tv Venezuelas Political Future CSPAN May 26, 2018 5:12pm-6:26pm EDT
sword. you hear parents like the one that just called and saddled with a lot of debt, and their child thankfully got through college and is earning a living, but they are carrying that weight. that is a big problem for a lot of parents. seniorric kelderman >> it is a privilege to welcome you here for a conversation on venezuela. ofead the washington office
the council, which over 50 years has been the leading voice in promoting open markets and rule of law across the americas. the venezuelan regime, led by nicolas maduro, essentially reelected itself in elections rejected by the international community. the united states and other nations have imposed further sanctions in an effort to encourage venezuela to return to a democratic path. declaredse, venezuela persona non grata, the top two diplomats in caracas have retaliated. it no experiences hyperinflation, shortages of food and medicine, growth, personal insecurity, and increasing repression as the government uses all tools to
maintain its control. people are desperately leaving venezuela in an gathering humanitarian crisis, some estimates suggesting 1/10 of its population resides out of the country. meanwhile other actors from outside the region are increasingly involved in the country. the united states has clearly indicated at the highest levels its commitment to counter the authoritarian march in venezuela. it is a complicated and difficult scenario. our program seeks to unpack the path forward, and what the international community can meaningful do to support the long-suffering venezuelan people. we will begin with introductory cruz, followedn by a panel of experts, including jennifer loten, canadian ambassador to organization of
american states, and hector schamis of georgetown university. ladies and gentlemen, will you please join me in welcoming them all this morning. incrediblyw it is busy time for you. thank you for joining us. i am just going to ask you up front, where do we go from here? juan: eric, good morning and thanks to all of you. when eric asked me to participate in this panel, he said, i want you to comment about the election results, but more importantly on the way forward. for the united states, there was no election, there was a selection. newsflash, maduro won. who those who thought there would be any other outcome, i have a bridge to sell them. nonetheless, there are a few
takeaways i would leave with you, is maduro mentioned she would win by at least 10 million votes. we know he got substantially less than that. a number close to the electoral numbers shabbos pu -- numbers pulled together. everyone knows that is fanciful. queause of the opepa nature over the regime and its numbers, only 24% of people cannot to vote, which is -- came out to vote, if you are to believe reports over the weekend, this spells trouble for the regime, even one choreographed so finally. the ship is taking water, and it is listing to one side.
as venezuela resources democracy, history will prove this was a lost opportunity for maduro, an opportunity to heed the pleas of the international community and the catholic church to postpone these elections and do it under a date that would be respected by all. what have we done about this? last week -- friday, the treasury department designated a money-laundering network for corruption. i would leave you with one ofught, which is he is one several people we have in the hopper. these are senior folk who deserve to receive sanctioning for their corrupt practices. we also sandwiched the selection on monday, with the president signing an additional executive order. if you heard or watched maduro's
reaction, you can tell that it stung them deeply. we have sanctioned 70 individuals under this president. this has been done primarily to punish those diligent' -- those pillaging's venezuela's public coffers. sanctions are not just about punishing. there is an aspect of sanctions that don't get covered, which is they are intended to change behavior. change the behavior of those being sanctioned, so they can cooperate and find a way out to correct their behavior. it is also a dissuasive factor for those doing the same or contemplating doing the same. you will not be sanctioned in perpetuity. that is what we need to remind folks of, it is not just a punitive measure or action.
