Venezuela Reacts to U.S. Sanctions for Alleged Trafficking of Women and Children

Venezuela’s Information minister criticized a U.S. decision to impose sanctions against Venezuela for not doing enough to combat the trafficking of women and children.

Venezuela Communication and Information Minister Andres Izarra
The United States government maintains a double discourse in its relations with Venezuela, according to Communication and Information Minister Andres Izarra.
Credit: Venpres

Caracas, Sep 11 ( According to Venezuela’s Communication and Information Minister Andres Izarra, the U.S. government’s decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela because of its alleged role in the international trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation, “does not help the bilateral relations reach the levels they should be at”.

Last Friday, the U.S. government decided to impose sanctions against countries that according to a U.S. State Department report are not doing enough to crack down on international trafficking of persons. The report accuses the Venezuelan government of allowing women and children to be trafficked within the country and abroad to Spain and Guyana.

Countries such as Sudan, Cuba and North Korea, whose governments the U.S. opposes, are also accused of not combating human trafficking, and thus subject to sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions would consist on voting against the approval of loans requested by Venezuela. Minister Izarra believes the White House may block loans requested by Venezuela to the Inter American Development Bank aimed at combating poverty, totaling $250 million. “We don’t believe the U.S. vote against it will be enough to block Venezuela from having access to those loans,” he said.

Izarra said that the trafficking of women and children is not only a Venezuelan problem, but also of concern to countries such as Colombia, Peru and Brazil. “Venezuela’s Ministry of the Interior is taking measures to address this problem, and will announce the details soon,” he said.

The minister criticized the U.S. sanctions. “The United States government maintains a double discourse in its relations with Venezuela… they will continue financing programs they describe as ‘monitoring of elections’ and ‘support for political parties’ as part of their effort to promote democracy around the world,” Izarra said. “We know what those funds are really being used for,” Izarra said.

Izarra criticized the U.S. financing of political groups which oppose the government of Venezuela, and some of whose directors participated in the coup d’ etat of April 2002 against President Hugo Chavez. According to documents obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act published in, U.S. government-financed institutions such as the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID have given up to 10 million dollars for the last four years to Venezuelan opposition political groups such as Sumate, which organized a recall referendum against Chavez.

The minister highlighted President Chavez’s recent positive statements towards the U.S. aimed at “fomenting dialogue between Caracas and Washington.” He said the U.S. sanctions will not help improve relations between the two countries. Due to its relations with Cuba’s Fidel Castro and his radical speeches, the U.S. government openly dislikes the Venezuelan President. The U.S. has been accused by Venezuela of supporting the April 2002 coup d’etat against Chavez, and of providing monetary support for political groups organizing a recall referendum which Chavez ended up winning last August.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently that it remains to be seen whether U.S.-Venezuela relations can improve after several years of tensions since Chavez was elected in 2000. “We have concerns about some of the actions that President Chavez has taken over the years in pursuit of his vision of Bolivarian democracy,” Powell said to the Associated Press. “We want the Venezuelan people to do well. We are friends of the Venezuelan people. And now that the election, or the referendum, is over, we will just have to see how things develop,” he added.

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