Macri urges US to suspend oil imports from Venezuela

Against the measure, NGOs believe it would worsen the humanitarian situation

In early November, Argentine President Maurício Macri urged the government of the United States to suspend its oil imports from Venezuela. The sanction, said Macri, would have the goal of stopping the violations that have been taking place in the oil exporting country and would enjoy wide support from countries in the region. Human rights organizations, however, have taken a position against the measure – in an open letter – as they believe that it would worsen the humanitarian situation in the country.

There is evidence that rates of child malnutrition and deaths are increasing due to the lack of food and medication in Venezuela and any restriction on oil exports, which account for nearly half the State’s income, would drastically impair its ability to import food and medicine, said the human rights organizations that signed the letter.

The organizations said that the measure would also increase the flow of Venezuelan immigrants fleeing the crisis in the country. According to the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum abroad increased by over 8,000% in 2016.

In the opinion of the organizations, “international and regional actors should find a peaceful and democratic solution” through the use of “diplomatic methods and pressure that will not make matters even worse for Venezuelan citizens”. They concluded by saying that “imposing an embargo on oil exports is not a solution”.

The open letter was signed by Conectas; CELS (Center for Legal and Social Studies), of Argentina; National Coordinator for Human Rights, of Peru; Dejusticia, of Colombia; and WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America), of the United States.

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