Ken Livingstone: Boris Johnson is wrong to support further sanctions that will hit the ordinary people of Venezuela

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It is disappointing, although not surprising, that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is following Donald Trump’s bidding in publicly supporting tighter economic sanctions against Venezuela, even though he admits that they hurt the ordinary citizens of the country.

This is especially the case when he delivered a statement to the House of Commons less than two weeks ago in which he regretted the re-imposition of American sanctions on Iran.

Instead the Foreign Secretary should be trying to persuade the United States to drop the existing severe economic sanctions in place against Venezuela which severely constrain its ability to import foodstuffs and medicines to feed and negatively affect the private sector and the population as a whole, especially the most vulnerable.

Rather than take this course, he is saying that he supports further sanctions even though he himself says they will negatively affect ordinary Venezuelans and Trump’s sanctions are opposed by a majority of both pro- and anti-government Venezuelans.

The way forward for Venezuela lies in a process of peaceful dialogue process. Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who monitored the recent Presidential election in Venezuela, has offered to mediate dialogue between Venezuela’s government and opposition.

Governments internationally, including Britain, should do all they can to facilitate and support such a process, not support Trump’s ‘regime change’ agenda and illegal sanctions, which only serve to exacerbate the country’s divisions and difficulties.

And if Boris Johnson wants to help peace, democracy and human rights in the region, he could start by saying this Tory government will never again sell spyware to Honduras, as recently demanded by NGOs working in the country.


  • You can sign a petition against the selling of spyware to Honduras here.
  • You can sign a petition against Trump’s sanctions on Venezuela here.