economic embargoes

Ben Nicholson OM, November 78 (strange landscape), 1978.


Accepting the implementation of economic embargoes and allying with them out of mere diplomatic alignment or economic and political convenience makes the countries that do so accomplices in this crime.

People often comment, even in a way of solidarity with those affected, about the embargoes imposed on other countries, as the USA has done for decades with Cuba, without having the exact idea that these embargoes, in addition to affecting the economy of the affected country, have consequences on the daily life of the poorest, further aggravating their situation.

I lived for eight months in 1984 in Nicaragua, as a journalist and political agent for the party organization to which I belonged. With the Sandinistas fresh from a victory against the Somozist dictatorship, attacked in the north and south of the country by armed movements financed by the CIA, the US in retaliation imposed a strict embargo on the country.

We received quotas for purchases in markets. Quotas for the most basic and simple things, such as toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. Certain things needed for everyday life, especially mine that needed to use a recorder (those portable ones, cassette tapes), like batteries, were almost impossible to obtain on a regular basis. I, like a good part of the population of Managua and other larger cities in Nicaragua, ended up being pushed to obtain such products at fairs where there were products, in small quantities and at expensive prices, and which for political activists like me still created a crisis of conscience, because I knew that every Peso spent on a product at those fairs, a good part would go to the hands of criminals or

counterrevolutionaries, which came to the same thing.

Medicines, car parts and cargo vehicles, everything or almost everything ended up entering the smuggling market and indirectly financing the enemies of the Sandinista revolution. And often, due to the repression of illegal markets, nothing was found.

Huge queues on the day toilet paper arrived at regular markets were common to see, taking away much of their useful time from the population.

Embargoes are a hypocritical way for a country to show the world that "it is not committing an act of violence against a people and a nation, but an economic measure against its rulers". Lie. An economic embargo against a poor or developing country is indeed an act of aggression, even more so when committed for “ideological reasons” or geopolitical dominance.

Accepting the implementation of economic embargoes and joining them out of mere diplomatic alignment or for economic and political convenience makes the countries that do so complicit in this crime. Economic embargoes can only be accepted in exceptional cases, as in relation to Hitler's Germany, which declared war on the world and promoted one of the greatest, if not the greatest, genocides of humanity.

Lula's Brazil neither aligns nor submits to the embargoes directed at Nicaragua, Iran and Russia and it is absolutely right to do so, as there is still the other side of the coin, when the embargo does not allow you to trade with the embargo creating a sectorized or generalized economic crisis within their own country, also becoming an indirect victim of the embargo.

Until today, due to the majority of embargoes enacted either by the UN or NATO or even unilaterally, what seems to us is that economic embargoes have become a weapon of war for the USA.

* Segadas Viana is a journalist.

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