THE entire human world is fighting to defeat a demon today. It is coronavirus pandemic. The fight demands a globally concerted, unified effort. Venezuela should not be left in the lurch in the pandemic wilderness even if one of its original sins is to resist imperialism. But the Bolivarian republic is obstructed in its fight against the pandemic. Imperialism is carrying on the ‘noble’ job.
The World Health Organisation has expressed its fear: the United States is going to be one of the epicentres of the pandemic.
The rich country is in a mess with fear of running out of medical equipment required to fight the virus within days.
The world health officials warned that the world was entering a critical period that would determine just how deeply the pandemic slices through countries. WHO said that infections and deaths globally from coronavirus are apprehended to increase ‘considerably.’
Venezuela has planned to bring back home its citizens, around 800, from the United States. With that purpose, Conviasa, the Venezuelan national airline, arranged a special flight.
But, no way. There is the US sanction on the airline, part of the basket of smashing sanctions imposed on Venezuela. Conviasa’s entire fleet is barred from the United States. The evacuation plan had to be abandoned.
Jorge Arreaza, the foreign minister of Venezuela, censured the US move. Arreaza tweeted Tuesday: ‘We denounce that the US insists on its air blockade of Venezuela and still refuses to authorize direct humanitarian flights [through] LAConviasa or other lines, to bring back more than 800 compatriots stranded in the US and registered in the system of our Chancellery.’
The Venezuelan foreign minister announced on Monday that hundreds of Venezuelans were scheduled to return home on a flight; and the evacuation operation was waiting for response from the United States. Until Tuesday, there was no US response.
Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has urged the US to make an exception in the humanitarian initiative. Maduro said in a statement: The US government cannot prevent us from going for humanitarian reasons. It must lift the sanctions. Conviasa’s planes are ready to travel to any place in the world where Venezuelans want to return home.
The empire’s intransigence against the Bolivarian republic is widely known. Other than sabotaging the republic in the areas of economy, energy and diplomacy for years and imposing sanctions on the country’s political leadership and vital institutions and economic organisations, including the hydrocarbon organisation, the empire organised armed gangs and political mobilisations with thin presence of persons. It tried to enthrone a proxy-king, Guaido, in Venezuela with heavy money and diplomatic support only to be met with a crashing nosedive.
To fight the coronavirus pandemic, Venezuela asked the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion loan. IMF bosses rejected the emergency request of Venezuela.
Requesting the fund from the rapid financing instrument, Maduro sent an emergency letter to Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF president. The fund was requested to strengthen Venezuela’s coronavirus detection and response systems.
An Associated Press report said: The IMF was not ‘in a position to consider’ Venezuela’s request. The IMF does not have ‘clarity on recognition’ of the Maduro government.
The background story of the IMF argument is that Guaido. the United States and a number of its camp followers recognise the proxy as president of Venezuela although Guaido has no legal standing.
However, the IMF has not formally taken a position on the issue. That means the IMF has to go by existing arrangement: the Maduro government is still the legitimate government of the country. But the international lender has not stood by that fact. Moreover, at this time of crisis, denying fund to Venezuela is standing for the death of people, which the IMF has confirmed by its action. The IMF has also shown its stand: Do not go by fact. The fact is: Guaido does not command any arrangement for taking necessary steps to fight the coronavirus pandemic. That proxy does have neither political will nor capacity to reach the people of Venezuela. His thin gatherings, the way he fled away from airport, his dependence on conspiracies hatched by imperialism are the evidence of his lack of contact with the people. At this time of crisis, contact with people and mobilising people are the urgent need. The IMF denies looking at ground-level facts. It is not that the IMF does not understand ground-level fact and the fact’s utility. It is that the IMF likes to make the Bolivarian republic suffer, push it gradually to death.
The imperialist world order knows its enemy very well. The order uses every opportunity to make Venezuela’s days difficult. Twitter blocked the accounts of vice-president Delcy Rodriguez, who heads Venezuela’s presidential commission on the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The dirty step by Twitter led Venezuela’s foreign minister to write on Twitter:
‘Vice-president Delcy Rodriguez leads the presidential commission against COVID-19.
‘The inhuman and reckless gesture is that Twitter restricts @DrodriguezVen and @ViceVenezuela accounts, which are the sources of information necessary for the people of Venezuela in these unforeseen circumstances.’
During writing the related report, while trying to switch to the above-mentioned Twitter accounts, a notification is given that these accounts are temporarily restricted. However, Rodriguez’s English language account was available for users.
Several multilateral bodies have called for easing US economic sanctions on Venezuela and other global South nations fighting the pandemic.
In a letter addressed to the G-20, the world’s 20 largest economies, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres advocated relief from international sanctions targeting Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Zimbabwe. ‘I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and COVID-19 medical support. This is the time for solidarity not exclusion’, he wrote.
The UN secretary general, as part of a global UN response plan, has launched an appeal on Wednesday for about $2 billion in aid to 20 southern countries including Venezuela fighting the virus.
Speaking from Geneva on Tuesday, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged that broad sectoral sanctions targeting Venezuela, Cuba, and other nations be ‘eased or suspended’ on the grounds that ‘impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.’
The way imperialism is reacting to Venezuela in the face of the pandemic is nothing but a show of its demonic character, inhuman character.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Opinion