Monthly Archives: October 2019

Cuba presents report on impact of US blockade in past year

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla presented the country’s report to the General Assembly outlining the full impact of the U.S. blockade over this last year. The report is accompanied by a resolution entitled “The need to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” presented for the 28th time to the United Nations General Assembly, where the international community has repeatedly expressed its support for the island and condemnation of the hostile U.S. policy. Continue reading

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Canadian Network on Cuba responds to Canadian government on visa services for Cubans

Demonstration in Ottawa, May 25, 2019, demands restoration of consular services at Canadian Embassy in Havana.


The visa office located at the Embassy of Canada in Havana, Cuba was closed by the Government of Canada on May 8, following unproven health concerns of embassy staff. Since then, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says it has been working diligently to ensure that the processing of applications from Cuba continues smoothly and that applicants have access to the services they need to come to Canada. Continue reading

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The Cuban Revolution at 60 – International Conference opens in Halifax

CALENDAR OF EVENTS | PDF

Forty internationally renowned Cuba scholars, policy-makers and policy analysts will gather at Dalhousie University in Halifax today to take the measure of “The Cuban Revolution at 60.” Continue reading

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“Major Revelation” from OPCW whistleblower: Jonathan Steele speaking to the BBC

Tim Hayward

The following is a transcription of an interview given by Jonathan Steele (former Senior Middle East Correspondent for the Guardian) to Paul Henley, on the BBC World Service programme, Weekend, on 27 October 2019

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Toronto rally and march defends the rights of the Kashmiri people

More than 250 people participated in a rally and march at the Ontario legislature on October 19, to affirm the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination in the face of a brutal military occupation and lock-down by the Indian state which has lasted for more than 80 days. The action was held on the eve of the federal election to demand that whichever party comes to power, it must speak out and condemn the Indian government’s brutal campaign of state-terror and violence in Kashmir. India launched this assault after Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, giving Kashmir a degree of autonomy, was rescinded, on August 5 by the Modi government. Continue reading

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Media ignore unmasking of Twitter exec as British psyops officer – Government penetration and control over media of little interest to those who are subject to it

By Alan MacLeod

Middle East Eye: Twitter executive for Middle East is British Army 'psyops' soldier

Middle East Eye (9/30/19)

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Halifax Discussion Forum: War and Peace — Who Decides?

Halifax
Saturday, October 26 – 1 pm

North Memorial Public Library, 2285 Gottingen St.
For information: noharbourforwar@hotmail.com
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Windsor discussion highlights role of the people in making Canada a Zone for Peace

A meeting was organized by the Marxist-Lenininst Party of Canada in Windsor on October 19 to discuss Canada’s foreign policy and how to make Canada a zone for peace. The meeting which was chaired by Laura Chesnik, the MLPC candidate in Windsor—Tecumseh who outlined the main points of the MLPC platform calling for a change in the direction of Canada’s foreign policy and emphasized the need for discussion on these matters during the federal election. In keeping with the MLPC’s call for political renewal she said the Canadian people, and no one else, must be empowered to decide the aim and direction of Canada’s foreign policy. Continue reading

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Protestors demand that Canada withdraw its support for Haiti’s corrupt and illegitimate regime

On Saturday, October 12, over 50 people rallied outside the electoral office of Justin Trudeau in Montreal to demand that Canada withdraw its support for the corrupt and illegitimate regime of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti. The action, organized by Solidarité Québec-Haïti, was called as a follow-up to an ultimatum given by the organization to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 9, as its deadline ended on Friday, October 11th at 2:00 pm. Continue reading

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Canada’s seizure, sale and disbursement of Iranian assets are acts of a hooligan and wrecker of international law

By Steve Rutchinski

Documents recently filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reveal that some $30 million realized from the seizure and sale of Iranian government assets in Canada have been transferred to American families who filed for compensation under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act 2012. Their claim for compensation began in the U.S. court system but extended to Canada when they realized Canada would follow suit. The properties appropriated and sold were the Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa and the Centre for Iranian Studies in Toronto. The transfer of funds to the families only came to light last week. Continue reading

