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Cristóbal Cornieles: Through the blockade, United States (U.S.) sends a message to the nations that choose sovereignty, autonomy and alternative paths

Venezuela | 5 de noviembre de 2020

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Since 2014, Venezuela has been the victim of an economic, commercial and financial blockade that impacts the activities of our oil industry, undeniably affecting the full exercise of Venezuelan’s human rights. Such was the remark made in an interview for ALBA TV by Cristobal Cornieles, lawyer and researcher at SURES, a Venezuelan civil association committed to the study and defence of human rights.

113-278 Law provokes severe damage to the social and economic development of the country

Cornieles indicated that the economic and financial blockade against the South American nation began when the U.S. Congress issued the 113-278 Law on the 18th of December 2014. This Law set down that any individual under the jurisdiction of the United States, even in naval conditions, cannot run any sort of business with the Venezuelan State.

Furthermore, Cornieles stated that “such prohibition could result in severe sanctions related to penal issues. It also includes the scenario of seizure of property, which is a sensitive topic for private businesses”.

Cornieles noted that, ironically, this Law is called “Venezuela Defence of Human Rights and Civil Society Act”. He points out that the Law “dictates regulations against the Banco Central de Venezuela, which is not only the main authority of monetary policies in our country but is also responsible for management of international reserves of the Venezuelan people. Also, the Law 113-278 envisions special restrictions for Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), knowing that the income for all Venezuelans comes from the oil industry”.

The Venezuelan researcher explained that for the last 50 years, the one-sided coercive measures from the United States against 49 countries, including Venezuela, have been considered by the United Nations as Illegal, unfair and immoral acts that can result in criminal actions too.

“This type of action represents not only a flaw that violates international public law, but also is a violation of people’s right to life and health, which also undermines their right of self-determination. In simple words, economic blockades kill and hurt people”, indicated Cornieles.

North American interference, economic siege and downfall of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)

The lawyer Cristobal Cornieles asserts that a violation of people’s right to free self-determination is an act of interference. “In the case of Venezuela, spokespersons from the U.S. State of Department have declared publicly that coercive measures aim to substitute President Nicolas Maduro, who was democratically elected by Venezuelans”.

In 2018, the U.S Department of State announced that the lobbying campaign against Venezuela “was working”. Cornieles quoted part of this public declaration for our interview:

“The financial sanctions that we have imposed on Venezuelan government have made it fall in default, both in public debt and PDVSA, their oil industry. And what we are witnessing due to bad the choices from Maduro’s regime is a total economic collapse in Venezuela. Therefore, our policy works, our strategy works, and we intend to keep it in the hands of Venezuelans” (January 2018. U.S. Department of State).

Thus, the Gringo State confesses its politic strategy, which is based on performing an economic siege against PDVSA to weakness the whole nation. “Since 2018, the policies from President Donald Trump have increased the blockade against our country to the point of making it almost impossible that an oil country like Venezuela develops activities in this industry. It is an imminent threat, a blockade by the North American navy that prevents the arrival of the necessary equipment to produce oil and petrol”, stated Cristóbal Cornieles.

“From our perspective, the narrative that points out at corruption as of the main problems in the oil industry has political elements, a bias that intends to place the responsibility solely on President Nicolas Maduro, and leaves aside the foreign powers that in more than five years have decided to execute a series of looting actions against our country”, noted Cornieles.

Cornieles added the existence of a persecution policy against governments and companies performing transactions with Venezuelan State. “More than 60 private ships of offshore transport providing service to PDVSA have been sanctioned; these ships also transported goods necessary for oil production and export”.

“Apart from the existence of specific cases of corruption that could be true, the oil industry has started to decay since the blockade. If we look through this industry’s performance up until 2015-2016, we will find that it functioned well. The decrease of oil production and export started in this period, when we went from a rate of production of 3 million of oil barrels per day to the current rate that does not exceeds 600 thousand oil barrels per day”.

Finally, Cristobal Cornieles, researcher and lawyer of SURES, stressed that the U.S. blockade seeks to get hold of our natural reserves of oil, gold, gas, coltan and other mineral resources. “At the same time, such an aim has a disciplinary purpose for the free States of the region. With the coercive measures, the United States wants to persuade the world that the economic and social model chosen by our country has no positive results and it is a failure. For that, they send a message of discipline and siege against those who opt for sovereignty, autonomy and alternative paths”.


Translate: Simón Ragusent
María Laura Cano/Alba TV

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