Stop the Economic Sanctions against Venezuela and Iran

Stop the Economic Sanctions against Venezuela and Iran: Economic sanctions are violent bullying (even without bombing or sending troops) by Glen Anderson

People are right to oppose U.S. military violence (bombing, troop deployments, etc.) against other nations. But many people fail to recognize that the U.S.’s frequent use of “economic sanctions” is another kind of war. In fact, international law recognizes a “blockade” as an act of war.

For decades the U.S. has bullied other nations and caused serious damage and loss of life by strangling their economies in various ways, including preventing them from having normal trade relations. Worse yet, the U.S. has deliberately caused ordinary people to suffer and die by preventing them from getting life-saving medical and other supplies.

Presidents and Congresses of both big political parties have done this since Cuba’s 1959 revolution, and also in Chile, Nicaragua, Iraq, and (at the time of this writing in 2019) in Venezuela and Iran.

The American public seems to ignore or even support these economic sanctions because our politicians and news media do not honestly tell us the horrible human damage these are causing.

Chile was Latin America’s oldest democracy, dating back to the mid-1800s. But when they elected a socialist president (Salvador Allende) in 1970, President Nixon and Henry Kissinger and their CIA actively destabilized Chile’s democratic government – and then they helped Chile’s military overthrow their democracy on September 11, 1973. Their destabilization included malicious disruption of Chile’s economy. Nixon famously said he had ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream.”

The U.S. military occupied Nicaragua from 1909 to 1933. For decades after that, the U.S. government supported a brutal and corrupt dictatorship. In 1979 a grassroots revolution replaced the corrupt dictatorship with a new government that helped ordinary people – especially the poor – in many ways and improved their quality of life. But President Reagan and the CIA created and illegally funded a terrorist army (the contras) that killed and terrorized many people. In 1985 Reagan imposed an embargo that prevented all trade between Nicaragua and the U.S. When Nicaragua held their free and fair election, Reagan even prevented them from obtaining pencils for marking their ballots.

The older Bush’s 1990-1991 “Gulf War” utterly devastated Iraq. The U.S. targeted and destroyed water treatment plants and sewage treatment plants, so Iraq could not provide clean, safe water for its people. After the war, the U.S. (Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton) continued its economic sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. prohibited Iraq from buying the equipment they needed to repair those plants. The U.S.’s cruel economic sanctions caused raw sewage to flow in city streets, causing microbes to multiply in drinking water. The U.S. knowingly and deliberately caused an epidemic of illnesses from water-borne diseases. The U.S. economic sanctions caused these “biological weapons” – and other deliberate abuses such as prohibiting Iraq from buying medicines or even replacing windows and sheets in hospitals. As a result, more than half a million innocent Iraqi children died. George W. Bush’s cruel 2003 war made problems even worse.

The U.S. is continuing this kind of cruelty against the ordinary people of Venezuela and the ordinary people of Iran. Political leaders in every country have privilege, so the U.S.’s economic sanctions really are crimes targeting the general population. Economic sanctions are a cruel and cynical way to cause violence and suffering against nations with whom our own government chooses to pick fights.

But when our government complains that those governments are not good democracies (both Venezuela and Iran actually are democracies with frequent elections), our government is deliberately hurting people who are innocent. The dispute is between the U.S.’s leaders and those countries’ leaders. It is morally and politically wrong to hold those countries’ populations hostage just because the U.S.’s leaders choose not to get along with those countries’ leaders.

Therefore, in addition to preventing U.S. military attacks, we must also stop the economic sanctions, which also are cruel and violent.

See more information at the “Peace” and “Iran” and “Latin America” parts of my blog, People in the Olympia WA region are organizing to stop U.S. intervention in Venezuela and elsewhere.

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