Hands Off Venezuela!
An Open Letter to Chrystia Freeland
Dear Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland,
Concerned community members are gathered in protest of your actions as Foreign Affairs Minister today. We want to explain clearly why we are here and why we will continue to speak loudly about your shameful policies.
You and your government’s aggression against the people of Venezuela is not only a crime under international law, it is a moral outrage that is harming millions of Venezuelans and risks full scale war.
You have personally supported overt plans to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela:
· You tried to sabotage last year’s Venezuelan Presidential elections by declaring them illegitimate before they took place and not allowing Venezuelans in Canada to vote.
· You rallied right-wing governments in this hemisphere to the banner of regime change through the “Lima Group,” a meeting of countries outside recognized international organizations of states.
· You have championed a coup attempt in recognizing opposition figure Juan Guaido as the self-declared President of Venezuela.
· Your government has put in place sanctions against over 100 Venezuelan officials. International sanctions, mainly those of the United States, are a form of collective punishment and economic terrorism that economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot say have already resulted in more than 40,000 deaths.
· Your close partnership with Pompeo, Bolton, Abrams and Trump in their campaign of aggression against Venezuela risks an illegal invasion by the United States which would bring mass bloodshed to that country, similar to what we have seen in Iraq over the last 15 years where over a million people have died.
These are shocking violations of international law, national sovereignty, and the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
You say you are concerned about Canadian sovereignty when it comes to potential Russian interference in our elections. Is this not blatant hypocrisy?
You say you are concerned about human rights in Venezuela. This is while you have very little to say about the crimes being committed by the Colombian state where social movement leaders are murdered every week, and Brazil where the ultra-right Bolsanaro government threatens the LGBTIQ community and Indigenous peoples. You have little to say about Honduras where an uprising is underway against a President who stole the 2017 elections. These are your “allies” in the Lima Group against Venezuela.
You say you are concerned about humanitarian crisis in Venezuela yet you continue to export armoured vehicles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is engaged in a horrendous war in Yemen. The UN has said that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is “the worst in the world” with an estimated 24 million people in need of assistance and protection with famine threatening hundreds of thousands of lives.
Based on these facts we see that your focus on Venezuela has nothing to do with democracy and human rights and everything to do with efforts to destabilize a country moving in a progressive direction that threaten US and Canadian business interests in the region.
We say no more crimes in our name! Canada must adopt a foreign policy of peace and disarmament and allow the peoples of Latin America to determine their own futures.