Trade Unions Demand Action Over US-Venezuela Relations

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Congress) has urged the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the Irish Government's position on the escalation of US sanctions against the people of Venezuela.

Congress urged Simon Coveney to take action against the latest measures, as the Trump administration ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the US and barred transactions with its authorities.

In a letter to the Minister on Wednesday 21 August, Congress General Secretary, Patricia King, said 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," Ms King said. "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."

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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