No sanctions, no coup! Stop imperialist aggression – Hands off Venezuela!

On 5 August, US President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order imposing a new and even more brutal set of sanctions on Venezuela, as part of its campaign to remove the democratically elected government of President Maduro.

This new set of unilateral sanctions, in effect an embargo, means the blocking of all assets of the Venezuelan government in the US, as well as a complete ban on any transactions with the Venezuelan government or anyone acting on its behalf.

This unilateral embargo, an extraordinary set of measures that the US has used before against countries like Panama, Nicaragua and Cuba in the Western Hemisphere, is the strongest form of economic blockade short of an actual physical siege of the country.

In announcing the embargo, national security advisor Bolton also issued threats against third countries trading with Venezuela, as well as stating that Cuba was also in the US’s sights.

This embargo will not only seriously impede the ability of the legitimate government of Venezuela to carry on its normal business, but will also mean additional suffering for millions of workers and peasants, affecting particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

The embargo comes after eight months of a relentless assault by the US against Venezuela, starting in January, with the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó as “president”. This was followed with an oil embargo, provocations on the border under the guise of “aid”, a failed military coup in April, threats and pressure, calls on the military to carry out a coup, and so on. All of this has been done with the aim of removing a democratically elected government in another country.

These illegal actions of intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation have not achieved the desired results for Trump and his henchmen (Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, Abrams), and partners in crime (Duque, Bolsonaro, Piñera). This is the reason for the tightening of sanctions. The stated aim is to cause more suffering to the Venezuelan people to try and push them into rising up against their government. They are punished for the crime of not having done what the US government instructed them to do.

Of course, this latest offensive is part of a 20-year campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen several US administrations carry out a failed coup in 2002, introduce economic sanctions, issue diplomatic threats, make assassination attempts, offer support for the reactionary opposition, and so on.

So severe are these latest measures that even Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile from 2006 to 2008, and 2014 to 2018, and now High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, who is not known for her sympathies towards Venezuela, stated on 8 August that, “am deeply worried about the potentially severe impact on the human rights of the people of Venezuela of the new set of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US this week” and “they are “likely to significantly exacerbate the crisis for millions of ordinary Venezuelans.”

The Hands off Venezuela campaign wholeheartedly rejects this brutal embargo and demands an end to imperialist interference in Venezuela by the US and its allies. It is not for Trump, Bolsonaro or Boris Johnson to decide who the president of Venezuela should be. We demand the immediate lifting of the embargo and of all sanctions. We commit ourselves to continue to campaign in the labour and trade union movement against them. We call on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to come out clearly and openly in condemning this latest assault against Venezuela. We also call on the leaders of the trade union movement in Britain to do the same.

No embargo! No sanctions!

Stop imperialist aggression! Hands off Venezuela!

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