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Venezuela urges UN to intervene against US sanctions

Caracas: The Venezuelan government has urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to intervene against the US trade and financial sanctions which are undermining the South American nation’s economy.

Addressing a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister William Castillo said on Friday that the sanctions met the body’s definition of “unilateral coercive measures” and should be lifted, reports Xinhua news agency.

“In keeping with the UN’s resolutions on unilateral coercive measures, (we) demand the immediate end to the blockade,” urged Castillo.

The sanctions have crippled Venezuela’s ability to refinance its foreign debt and maintain trade ties with other countries, he said.

Venezuela appreciates “the recognition by the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the US economic sanctions aggravate the economic crisis and violate human rights”, the official said.

However, Venezuela disagrees with several conclusions in a report released on Thursday by Bachelet’s office following her recent visit there, and “demands a correction”, said Castillo.

“In Venezuela there is no humanitarian crisis. We are suffering economic difficulties linked to the fall in oil prices and the economic blockade,” Castillo said.

Despite these efforts to destabilize the country, the government is implementing social policies to improve people’s lives, including providing housing and food, Castillo said.

“More than 2.6 million homes have been built in eight years, benefiting more than 12 million citizens,” he said, adding that 6 million households regularly receive a basic basket of goods.

Castillo’s demand came as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro presided over a military parade marking Venezuela’s Independence Day, at which he affirmed that “we are on the right side of history”.