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Washington, DC, April 25, 2019 — A new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), by economists Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs, finds that economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration since August 2017 have caused tens of thousands of deaths and are rapidly worsening the humanitarian crisis.
“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” said Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of CEPR and co-author of the report. “This is illegal under US and international law, and treaties that the US has signed. Congress should move to stop it.”
The paper notes that the recognition by the Trump administration of a parallel government in January created a whole new set of financial and trade sanctions that are devastating to the economy and population. These new restrictions make it much more difficult to even pay for medicines and other essential imports with the limited foreign exchange that is available.
The authors also explain how the sanctions prevent an economic recovery from the country’s severe economic depression and hyperinflation.
“Venezuela’s economic crisis is routinely blamed all on Venezuela,” said Jeffrey Sachs, co-author of the paper. “But it is much more than that. American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people.”
Among the results of broad economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration since August 2017:
• An estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–18;
• The sanctions have reduced the availability of food and medicine, and increased disease and mortality;
• The August 2017 sanctions contributed to a sharp decline in oil production that caused great harm to the civilian population;
• The US sanctions implemented since January, if they continue will almost certainly result in tens of thousands more avoidable deaths;
• This is based on an estimated 80,000 people with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017, 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and 4 million with diabetes and hypertension (many of whom cannot obtain insulin or cardiovascular medicine);
• Since the sanctions that began in January 2019, oil production has fallen by 431,000 barrels per day or 36.4 percent. This will greatly accelerate the humanitarian crisis, but the projected 67 percent decline in oil production for the year, if the sanctions continue, would cause vastly more loss of human life.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. CEPR was co-founded by economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot in 1999.