REVEALED: US sanctions reduce Venezuela’s GDP by 7%, Maduro says Venezuela ready to overcome US blockade

A government supporter holds a sign showing a picture of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez during an anti-imperialist rally at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The rally was held amid tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. after President Nicolas Maduro this month said Washington is plotting to oust him and ordered the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to slash staffing levels. The U.S. later levied sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
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CARACAS – US sanctions against Venezuela caused a 7% reduction in Venezuela’s GDP between 2013 and 2017.

Venezuela recorded a fall in its Gross Domestic Product, Sputnik Mundo Aníbal García Fernández, a member of the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (CELAG) , told Sputnik.

“The US blockade of Venezuela has caused the country to lose more than 7% of GDP over the past five years, which has meant that many people have no access to food and medicine,” said Aníbal García Fernández, a member of the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (CELAG) who has been investigating for several years the impact of the measures imposed by the US.

The US president tightened sanctions against Venezuela on Tuesday, freezing all Venezuelan government assets on US territory owned or controlled by US citizens.

Trump’s decree applies to the State and Government of Venezuela, any political subdivision, agency or its structure, including the Central Bank of Venezuela and state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

“It is possible that with the introduction of these new sanctions, more people will be short of food and medicine because it restricts the entry of foreign currency in Venezuela […] But we must remember that the Venezuelan government has great popular support. Despite the economic problems, I do not see Nicolás Maduro leaving in the near future,” the expert said.

Since 2013, much of the international financial system has favored blocking Venezuela’s financial operations, the expert explained.

A CELAG investigation indicates that banks Citibank, Comerzbank and Deutsche Bank, among other financial institutions, have lent themselves to financial blocking operations.

Venezuelan population lacking medicines

In 2017, 300,000 doses of insulin paid by the Venezuelan state did not reach the country because Citibank blocked the transaction.

A total of 23 operations in the international financial system were not accepted this year, including $ 39 million in food, commodities and medicines.

The US non-governmental organization Center for Economic and Political Investigation (CEPR) estimated that Washington’s economic sanctions constitute “collective punishment” because they contributed to a 31% increase in overall mortality in Venezuela between 2017 and 2018, which means more than 40,000 deaths, according to the study authors.

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“The sanctions reduced calorie consumption, increased the rate of disease and mortality, millions of Venezuelans were displaced or forced to flee the country, the result of which was the worsening economic recession and hyperinflation […]. All these impacts have disproportionately harmed the most needy and vulnerable Venezuelans,” the expert continued to explain.

García Fernández stated that, based on the latest CELAG analysis published in February this year, between 2013 and 2017, losses of US $350 billion were caused by this type of sanctions.

The Venezuelan government called this action very serious and asked the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to comment on this matter.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said his country was prepared to overcome the US blockade against the South American nation.

On Saturday, Maduro began a campaign called ‘No more Trump’, with which the Maduro government hopes to collect 13 million signatures, which will be sent to the United Nations to protest against US sanctions.

“I tell the world who is listening to us, Venezuela is prepared to resist and overcome [US President] Donald Trump’s racist blockade … we are prepared for victory,” Maduro said during a march in Caracas against the US aggressions

The head of state called on Venezuelans to “fight” the attacks of the Trump administration.

“I have come to call the people of Venezuela to fight, fight, charge, act against Donald Trump and his imperialist aggression … to raise the flags and say that Venezuela is respected,” he said.

Similarly, the president thanked the world support for condemning the US blockade.

Maduro accused the opposition Juan Guaidó, self-proclaimed “president in charge”, of being responsible for requesting the sanctions suffered by the South American nation.

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