Rethink Venezuela stance

It is sad to see the prime minister lecturing Venezuela about lack of democracy and human rights while Canadian police violently evict indigenous people from their unceded territories to prop up the Canadian petro state.

It’s not hard to see why people are confused about the coup attempt in Venezuela supported by the U.S. and Canada all in the name of freedom, democracy and human rights. Mainstream media and big human rights NGOs like Amnesty International have been demonizing Venezuela for over a decade.

When Canada and the U.S. put coercive sanctions in place in violation of international law, threaten oil embargoes and even military intervention, why aren’t these acts, which cause further suffering to a people undergoing economic crisis, considered “human rights violations?”

Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland can appear like nice Canadian moderates compared to arch war hawks like John Bolton, convicted war criminals like Elliot Abrams or the U.S. president, but when it comes down to regime change in Haiti or Honduras, war in Afghanistan or Libya, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, or rights of Palestinians, Canada always lines up with the U.S. war criminals. 

If you aid and abet war criminals, what does that make you?

The way forward is clear. Canada should stop support for the coup and sanctions, and back Mexico and Uruguay in calling for peaceful negotiations, negotiations which Maduro has agreed to but the Venezuelan right has rejected. 

The real focus should not be on the top-level “leaders” but on how to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized people of Venezuela, Canada and the world. How to strengthen true international solidarity and  sustainable agriculture and move away from fossil fuel dependency and the corrupt capitalist system that is destroying the planet.

Mark Haley, Kelowna

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