The U.S. blockade is putting the lives of hundreds of chronically ill patients at risk, the Latin American Foundation of Human Rights (Fundalatin) denounced Friday.
Crimes of the Blockade
Medical treatments, surgical interventions, and bone marrow transplants have ground to a halt as U.S. sanctions have started to reach Venezuela’s subsidiary linked to Petroleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa) and Citgo.
Without a way to pay for state-funded treatments, patients — both young and old — are being refused medical attention around the world.
According to the NGO's president Maria Eugenia Russian, four patients, children who were part of a 26-member oncology group in Argentina, have died as a direct result of the blockade and the inability to access the frozen funds contributed by Pdvsa and its subsidiaries.
"Four patients are clinically stable, and 15 patients in critical health, mostly children and adolescents who received aid through the subsidiary Citgo," Russian said.
From Caracas, President Nicolas Maduro informed the crowd that Venezuela has the money, but “with this blockade … we cannot pay bills anywhere.” He noted that prior to the “illegal” sanctions Pdvsa would pay for treatments in a timely manner and in full.
"The world must know that we are victims of a ferocious economic blockade," he said.
Russian beseeched the U.S. government to put an end to the blockade against Venezuela and its infant population immediately. She asked Washington to allow patients to access their desperately needed cancer treatments and regain the quality of life lost from managing these dangerous chronic diseases.
Fundalatin plans to reach out to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund and the High Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations (UN) to resolve this issue and intercede on patients’ behalf and end this outright violation of human rights.