U.S. and Canada must stop trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government
Windsor Peace Coalition, March 2, 2019
To be considered humanitarian, any international assistance offered to a country must be based simply on the notion that as human beings we should support one another when we are in need, not on ulterior motives. In the case of Venezuela today alleged humanitarian aid is being used to try and incite a civil war and foreign aggression led by the United States.
This was the case with incidents on February 23 when the US and the unelected self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela Juan Guaidó tried to force the entry of unauthorized goods into the country from neighbouring Colombia.
The U.S. itself said its stunt at the border was in fact a test of Venezuela’s military forces. What does this mean? The U.S. and Guaidó have been blackmailing and threatening Venezuelan armed forces members to turn their back on their duty to defend the constitution, and instead carry out a coup against the country’s legitimate executive authority including the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.
It did not work. It did not work because what the U.S. organized on Venezuela’s border had nothing to do with humanitarian principles but was an attempt to create a trigger for a foreign invasion. It is to Canada’s shame that instead of trying to contribute to a calm and peaceful atmosphere for Venezuelans to resolve their problems internally without foreign interference it rushed in on February 23 to repeat absurd accusations of U.S. officials who tried to blame the government of Venezuela for burning a truck said to be carrying aid, surrounded by provocateurs throwing Molotov cocktails – on the Colombian side of an international bridge and with the permission of Colombian authorities.
The United Nations and the Red Cross both refused to participate in the U.S. operation citing its political rather than humanitarian motivation.
Venezuela is going through a severe economic crisis with high inflation and shortages of imported medicines and foods – largely brought on by a deliberate strangulation of the country’s economy by those whose aim is regime change. Countries that do not have an embargo against Venezuela and its government can ship aid by air or sea as Mexico, Russia, China, Cuba, and others have done recently. Cuba in fact has also assisted by having over 18,000 health care workers in Venezuela. Venezuela is itself well known internationally for the development assistance it has provided developing countries, especially sister nations in the Caribbean. None of this aid was ever used to try and carry out regime change. Canada should follow this example.
The Venezuelan government has said it will accept aid delivered through the United Nations. The UN has worked out ways for Venezuela to import needed goods so that countries do not have to individually come up against the U.S. or EU blockades of Venezuela designed to prevent it from accessing international payment and loan systems controlled by U.S. financial institutions. Going through the UN system also prevents countries from incurring penalties from the U.S. if they do business with Venezuela. This shows how the U.S. blockades of Cuba and other countries work as well. It is a perverse form of collective punishment aimed directly at a nation’s people, especially the most vulnerable, intended to pressure them to turn against their government. It not only violates international law but is profoundly inhumane and amounts to an act of war.
The humanitarian position today is to say:
– End the suffocating economic blockade;
– No to regime change;
– No to a brutal war of conquest in Latin America.
It is to call for political solutions which start from recognizing Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence and rejecting military solutions based on the use or threat of force, which is illegal! All support should be given to measures which promote dialogue between and among Venezuelans to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner and in accordance with their constitution.
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