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Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual, usually for political reasons.
- If you isolate a country, you isolate yourself, as the United States, from being influential and effective in the course of events, unless you are talking about the negative influence, like making the embargo that could kill the people slowly, or launching a war and supporting terrorists that could kill them in a faster way.
- Bashar al-Assad, in Interview with the CBS News. 2015
- The sanctions on the Syrian people that made the situation much worse and this is another reason for the refugees that you have in Europe now. How do you don't want refugees at the same time you created all the situation or the atmosphere that will tell them: 'Go outside Syria, somewhere else' ? and of course they'll go to Europe...
- Bashar al-Assad, Interview with RAI News, (December 2019)
- Iran has condemned new United States sanctions that punish any company that works with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, saying they were "cruel" and would exacerbate suffering in the war-torn country... "[Iran] does not respect such cruel and unilateral sanctions waged as bullying and considers them to be economic terrorism against the people of Syria," said foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. The sanctions were "against international laws and human values..."he said in a statement....Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Hezbollah, also condemned the new US sanctions. "The Caesar Act aims to starve Lebanon just as it aims to starve Syria," Nasrallah said... "Syria has won the war ... militarily, in security terms and politically," he added, describing the Caesar Act as Washington's "last weapon" against Damascus.
- At least 70 countries have signed on to the March 23 call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a worldwide ceasefire during the Covid-19 pandemic.... Mr. Guterres is reminding us that war is really the most nonessential evil and an indulgence that the world cannot afford – especially during a pandemic... The UN Secretary General and the European Union have also both called for a suspension of the economic warfare that the US wages against other countries through unilateral coercive sanctions. Countries under unilateral US sanctions include Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe.
- Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, in UN Ceasefire Defines War as a Non-Essential Activity, Anti-War.com (12 April 2020)
- If we're leaving our fate to sociopathic buffoons, we're finished... you don't see that when the U.S. imposes sanctions, murderous, devastating sanctions, that's the only country that can do that, but everyone has to follow. Europe may not like, in fact hate actions on Iran, but they have to follow, they have to follow the master, or else they get kicked out of the international financial system. That's not a law of nature, it's a decision in Europe to be subordinate to the master in Washington. Other countries don't even have a choice.... And back to the coronavirus, one of the most shocking harsh aspects of it, is the use of sanctions, to maximize the pain, perfectly consciously, Iran is in a zone, enormous internal problems by the stranglehold of tightening sanctions, which are consciously designed to make them suffer and suffer bitterly.
- As the most powerful state, the U.S. makes its own laws, using force and conducting economic warfare at will. It also threatens sanctions against countries that do not abide by its conveniently flexible notions of "free trade." In one important case, Washington has employed such threats with great effectiveness (and GATT approval) to force open Asian markets for U.S. tobacco exports and advertising, aimed primarily at the growing markets of women and children. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided grants to tobacco firms to promote smoking overseas. Asian countries have attempted to conduct educational anti-smoking campaigns, but they are overwhelmed by the miracles of the market, reinforced by U.S. state power through the sanctions threat. Philip Morris, with an advertising and promotion budget of close to $9 billion in 1992, became China's largest advertiser. The effect of Reaganite sanction threats was to increase advertising and promotion of cigarette smoking (particularly U.S. brands) quite sharply in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, along with the use of these lethal substances. In South Korea, for example, the rate of growth in smoking more than tripled when markets for U.S. lethal drugs were opened in 1988. The Bush Administration extended the threats to Thailand, at exactly the same time that the "war on drugs" was declared; the media were kind enough to overlook the coincidence, even suppressing the outraged denunciations by the very conservative Surgeon-General. Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Peto estimates that among Chinese children under 20 today, 50 million will die of cigarette-related diseases...
- President Trump strengthened the 60-year US blockade against my country, implementing 90 economic measures against Cuba between January 2019 and March 2020 alone. These measures have targeted the main sectors of the Cuban economy, including our financial transactions, tourism industry, energy sector, foreign investments - which are key for the development of the Cuban economy - and the medical cooperation programmes with other countries. These unilateral coercive measures are unprecedented in their level of aggression and scope... stopping Cuba from getting much-needed medical supplies... the US has imposed restrictions on banks, airlines and shipping companies to stop Cuba from receiving materials that other countries are donating or sending to Cuba.
- In April, the Alibaba Foundation of China tried to donate masks, rapid diagnostic kits and ventilators to Cuba, but the airline contracted by Alibaba to transport those items to Cuba refused to take the goods because they were afraid the US would sanction them. A ship recently arrived in Cuba with raw materials to produce medications but it decided not to unload... out of fear it would be sanctioned by the US government. So this is why we say we are suffering from two pandemics: COVID-19 and the US blockade. For that reason, it is so important that people of goodwill around the world continue to raise the demand to end the blockade of Cuba and to forcefully assert that these are times for solidarity and cooperation, not sanctions and blockades.
- Denying medicines to Iran and Venezuela is a crime against humanity... One of the most truly despicable aspects of the coronavirus is how it is being exploited by Washington to punish countries like Iran and Venezuela, currently the enemy-designates of the inside the Beltway crowd... If the United States were to make a serious effort to actually help the Iranian people by suspending sanctions and helping to expedite medical assistance it might actually produce a genuine thaw in a relationship that has been unnecessarily locked... Waging war on innocent people should not in any event be what the United States of America is all about. A shift in policies that actually demonstrates that Washington might be interested in saving lives rather than destroying them would be welcomed by most of the world and also by many Americans.
