Venezuelan money seized by international banks some of them:
- ▪ Novo Banco: $ 1,547,322,175.89
- ▪ Bank of England: $ 1,323,228,162.57
- ▪ Clearstream: $ 517,088,580.00
- ▪ Citibank: $ 458,415,178.49
- ▪ Sumitomo: $ 507,506,853.37
- ▪ Union Bank: $ 230,024,462.00
Like Libya, these resources are stolen at the request of the United States, take account of the benefits that they are obtaining.
A recent report made by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), revealed that 40,000 people may have died in the Latin American nation in the last two years because of these measures. Meanwhile, more than US$30 billion of Venezuelan government assets are blocked up due to U.S. sanctions preventing the nation from exporting and importing goods, including food and medicine.
“It is hard to figure out how measures which have the effect of destroying Venezuela’s economy…can be aimed at ‘helping the Venezuelan people’, as claimed by the U.S. Treasury,” said the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, condemning their use and calling out their illegality.
U.S. sanctions have become increasingly aggressive since they were first announced by former US President Barack Obama in 2015. Under pressure from the United States, foreign companies stopped doing business with the country.
President Donald Trump intensified sanctions in 2017 and this year imposed an oil embargo that blocked the purchase of petroleum from Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. It also confiscated Venezuela’s US subsidiary CITGO, worth $8 billion. It was a huge blow for Venezuela, which received 90% of government revenue from the oil industry.
The U.S. government has also frozen $5.5 billion of Venezuelan funds in international accounts in at least 50 banks and financial institutions. Even if Venezuela could get money abroad, the United States has long blocked international trade by threatening sanctions on foreign companies for doing business with the country.
According to Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, sanctions are to be imposed by the U.N. Security Council, following a determination that there is a threat to or a breach of international peace and security.
This means that a sole U.N. member state is not entitled to impose economic sanctions upon another member or any sovereign state. The application of said unilateral sanctions itself violates the U.N.’s Declaration on the Principles of International Law, concerned with friendly relations and cooperation among states.
The resolution, in accordance with its charter, was adopted by the General Assembly on October 1970, and it references “the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State.”
The fact that the U.S. sanctions countries away whenever its president pleases, can be considered a hostile act. But even in wartime, these sorts of collective punishments are illegal under the Geneva Conventions.
The 1977 Additional Protocols to the Conventions prohibit any wartime measure that has the effect of depriving a civilian population of objects indispensable to its survival, be it food, water or medicine. In Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians, these “collective penalties” are banned.