For years, the administrations of Donald Trump and Barack Obama maintained that economic sanctions on nations like Venezuela, Iran and North Korea made no affect on the acquisition of humanitarian aid, while admitting that the goal was to make life in the nations intolerable and compel the governments to comply with US demands.
A group of progressive lawmakers are urging US President Joe Biden to review Washington’s sanctions policy on Venezuela in the midst of what they call “catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” particularly relating to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Thursday letter written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Jesús G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) was also signed by over a dozen Democrats, including Sen. Ed Markey and Reps. Joaquin Castro, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna.
“It is both a moral and public health imperative that our efforts to combat COVID-19 are global in scope because the pandemic’s economic consequences require international cooperation,” the lawmakers wrote. “The pandemic does not adhere to borders, nor does it account for complex geopolitical realities – until the virus is eradicated everywhere, it is not eradicated anywhere.”
The lawmakers cited Biden’s pledge on the second day of his administration to review all existing sanctions on other nations and their impacts on COVID-19 relief, and urged Biden to “consider the humanitarian impacts of sanctions more broadly.”