Canada’s anti-democratic interference in Venezuelan affairs

Parliamentary subcommittee continues to advance pretexts for regime change | MARGARET VILLAMIZAR

On May 16, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development met to hear witnesses speak on “the deteriorating situation in Venezuela.” A good part of the discussion centred on how Canada could help “rescue democracy” in that country.The meeting took place one day after an op-ed appeared in the Globe and Mail entitled “Canada can help save Venezuela’s democracy.” The item was written by Lilian Tintori, who represents a section of the U.S.-linked opposition forces calling for international intervention to help them carry out regime change in Venezuela.

Tintori is the wife of convicted Venezuelan criminal and 2002 coup d’état participant Leopoldo López, currently serving a sentence for inciting violence leading to the deaths of 43 people in 2014. She was the main witness at what the committee billed as a briefing on the human rights situation in Venezuela. She was accompanied by Lopez’s mother as well as his Washington, DC-based lawyer Jared Genser and former Liberal MP and cabinet minister Irwin Cotler who has been used to promote in Canada the false claim that Lopez is a “prisoner of conscience.”

Genser’s biography on his law firm’s website indicates that he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Earlier this year the Latin American director of the Council on Foreign Relations appeared before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to present it with a portfolio of actions and measures the United States could take to carry out regime change in Venezuela.[1]

“Rescuing democracy” in Venezuela

No one on the Subcommittee pointed out that appealing to foreign governments to “help save Venezuela’s democracy” smacks of calling on them to get involved in regime change, and as such should not be entertained by Canada. No one stood up to say that upholding human rights in Venezuela requires putting an end to all foreign interference in Venezuela’s affairs, including the sordid role Canada has been playing at the Organization of American States (OAS), not to mention through the sub-committee itself. Instead, discussion centred on what Canada could do at the OAS to more effectively serve the cause of the anti-democratic coup forces the Trudeau government has aligned itself with. The results could be seen in the hostile declaration Canada put forward against Venezuela alongside the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Panama but failed to get adopted at the May 31 Meeting of Consultation of OAS Foreign Ministers.[2]

Despite the defeat it suffered at that meeting thanks to the united front of Caribbean states and several others from South and Central America that upheld their countries’ dignity in the face of U.S. bribes and blackmail, Canada can be expected to continue pushing the imperialist regime change agenda against Venezuela at the OAS General Assembly when it meets in Cancun, Mexico June 19-21.

What kind of study?

It is telling that as part of the Subcommittee’s “study” to produce recommendations for the Trudeau government, it has shown no interest in hearing from anyone other than those who have been virulent opponents of Venezuela’s social progress over the past 18 years. Not only are representatives of Venezuela’s government and governing parties not invited to testify but the myriad organizations representing workers and other collectives of the Venezuelan people who have been part of the majority supporting the country’s Bolivarian Revolution are also considered not worthy of an audience.

Absent the voice of Venezuela’s working people and constitutional government, what else could the Subcommittee’s study reflect but the assumptions, allegations and demands of the elite and reactionary forces that have been continually paraded before it as witnesses. Besides this, the committee is inundated with the opinions of so-called experts paid to justify Canada’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy and who serve as the Subcommittee’s advisers regarding “what to do about Venezuela.”

Canadian MPs should refuse to act as tools for imperialist schemes against sovereign countries and peoples whether in the name of human rights, democracy, humanitarian assistance or any other high-sounding ideals. They do themselves and Canada no honour by covering up that interference, destabilization and regime change are the real aims of Canada and the U.S. imperialists in Venezuela.

Notes

  1. For more information see “Who is Behind the U.S. State Department’s Coup Plot in Venezuela?”TML Weekly, June 3, 2017.
  2. See “Oppose Canada’s Nefarious Role! Hands Off Venezuela!, TML Weekly, April 22, 2017 and “Imperialist Scheme at Organization of American States Unravels,” TML Weekly, June 3, 2017.

Source: TML Weekly, June 10, 2017 – No. 21

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