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Cartels, coalitions and the need for people to take up the work for democratic renewal

Interview with MLPC Leader Anna Di Carlo

Anna Di Carlo

Following the “leaders’ debate” which was staged at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec on October 7 by a media consortium with the participation of only 6 of the 21 parties registered with Elections Canada, Renewal Update interviewed the leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) Anna Di Carlo on the debate and related matters of concern. The transcript is posted below. Continue reading

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Foreign interference? The need to recognize and affirm rights to enforce security

Promotion of foreign interference in elections is used to say the problems with elections have nothing to do with the dysfunctional institutions and outdated definitions of democracy whereby the minority rule over the majority and call it majority rule. On the contrary, it is said that elections must be protected from an external, foreign force the people have no control over. People are to direct their fire away from a political process that disempowers them and instead join the rulers in targeting China or Russia or Iran or some other country. This not only constitutes war preparations as part of the U.S. war machine but also involves resurrecting Cold War anti-communism. This refers to opposition from the state and others to the people’s organized resistance and even elected officials who are declared to be promoters of foreign inspired “fringe ideologies.” Continue reading

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This Day. Anniversary of the War Measures Act

Forty-nine years ago on October 16, 1970, the federal Liberal government led by Pierre Elliott Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. Trudeau declared a state of “apprehended insurrection” in response to kidnappings and mailbox bombings taking place in Quebec. The War Measures Act gave the police the power to act without warrants and to detain people indefinitely without charges or trial.

Soldiers on the streets of Montreal, October 1970

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Turkish aggression against Syria: For a principled and permament solution to the Kurdish question

On August 7, Turkish and US officials agreed to jointly manage a buffer zone between the Turkish border and areas in Syria controlled by the Kurdish YPG, which Istanbul considers a “terrorist” threat. On October 6, the Trump presidency announced that US forces would withdraw from the border areas to make way for a “long-planned operation” by Turkish forces. On October 8, Turkey, a member of the US-NATO bloc which hosts a massive US air base at Incirlik – hosting some 5,000 Air Force personnel, tactical nuclear weapons and used to fly sorties over Syria – launched a new military invasion of northern Syria dubbed Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on positions of Kurdish units. The Syrian Arab Republic branded the operation, part of the old imperialist divide-and-rule of the Middle East on an ethnic and religious basis, as aggression. The Syrian Kurdish forces and the Syrian Arab Army swiftly launched a counter-offensive to block the Turkish advance. Continue reading

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No to Imperialist gangsterism! End the brutal siege of Venezuela!

By MARGARET VILLAMIZAR

On September 11, at a regular meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) the United States and 10 Latin American countries that are parties to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, passed a resolution recommending that it be activated against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, based on Venezuela allegedly representing “a clear threat to peace and security” in the Americas. Five other countries that are also party to the treaty abstained and another was absent.[1] On September 23, at a follow-up meeting of foreign ministers of the member countries held in New York, 15 of them approved activating more sanctions but stopped short of openly calling for the use of force. Uruguay opposed the motion and announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty and Trinidad and Tobago abstaine Continue reading

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Polish media: The US can abandon Poland in the same way it abandoned the Kurds

By SERGEY FILATOV

It has long been known that the establishment in Poland is guided by the US more than by even EU partners. This despite the fact that in the last 10-15 years Warsaw received about €100 billion for “integration” from the budget of the EU. Continue reading

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Kashmiri people persist with their demands for self-determination

The Pakistani authorities blocked thousands of protesters who began a march to the de facto border which divides Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, known as the Line of Control (LoC). Continue reading

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French-language “Leaders’ Debate”: Quebec-bashing over Bill 21

Quebec’s Bill 21 is raised often across the country as an “election issue.” It is expected to dominate the French-language “leaders’ debate” on October 10 as well. Renewal Update asked Diane Johnston who is running in the Montreal riding of Mount Royal for her opinion on Bill 21 and the Quebec-bashing which is taking place in this election. Continue reading

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How the ‘leader’s debate’ was fixed – legally

