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UN Human Rights Council calls for end to US sanctions on Venezuela

UNITED NATIONS high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has called for United States sanctions on Venezuela to be lifted to alleviate their devastating impact on its people.

Speaking during Monday’s session of the human rights council, she condemned Washington’s punitive measures, which have been in place since 2014.

“The pre-existing humanitarian and economic situation was aggravated both by the Covid-19 pandemic and by sector sanctions … I reiterate my call for these sanctions to be lifted,”Ms Bachelet said.

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Felix Plasencia branded the sanctions “a crime against humanity,” explaining that the restrictions have caused the country’s income to fall by 99 per cent — with “devastating effects on the population.”

Caracas has brought a case before the International Criminal Court over the imposition of the sanctions, which have been labelled “a punishment against the innocent population” of Venezuela by the UN. But the US is not a member of the Hague-based global body and withdrew from the UN’s rights council under former president Donald Trump.

Washington’s hostile approach toward Venezuela escalated under former president Barack Obama, who signed a 2015 executive order declaring the South American country “a national security threat.”

The US has continued to seek to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition figure Juan Guaido, who has spearheaded a number of botched coup attempts, including an operation launched last year from neighbouring Colombia with the support of former US marines.

That attempt was foiled by Venezuelan security services. Mr Maduro said that Mr Trump had been the “commander in chief” of the assignment, which was conducted by the Florida-based Silvercorps private security company.

Negotiations have been taking place between the Venezuelan government and opposition figures in Mexico City, with the next round scheduled for later this month.

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