but it is to punish. i would say it is to punish those that would refuse to feed their own people. in this aspect, i am tempted to compare them to the pol pot regime, and not the aspect of genocide, let's avoid hyperbole, but the aspect of how they are struggling their own people and using food as a political manipulation. disgusting. these are crimes against -- if these aren't crimes against humanity, i don't know what is. the world has to hold them accountable for it. the future lies in the hands of the venezuelans, let's be clear about that, but the u.s. and the world will accompany them. they need to do more. our options are limitless. i know some people think we have sort of laid out everything we
could have done until now. that is simply not true. we will continue to pressure, to restore democracy in venezuela. we will try ways to get food aid to that country, despite the repeated resistance by the regime to accept that they're in need of food, and to reject all the offers that have been made for humanitarian aid and food aid by a whole host of countries. and we will honor those who understand that the future of venezuela will be shaped by those who respect constitutional obligations. now, it's not the first time that in an event, i cite articles from the bolivarian constitution, a constitution written under chavez himself, a constitution that maduro is quickly laboring to undo, but that's the constitution that exists today. i would like to read to you article 350, which says that
the people of venezuela true to the republican tradition and the struggle for independence, peace and freedom, shall disown any regime, legislation, or authority that violates democratic values, principles and authorities, or encroaches upon human rights. shorthand on the significant parts of that sentence. the people of venezuela shall disown any regime that violates democratic values and human rights. themes here. we're coming up in a short two weeks on the organization of american states general assembly, an annual event. and this is an opportunity to see who sides with democracy, and what and decency, country decides to side with cheating, lying, and starving a
ple.enezuela's own peo we will be watching, and we will take note. and lastly, as a reminder, we will work with those, any country who is interested in restoring democracy in venezuela and bringing peace there. you very much, and i know you have to go and i appreciate very much the fact that you've been able to fit us in, but maybe i can sneak a quick question in here before you have to take off. when she was at our annual conference just a couple of weeks ago, u.s. ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, also spoke very elegantly and eloquently about venezuela. she also talked about some of themes, the amount of fire power the senior level, you know, from a political perspective, that the administration is giving toward this very complicated issue. you alluded to additional steps that could be taken without trying to ask you to say
specifically what those would be. t wonder if you want to -- bu to the extent there's anything further, you could talk about perhaps timelines or things that you'd be looking for from within venezuela that might be triggers of those additional steps, that would be very helpful. juan: we are endeavoring. of course, everyone's going to gravitate immediately to the options of sanctions, and i'd be lying if i told you that it wasn't a primary instrument. we want that with fidelity and segment that a careful way. if we went and sanctioned everybody who deserved to be sanctioned in venezuela, it would lose a lot of its impact and i fear it would have a numbing effect, rather than a powerful effect. we will continue to sanction those who need to be sanctioned, especially those at the highest level stealing from the venezuelan people, and especially choosing instead of using that money to buy food to line their pockets and to
enrich and their cronies. oille go immediately to sanctions. the problem with that terminology is, for us, that means 36 different kinds of sanctions. we are very precise. we want to be very careful. one of the things we look at when we debate is what kind of effect this could possibly have on the venezuelan people. you know, make no mistake about it, it's the venezuelan regime that is starving them. we've even offered food aid, it's not us, but we don't want to contribute to that. the president has been very clear, we will leave all options open. what do we do next? we will work in concert with all like-minded nations on this. we are in lock step with all the leader group countries and the
eu, and we appreciate canada's leadership on that, brings added credibility for those who would like to criticize the united states. and what i would say on this is, we will be as creative as we have to be. we want to make the world smaller, so if you're stealing money, we want to make sure it's harder for you to travel somewhere to spend it. we want to make sure it is harder for you to have access to it, for your family members to have access, for you to enjoy the results of your theft. and we're working with other countries to make that world smaller and smaller for the venezuelan regime and those who prop up maduro. >> well, thank you. obviously, we all have many additional questions we'd love to pitch your direction, but we are mindful of your time and there are other things going on. thank you, ladies and gentlemen, would you join me once again in thanking him. >> [applause]
and we are going to continue now with the panel discussion. terrific group, as i mentioned. jennifer, ambassador lawton gave oferfect segue in terms leadership issues. i am going to ask ambassador topicsto speak to these with one quick acknowledgment in your government leadership, not oas, but in the g7 context as a host. for those who haven't seen the recent statements from the g7 leaders, i call it to your attention, it's fabulous. it's focused on venezuela, and this truly internationalizes the topic. it's not an issue of "latin america," this is global democracy.
it is a concern at the highest levels at the g7. thank you very much. jennifer: thank you very much, eric. it's a pleasure to be here today and canada is extremely pleased to talk with this group how we see the unfolding crisis in venezuela. you said what i was going to say -- you said it well. [laughter] but essentially we consider this a problem happening in the americas, but of global proportions and significance. reason, we have taken them to other forums as well. our objectives bilaterally and multilaterally have remained the same for the 25 plus years we have been part of the oas. the oas has done a relatively good job of supporting democracy in the americas. they developed the strongest document that exists in the
global american charter. teeth?we get it -we make it matter? what we are looking for in venezuela is nothing less than what venezuelans have identified for themselves. their constitution deserves to be implemented. venezuelans deserve a democratic future. it seems unfortunate that support to achieve that democratic future is going to come from the outside. the reason it has been removed, political manipulation, an election that has been globally denounced as false. we are not alone in coming to that conclusion. political prisoners, withholding of engagement of the opposition, a hijacked electoral commission, we all know the litany, we all know the reasons why this election has been declared false. how do we use the international tools to bring pressure on the
venezuelan government? the difficulty within the oas is it is a consensus-based organization. that body has adhered to strictly to the principle. if one person disagrees, the whole room froze up their -- roo m throws up their hands. generally differing opinions are allowed to be brought forward and an agreement is developed. the other thing that consensus model has encouraged, is we are doing the thing we are all willing to do, as opposed to the thing we all know we should do. when you think of the history on the organization that produced the american charter, it is surprising to find ourselves up against a wall when we can clearly read the words in the paper on what should happen next. we spent a lot of time reminding member states of what these
principles are, but how do we make them happen? the last time we tried to do that was cancun in the general assembly what we learned is some member states are still not willing to take a look at the situation and see it for what it is and take the steps that they need to take. so, we decided if we cannot bring the concensus model in and we'd move outside and do something else. the lehman group was developed. the idea was it would be a more nimble body to work with a coalition of countries to bring international pressure on the situation and that's been quite effective. the members of the lehman group don't exist uniquely in the americas. they're members of other bodies of the g20, g7 and as eric said we released a strong statement in the g7 under the canadian presidency and we've managed within that context, well, in the last meeting of the lehman group we brought in finance min seniors.