Prerogative powers used to determine electoral outcomes   | ANNA DI CARLO

The ruling elite present the leaders’ debates as an important, if not the most important means for guaranteeing the right to an informed vote during an election campaign. To shore up the fiction that the vote is free and fair, an impression is deliberately created that the Leaders’ Debate Commission, which organizes the debates is an independent body. This is not the case. The Commission and its orientation were mandated by an Order-in-Council of the Liberal Cabinet in power. The mandate makes sure that the cartel parties, the government, the state bureaucracy with its police, intelligence and security forces, and the monopoly-controlled media dictate what views are worthy of being heard and who is allowed into the debate. Continue reading

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Syria condemns the aggression of the Turkish regime and reaffirms its determination to face the invasion by all legitimate means

Damascus strongly condemned the aggressive intentions of the Turkish regime and the military mobilization on the Syrian borders. This “is a flagrant violation of international law and of Security Council resolutions that insist on respect for unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syria,” reports an official source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates to the Sana agency. She reiterated that Syria is determined to fight Turkish aggression by all legitimate means. Continue reading

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The cartel party campaign with two weeks to go

By PAULINE EASTON

The 43rd general election campaign lacks lustre. So say the pundits, pollsters and monopoly-controlled media. They complain that no cartel party has managed to distinguish itself to become the leader of the pack. The Liberals and Conservatives are said to be running neck and neck.

So, with two weeks to election day, can Scheer mobilize the considerable base which abhors Liberal opportunism and hypocrisy to overcome the bad memories of the Harper years? He is vying with Trudeau to lead the next government but he is basically an unknown quantity and this is a problem. His penchant for saying politically incoherent and incorrect things has to be reined in from time to time which contributes to the fact that nobody knows what to expect. Continue reading

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Thousands descend on Syrian border to stop Turkish invasion

Kurdish women hold a banner with Arabic that reads, ‘We don’t accept enemies and strangers on our land,’ as they protest against possible Turkish military operation on their areas, at the Syrian-Turkish border, in Ras al-Ayn, Syria


THOUSANDS of people headed to the northern Syrian border today to form a mass human shield ahead of an anticipated Turkish invasion of the largely Kurdish region hours after it was abandoned by US forces.

Kurds warned of an act of betrayal after US President Donald Trump announced that he was pulling forces out of northern Syria following a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Continue reading

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The Cuban Revolution at 60 international conference

Forty internationally renowned Cuba scholars, policy-makers and policy analysts will gather at Dalhousie University in Halifax this fall to take the measure of “The Cuban Revolution at 60.”

The three-day symposium (October 31–November 2) will be highlighted by addresses by two of the key players in the historic 2014 re-opening of relations between Cuba and the United States. Josefina Vidal, now Cuba’s ambassador to Canada and then Cuba’s chief negotiator with the Americans, and Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the first US ambassador to Cuba following the renewal of relations, will each offer personal reflections on what happened then, and what isn’t happening now.

Visit the conference website www.cuba60.ca for more information

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An Open Letter to party leaders in the 2019 federal election of Canada

Re: Canada-Cuba Relations

I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC), which represents Canada-Cuba friendship and solidarity organizations across Canada, ranging from Vancouver to Halifax and with over 50,000 in membership. One of the CNC’s principal objectives is advocating that Canadian foreign policy regarding Cuba remains based on equality and respect for sovereignty and the right of selfdetermination. Consequently, the CNC is deeply concerned by recent decisions and actions of the Government of Canada. Canadians are very worried that recent developments in Ottawa-Havana relations could lead to the mirroring of the policy of the United States. Continue reading

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Another US attempt to discredit Cuban medical solidarity

Cuba has denounced another aggressive move by the United States, October 1, to deny visas to the country’s delegation set to participate in the 57th meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Directing Council in Washington, The country’s Minister of Health, José Ángel Portal, was set to lead the group.

