Canadian Peace Congress: Act Now to Defend Venezuela’s Sovereignty! No Sanctions! No Coup d’État! No Military Intervention!

The orchestrated campaign to remove the elected government in Venezuela and replace it with a puppet authority willing to serve U.S. economic and political interests has now reached a critical moment, one which may well end in a bloody civil war, a foreign military invasion, or both.

That this ‘regime change’ operation has been built on a mountain of lies, is hypocritical to its very core, and violates every principle of international law – including the UN and OAS Charters – doesn’t seem to bother in the least its architects in Washington or Ottawa. But it should alarm everyone who values peace and social justice, and who wants to avert a real humanitarian catastrophe.

The time to act is now, to stop this attempted right-wing coup d’état and prevent foreign military intervention which would only bring great hardship, suffering and loss of life on the Venezuelan people!

The manufactured political crisis did not start on January 23rd when the far-right usurper Juan Guaidó declared himself ‘interim president’ and was quickly recognized by the U.S., Canada and other Western powers, and right-wing governments such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru in Latin America. In fact, the campaign to destabilize the Venezuelan economy and prepare conditions for the attempted ouster of democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro and his government began long ago.

Ever since Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1998 and subsequently launched progressive social changes with majority popular support – public housing, literacy and healthcare campaigns, and the nationalization of oil – U.S. imperialism has sought to subvert the Bolivarian Revolution and reestablish control over the Venezuelan people and their oil and other natural resources. Washington masterminded an abortive coup (2002), a failed business strike (2003), and a series of violent street protests (most recently in 2014 and 2017).

The economic shortages and hardships touted by the western mass media today were not caused by government mismanagement or the ‘failure of socialism’ but rather by ever-tightening economic sanctions imposed unilaterally by the U.S. and its closest allies; by the collapse of world oil prices starting in 2014; and by the artificial shortages and currency manipulations of capitalist enterprises inside the country, forces that retain tremendous power within the domestic economy to this day.

It is in fact the same strategy used in Chile back in the early 1970s to destabilize the progressive government of Salvador Allende, before a fascist coup led by General Pinochet left more than 3,000 dead, and many more thousands tortured and driven into exile.

But the Maduro government, its military and its mass base among working people have stood firm against all of these pressures and threats. That is why the U.S. is now trying to use ‘humanitarian aid’ as a ‘Trojan horse’ to provoke a border conflict, providing a pretext to invade and occupy the country. Reports have already surfaced that US special ops forces have been covertly re-positioned near the Venezuelan frontier for precisely this purpose.

This economic war, the open demands on the military to overthrow their own government, and the possibility of foreign military aggression – all this is a gross violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence, and the right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination.

We condemn the shameful role which PM Trudeau, Minister Chrystia Freeland and the Canadian government are playing in this despicable ‘regime change’ operation. Instead of ‘fronting’ for U.S. imperial ambitions, Canada should get out of the Lima Group, end the onerous economic sanctions, and support a political solution to this crisis which it has helped to create and exploit.

The Canadian Peace Congress welcomes the fact that many labour, peace, solidarity and other mass organizations and movements have found their voice to speak out against this unfolding outrage. We appeal to all progressive and democratically-minded organizations and individuals to overcome every hesitation, and every attempt to silence our dissent, and speak out now for peace and for respect of international law!

No Sanctions!  No Coup d’État! No Military Intervention!

Hands Off Venezuela!

Join the actions this Saturday, Feb. 23

Demonstrations, marches and other actions with take place this Saturday in many centres across Canada. Protests are scheduled in Washington DC and dozens of other cities in the U.S.; in Europe, throughout Latin America, and in South and East Asia. It is truly an International Day to say “No War on Venezuela!”

If you are in or close to any of the actions listed below, we strongly urge you to consider participating. If your city or region is not listed, there still may be actions locally that somehow missed our list, so please check,. Or consider organizing an action yourself – a protest, picket at an MP’s office, an educational event, even a kitchen party to write letters to your local newspaper!

Here’s what’s on so far (alphabetically by city):

Calgary, AB

Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
615 MacLead Trl SE

Courtenay, BC

Saturday, February 23 | 1pm

Courtenay Public Library [300 6th Street]

– Organized by Comox Valley Peace Group

Edmonton, AB

Saturday, February 23 | 1pm

Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market [10310 83 Avenue Northwest]

– Organized by Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism

Halifax, NS

Saturday, February 23 | 1pm
Peace and Freedom Park (formerly Cornwallis Park) | Hollis St.

– Organized by Alliance for Venezuela Halifax and the Halifax Peace Council

London, ON

Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
NW corner of Victoria Park

– Co-hosted by Communist Party of Canada – Forest City Club; People for Peace, London, Ontario; and London Common Front

Montreal, QC

Saturday, February 23 | 2pm
Carré Philipps [Rue Saint-Catherine & Union]

Ottawa, ON

Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
Gather at the Prime Minister’s office [ 80 Wellington St.] for a march to the U.S. Embassy!

Regina, SK

Saturday, February 23 | 2pm
City Hall, Peace Fountain [2410 Victoria Ave.]

– Organized by the Regina Peace Council

Toronto, ON

Saturday, February 23 | 11am
Rally Outside CBC Office – 250 Front Street West | March to Bay Street/ Financial District

– Organized by the Venezuela Solidarity Committee 

Winnipeg, MB

Saturday, February 23 | 1pm

Gerald James Lynch Park, south side Osborne Street Bridge (near Osborne and Roslyn)

– Hosted by Venezuela Peace Committee  

Vancouver, BC

Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
Gather in front of the CBC at Georgia and Hamilton Streets

– Rally organized by the Venezuela Peace and Solidarity Committee (Vancouver)


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