Unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela and its impact on human rights

Special Report, Caracas, 2018

Sures is a Venezuelan civil association devoted to the study, promotion, education and defense of human rights, from critical, emancipatory and alternative views. It is a nongovernmental, nonprofit, independent, nonpartisan and non-religious organization. The mandate of Sures covers all environmental, civil, cultural, economic, social and political human rights recognized in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and in the international treaties ratified by our country. It prioritizes those groups of people in situations of greater exclusion, poverty and discrimination.

By María Lucrecia Hernández
Ana Salazar Maldonado

As of 2014, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been subjected to a series of sanctions unilaterally imposed by several countries of North America and Europe, which has generated a rather serious impact on the enjoyment and exercise of the human rights of its population. In this Special Report, a study on these coercive measures and their effects is presented. For this purpose, a chronological detail of the imposed sanctions, their legal basis, scope and their relation with Public International Law and Human Rights Law is presented.

It is essential to underline that all the actions of the States that have imposed these sanctions revolve around the approval of a Public Law in the Congress of the United States of America in December 2014, during the administration of Mr. Barack Hussein Obama: the 113-278 Act entitled “Public Law for the Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society.” The importance of this legal instrument is that it dictates the course of action for the policy of the government of the United States of America towards Venezuela, which has also marked the road map so other States, under their influence and domination, have adopted in recent years a series of unilateral coercive measures against it.

The 113-278 Act includes a set of sanctions aimed at the economic, financial and economic blockade of Venezuela, but it additionally expressly provides for that the Member States shall “work” with of the Organization of American States and the European Union, to ensure interference in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. That is, it is a law that explicitly and expressly recognizes that it contravenes the fundamental principles of Public International Law, the Charter of the United Nations Organization and the Charter of the Organization of American States.


Up to the date of the preparation of this special report, twenty-two (22) instruments have been issued that impose unilateral coercive measures against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, from December 2014 until May 2018. The countries and communities that have imposed these measures are as follows: USA, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and Panama. Is It is important to emphasize that these sanctions are always preceded or in parallel with official public statements of different spokespersons of these States on the situation and the internal affairs of Venezuela, some of which are pointed out in this study.

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