The U.S. State Department reported that it had imposed visa restrictions on officials linked to Cuba’s medical missions program abroad, which the Trump administration is determined to discredit by whatever means possible. Continue reading

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Call for complete overhaul of the UN

By FIROZ OSMAN

In the midst of simmering global tensions, the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York staged many of the adversaries. These included Donald Trump, Hassan Rouhani, Narendra Modi, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Imran Khan, Boris Johnson and Abdel Fattah el Sisi.

A notable absentee was Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu who is fighting for his political life in order to avert a prison sentence for corruption. Continue reading

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Proposals for a direct vote for the US president and a Michelle Obama candidacy

Various proposals are currently being made for reforms to the existing electoral set up, such as different ways of counting the vote, caps on campaign spending, elimination of the Electoral College and its replacement with a direct vote for president. It is important to examine these proposals from a vantage point that is to the advantage of the people. That is, the existing relations of power keep the people out of power and preserve and protect the power of the rulers. Will proposals change these relations in favor of the people, or take steps in that direction? Or do they preserve the status quo? Continue reading

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Can impeachment restore confidence in a dysfunctional system?

Hillary Clinton, in supporting impeachment of President Trump, said, “This occupant of the Oval Office poses a clear and present danger to our future, to our democracy.” Use of the phrasing “clear and present danger,” is commonly associated with justification for aggression abroad against an enemy that has not attacked but poses a “clear and present danger,” and for restricting freedom of speech in the name of war and countering espionage. It would appear Clinton and those she represents, including the intelligence agencies, favour both at this time. These agencies, like the military are supposed to remain neutral, so as not to compromise their loyalty to the Office of the President. They both instead have been openly interfering, as the norms of the existing arrangements break down. Continue reading

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Koch and Soros join to form Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

United actions in Washington, DC on March 30, 2019, 70th anniversary of NATO, stand against war

A main problem the U.S. ruling circles are trying to solve is preserving the U.S. and their rule in the face of intensifying conflicts among the factions vying for power, particularly control of the presidency. There is concern that Trump has been unable to unite the vying factions, especially the huge military bureaucracy, while also keeping the people dispersed and disempowered. In attempting to contend with these problems and unite the factions, some of the most powerful forces have joined together to establish the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. It is openly a means to bring together what are often called anti-war conservatives and liberal democrats. It is funded by billionaires George Soros, a big Clinton backer, and the Koch Brothers, Trump supporters and notorious for their anti-union and anti-people actions. Continue reading

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New direction is needed for Canada’s foreign policy

• Discussion Forum and Information Picket to Oppose Anti-Venezuela Conference at Concordia University

• Oppose the Dirty Work Against Venezuela by the Agents of Violent Regime Change and Their Backers in Canada
• Statement on the Anti-Venezuela Conference at
Concordia University in Montreal
– ALBA Social Movements Canada


Discussion Forum and Information Picket to Oppose Anti-Venezuela Conference at Concordia University

Montreal
Discussion
Friday, October 4, 4 -7 pm

1360 Ontario St. E.
Information Picket
Tuesday, October 8, 4:30-7:30 pm

1250 Guy St.
For information: 438-368-1641 or 514-991-4388
Organized by the Montreal Ad Hoc Committee Against Canadian Interference in the Affairs of Venezuela

Over recent days, Canadians and Quebeckers have witnessed the big powers stepping up their activities to justify all manner of attacks against Venezuela and the sovereignty of its people: inflammatory statements on September 24 and 25 at the United Nations by Colombian President Ivan Duque, accusing the Venezuelan government of “genocide” and protecting drug dealers and guerrillas preparing to attack his country; a conference planned on October 8 in Montreal with the false ambassador to Venezuela; the adoption of a resolution at a meeting of the Lima Group on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, instigated by Canada and three other countries, calling for the creation of a group of experts charged with investigating human rights violations in Venezuela

Every effort is being made, in concert with the U.S., to destabilize the region, isolate Cuba and Venezuela and justify a new intervention in the name of the Responsibility to Protect and other pretexts.

This must be firmly opposed. Join in a discussion and get information about what is taking place. Representatives of various communities will speak of their experience with such pretexts to justify interference and aggression. Let’s discuss the shameful role that Canada is playing in this. Canada must be a zone for peace, not war.