so this is a political conversation, but we're digging deeper. sanctions can be applied bilaterally and canada has done that and they're targeted not meant to be sanctioned on the people of venezuela, but those who are robbing venezuela and those who need to be stopped. so, we have applied those sanctions, but that's not the only financial tool that countries have at their disposal and the more we collaborate and the more impact we can have. i'm talking about a range of things and the task force. and all have financial intelligence units as well and talk with private sectors and ask those that are involved in national transactions nationally to be more careful who they engage with, aware of the risks they're running, of corruption. we can take note of the existing bodies in venezuela and the transaction of the government of venezuela seeks to pursue that do not have the approval of that body should not be considered
sound. so in addition to sanctions applied by governments, we can engage international financial institutions and the private sector and make them aware of the situation they're putting themselves into and that puts additional pressure on the government of venezuela as well. that's a step that the lehman group took recently. at the summit of americas that happened in peru, there was a strong calling for the countries of the americas to come together and call the government of venezuela to account, not to proceed with elections that were not democratic, it's not the election, but the process. regardless of the result was going to be, canada's concern was there was absolutely no way that organized the way it was, the election was going to deliver a democratic result and it didn't. so the statement that leaders delivered, it was a strong one, also called for better elections, release of political prisoners, opening of humanitarian assistance and i
agree with juan as well, it's not the sanctions that is starving venezuelans, it's their own government. the sanctions are intended to change that and one of the goals is to require the government of venezuela to open a humanitarian level. and the next statement for the lehman group called for meetings that focus on the impact of the deteriorating situation. the refugee crisis and situation and it must be emphasized what else is happening in the context of this cries cities is a public health tragedy. diseases we thought were eradicated are now moving in populations and we're seeing infectious diseases spread. and we now have a political crisis that's undermining that work. a high level meeting that will look at those impacts. one that will look and seek to bring to bear international tools to deal with the migration crisis as well. and then the next thing coming up is the oas general assembly.
cancun taught us a lot of lessons. so you learn, and you try again. our goal remains the same, and that is the restoration of democratic order in venezuela. we can use the oas to help do that, but we need to be courageous and take a hard look at the concensus model. create a core of country willing to take a brave step, willing to implement the tools and principles that we've created ourselves and done such good work in the americas and take it forward and do the right thing. that means we need to consider the suspension of venezuela in the context of the oas general assembly. whether or not we do that or call for the consideration of that article is something that countries will decide together. but we need to be brave enough to look at that document and to apply it for the purpose for which it was intended. that comes up very soon and we're working with countries with like mindedness and lehman group and expanding that circle
as well. in canada's mind a multilateral organization of the oas of which we are members, have to represent the principles of democracy and human rights and has to demonstrate to do its job or we have to ask ourselves what's the purpose. and those are hard questions, but i think we all have to be prepared. if we're not going to stand up and do the right thing, why are we there at all? >> powerful ending comment and thank you for your personal leadership and leadership of your government on these issues, it's meaningful and noticed and very, very much appreciated. we thank you for that and your powerful comments. we're going to shift from a diplomatic sphere to more on the grounds, and we're going to look at following him-twitter, and you should follow all of us on twitter, but has been very-- well, he's been showing in real-time some of the crisis and tragedy that's been going on and it is a tragedy and it is a
crisis. danny, give us a sense from your perspective what's happening and maybe some things that can be done to help ameliorate it or to lessen the crisis. >> yeah, thanks, eric, to you and the council for putting the events. thank you, ambassador for being here and for your remarks. well, yeah, i mean, i spend a few days in the city bordering venezuela, bordering a state in venezuela, one of the most important crossings that there are right now, where it's estimated that 30 to 35,000 people are crossing every day from venezuela to colombia. a lot of them are crossing for the day to -- i saw mainly two kind of people there, roughly speaking, the ones that were crossing for the day or for the week or for a few days, either to work or either just to find some medicines, or both at the same time.
