Thursday, June 4, 2015

United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is unimpressed by “Economic War”

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a body of 18 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, has concluded its consideration of the third periodic report on Venezuela on 3 June.

Ricardo Menéndez, Minister of Planning and Knowledge, led the delegation in charge of presenting the Venezuelan government report to the Committee.

After the presentation be the Venezuelan delegation, which basically noted the accomplishments of the Bolivarian Revolution, Committee members questioned the delegation on several topics such as poverty reduction, crime rates, health, and corruptions.

One of the most contested issues was that of the “economic war”, which the government argues is being waged by the opposition and its “foreign allies” against the country.

Rodrigo Uprimny, a Committee member, directly questioned the “economic war” narrative: “When there is progress, these are because of the Revolution, but when there are problems you blame the economic war.” Two more members, Mohammed Ezzeldin Abdel-Monein and Shiqiu Chen asked for specific examples of the economic war, and for an explanation of what exactly the concept referred to.

Menéndez answered that the economic blockade [cerco económico] on the country was an undeniable fact and asked the Committee for respect, and not to “make value judgements” or “trivialize the economic war.”

As examples of economic war he said that international markets manipulated to harm oil prices and destabilize the Venezuelan currency.

According to the Committee´s web page, Menéndez: “said that human rights were a fundamental pillar of the Constitution and were planted and transposed in the plan for the homeland and were a daily action of the Government. Venezuela was not governed by corporations, but by its people and the desire to live better. The question of economic war must be fully borne in mind, and it must be remembered that despite the 60 per cent decline in income as a result of a drop in oil prices, human development indicators had remained steady over the years, and this was because of a different approach that the country employed.”

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