Oppose the Dirty Work Against Venezuela by the Agents of Violent Regime Change and Their Backers in Canada

Join a discussion to be held in Montreal on Friday, October 4 and an information picket on Tuesday, October 8 to oppose the dirty work against Venezuela by the agents of violent regime change and their backers in Canada. The actions are prompted by the holding, during the election campaign, of an anti-Venezuela conference which claims to deal with the current crisis in that country. This conference is organized on October 8 by Concordia University’s Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Montreal Branch of the Canadian International Council. The speaker is Orlando Viera-Blanco who the organizers misleadingly call the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada. He was appointed by the self-proclaimed imposter president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, who Canada recognizes in an act of gross interference into Venezuela’s sovereign internal affairs.

While Canada’s diplomatic corps are advised not to intervene in Canada’s election campaign, that does not seem to apply to Viera-Blanco, a member of the foreign-backed opposition forces attempting to overthrow Venezuela’s constitutionally elected president Nicolás Maduro. The October 8 Conference aims to win support for that unjust cause in Canada. Viera-Blanco gave an indication of what this means on his return from a recent junket to Israel as an official guest of that government when he wrote glowing accounts announcing that Israel is an example for Venezuela to emulate.

All of it is part of an offensive taking place at and surrounding the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly aimed at stepping up the U.S.-led siege of Venezuela and making a case for the Security Council to approve the illegal coercive measures currently in effect and the eventual use of force against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

On September 23, the foreign ministers of 16 Latin American countries and the U.S., which are signatories to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, met in New York to approve the activation of provisions of that treaty against Venezuela. A vestige of the cold war, the Rio Treaty was imposed on Latin America and the Caribbean by the United States in 1947 as an instrument for “containing communism” in its “backyard.” Following the same logic as NATO’s Chapter V, it commits state parties to engage in collective defence if any one of them comes under armed attack and allows for the authorization of a range of punitive measures up to and including military force. It was used in the past by the U.S. to invade the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama and Nicaragua.

Canada is not a signatory to the Rio Treaty but agreed to its use at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) called earlier in the month to discuss its invocation. Canada said that Venezuela represented “a clear threat to peace and security in the region” — language crafted to get the UN Security Council on board, despite this having failed miserably in several prior attempts.

On September 25 Colombia’s warmongering president Ivan Duque, engaged in destroying the peace process in his country and presiding over the massacre of former guerrilla members and social leaders that continues with impunity, dedicated the bulk of his UN address to painting Colombia as the victim of an impending armed attack from Venezuela. His “proof” rested on photographs he displayed that he said were of Colombian guerrillas operating inside Venezuela. Within hours they were exposed to all the world as having been taken in his own country. (It is worth noting that Colombia has the status of being NATO’s first and currently only “global partner” in Latin America.) In his speech to the General Assembly Donald Trump contributed his own venomous lies to the cause, targeting Cuba who he and Duque both blame for their inability to bring the Venezuelan government, its Bolivarian armed forces or the people, to their knees.

This is the cesspool in which the meeting at Concordia put on by a cabal of Canadian and Venezuelan regime change forces is taking place. One of the organizers, the Canadian International Council, is headed at the national level by Canada’s last ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Roswell, who spent his time there violating the norms of diplomacy by using the embassy as a base for interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs in support of the regime change forces. Since his return to Canada in 2017 he has been leading the charge for the same cause as a media pundit and serving as a cheerleader for what he says is the Trudeau government’s “uniquely Canadian approach to democracy promotion” in Venezuela. This is touted as contrasting with the U.S. approach and its threatened military intervention even though the aim is the same.

The other organizer, The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, hosts a project called The Will to Intervene co-headed by General Romeo Dallaire. It was created to allegedly “prevent another Rwanda” by promoting foreign intervention to stop mass atrocities and human rights abuses based on the controversial Responsibility to Protect doctrine Canada promotes to justify foreign aggression and intervention in the name of humanitarian causes. The meeting announcement says Viera-Blanco will discuss “risks of mass atrocity crimes and the failure of the current government to uphold its responsibility to protect.”