i saw mothers with their babies going to vaccinate their kids because there are no vaccines in venezuela. and saw them getting insulin. the husband was going to die because they had no insulin. and a woman who had a doctorate and cleaning the bathroom at the gas station and she was fortunate to work there, and she would make more than her actual job in caracas. it was terrifying for somebody like me, i spend most of my day looking at data on the computer and going there to the ground, it was terrifying. and i don't think i just met the five people with the worst story. every person there had a terrible story. and i think the government colombian government is doing an effort to help these people and the catholic church. they have public dining rooms where they feed thousands of
people every month, but thing -- i think there are a few issues that we should take into account. first, the-- there are some limitations to what the colombian government can do, first of all, because these can countries are not used to receiving migrants. ironically, it was venezuela, the country that received -- was the receiving country in the continent and now things have turned around. and some of these countries don't have the infrastructures, they don't have the legislation to deal with the massive flow of people. very few countries have, but i think that latin america in particular are lacking in that sense. and, this costs money. this is a lot of resources that should be put in place to help these people. a lot of these people are not-- they're not economic migrants, they're refugees and i'm saying
this in particular because that's one of the aspects that's been missing in this discussion. i think that the governments of the region have been wary of calling these a refugee crisis. i think that the legal arguments to call them refugees are there. the original refugee comes from 1951, it was basically, mostly based on world war ii. so, it defines people who are more or less, i'm speaking broadly, fleeing from war, but interestingly enough, latin america, put together a program for referee which speaks of recognizing refugees as people fleeing from the country because of among other things, massive violation of human rights, disruption of public order. and if you spend two to three minutes in venezuela, you would realize that that is definitely the case. they are to call these people refugees. because if you don't call them refugees, it means that the
legal track for them to work and remain in the country is something that you have to come up with. colombia has done some efforts, but these are limited to people who actually have a passport, which is not the case for many, many venezuelans, including me. i don't have a passport for a year, so, i guess people who have never traveled who are coming from very low background states. even if they wanted a passport, there's no money to have it. and so, the legal aspect. and also the financial aspect is important. i think that the colombians are making a big effort. so far they're making a big effort in trying to identify the number of people. we don't know how many people are in colombia. 750,000 the official numbers, unofficial sources on the ground talk about more than a million people. will and they are, as we speak, the doing a census to try to
really identify all of these think migrants on the regular status and that should end will within a month so we should have more numbers there. of course, there are a lot of people mo will-- who will be scared to register. and said that's not a issue. it's important to note those numbers. once we know the number, i think that we can have a sense of how many resources there are going to be needed and we're talking about a lot of money. the u.s. has been very generous and other countries, too, in providing some aid, but it's
very much welcome, but much more is going to be needed. just to give you an idea, if you say the cost of-- given the protection for a refugee for a refugee in turkey, germany, and jordan and lebanon, who are the main countries receiving refugees, and you make a small calculation and put it in purchasing power of colombia and latin america, you're talking $3500 per refugee per year. so, if-- i think a conservative estimate could be that you will be seeing perhaps half a million venezuelans fleeing the country. most of them as refugees in the first year. we're talking already $1.5 billion to provide very basic protection, such as housing, basic food. >> that's on an annual basis? >> that's on an annual basis. and just to give you a sense why we should think of these people as refugees and why the, let me put up-- this morning, let me
give you a sense why it's the right way to think because i want to share you some numbers of the venezuelan venezuelan humanitarian country. venezuela, if you look at almost any statistic, in terms of social, of humanitarian statistics or economics, there are-- for instance, the latest number over 87% of households in venezuela can be living in poverty, including 61.2% who are living in extreme poverty. and that's up from 48% and 23% respectively that in 2014. so in the last three years, these number are-- there are strong cases of malnourishment.
in 2017 about 65% of the population lost an average over 20 pounds. the president jokingly and i think in a very pathetic and disrespectful way called that the maduro diet. 80% of households which are over 2.4 million venezuelans suffer from food insecurity. that should be 24 million venezuelans, i'm sorry. according to official numbers from 2015, the death rate of of -- death rate of under a month month old babies, 20 out of 1,000. puts venezuela next to pakistan in terms of mortality, and to highest infant mortality in the world. and between 2015 and 2016, 80% in the country are nowhere to be found. over 60% of equipment to perform dialysis in the country are failing or broken, so people are dying from renal disease because they can't have dialysis treatment.
