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    In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington

    Ilhan Omar Blames US Sanctions for Venezuela 'Devastation'

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    The United States hit President Nicolas Maduro's government with crippling sanctions, targeting the country's oil industry and banking sector in a bid to force him out, but economists say these measures have had a terrible impact on the local population.

    US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has lashed out at Donald Trump's point man for Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, and argued that the sanctions Washington slapped on Venezuela's government aren't in the US' own interests.

    "A lot of the policies that we have put in place have kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela," Omar, a Democratic representative from Minnesota, said in an interview with Democracy Now!

    "And we've sort of set the stage for where we're arriving today. This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States."

    The congresswoman also hit out at Elliot Abrams, a veteran diplomat who was appointed US special envoy for Venezuela in late January to oversee the US response to the deepening political crisis in the Bolivarian republic.

    In February, Omar grilled Abrams at a House hearing over his checkered career in the Reagan and Bush administrations. She recalled his attempts to whitewash reports about US-trained death squads, who killed nearly a thousand people during the infamous 1981 El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, as well as his 1991 guilty plea to withholding information from Congress in the Iran-Contra affair.

    Back then, Abrams falsely denied that the Reagan administration was involved in arming the Contras, a right-wing rebel group which sought to topple the social Nicaragua government, through profits from secret arms sales to Iran in violation of US regulations.

    Omar said: "Elliott Abrams, neocons and warmongers, you know, for so long have pushed for policies that are now-we can see, not only in Central America, but many parts of the world, the kind of devastations that they've had for decades."

    She recalled a conversation with former US state secretary Madeleine Albright about how some of the sanctions the US introduces against adversarial governments have "devastating effects" on the people rather than the governments.

    "And she concurred with me that many of the sanctions that we impose ultimately lead to devastations and we are seeing it now in Venezuela-and ultimately lead to having severe problems in that country, which doesn't stabilize life for the people, and certainly puts us here in the United States at risk," she remarked.

    READ MORE: Bolton Pushes Military Option for Venezuela as Trump, Pentagon Hesitate – Report

    In the interview, Omar several times cited world-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs. He recently blamed US sanctions against Nicolas Maduro's government for reducing the availability of food and medicine while aiding the spread diseases, resulting in the death of some 40,000 Venezuelans.

    Sachs' report also branded the US economic sanctions against Venezuela illegal under international law because constitute collective punishment.

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    crisis, sanctions, Iran-Contra, Elliott Abrams, Ilhan Omar, El Salvador, Venezuela, United States
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