Regarding the Nov. 20 front-page article “U.S. may add Venezuela to its list of terrorism sponsors”:
Venezuela strenuously rejects violence and terrorism and has always opted for peace. President Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly called for dialogue with the political opposition and with the governments of the United States and Colombia. Venezuela participated and was lauded for its role as a guarantor in Colombia’s historic peace process with FARC.
The suggestion that my country sponsors terrorism is patently absurd. In the past two years, we have been the victims of terrorism, from the hijacking of a helicopter, to an attempted presidential assassination, to the recent ambush and murder of four national guardsmen along our border with Colombia.
It is alarming that an article about terrorism included an uninformed discussion of public health. Are outbreaks of infectious diseases now terrorism? This failed to point out the obvious: The Trump administration’s sanctions are not solely aimed at individuals, and they are having a devastating impact on Venezuela’s economy — including in the health and food sectors.
The sanctions have caused billions of dollars in damage to our oil industry, frozen hundreds of millions more in banks overseas, and delayed or prevented the importation of billions of dollars’ worth of food and medicine, among other costs. For example, our assets frozen in Euroclear Bank have depreciated by $264 million. With that $264 million, our public health service could have guaranteed vaccinations for the entire country for three years.
Lissett Hernández, Washington