What is the international agenda from Canada in Latin America, and particularly for Colombia? Is Canada just following and compliant with US foreign policy in regards of Latin America? These two, apparently innocent questions, have been floating through my thoughts for some time now. The questions started back from seeing the ultra-conservative Harper government’s policies in Latin America, but continue now seeing the Liberal government’s actions headed by Justin Trudeau.
Only five years ago a thunderous silence from Canada followed the antidemocratic impeachment against Dilma Roussef in Brazil. Nothing has been said that may disturb the abusive “kingdom” of human rights violations run by Sebastian Piñera in Chile. Even worse, Canada has blindly supported the Organization of American States that played a role in the destruction of Bolivia’s democracy, during the former illegal government of Jeannine Ánez, one of the leaders of the coup against Evo Morales. Despite one year of political repression and racism in Bolivia, sadly Canada said nothing.
Instead, Canada has been the unfortunate leader of the Lima Group, a cluster composed by highly questioned presidents such as Piñera, Lenin Moreno from Ecuador, Jair Bolsonaro from Brazil, and Ivan Duque from Colombia, under the coordination of the US “bishop” Luis Almagro, secretary of the OAS, which main goal is to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela. The previous Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, without any shame or blushing was the host of a meeting in Ottawa, whose central objective, at least for some members of the group such as the government of Colombia, was to overthrow the government of Venezuela.
Meanwhile Colombia is bathed in innocent blood. Hundreds of social leaders, teachers, and human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia after the peace agreement between the FARC guerrillas and the previous Colombian government. The leaders of the party supporting the current government publicly and openly promised, as a part of their political campaign towards the presidency they finally won, that they were going to destroy the peace process: “we are going to tear the peace agreement apart”. 230 disarmed FARC members, peace signatories, have been killed since the moment that the peace agreement came into force.
Did Canada voice any concern about the tremendous political violence in in Colombia? You can guess, but the answer is no. Apparently Canada is very busy and focused on Venezuela and Nicaragua, and not by mere chance, in coincidence with USA.
Canada is losing a great opportunity in Latin America. With the lack of prestige of the United States in what they consider “its backyard”, Canada rather than being a leader of democracy, peace and human rights, has become the backup of the US government in its regressive and imperialistic international policies.
In contrast with this unwanted reality, this upcoming November 19th, the CLAA (Canadian Latin America Alliance) and CASA (Colombian Action Solidarity Alliance), are organizing an international online forum that includes the Canadian Member of the Parliament Leah Gazan, the Colombian social leader Charo Mina Rojas, and the Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda to discuss about the Canada’s role in Colombia’s humanitarian tragedy. I am delighted to invite the readers to connect and register to participate in this forum throughclaa.caand to keep an eye in what is Canada doing in Latin America.
Luis Matta is a Colombian writer and human rights activist in exile.
Below you can read the Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle communiqué that was circulated today at the protest outside the offices of the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrysta Freeland (344 Bloor St. at 6 PM) and which will also be sent to the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.
It is backed by 12 organizations. We ask you to forward it widely!!
Spokespersons for the Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle:
Maria Páez Victor, Beatriz Santiago, Alma Weinstein
The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, an independent NGO, founded in 2003, is a circle of friends that seeks to strengthen links of friendship and understanding between Canadian and Venezuelan peoples, and ultimately, all the peoples of Latin America
BACKGROUND: On 4 August 2018, two drones armed with 1 kg of the explosive C4, were aimed at the stand where stood the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro and the top members of the cabinet and military forces, as well as many diplomats and visitors. The drones were intercepted by alert security forces, but not before one of them exploded injuring 7 soldiers and the other crashed at the foot of a nearby building.
The images of this attack went around the world as it took place in front of numerous TV cameras that were filming live the celebration of the 81st Anniversary of Venezuela’s National Guard, with a large the military parade in formation along one of Caracas’ main streets. All this was televised: it was a clear and stark terrorist attempted murder of an elected president of a democratic country in our Hemisphere.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrysta Freeland, has brought shame and disgrace to this country by:
FAILING TO CONDEM THE TERRORIST ATTACK: She has failed to condemn an attempted, televised, pubic massacre of the top officials of a country with a long tradition of friendship with Canadians.
FOLLOWING TRUMP DESPITE INSULTS TO CANADA: Despite President Trump’s insult to Prime Minister Trudeau, despite Trump declaring Canada as a security risk and imposing unjust economic tariffs on Canadian trade, Minister Freeland has joined with one of the most disreputable USA presidents in living memory in the political adventure of “regime change” for Venezuela.
IGNORING USA ABUSE OF LATINO CHILDREN: Despite Minister Freeland’s many statements of “concern” for human rights violations in Venezuela with little or no proof, she has not condemned the blatant abuse of human rights by the USA that has torn Latino children and infants from their parents’ arms and confined them to cages at the US/Mexican border, actions of outright racism.
Supported by the following organizations:
Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean Policy Centre (CAL&C)
A message from Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson, The Council of Canadians
I’m writing to share with you a groundbreaking new report the Council of Canadians released today that exposes how NAFTA is fuelling climate change in North America.
The report,NAFTA 2.0: For People or Polluters?, is a tri-national project from leading Canadian, Mexican and American economists who detail in original research how existing NAFTA provisions bind all three countries to fossil fuel futures, and how current negotiations make the problems worse.
For example, NAFTA’s energy proportionality rules require that Canada make available for export to the U.S. the same percentage of oil and gas as it has in the past three years.
What does that mean for Canada’s climate? The report’s economic modelling shows that NAFTA’s energy proportionality rules would lock in 1,488 megatonnes more greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is double Canada’s yearly emissions and more than 12 times greater than its 2050 climate pollution target.
In his Toronto Star op-ed this morning, Dr. Gordon Laxer – author of the Canadian sections of the report, long-time Board Member of the Council of Canadians, and political economist and founding director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta – expanded on how NAFTA restricts Canada’s ability to lower carbon emissions.
Dr. Laxer adds, “The Trudeau brand is all about progressive sounding, green tinted messages. However, in NAFTA, nothing has been done to address environmentally destructive measures such as energy proportionality or the investor state dispute mechanism. It is scandalous that NAFTA’s proportionality rule locks Canada into perpetual production of climate-polluting tar sands oil and fracked gas. For Canada’s transition to a clean energy economy to begin, this polluter-friendly rule must end.”