and for malaria and other diseases, which venezuela was declared free of in the 1960's, and free of malaria in the '60s, today we have about 400,000 cases. still, the major cost to venezuela is violence. they said that 130,000 venezuelans have been violently murdered in those years. and this is part of the reason that we see people fleeing. even though we're not of the -- not sure of some numbers we have some figures that are conservative, but scary, between 2015 and 2017 the number of venezuelan from south america, 90,000 to 900,000 in only two years, and as i said before colombia said they host about 750,000. if you look at the figures,
venezuela is not in crime, it's not in a war, but it's in a state of war. and that's why it's really important to understand that these are a refugee crisis and this seniors around the u.n. -- centers around the u.n. or any other organizations to provide the aid that venezuelans need. it's a situation the country is going to keep getting worse. there is no reason to think otherwise. i think what they can do besides continuing with the pressure in the regime and to help these people who are fleeing for their lives. >> well, you can't fix a problem until you recognize the magnitude of the problem. so although those are depressing , statistics nonetheless. thank you for bringing them to us, because i suspect many of us have been vaguely aware of the magnitude of the crisis, but when you put it in those terms, this hits home. these are people and their lives have been disrupted if not destroyed. thank you, danny. hector, we'll bring you into the conversation.
hector is a true expert on democracy across latin america, has followed and focused on these issues for many years. hector, we've seen some interesting developments across latin america and that's impacting venezuela. we've had elections, governments that might have been traditionally reluctant to say or do much about a sister republic has all of a sudden become much more interesting in addressing these issues with countries like canada and united states and others, and we have the g20 in your home country of argentina. i wonder if you have thoughts about those issues that you can bring to the table and with that, we'll turn it over to you. >> thank you, eric. thank you for inviting me and nice to be here always. let me try to put that together with a couple of things that i had about the future that i had prepared largely come out of my sunday column and just a few days ago.
as juan was saying, the region has sort of been moving in the right direction not only because , of elections, but because of changes in the persuasion of different governments. it's not a question of whether left wing or right wing governments have won elections, but whether the region is coming together. although, it's not doing it as fast as we would like it to happen, right? timid, hesitant still, and for that, i -- one of the things i said on sunday was that the latin american countries, it's time for latin american countries to sanction just the way the u.s. did and the european union, switzerland which is not a member of the european union and yet switzerland sanctioned government officials. and it's time for the latin
americans to do it as panama did it. it's not impossible. they know the assets. in the argentine media way back, cabellos' residence was in the papers. one of the most exclusive country clubs in venezuela. -- clubs and when osiris -- clubs and when osiris -- clubs aires.os and so, that's one thing. i also think that the ambassadors should not pull the people out of venezuela because technically to not recognize the election entails to not recognize the government form, as a result of that election which technically means to pull out. of -- pullout ambassadors.
and i don't think that's a good idea. if nothing else, the ambassadors, the european ambassadors, latin american ambassadors are the witnesses of what's going on there. if they leave, there are no witnesses left. and more, the ambassadors should be more engaged, not less. it surprises me that the group, jennifer, has not sent ambassadors when this crisis started, you know, just last week and it's been already ten days and we have no news of prisoners there. >> this is a prison where they're holding-- >> these are the prisoners, they had the riots last week. this is, you know, it's a situation that the relatives are there, nobody knows what happened. nobody knows if they're alive or dead, and i think in the international community that is there has an obligation to be part of this and, you know, demanding information at the very least on the condition, and other well-known political prisoners.
so, the other aspect for this current juncture and especially for the latin americans is to deal with the elephant in the bazaar, the elephant in the room, if you want, and we haven't said-- we haven't pronounced the word cuba here yet. and as long as 20,000 and more modest estimations on 50,000 of advisors remaining in venezuela, it's going to be very difficult to produce the political situation that we all hope for. the cuban ministry officers are there to give people a way to point fingers to those that are later arrested or just like what happened two days ago, one of the services. and it's time for the cubans to
pull out and the international community has a role to play there. cuba cannot have-- is literally an occupation army. and it will not go anywhere as long as that continues. and well, cuba wants to trade. cuba wants investment. cuba wants integration, all right. there is a political negotiation there pending that needs to be said. the other thing that i think is extremely important now, i had a conversation with a couple of decision leaders. it is time for the government in exile to be created and europe
had a -- during the war, during world war ii, european countries. nine european countries have had under occupation, and by a series of criminal organizations as we described at this table. the supreme court in exile and and therend ruling, needs to be an executive branch as well in exile, which would be the natural interlockitor for foreign governments and they're pretty much in every country, colombia, argentina, u.s. and canada of course, and europe, of course, in italy and in france, obviously. well, that would be a way to also perhaps have an ambassador in exile. different people for the governments to deal with and you know, and get that information
and more information and help more. and finally, we need to start thinking the entire situation has been described today and describing every piece of news that you can find around, the infant mortality, where in syria the worse humanitarian crisis in , the americas, and the worse crisis we've had in the history. the definition is extremely important as danny was saying, but we have dealt with the internals in the past in the case of colombia, and refugees during the colombia conflict. it's time to perhaps explore the possibility of sending food on different parts, the largest refugees, and start with the
u.n. technical term is humanitarian arrangement operation, and indeed, that is what a humanitarian intervention is. and for internal affairs at the u.n. it's time to work out the diplomatic steps and humanitarian intervention entails some degree of logistical operation, and humanitarian workers don't go there by themselves, they go with a force that protects them . by definition, in conflict zones and this is a conflict zone. the maduro regime has systematically rejected any form of aid and will continue to do so for reasons explained already. it's policy started in ukraine, it's been written profusely. it's pretty much a cuban recipe, right?
