Contrary to the impression given by Jason Mitchell, Venezuela does not have a socialist economy (‘Maduro’s madness’, 25 August). It has a ‘mixed’ economy (and therein lies some of its problems; such as food hoarding by private companies hostile to the regime). The private sector is large, and involved in numerous sectors within the economy; food distribution, pharmaceuticals and so on.
The US sanctions against Venezuela have always been about regime change, and these sanctions amount to a blockade of the country. US and European banks have refused to handle Venezuelan payments for medical supplies, and pharmaceutical companies have refused to issue export certificates for cancer drugs — therefore stopping them being imported into Venezuela. Despite these sanctions being illegal under international law, they continue, and will continue until the ‘social democracy experiment’ in Venezuela is crushed. No country could survive this economic strangulation, irrespective of their political hue.
This first appeared in this week's Spectator letters pages.