The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and opposition factors have signed a collaboration agreement with the aim of jointly fighting against COVID-19, the sector vice president of Communication, Tourism and Culture, Jorge Rodríguez, reported on Tuesday.
“Everything that can be done, everything that President Maduro and the Bolivarian Government can do to strengthen the fight against COVID-19, have no doubt that we will do it,” the vice president emphasized in a statement from the Palacio de Miraflores in Caracas.
The agreement was initialed by the Minister of Popular Power for Health, Carlos Alvarado; Dr. Julio Castro, adviser to Venezuelan opposition; and Dr. Gerardo de Coscio, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Venezuela.
The chancellor of the Republic, Jorge Arreaza, celebrated the signing of the agreement and affirmed that “the health of the People is above any difference.”
“Good news for everyone. The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela and a sector of the opposition G-4 [opposition coalition that groups together four political organizations] sign an agreement to coordinate joint actions and seek financing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The people’s health above any difference, ”said the diplomat on his Twitter account @jaarreaza.
The Venezuelan Government, until this Tuesday, has confirmed 1,819 cases of COVID-19 throughout the country.
Group of UN countries and experts reiterate urgency to lift sanctions thus COVID-19
On Tuesday, the economic sanctions imposed against countries, a group of experts and diplomats who participated in the webinar “The impact of unilateral coercive measures in the global fight against COVID-19 “, described as “war crimes”, “terrorism” and “acts of genocide”. ”, organized by the diplomatic missions of Belarus, China, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe before the United Nations (UN).
The moderation was given by María Fernanda Espinosa, former president of the UN General Assembly, who began by exposing that unilateral coercive measures are arbitrary, illegal, contrary to the UN Charter and international law, and affect human rights of peoples, including the right to life, food and health.
In his speech, Samuel Moncada, Venezuela’s permanent representative to the multilateral organization, pointed out that coercive measures constitute an illegal obstacle that makes it practically impossible for countries subject to them to have access to the international financial system or to trade freely to acquire medicines or priority foods to face the pandemic crisis.
He stressed that the UN has condemned these sanctions, particularly when they are used as a means of political coercion against countries, but unfortunately the states that apply them “have not heard these calls and continue to act with impunity against human life,” for which is a crime against humanity.
The Venezuelan diplomat demanded that the sanctioning countries put aside their political interests and support the common interest of saving lives and facing together the enemy that the COVID-19 pandemic means.
Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, stated that the “virus can only be fought with the cooperation of all” and that they have raised the urgency of suspending in different scenarios these coercive measures, because they affect the capacity of the countries, 20% of the members of the Organization, to contain the pandemic, which has shown that “these sanctions can be deadly”.
Another participating speaker, Jeffrey Sachs, economist and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University (USA), stressed that “we are dealing with an extremely cruel American leadership”, with a president who does not care which countries are suffering, that in the midst of the pandemic it reduced its contributions to the World Health Organization.
He specified that the most serious of the sanctions is their extraterritoriality, since it pressures other countries to abide by them for fear of retaliation by the United States. In addition, he called for alternative mechanisms for affected nations to trade outside the reach of the US financial system.
Richard Kozul-Wright, director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division (Unctad), said that unilateral coercive measures are “an open wound” for the multilateral system, which must be rebuilt especially at this time when it is most needed. He also highlighted south-south cooperation as an alternative to avoid the effects of the measures on trade between countries.
“Sanctions must be called as they are: war crimes, because they are taken against the civilian populations of these countries and are done intentionally to cause misery and deaths in their towns. They can be considered a genocide, ”said Dan Kovalik, a lawyer for Human Rights and Labor, during his participation in the virtual seminar.
He insisted that it is not enough to evade sanctions, but that the UN together with the International Criminal Court have the power to act, apply international law so all member states can be treated with equality and respect.
Other interventions corresponded to Vassily Nebenzia and Majid Takhte Ravanchi, ambassadors of Russia and Iran to the UN, respectively, who advocated multilateralism and the joint effort of the international community in the face of the pandemic, and agreed that coercive measures undermine the ability of countries to respond to the health crisis.