whoever can leave, leave. and whoever stays, stays. but then that help needs to be already expedited and the community internationally has to react. upon what it is, it will continue to worsen for as long as the maduro regime is in office. the worst refugee crisis we've ever had in the americas. on that note, thank you, eric. i'm going to stop and happy to continue. >> well, hector, thank you, as well, for your outstanding comments, whew, that's a lot to take in. three outstanding presentations to include juan's as well. jennifer, i'm going to ask you to react to some of these comments, give you the first opportunity to do that, but hector also raised the rather provocative comment subtly in his comments and it's one that,
you know, you talked about the elephants in the bazaar being cuba. i think there's another elephant in the bazaar or wherever we want the element -- elephant to be but the issue of humanitarian , assistance, if the government doesn't accept it, someone's got to push it in there and that implies some sort of use of force, does it not? jennifer, let me ask you that very provocative question because of the -- as a master of the international multilateral process, you can help us sort that one out. >> thanks for the use of force question. [laughter] >> you can answer if you wants. >> good morning, everyone, i'd like to represent the government of canada. the comments we made at the outset were very quick, it's a complex situation, there's a lot to say, and as much as i said there was a lot left out, one of which is contributions that canada has made to the
humanitarian situation. you can't impose sanctions without taking into account the considerations. 40 million through the u.n. system which hopefully can get things in. also, $2.2 million that's being channelled more locally and our ambassadors in the region are active and engaged and visiting some of the areas where the impact is being felt. particularly in brazil and colombia. you use the tools that you have at hand and i think it actually throws it into pretty sharp relief. the reason the aid is not getting in isn't because aid isn't offered, there's plenty of system out there and to address those in need in this crisis, but the government the venezuela continues to refuse to allow this. inamerican institutions are trying to do something about the rise of diseases that have previously been eradicated and i think we need to continue to
provide support, political, diplomatic, as well as moral support to those affected by this crisis, but at the end of the day, the responsibility is clear. it has to be squarely on the shoulders of those in venezuela and those supporting the regime, either through their actions or lack of actions, are allowing this to continue. those who refuse to take action in areas like the oas. those who refuse to stand up and join in doing the right thing, when our own documents have said and committed us to doing, they, i think, must also ask themselves some tough questions what responsibility they bear. the government of canada has been active to try to put pressure on the regime and mitigate as a crisis. we've done this globally and within the hemisphere, we're trying to create a global partnership, as many as we can to do it. and the most important ones those in venezuela and those who will not stand up and do the
right thing. i suppose that's my answer to that. >> fair enough. i think that's very well-said. we will come back to you hector. react to that, but you are also the economist on the panel and we talked about sanctions. the obvious implication being that are not just for we are alsobut collectively squeezing the macroeconomy so that the government finds it in its interest to lead itself to some democratic path. is that the impact that will be had? our governments taking the right steps, is
that's going to -- how do i put this? will there be other unintended consequences of doing this? on the one hand, we talk about sanctions and the obvious implications they're not just squeezing individuals for corrupt and anti-democratic act. i think that's a great question. the way i view it, two types of sanctions that have been so far thought about. the first ones are ones that are already in place and the u.s. always try to look at other countries, which are stopping venezuela from -- the venezuelan government from issuing more debt. and venezuela is highly embedded and selectively defaulted, actually i saw that they stopped even repaying some of their loans from the inter-american development, a couple hundred million dollars. and back in about ten years ago, venezuela could have paid off all of its external debt with four to five months of exports.
today they need over five years of exports to repay all of that, completely up sustainable. the reason we -- venezuela reached this is because they did exactly the opposite of what you would learn in your first economics, macro economics 101 class in the very first 30 minutes, which is when you have an oil boom like the one venezuela had in during all of 2000's, you don't go and spend all of that money immediately and then borrow even more. you actually save some of that money because those are the seven years of the fat cow and when the seven years of thin cow comes, you have those savings to deal with the bad situation, that's what, for instance, with when velasco was successful of doing that. with the copper and minister was successful in doing that at the time and it's the right thing to do and with oil.
