ME: What is Amnesty’s position on the economic sanctions the Trump Administration has implemented against Venezuela?
AMNESTY: Amnesty International monitors and documents human rights violations globally, regardless of the country or government exercising authority in the place where such violations occur, from Israel to Argentina, as well as the USA and Venezuela. Amnesty International believes that every country faces its own individual challenges in terms of human rights and it is the indispensable responsibility of every state to acknowledge these challenges and act in accordance with the international human rights standards which it is obliged to uphold. In this regard, Amnesty International does not take a position on the sanctions implemented against high-ranking Venezuelan government officials but does continue to express deep concern over the critical situation of lack of access to the right to food and health in the country, which the Venezuelan state must address immediately. The Venezuelan authorities’ refusal to acknowledge the serious problem of shortages of food and medicine in addition to the general deterioration of the country’s health services and food security crisis calls into question the Venezuelan state’s willingness to comply with their responsibility to guarantee minimum conditions of access to these rights for all people without discrimination of any kind.
ME: Trump’s administration has not only sanctioned high-ranking Venezuelan officials (which you say Amnesty has no position on) but has implemented economic sanctions: prohibiting Venezuela from borrowing or selling assets in the U.S. financial system. They also prohibit CITGO, a U.S.-based company owned by the Venezuelan government, from sending dividends or profits back to Venezuela. Does Amnesty oppose those economic sanctions imposed by Trump or not? Does it take “no position” on those sanctions as well?
Amnesty International does not take a position on the current application of these sanctions but rather emphasizes the urgent need to address the serious crisis of the right to health and food which Venezuela is facing. In terms of human rights, it is the Venezuelan state’s responsibility to resolve this.
ME: What is Amnesty’s position on public remarks by Rex Tillerson and Marco Rubio encouraging the Venezuelan military to perpetrate a coup?
Amnesty International believes that a responsible discussion on the current state of human rights in Venezuela should not be focused on statements made by parties outside the country and context, but on the urgent need to address, without further delay, the serious crisis situation which the country is facing. Grave human rights violations such as the alarming lack of access to food and health have been widely documented by Amnesty International and other national and international human rights organizations and are putting the rights of hundreds of thousands of people in Venezuela at risk, forcing many Venezuelans to migrate to other countries in the region in unprecedented numbers.