Venezuela: 'No more coups! No more interventions! Repeal the Executive Order, Mr. President!'

April 9, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letter, signed by 30 academics, municipal councillors, trade union officials, journalists, solidarity organisation convenors and political party leaders from around Australia, was initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Melbourne. It will be handed over the US consulates in Melbourne and Sydney on April 10. If you would like to add your name please email Denis Rogatyuk at denis_rogatyuk@mail.ru.

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President Barack Obama
White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr President,

We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, reject your March 9, 2015, declaration deeming Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”.

We also oppose the sanctions your administration has placed on a number of Venezuelan state officials and call for the immediate repeal of your Executive Order on Venezuela.

The reality is that Venezuela today is not at war with any nation, nor does it have military bases outside its borders. In fact, Venezuela is helping to mediate an end to the war in Colombia and has constantly championed peace in the region.

Under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, and now President Nicolas Maduro, Latin America has become a more unified and independent political force.

The establishment of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) has all helped to accelerate the process of integration and the resolution of conflicts among the states.

Evidence of this is the fact that the entire region, including Colombia, the US’s closest ally in South America, have rejected the your Executive Order.

Moreover, to those who know the realities of Venezuela’s democratic system, it is evident that your stance is both dangerous and provocative.

While politics in Venezuela is polarised and economic disruption caused primarily by the falling price of oil has made life difficult in Venezuela, we see nothing that could conceivably be described as an “extraordinary threat” either to the people of Venezuela or to the US.

To set the record straight, the Venezuelan government is democratically elected. Presidents Chavez and Maduro were both elected in what former US President Jimmy Carter declared to be one of the best electoral processes in the world.

While important sections of the Venezuelan opposition have come out against the Executive Order (demonstrating just how unpopular they are), we are concerned that more hardline and anti-democratic forces in the country will interpret your declarations as a green light to continue committing acts of anti-government violence.

Sanctions, blockades and armed aggressions are no substitute for genuine dialogue. History has shown -- as your administration admitted last December 17 with regard to Cuba -- that these ineffective measures only succeed in causing harm to innocent people.

We call on you, President Obama, to rescind your Executive Order.

We call on you to stop interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs and cease making reckless public statements regarding Venezuela’s democratic processes.

Most of all, we encourage you to demonstrate to Latin America that the US is capable of establishing relations based on the principles of peace and with respect for their sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rodrigo Acuna, associate lecturer, Department of International Studies, Macquarie University

Dr. Tim Anderson, senior lecturer (political science), University of Sydney

Dr. Robert Austin, honorary research fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, University of Queensland

Raul Bassi, secretary, Indigenous Social Justice Association

Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance and councillor, Moreland City Council

Kevin Bracken, state secretary, Maritime Union of Australia (Victoria)

Bob Briton, general secretary, Communist Party of Australia

Professor Barry Carr, La Trobe University (retired)

Juan Campos, Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) Committee, Sydney

Federico Fuentes, author and journalist

Ray Jackson, president, Indigenous Social Justice Association

Dave Kerin, project officer, EarthWorker Cooperative, Melbourne

Dr. Colin Long, state secretary, National Tertiary Education Union (Victoria)

Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist, author and Guardian columnist

Lisa Macdonald, national co-convenor, Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network

Rita Mallia, state president, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Construction and Energy Division – NSW)

Paul McAleer, branch secretary, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney branch

Godfrey Moase, assistant general secretary, National Union of Workers General Branch, Melbourne

Vinnie Molina, state executive council, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Western Australia)

Stuart Munckton, editor, Green Left Weekly

Victor-Hugo Munoz, Committee in Defence of Human Rights in Guatemala

John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker,

Susan Price, co-convenor, Socialist Alliance

Dr. Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, Brisbane

Lucho Riquelme, coordinator, Latin America Solidarity Network (LASNET), Melbourne

Denis Rogatyuk, coordinator, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Melbourne

Dr. Peter Ross, senior lecturer (Spanish and Latin American Studies), University of New South Wales

Paula Sanchez, Latin America Social Forum, Sydney

Terry Spackman, director, Community Foods Cairns, Queensland

Dr. Jonathan Strauss, political science researcher, James Cook University

Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance and councillor, Fremantle City Council

[Organisations and institutions listed for identification purposes only.]

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