by Letters to the Editor

The Post’s Oct. 1 special Outlook section, “Reversals of fortune,” dedicated exclusively to Venezuela, did a great disservice to readers in need of a balanced view of the situation. The places it profiled, Lake Maracaibo and La Gran Sabana, are indeed facing disasters caused by a declining oil industry and illegal mining, respectively. Yet the article failed to describe the devastating impact of U.S. sanctions. These sanctions do not just “mostly prevent the country from selling its oil.” They impede the government from importing food, medicine and manufacturing supplies (including replacement parts for the oil industry); from selling its gold (leading more people to engage in illegal mining); and from obtaining loans. The sanctions have impoverished Venezuelans, caused more than 40,000 deaths and amount to a collective punishment of the Venezuelan people.  

This is the second time in two weeks [“Even in death, indignity,” front page, Sept. 20] that The Post has engaged in poverty voyeurism and has failed to mention the death toll caused by the Trump administration sanctions. It is shameful that photographs of tragedy in Venezuela are being used in such an exploitative manner, with no discussion of what the United States could do to end the suffering. Lifting the sanctions and supporting negotiations among all Venezuelans ought to be the first steps, but these are antithetical to the Trump administration’s policy of attempting to overthrow the Venezuelan government, causing hardship and threatening military force.

Leonardo Flores, Washington

The writer is a coordinator for Codepink’s Latin America campaign.

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