On Venezuela, where the US would seem to be trying to engineer another regime change in support of their oil industry, here are my notes and my diigo bookmarks . I consider sanctions, human rights and democracy …


I have bookmarked at my diigo, a number of articles covering the strength of Venezuela’s e-voting system, the UN response to US led sanctions, Labour’s response, the EU Parliament’s support for Guaido and Italy’s veto of such support by the EU.

This is an interesting take on the recent history of Venzuela’s relations with the USA and the US motives.

I was and am interested in the legality of the US sanctions. So I looked it up. I found the following, three links which refer to a book, Economic Sanctions and International Law, Happold & Eden, 2016

  1. https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/economic-sanctions-and-international-law-9781782254737/, the publisher’s page
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2837786 at SSRN
  3. SSRN-id2837786, the paper itself

The introduction’s abstract says,

In recent years sanctions have become an increasingly popular tool of foreign policy, not only at the multilateral level (at the UN), but also regionally (the EU in particular) and unilaterally. The nature of the measures imposed has also changed: from comprehensive sanctions regimes (discredited since Iraq in the 1990s) to ‘targeted’ or ‘smart’ sanctions, directed at specific individuals or entities (through asset freezes and travel bans) or prohibiting particular activities (arms embargoes and export bans). Bringing together scholars, government and private practitioners, ‘Economic Sanctions and International Law’ provides an overview of recent developments and an analysis of the problems that they have engendered. Chapters examine the contemporary practice of the various actors, and the legality (or otherwise) of their activities. Issues considered include the human rights of persons targeted, and the mechanisms established to challenge their listing; as well as, in cases of sanctions imposed by regional organisations and individual states, the rights of third States and their nationals. The introductory essay, by co-editor Matthew Happold, provides a legal taxonomy of sanctions measures, providing a general context for the more in-depth contributions of the individual authors.

Human Rights

I also checked out Amnesty for Venezuela & the UK, neither are great; it’s a shame that Amnesty don’t have a common reporting format and I note that the UK report is too old to take into account Philip Alstrom’s UN report on poverty  in the UK, which was highly critical of the UK’s discrimination against the disabled and the food poor.  Perhaps the next one on the UK will have a section on right to food and health. The blog article is called  Venezuela: what does Amnesty say?

I conclude my article by saying,

Maduro may be a shit, but he is not the only Head of State to be so, and the poverty of its people has as much to do with the illegal sanctions employed by the USA as it does to the any kleptocratic, corrupt instincts in the Venezuelan ruling party and he was elected in free and fair elections.

Looking at this quote now without reflecting on the violence and human rights violations is wrong, this is not a good government but it is/was elected.


I find it strange that my country and a number of EU partners are prepared to recognise as Head of Government someone who has declared themselves such in opposition to an elected Head of State. I am , it seems, not alone.

Handing out ultimatums, sanctions, freezing Venezuelan goods … It would mean opening the road to a military intervention.

“The 5-Star Movement and this government will never recognize people who appoint themselves president.

Alessandro Di Battista, from the 5-Star Movement

I agree with this quote; although its source is not someone I would consider an ally;  it’s been a strange week.

Sectarianism in the media

Even finding pictures to illustrate the blog articles cannot be an act of neutrality, although at the end of the day, I do not necessarily want to be neutral. The featured picture is from venezuelanalysis.com, “Venezuelans Flood Caracas in Pro and Anti-Maduro Marches amid Deadly Opposition Violence”. This image has been reduced in size and cropped, it is a cacjed copy, stored for reasons of addressability, performance and longevity.

2021 Elections

They had a series of regional elections earlier this month. These are reported with the stories you choose, Aljazera or the NYT. The left won, and won well, the Opposition has conceded. The EU observers report that it was better than before, but remains flawed due to misuse of state resources including the electoral commission and election courts. Their statement would seem to be not yet available on their site. The EU were not necessarily neutral brokers in 2019.

This might be interesting, about part of Chavez’s rise to power

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