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  • Illian Omar

    Illian Omar | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 May 2019

The Congresswoman says new economic report show U.S. President Donald Trump's sanctions on Venezuela have killed over 40,000 citizens since 2017.

During an interview with Democracy Now, United State House of Representatives member, Ilhan Omar said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s foreign policy is causing high material loss and human suffering in Venezuela.

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“A lot of the policies we have put in place have helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve set the stage for where we’re arriving today," she said and added that "this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”

Omar was commenting on the report by economists, Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot, entitled, “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela.” In the report published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) revealed that U.S. geopolitics is depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food and other essential imports.

Sachs told Democracy Now that the U.S. government is promoting a collapse of the Venezuelan economy in order to overthrow democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro.

"The idea of the Trump administration, from the start, has been to overthrow Maduro. That’s not a hypothesis. Trump was very explicit in discussions with presidents of Latin America, where he asked them, 'Why shouldn’t the U.S. just invade?' ... The Latin leaders said: 'No, no, that’s not a good idea. We don’t want military action.' So the U.S. government has been trying to strangle the Venezuelan economy," said Sachs who is former director of the Harvard Institute for International Development at the Kennedy School of Government.

Sachs and Weisbrot have since published a rebuttle to the right-wing pushback received from their Thursday publication, 'Economists Use “Fuzzy Graphs” to Challenge Data on the Human Cost of Trump Sanctions on Venezuela'.

The Minnesota Democratic representative noted to Democracy Now the U.S. officials designing his current foreign policy have a long history of nontransparency and have masterminded wars and political interventions on part of the U.S. in other countries for decades.

“People like Elliott Abrams, neocons and warmongers, for so long have pushed for policies that are now ... the kind of devastations that they’ve had for decades," Representative Omar stated and recalled that Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress.

He has had "a heavy hand in some of the most devastating (U.S.) policies" imposed on Central America, measures which have directly prompted "the kind of mass migration we’re noticing right now,” stressed the legislator.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, is one of the first Muslim women in history to be elected to the U.S. Congress. In February, she questioned Elliot Abrams in a hearing, the current U.S. special envoy to Venezuela who was also linked to the 2002 failed coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez.

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