(February 20, revised February 23) – Today Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne is hosting a Ministerial meeting of the Lima Group in Gatineau, Québec, across the Ottawa River from the capital. This grouplet represents a small number of countries established by Ottawa in co-ordination with the United States outside the Organization of American States as part of its offensive to destabilize and remove the elected government of Venezuela. The meeting follows immediately on the heels of a Champagne’s trip to address a meeting of the Caricom countries in Barbados.
The Trudeau government is intensively promoting the Lima Group event. It established a “designated media centre” at the Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier Street, in Gatineau. It will be accessible from 8:00 a.m. ET to 5:00 p.m. ET.
Reporters are being vetted to control the information flow. “Media representatives will be required to present photo ID in order to receive their accreditation badges. Only media representatives who received confirmation of their accreditation by email will be able to access the event.”
Global Affairs Canada issued five press releases on February 18 and 19 as “reminders” to the media to attend the event. Only one session is public – “opening remarks” by Champagne and and Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru who took the stage at 10:00 a.m. There were two more “reminders” to the media issued this morning at 10.03 and 10.04 a.m. Already at 10 a.m. they had begun live streaming the introductory remarks to begin the Lima Group confab.
This torrent of press releases contrasts dramatically with the recent visit on January 26 to Ottawa of one Juan Guaidó, the imposter who calls himself the “interim president” of Venezuela, which was organized in virtual secrecy. It was made public with only one day’s notice.
Nevertheless, activists just as quickly organized a demonstration in support of the people of Venezuela and their government, as they are doing against today’s event. They are speaking for many more across the country when they declare Liima Group not welcome in Canada and demand that Venezuela’s sovereignty be respected just as the Trudeau government is being broadly condemned as a colonial state for trampling on the right of Indigenous Peoples and nations to sovereignty and self-determination.
The “special guest”
The hosting of the Lima Group and Guaidó is the result of measures of force and blackmail. It is known that the international tour of Guaidó was in the charge of U.S. representatives backed by a huge media campaign. After Ottawa, it surprisingly culminated during Donald Trump’s speech on the State of the Union before Congress as a “special guest”, and where the occupant of the White House then promised to “crush” the Bolivarian Revolution of Nicolás Maduro, while Elliot Abrams issued warnings: “there will be consequences” if Guaidó ws blocked from returning to Venezuela.
On his return from his two-week, U.S.-sponsored international “world tour” on February 11 – as the media outlet Redfish’s coverage shows – his reception in Caracas was not as warm as his reception at the White House, Parliament Hill and in his highly-publicized meetings with elites of the European Union. On home ground he is neither presidential nor the undisputed leader of the opposition. Guaidó was unceremoniously swarmed on his arrival at the airport in Caracas and confronted inside when he was asked for his passport by airline workers who began spontaneously denouncing him as a traitor, something not reported by the obedient media in Canada.
Their employer Viasa, the state airline, had just slapped with sanctions by the U.S. around the time Guaido was there. The workers, patriotic Venezuelans were incensed at his treachery against the nation, their company and of course the Venezuelan people as they also yelled asesino along with traitor as they jostled him all the way to his van. His uncle who flew back with him was detained for carrying forbidden goods and evidence of links to U.S. coup operatives. The Portuguese airline TAP let Guaido travel without listing him on the manifest and was suspended from operating in Venezuela for 90 days.
After his disgrace, Guaido wanted to prove his strength. He announced in the aristocratic municipality of Chacao new measures in the war of sanctions by international reaction against Venezuela and threatened to escalate the provocation with more guarimbas as “pressure mechanisms”, although the answers to his calls are increasingly meagre.
For the information of readers, we are reposting two recent articles by Margaret Villamizar, a journalist with TML Weekly here.