with venezuela and chavez, that's why it's important to talk about the previous government, not only maduro. they are responsible for this. they overspend the money and throw it into consumption while destroying the private sector with regulations and price controls and appropriations, and that's why the country was leading in imports. guess what, when the price are oil goes down and you have nothing more to borrow, you can't import anything. imports fell by 80%. that's why people are dying of hunger and people have no medicine and the last resource printing money. even though some great economies think that it's there's no link, but that's the case. so this collapse and the economy which is translated to a 30% to 40% dropping the gdp of the country has nothing to do with the sanctions, to be honest. i think the sanctions -- these type of sanctions, sanctions
that are stopping the government from issuing more debt, they are important and should be there, but to me they're cosmetic. to be honest. the country even without the sanctions, they couldn't get more debt. and nobody in their right mind, i wouldn't, to would lend a penny to a government that is not going to pay you back. the worst sanctions of all, the ones that they impose on themselves with the macroeconomic policies. so therefore, i think the sanctions are good to be there, but the story that they are really affecting the ability of the venezuelan government to manage the economy is fictitious. it's their mismanagement that got us here. so there are broader sanctions that i think, following up with all options are
, on the table and there are broader sanctions to stop u.s. from buying oil from venezuela. by the way, the government of venezuela, they're so against the empire and they diplomates in the u.s. why don't they stop selling oil to the u.s. if they're so -- they don't want to do that. i think, but speaking more as an economist and in terms of the median long-term, i think that that would be a bad idea. not only because it will, of course, put more pressure on the venezuelan people as a whole, but because it could have a huge impact in the long run. even if we think there could be another government at some point. there's something very important with exporting with the u.s. buying oil, which is the refineries in the u.s., is they're being stubborn. if they're not used for venezuelan oil they're going to be taking away from there -- customized to refine other types of oil and that problem is getting back into the market is very costly. so it would effect any other government in the future.
and one thing i believe is really important and i think there's much more room, are the personalized sanctions. as we spoke. they should not be only financial, i think it's really important to -- as juan was saying, i was really glad he said that, to the rally together, not only to stop the people from -- i mean, to free their assets from people who have access to the stolen money, but to have people in those countries -- there are venezuelan officials who visit mexico every couple of months and with their kids and hang around and use their money. why are they allowing those people to get into the countries. they should be declared persona nongrata and banned from europe, america, asia, the caribbean, north america and everywhere else. and the last thought is that these personal sanctions they should continue. they should start also at
targeting middle to high-ranking officials and their first degree family members and this is a thought i'm going to throw out there, i think it's important to think about a way in which this can be done progressively and even announced so that if people, middle ranking venezuelan government official or military officer knows that a month from now sanctions, targeted sanctions are going to jump on him or her, maybe they will have an incentive to really come against the government. so i think to play around with the idea this could be progressive could have a huge impact. >> love to explore that further. don't have time, but let's take a rain check on that and it's an interesting contribution about the conversation and the narrative about what is causing the economic collapse, that's the comfort of place for the regime both in venezuela and
outside of venezuela to blame the international community, particularly the united states for sanctions which have nothing to do with the collapse of the venezuelan economy. thank you for that and thank you for bringing in and putting the responsibility for the chavez government. hector, we're going to turn to you, but we only have about five minutes. jennifer has been called to a special session of the oas and she has to depart. and let's see if we can squeeze this in. hector, five minutes or less. >> okay, first comment for danny about the policies. the only example you provide in latin america about the ability of the policies is chile. because that's the only country that runs it. >> sure. >> and largely because it has a set of institutions designed for that purpose. norway is in europe, but norway has the benefit of discovering democracy about 100 years before
they discovered oil. and the resource course is there and whether it's oil or copper or foreign borrowing, the effect has always been the same, the boom bust cycle -- but anyway, a comment about sanctions is, absolutely, i mean, there's plenty to be done in the realm of personal sanctions, targeted sanctions. absolutely. the relatives of thugs and criminals in power are not guilty, but using money that comes out of corruption and robbery, well, that's a crime as well. they shouldn't go to jail, perhaps, but shouldn't be travelling europe and north america as frequently as they do. and one more thing about personalized sanctions and there's nothing more personalized than this. on tuesday, the report at oas on the possible commissions of crimes against humanities coming out, i've been told it's a pretty substantial report with a
few hundred pages and with the recommendation of independent panel of jurists, one is a canadian, another one is a costa rican. to be referred to the national -- international criminal court, well, the international criminal court lays responsibility on individuals for the commission of crimes against humanity not on states. so you can't get any more personalized in terms of sanctions. and countries will have to -- the latin american countries, members of the oas or observers of the oas, a number of european countries will be potentially good candidates to join this effort and refer the report to the international court. and that will be perhaps a good
opportunity to good, you know, collective action strategy among the countries. so-- thank you. >> it's very clear and the venezuelan crisis is not your typical, if we can say that, latin american crisis, this is different, this is historic in a negative and different way and requires in some ways a historic and strong response from the international community in my view. i am delighted on behalf of the council of the americas with the depth and timeliness and the sophistication of this conference. it's been fabulous. i would love to extend it, we simply don't have the time. i hope all of you at some point would come back to the council. my only regret it takes a humanitarian tragedy to bring such wonderful speakers and analysts to the table this morning. nonetheless, on behalf of the council and all of us assembled, would you please accept our thanks and congratulations, and our offer to come back.
