US-led Sanctions Against Venezuela: A Primer

A list of articles and multimedia content on Washington's economic aggression against Caracas. 

Ever since the arrival of Hugo Chávez in 1999, Washington has been trying to overthrow the Bolivarian Process. In recent years, these regime-change efforts have mainly relied on an all-out economic war against Venezuela with a weapon of choice: unilateral coercive measures, commonly known as sanctions.

Below you will find a list of recommended materials to understand the nature, reach and impact of US-led sanctions against Venezuela, as well as grassroots resistance.

The sanctions program

US sanctions have targeted virtually all sectors of the Venezuelan economy. (Venezuelanalysis)

The economic aggression against Venezuela began with individual sanctions and it quickly escalated to a full-fledged blockade. The country's oil, mining, banking and food import sectors have been the subject of unilateral coercive measures.

[Infographic] The Blockade Against Venezuela: Measures and Consequences

Venezuela's oil sector has been the US Treasury Department’s main target in an attempt to starve the country of foreign income. The result has been a drastic fall in output since the first sanctions were imposed in 2017.

[Infographic] US Sanctions Against the Venezuelan Oil Industry: A Timeline

Venezuela's oil output under US sanctions. (Venezuelanalysis)

Follow the links below to read our reporting on some of the most important unilateral coercive measures levied by the US Treasury Department

[08/25/2017] Trump Declares Venezuela 'Dictatorship,' Imposes Financial Sanctions
[01/28/2019] US Hits PDVSA with More Sanctions as UNSC Fails to Pass Resolution on Venezuela
[04/18/2019] US Sanctions Venezuela's Central Bank
[07/25/2019] Venezuela: US Sanctions Target Subsidized Food Program
[08/06/2019] Washington Escalates Venezuela Sanctions into Full-Fledged Embargo
[02/19/2020] US Sanctions Russia’s Rosneft for Venezuela Dealings

Impact and condemnation

CEPR report on the impact of US sanctions (CEPR)

As early as April 2019, the Washington DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) published a 27-page paper on the effects of the US coercive measures against Venezuela. Authors Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs estimated at least 40,000 deaths linked to the sanctions (2017-18) and argued that the measures fit the description of "collective punishment."

[Report] US Sanctions Have Cost 40,000 Venezuelan Lives

UN human rights expert Alena Douhan (PDN)

UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan held a 12-day visit to Venezuela in February 2021 to witness first-hand the effects of US-led sanctions on the population's enjoyment of human rights. Douhan presented a full report before the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 15 and reiterated her call for sanctions relief.

[Report] UN Special Rapporteur's Report on Impact of US Blockade Against Venezuela


The media coverage

The first podcast episode was dedicated to US sanctions. (Venezuelanalysis)

The one constant in 20+ years of US efforts to overthrow the elected Venezuelan government has been uncritical cheerleading from the media establishment. In this latest phase, corporate journalists have gone out of their way to endorse sanctions, which requires overlooking their illegality and especially their negative impact on the civilian population.

[Podcast] The Venezuelanalysis Podcast Episode 01: Sanctions Kill

[Opinion] US Sanctions Against Venezuela Cause Shortages in Diesel, Editorial Standards

Grassroots resistance

The economic crisis and US-led sanctions have dealt hard blows to the dynamic and revolutionary Bolivarian grassroots movements. However, popular organizations and communes (such as El Maizal) have regrouped and reinvented themselves to move forward and uphold Hugo Chávez's socialist project.

[Interview] Stories of Resistance from El Maizal Commune: part I, part II, part III

Ángel Prado. (Venezuelanalysis)