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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/1/19

U.S. Sanctions Block Medicine from Venezuela, Killing Thousands

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MIKE FOX: Carolina Subero is the mother of three, from a poor barrio in Eastern Caracas. Her youngest Jenjerlys is a beautiful little 5-year-old girl. But she's also autistic and epileptic, which means she needs medicine. Medicine she can't get.

CAROLINA SUBERO: She has seizures every day. Last night she had three. The medicine helps to make them not as bad. When we can't get her medicine, they send her to the hospital.

MIKE FOX: Carolina says that her little girl used to take four different medicines for her seizures. But now because of the U.S. sanctions, which are blocking the import of essential medicine, Carolina can only get one of the drugs. And that only some of the time, because it's too expensive. A box of pills that will last 10 days, can cost her one month's minimum wage, or three bags of arepa corn flour.

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CAROLINA SUBERO: I've had to trade food for the medicine. They sell it in a box of 20 pills and it's really expensive, because it comes from another country and they want to hurt us.

MIKE FOX: When she can't get the medicine, Jenjerlys's seizures can get bad.

CAROLINA SUBERO: I've had to take her to the hospital and she's been in intensive therapy. Once she had 20 seizures, one after the next, and they sent her to intensive care.

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MIKE FOX: Carolina's husband sends money from Colombia, where he went to find work. But it's not enough. She lives in this two-room house with her mother, her two sisters, and her three girls. 5 people sleep in this room.

Carolina is not a Maduro fan. But she doesn't blame the government. The problem, she says, are the U.S. sanctions.

CAROLINA SUBERO: They don't care. They think they are hurting president Maduro, and they're really hurting the people. If they really wanted something good for Venezuela, they would not be doing what they are doing right now.

MIKE FOX: The United States imposed some of the first economic sanctions on Venezuela in 2014. The next year Obama decreed the country a threat to national security. International banks began to delay or freeze transactions, out of fear of U.S. reprisals. Under Trump the sanctions intensified. This year the United States confiscated the country's U.S.-based subsidiary Citgo. It's also blocking Venezuela from exporting the country's oil, the source of 95% of the nation's GDP.

According to Venezuela, the U.S. government has frozen $5.5 Billion U.S. dollars of Venezuelan funds in international accounts in at least 50 banks and financial institutions. This has drastically hindered the government's ability to purchase medicine for cancer and HIV patients, for whom the state has long provided treatment free of charge.

According to a recent report by Washington-based the Center for Economic and Policy Research, as many as 40,000 people have probably died in Venezuela because of the U.S. sanctions and more than 300,000 people are estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment. This includes 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 cancer patients and roughly 80,000 people with HIV.

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Marcel Quintana is the co-founder of the LGBT aids awareness group ASES Venezuela. He is also the Venezuelan who has lived the longest in the country with HIV 33 years. He is now in charge of the distribution of anti-viral meds to the country's HIV patients, something Venezuela has provided free of charge for decades. But now it's next to impossible to acquire the medicine, which is all imported.

MARCEL QUINTANA: We understand that the Pan American Health Organization has had to change the accounts [used to purchase the medicine] four times, because they keep getting blocked. The blockade is not just against the government, it's against the people who are living with HIV, it's against the people living with Cancer, because they don't allow the medicine to come into the country. They are blocking not just the country, but the health of the people living with HIV. And this is serious. Very serious.

MIKE FOX: Quintana says that they have meds to cover the country's HIV population for now. But if the sanctions continue, they are going to run out of options.

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Charles Homer

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Here is an article that looks at how frequently Washington attempts to change what it deems "unacceptable behaviour" by using economic sanctions:

click here

One would think that Washington would have concluded that economic sanctions have not necessarily proven to be an effective means of getting its way in the world and, in fact, may have punished domestic businesses more than they punished foreign adversaries.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 2, 2019 at 12:02:58 PM

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Leslie Johnson

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Sanctions, illegal wars....We're a pretty bad player on the world stage...and not particularly good in taking care of our country and people, either.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jul 2, 2019 at 2:19:55 PM

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Let there be no mistake sanctions are nothing more than bombs dropped on a nation as they not only destroy that nation's economy, but kill innocent civilians in the process. They have killed no fewer than 40,000 innocent Venezuelans since 2017 and have placed the nation in shambles as their economy has reached such a state that gasoline is free at the pumps because the people simply cannot afford to pay. (I would like to see what would happen in the US should we reach such catastrophic conditions).

Sanctions are devices that give the likes of Trump a strong feeling of power without having the heinous act reported by the bought and paid for media report such an act as a crime against humanity, but rather one that is much needed in order to "help" dethrone a dictator of another country.

Our nation's foreign policy, if one can call crime a policy, is turning the rest of the World against our warmongering nation placing us all in harm's way. This is most likely why the bought and paid for media is silencing Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard as they cannot allow her message to get out.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jul 3, 2019 at 12:10:58 PM

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