Canadians oppose this vile pro-war activity carried out under U.S. dictate. What Canada is up to in Venezuela needs to be raised as an election issue by those who want Canada to be a factor for peace, not of war and aggression.


Statement on the Anti-Venezuela Conference at Concordia University in Montreal

– ALBA Social Movements Canada –

The Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University in Montreal has announced a meeting to be held on October 8, under the title “The Crisis in Venezuela: a discussion with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada.” The fact that the person they announced as speaker is not the legitimate Ambassador of Venezuela assigned by the legitimate government of Venezuela shows that it is clearly part of the ongoing U.S.-led assault against Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro.

The meeting notice is designed to disinform and create maximum confusion in Canada about the problems faced by the Venezuelan people who are under brutal, illegal sanctions and a blockade intended to punish them for supporting the elected government.

To suggest that the guest speaker at this event is the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada is a barefaced lie. He was not appointed by the legitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro but by the self-appointed “president” of a foreign backed opposition party the U.S. and Canada set up as a parallel government in the latest failed coup.

The meeting is held in the middle of a federal election to support the Canadian government’s active participation in the U.S.-led assault against Venezuela. Besides its support for the illegal sanctions and blockade imposed by the U.S., which constitutes collective punishment of populations and is a crime against humanity, Global Affairs Minister Freeland has been implementing an aggressive policy using “diplomatic means” to strangle the work of the Venezuelan Embassy in Ottawa to exert maximum pressure on the Venezuelan government.

Global Affairs began denying visas to Venezuelan diplomats in Canada in January 2019 in an effort to intervene in the legitimate activities of the diplomats which resulted in the closure of Venezuelan consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.

On June 2, 2019, Freeland announced that Canada was “temporarily” closing its embassy in Venezuela and that Canada intended to evaluate the status of the Venezuelan diplomats to Canada appointed by President Nicolás Maduro.

Since that time, systematic measures have been taken by public and private institutions in the U.S. and Canada to prevent the Venezuelan Embassy from carrying out its consular and other duties. The Venezuelan Embassy in Ottawa is the only office representing the Government of Venezuela and is responsible for processing all applications for visas, passports and other official documents for Canada and the United States.

In addition to the attacks of the U.S. and Canadian governments, FedEx recently notified the Venezuelan embassy that it would no longer be handling any packets or parcels destined for U.S. addresses. The Chargé d’Affaire of the Embassy has also been directed by several banks to close all the Embassy accounts based in U.S. dollars.

All these measures are a result of the U.S. financial, economic and commercial blockade intended to suffocate Venezuela on all fronts, including through targeting the Embassy in Canada which has in spite of all the attacks carried out its duties with honour.

The hypocritical declarations in the meeting notice about Canada having supported Venezuelans in their “efforts to achieve political and economic reforms,” and the “restoration of democracy through peaceful and negotiated means” cannot hide the crimes that are being committed by the U.S. and Canada against the people of Venezuela. The confusion which meetings like this one at Concordia are intended to create, coming as it does when the U.S. and the forces it commands are busy trying to sabotage the prospects of Venezuelans resolving their problems peacefully through dialogue, serves to cover the ongoing attempt to ramp up the siege of Venezuela and its people, and is a prelude to the use of force.

ALBA Social Movements Canada calls on you to support the information picket in front of Concordia University on October 8, to protest the anti-Venezuela activity promoted by the Government of Canada and Canadian institutions.


No to Imperialist Gangsterism!
End the Brutal Siege of Venezuela!

– Margaret Villamizar –

On September 11, at a regular meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) the United States and 10 Latin American countries that are parties to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, passed a resolution recommending that it be activated against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, based on Venezuela allegedly representing “a clear threat to peace and security” in the Americas. Five other countries that are also party to the treaty abstained and another was absent.[1] On September 23, at a follow-up meeting of foreign ministers of the member countries held in New York, 15 of them approved activating more sanctions but stopped short of openly calling for the use of force. Uruguay opposed the motion and announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty and Trinidad and Tobago abstained.