- For far too long, American politicians have been sanctions-crazed.... Last month, the Trump administration sanctioned Mexican companies for seeking to supply food to Venezuela.... Three senators introduced a bill designed to punish countries that accept help from Cuban doctors, which would include Italy, Ukraine, Jamaica, and South Africa.... Leaders of countries suddenly facing the threat of punishment for accepting Cuban doctors have reacted with anger and incredulity... it would leave more than 50 countries with the choice of either expelling Cuban doctors at a moment of global pandemic or facing American opprobrium. The prime minister of tiny Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, protested that his country relies on Cuban doctors and pointedly added, “Those who would like us to do otherwise should undertake to fill the breach.” ...Most remarkably, Congress is moving to sanction Germany, a major ally for generations, because it is building a gas pipeline to Russia.
- Cuba, along with China, is sending doctors and supplies to a number of countries around the world to help them fight the pandemic... Washington is demonstrating the very opposite... removing all of its Peace Corps staff from around the world, and, even worse, increasing sanctions against countries like Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and Nicaragua during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is accurate to say that the U.S. is weaponizing the virus against these countries...
As a number of religious scholars have warned, “plagues expose the foundations of injustice” in our societies. The current pandemic is exposing not only our government’s utter failures to protect its own citizens, but also its profound lack of human decency in dealing with other nations
- Today, the Trump administration is capitalizing on the global coronavirus pandemic to increasing pressure against sanctioned nations including Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Syria; adding to a long list of nations — including Russia, China, Nicaragua and North Korea — that now represent the quarter of the world’s population living under the boot of U.S. economic warfare. The continuation of these sanctions during a deadly pandemic has revealed the true nature of the maximum pressure campaign that is not only hurting economies but killing millions of people... Eight of these targeted nations have made an appeal to the international community, penning a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Director-General of the World Health Organization calling for an end to the unilateral American economic blockade, calling U.S. sanctions “illegal” and a blatant violation of international law and the charter of the United Nations.
- Some of the wars America fought were "simply for profit" and the sanctions it has imposed on certain countries have been as destructive as wars... Take Venezuela, which has suffered from U.S. sanctions for over 15 years, as an example. An estimated more than 40,000 people may have died in Venezuela from 2017 to 2018 as a result of U.S. sanctions that made it harder for ordinary citizens to access food, medicine, and medical equipment, according to a report published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, in 2019. The sanctions, Kovalik added, have also prevented Venezuela, which has the world's largest proven oil reserve, from "maintaining its oil industry and maintaining its power grids. Sanction is war by another means...You're just denying the people the economic benefits of their industries, and also, again, you're denying them electricity, other infrastructure, again in much the same way that you could or would through actual military means." However, most Americans don't see sanctions as war and they don't know the consequences so they "tolerate it more" and think the sanctions are "somehow a legitimate form of coercion," according to Kovalik. "When you look at the results, they're the same or similar to actual military warfare, but again, there are means that are more clandestine and do create more consent amongst the population of the Western world that might otherwise protest it," he concluded.
- Sanctioning Venezuela's nationalized oil industry, which supports the Maduro regime, or limiting Iran's access to international financial institutions to discourage nuclear weapons development may sound like straightforward ways to coerce bad actors in these two countries without harming civilians. But the reality of sanctions isn't that simple. They're often unintentionally inhumane and rarely effective. Sanctions may be a lesser evil than war, but that does not mean they cannot be cruel.
- Collective punishment of entire nations is immoral and wrong... Collective punishment can cause the people targeted by it to become more nationalistic, and in countries with a strong nationalist tradition this is even more likely.... When the U.S. government is seeking to make them miserable and poor, Iranians are unlikely to take enormous risks to do Washington’s bidding by toppling their own government. The overuse of sanctions is itself an abuse of power... The impulse to sanction one country after another is the same impulse behind wanting to “do something” militarily against this or that regime: we do it because we can and because we think we have the right to do whatever we want to others. The same arrogance and the same contempt for the sovereignty of other nations are on display. We should be opposed to the interventionists that want to use American military power to cause unnecessary death and destruction in other parts of the world, and in the same way we should reject the capricious and cruel use of economic sanctions to inflict misery and suffering on tens of millions of innocent people.
- Since the start of the great recession in 2008 the U.S. has become increasingly dependent on the use of unilateral economic sanctions to achieve its policy objectives against its declared targets. Presently, sanctions impact one-third of humanity in 39 countries. Economic sanctions not only cause untold death and devastation to a given country by denying it access to U.S.-dominated markets—which restricts its ability to generate wealth, stabilize its currency against price fluctuations and provide critical services and resources for its people—but economic sanctions also serve to justify and conceal theft, through asset freezes and seizures, at a rate only previously accomplished through invasion and occupation. The victims of economic sanctions are easy to identify because they are visible—there are dead bodies and malnourished children, with stunted growth and development, in once-thriving communities. They constitute the underemployed and working-class and are predominately people of color.
- When analysis is done to uncover the big winners of U.S. economic sanctions it is learned that ExxonMobil and JP Morgan Chase Bank are often front and center; case in point, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. Also, consider that JP Morgan Chase Bank did very well in the 2008 collapse through vulture capitalism. Fortunately, U.S. economic sanctions contain the seeds of their own undoing, since they engender the expansion of foreign reserve currencies at the expense of the U.S. dollar, and the phasing out of the U.S. money transfer system (SWIFT) to alternate foreign models such as Russia’s System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).... Since millions of lives are at stake now, it is imperative that secondary sanctioned countries, business owners, workers, and elected officials join together with sanctioned countries and peace activists to end economic sanctions. The oligarchy must be stopped from literally stealing the wealth of the world.
- Crimes against humanity
- International Criminal Court
- International law
- Refugee crisis
- Rule of law
- United States Foreign Policy
- War crimes