UN Experts Urge US to Lift Sanctions on Venezuela

HAVANA TIMES – The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a new blow to Venezuela’s crumbling health system, UN experts said on Wednesday, urging the United States to lift sanctions that have worsened the country’s economic crisis, reported dpa news.

The health system “is collapsing, with many hospitals struggling to function without reliable electricity or even running water,” said Olivier De Schutter, special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Leo Heller, special rapporteur on rights to water and sanitation, and Kombou Boly Barry, special rapporteur on the right to education.

“Hospitals are reporting a shortage of medical supplies, protective equipment and medicine. Given the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on low-income people in even the wealthiest countries, this is alarming,” the statement said.

The Venezuelan government has reported more than 360 Covid-19 cases in the country. At least 10 people have died, broadcaster Telesur quoted the authorities as saying.

Many of the Venezuela’s problems such as food shortages, hyperinflation, power and water cuts and soaring unemployment preceded trade restrictions, the UN experts said.

“Nevertheless, and especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States should immediately lift blanket sanctions, which are having a severe impact on the human rights of the Venezuelan people,” the statement added.

Once one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries, oil-rich Venezuela has seen an economic meltdown which has sent millions of its citizens fleeing abroad.