Rio Treaty, Tool for Foreign Intervention

The Rio Treaty, a relic of the cold war described as a mutual “defence” pact was imposed on Latin America and the Caribbean in 1947 by the United States as an instrument for “containing communism” in its “backyard.” Like NATO’s Chapter V, it commits state parties to engage in collective defence if any one of them comes under attack, based on the same logic that an attack on any one of us is an attack on all of us. It allows for the authorization of a range of punitive measures of a diplomatic and economic nature through to military force. At the September 11 meeting of the OAS an amendment proposed by three countries to exclude the military option against Venezuela was defeated.

This latest attempt to muster a regional force to intervene against Venezuela and provide it with a veneer of legitimacy was led by the U.S. together with the pro-war government of Colombia that today is engaged in destroying the peace process in its own country as former guerrillas and social leaders are being massacred with impunity almost on a daily basis. There was enthusiastic support for the resolution from the phony parallel “government” and “president” the U.S. and Canada have tried, but failed, to impose on the Venezuelan people, but which has has been illegally accredited to represent Venezuela at the OAS.

The centrepiece of the meeting, called auspiciously for September 11, was a harangue by the Colombian foreign minister who painted his country as the victim, claiming it was under threat of attack because of “illegal Colombian armed groups” and “new narco-terrorist groups” he alleged were being harboured, armed and trained in Venezuelan territory with the support of the Venezuelan government and its armed forces.

Canada’s Role

Canada was unable to take part in the vote at either the OAS meeting in Washington or the one held in New York on September 23 since it, like a number of other OAS members, is not a party to the Rio Treaty. However Canada and several other countries that make up the so-called Lima Group, put in motion by the U.S. to support its regime change efforts in Venezuela — and in which Canada plays a leading role — were the first to speak in favour of the resolution’s content aimed at opening the way for escalating and providing an air of legality for the criminal siege of Venezuela already underway.

Canada’s representative began his intervention at the OAS by condemning what he called the “illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro,” repeating the Colombian foreign minister’s allegations that would soon be shown to have come from an obviously forged document attributed to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Armed Forces, about the government of Venezuela “protecting narco-terrorist and delinquent organizations.” Leaving little doubt about Canada’s support for activation of the Rio Treaty, invoked by the U.S. in the past to lend legitimacy to its invasions of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua and other countries, the Canadian representative agreed there was “a clear threat to peace and security in the region” from Colombian armed groups allegedly operating freely in Venezuela, and said Canada shared Colombia’s interest in suppressing such organizations.

In its haste to appease the U.S. war government rather than upholding international law and the norms of diplomacy, the Trudeau government has landed knee-deep in a putrid swamp. Hypocritical words from the likes of Chrystia Freeland, ringleader of the Lima Group, who says Canada supports the Venezuelan people and is working for a “peaceful transition” to “democracy” on their behalf are belied by the facts. There is nothing peaceful, democratic or legal about organizing a coup d’état against a government freely elected by its people, and if that does not work, laying siege to the country with coercive measures aimed at starving its people and depriving them of medications to try and force them to stop fighting in defence of their sovereignty and right to be, as the U.S. continues to hold out the prospect of an invasion.

What Canada is participating in is imperialist gangsterism pure and simple. It must not pass!

It is clear that there is an urgent need for a new direction in Canada’s foreign policy — one that does not fly in the face of Canadians’ desire for their country to be a force for peace in the world and to have friendly relations with all peoples instead of meddling in their affairs. Without an independent foreign policy there will be no way for Canada to get out of the swamp it has landed in by appeasing the U.S. imperialists — the main threat historically as well as today to peace and security in the Americas and the world. The need to get Canada out of the U.S. war machine is a topic deserving of serious discussion in the election.

Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!

Note

1. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, Paraguay and Dominican Republic voted in favour. Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay abstained. Bahamas was not present.

Margaret Villamizar is the MLPC candidate in the riding of Windsor West.

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