The Canadian Peace Congress condemns the ongoing foreign interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, as part of their plan to destabilize the country and provoke “regime change.” The Congress calls upon all peace and progressive forces in Canada to express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people, who have the right to determine the path of their social and economic development, free from foreign provocation.

The violent attacks against the Venezuelan people and their democratically elected government began on February 10, involving masked demonstrators armed with Molotov cocktails, rocks and even sniper rifles. The leader of the right-wing Popular Will Party, Leopoldo Lopez, incited these events. Lopez is a member of one of the wealthiest families in Venezuela, and participated directly in the failed coup attempt in 2002. Since the election of Nicholas Maduro to succeed Hugo Chavez as president, Lopez and other wealthy oligarchs have worked with foreign powers to destabilize the country through economic sabotage and, now, through a widespread campaign of violence.

With the largest known oil reserves in the world, Venezuela has been a focal point for peace and self-determination in Latin America. The country is of tremendous strategic importance to imperialism’s plans for the region. Despite consistent election victories and popularity among the majority of Venezuelans, the government has been constantly targeted by the elites in Venezuela and the United States government, to facilitate the plunder of the country’s resources. The US has spent millions of dollars, via the National Endowment for Democracy and the Agency for International Development, to fund dissent training for students from wealthy families. The reestablishment of the United States Fifth Naval Fleet is a major component of this effort. Much of Venezuela’s economy remains under the control of either wealthy families or foreign corporations, and these forces have conspired to provoke economic sabotage in food distribution, electricity, and fuel in an effort to promote destabilization of the country.

Media reports from right-wing and imperialist sources have used falsified photos to convince the public that the violence has been instigated by the government, and that the anti-government forces have widespread support. In fact, it is the firm resolve of the Venezuelan people to pursue policies of democracy, social justice and popular empowerment that has repeatedly confounded imperialism.

The Canadian Peace Congress expresses again our firm solidarity with the people of Venezuela, to the progressive forces who continue to struggle against oppression and intervention, for peace and sovereignty. We particularly extend our solidarity to the Committee for International Solidarity (COSI), the World Peace Council member organization in Venezuela.

The Canadian Peace Congress demands that the Government of Canada:

  • Denounce the anti-government violence and foreign interference in Venezuela;
  • Genuinely recognize and respect the Venezuelan people’s right to determine the course of their social, economic and political development;
  • Pursue a foreign policy of peace, solidarity and international cooperation in its relations with Venezuela.

We encourage all progressive and peace-loving people in Canada to express their solidarity with the Venezuelan people, and to condemn foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Canadian Peace Congress Executive Council, February 23, 2014