezuela would lead to greater evil as flows of ill-gotten dollars and human rights violations committed by public officials and their front men spread unchecked throughout the international banking system and the justice systems of other countries.
*Translator’s note: “Socialism of the XXI Century” is a socioeconomic and cultural model for Latin America that encourages economic and political integration among nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Bolivia and Ecuador currently adhere to it.
**Translator’s note: PDVSA is the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company.
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