News Release

Report: U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela Are Responsible for Tens of Thousands of Deaths


USA Today and DCist report the Venezuelan embassy building is now largely filled with activists opposed to Trump policy. They are seeking to prevent the building being taken over by the “illegitimate” government of Juan Guaidó and have draped banners outside the building including “End the Deadly Sanctions.” See Facebook page of the activists and Twitter feed for CodePink founder Medea Benjamin; or contact: Margret Flowers of Popular Resistance, mdpnhp at

MARK WEISBROT, JEFFREY SACHS, via Karen Conner, conner at, @ceprdc
Wesibrot and Sachs, two noted economists, co-authored a just-released report: “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” for the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The group reports the study “finds that economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration since August 2017 have caused tens of thousands of deaths and are rapidly worsening the humanitarian crisis.”

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of CEPR and co-author of the report. “This is illegal under U.S. and international law, and treaties that the U.S. has signed. Congress should move to stop it.”

The paper notes that the recognition by the Trump administration of a “parallel government in January created a whole new set of financial and trade sanctions that are devastating to the economy and population. These new restrictions make it much more difficult to even pay for medicines and other essential imports with the limited foreign exchange that is available.”

“Venezuela’s economic crisis is routinely blamed all on Venezuela,” said Jeffrey Sachs, co-author of the paper. “But it is much more than that. American sanctions are deliberately aiming to wreck Venezuela’s economy and thereby lead to regime change. It’s a fruitless, heartless, illegal, and failed policy, causing grave harm to the Venezuelan people.”

Among the results of broad economic sanctions implemented by the Trump administration since August 2017:

* “An estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017-18;

* “The sanctions have reduced the availability of food and medicine, and increased disease and mortality;

* “The U.S. sanctions implemented since January, if they continue will almost certainly result in tens of thousands more avoidable deaths;

* “This is based on an estimated 80,000 people with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017, 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and 4 million with diabetes and hypertension (many of whom cannot obtain insulin or cardiovascular medicine);

* “Since the sanctions that began in January 2019, oil production has fallen by 431,000 barrels per day or 36.4 percent. This will greatly accelerate the humanitarian crisis, but the projected 67 percent decline in oil production for the year, if the sanctions continue, would cause vastly more loss of human life.”