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Congress writes to Minister Coveney re US Sanctions on Venezuela

Date Released: 22 August 2019

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Congress) has written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, seeking urgent Irish Government and EU action in response to the recent escalation of sanctions by the US against the government and people of Venezuela. The Trump administration has recently introduced a range of unilateral measures which will inflict further massive damage on the already struggling economy and people of Venezuela.

In her letter to the Minister on Wednesday 21st August, Congress General Secretary, Patricia King, said that that the recent extension of economic and financial sanctions will aggravate a dire humanitarian situation which has already forced millions to flee Venezuela. 

“We are deeply concerned at the latest imposition of severe sanctions on the government and people of Venezuela. At our recent conference in Dublin in July, delegates representing over 600,000 workers in Ireland called for an end to foreign interference in Venezuela. We would urge the Irish government and the EU to make it clear to the US administration that its escalation of sanctions will inflict untold hardship on the already suffering people of Venezuela and should be lifted immediately,” Patricia King said.     

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who has raised concern about previous sanctions imposed by Washington condemned the latest measures as “extremely broad” with the potential to exacerbate suffering among an already vulnerable population. 

She said that she was deeply worried about the potentially severe impact on the human rights of the people of Venezuela and said the sanctions fail to contain sufficient measures to mitigate their impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

Congress International Officer, David Joyce added: “At our Biennial Delegate Conference in July, Congress rejected the Trump administration’s position of ‘regime change’ in Venezuela, which is illegal under international law.  The future of their country is a matter for Venezuelans alone to determine and the only correct way forward must be based on the call for dialogue from Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay and others and a negotiated peaceful settlement endorsed by the people of Venezuela”.

Congress was dismayed earlier this year when the Irish government recognised the US backed politician, Juan Guaido, as interim President of Venezuela and has urged Mr Coveney to put all of Ireland’s diplomatic efforts into ensuring a negotiated solution and to make our views known to the US administration.

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