this picture of him in venezuela with joshua holt and his wife who are returning to the u.s. with the senator after spending nearly two years in prison. the couple was charged by venezuelan authorities by weapons and are expected to arrive in washington and meet with president trump at the white house. tonight on c-span, five commencement speeches from across the country starting with ursula burns, chair of the company vion. senatorollowed by richard burr of north carolina, andhia nixon, fred ryan,
brussels, and i think we have a very proud history together. it is always good when people visit to push back and think about the history we share and, it goes back to terms of shared values and cooperation to establish a relation between our two nations. ever since then, our nations have enjoyed the world's longus, unbroken, diplomatic voyage. americans do not forget the role the denmark played in our history. denmark proved capable commanders are able to win revolutionary wars. today, denmark continues to be an economically strong nato ally
for defense of freedom. thank you for providing high-end, critical capabilities and supporting those in afghanistan and for remaining one of the top contributors of the ice coalition. you also occupy as the oldest kingdom in europe and the only of bothhat is a member the eu and nato alliance. the u.s. places high value on denmark's astute wisdom on the baltic sea region. there are plans to increase by 2023 toin denmark uphold international stability and the rule of law. also, in this regard, across as required by out google
three of this treaty establishing nato, nations will establish gross thomistic product -- gross domestic product this year. . in closing, i wish you and your people a happy constitution day and celebration of democracy to your great nation. your ideas and delegation are most welcome here. thank you, very much.
it is great to be back in washington. it's good to be back with representatives of the state department and others. i would like to thank you, secretary, for your warm welcome and the discussions we previously had. early in your tenure, you can to copenhagen and i'm thankful for that. it reflects your strong belief in the importance of alliances and partnerships. however, it has perhaps had a downside. it seems to be a very busy schedule for the secretary, which impresses me being three years younger than your, you are clearly fit for this. [laughter] usa are closee friends and allies bound together by shared values,
liberty, and freedom. we will stand up for these rights and do so together. being right here before the board today, i want to honor those who have paid the highest price in serving our nation. we praise the professionalism and sacrifice of the u.s. colleagues. allow me to do so today. during our meeting, i look weward to discussing how could discuss our defense cooperations and how this can priorities in the new national defense. we will also discuss the baltic sea region and the arctic. atticnd the transit the links -- transatlantic links are essential. this is not something we take for granted.
the united states can count on denmark to take responsibility and engage. we are committed to do our share, reasonably and internationally -- regionally and internationally. >> thank you, minister. if the members of press will excuse us, we will get down to it. i'm optimistic that the diplomats are working very hard to make this meeting happen. >> with a military rank up exercises not that the sunt -- summit has been canceled? >> we're not changing anything right now. it is steady as she goes. our best foot forward. >> [indiscernible]
>> right now, the whales pledge very gdp, we consider a of theble percentage best defense in the world and nato has proved to be that. we went all the way through the cold war and, so, we strongly believe this is the cornerstone of our defense in america and it is the same as denmark's is with nato and the transatlantic alliance. we are going to work on that alliance now. thank you very much. commencement speeches, next week in primetime. monday at 8 p.m. eastern, oprah winfrey, steve scalise, rod rosenstein, and attorney, joke
kotchet. joe wednesday at 8 p.m. eastern, hillary clinton, rex tillerson, things matches, and canadian prime minister, justin trudeau. thursday at 8 p.m. eastern, tim cook, john kasich, kate brown, and congressman luis gutierrez. devos,immy carter, betsy mark meadows, and keisha lance bottoms. this is on the free c-span radio app and c-span.org. >> this week, the white house did not release the president weekly address. the senator of massachusetts, discusses gas prices. >>