In our paper, “Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” we looked at some of the ways in which the sanctions on Venezuela imposed by the US government curtail access to essential and life-saving imports, and some of the data on impacts such as mortality. We concluded that US economic sanctions since August 2017 have likely caused a dire rise in mortality and a grave aggravation of Venezuela’s economic crisis. We concluded that the sanctions imposed since January will be much more devastating in terms of increased hunger and mortality, and of economic losses, than have the prior US executive orders and other economic sanctions.
The fact that these sanctions cause extreme suffering and deaths should not be a matter of dispute. If you cut off access to medicines, medical equipment, imports needed to maintain water and sanitation infrastructure, and for spare parts, and you prevent an economy that is in a deep depression from recovering, a lot of people are going to suffer diseases and premature mortality.
Economists Miguel Angel Santos and Ricardo Hausmann have challenged our claim that the sanctions dramatically worsened Venezuela’s crisis of oil production and exports, and therefore of the ability to finance food and medical imports.
In what follows, we look at their arguments, which are based on easily identified errors.
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