Please Sign this Open Letter To the Prime Minister: Statement of concern on the crisis in Venezuela

By | March 28, 2019

The following open letter was sent to the Prime Minister of Canada today from 167 signatories and 15 Canadian organizations, concerning the crisis in Venezuela. If you would like to add your name to the letter please use the online form provided.

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March 28, 2019

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister:

Statement of concern on the crisis in Venezuela

The undersigned, coming from academia, civil society organizations, and the labour movement, are Canadian citizens who value the vital importance of adherence to international law and to United Nations principles of non-aggression. We feel compelled to express our deep concerns about Canada’s involvement in the political and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Venezuela. We specifically lament the fact that, in concert with the Lima Group, it is orchestrating regime change in that country.

We are cognizant that both internal and external factors have played a role in generating the current crisis. Internally, none of the contending parties are beyond reproach for their deep erosion of political legitimacy in Venezuela. And external actors – including the Canadian government – have intervened in ways that have seriously exacerbated its political divisions and dramatically worsened its economic and humanitarian crisis, most reprehensibly through draconian economic sanctions.

We particularly deplore the United States’ repeated threats to intervene militarily to enforce regime change. Not only would this represent yet another egregious violation of international law, and of UN principles, but it would undoubtedly also result in enormous additional human suffering. Military interventions aimed at regime change have a disastrous track record – sowing political discord, causing widespread death and destruction and, all too often, culminating in brutal authoritarian rule.

We do acknowledge that the Lima Group has expressed its antagonism to external military intervention. But its antagonism is put in doubt by its willingness to work so closely with the United States even as the latter continues its threats. So do its recent warnings to current members of the Venezuelan military, that they face severe future punishment if they do not terminate their allegiance to the Maduro government. In effect, the Lima Group is encouraging a military-backed coup and is thereby complicit in a process that seriously risks a disastrous escalation of violence, or even civil war.

Under these circumstances we demand that the Canadian government should immediately abandon its current policy stance in favour of one that is clearly based on the following four pillars:

  1. Active opposition to any partisan external interventions in Venezuela’s internal affairs (where “partisan” refers to explicit, a priori support for any of the contending factions).
  2. The immediate cessation of all economic sanctions, since in international law these are clearly tantamount to external aggression, and since they clearly impose untold human suffering on the Venezuelan people;
  3. The restoration of Venezuela’s normal access to international markets and finance, and the delivery of international emergency aid through UN – and other impartial – channels to mitigate the current humanitarian crisis;
  4. And finally, active support for impartial efforts to promote dialogue, mediation and negotiations, such as the Montevideo Mechanism proposed by Mexico, Uruguay and CARICOM.  The aim should be to help Venezuelans work towards achieving political consensus. Ultimately this should engender constructive democratic engagement, contributing to a sustained and positive vision of the country, and supported by the bulk of its population.

With sincere regards,

Roy Culpeper, Chair, Group of 78

Organizations

  1. ASOCOLOM -Action et solidarite pour la Colombie
  2. Association québécoise des amis de Cuba
  3. Canadian Peace Initiative
  4. Carrefour d’animation et de participation à un monde ouvert
  5. Centre justice et foi
  6. Comité Justice des OFSJ
  7. Group of 78
  8. Hamilton Coalition To Stop The war
  9. Ligue des droits et libertés
  10. L’Institut Rideau Institute
  11. Ottawa Cuban Connections
  12. Parti communiste du Québec
  13. Religions pour la Paix – Québec
  14. Right On Canada
  15. Solidarité populaire Estrie

Individuals

  1. Arnold Aberman
  2. Nadia Abu-Zahra, University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
  3. Flavie Achard
  4. Rachad Antonius
  5. Wedad Antonius
  6. Angèle Aubin
  7. Robert Aubin
  8. Laura Avalos, Gatineau, Québec
  9. Marc Azar
  10. Maryse Azzaria
  11. Denise Babin
  12. Catherine Baicoianu
  13. Nipa Banerjee, Ph.D, University of Ottawa and Carleton University
  14. Stephen Baranyi, PhD, University of Ottawa
  15. Sabine Barnabé
  16. Normand L Beaudet
  17. Luc Bégin
  18. Louise Bégin
  19. Claude Bélanger
  20. Luc Bellemare
  21. Michèle Benoit
  22. Céline Benoit Anderson
  23. Nicole Bernier
  24. Manfred Bienefeld, Ottawa, Ontario
  25. Dave Bleakney, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  26. Michèle Boisclair
  27. Louise Boivin
  28. Marc Bonhomme
  29. Agnès Bouchard
  30. Ginette Boudreau
  31. Joane Bourget
  32. Michel Brodeur
  33. Alexandra Cadar
  34. Ronald Cameron
  35. Jacinthe Carbonneau
  36. Denise Caron
  37. Suzanne Chabot
  38. Suzanne-G. Chartrand
  39. Bill Clennett
  40. Janvier Cliche
  41. Louise Constantin
  42. Marie-José Corriveau
  43. Denis Côté
  44. Roy Culpeper, Chair, Group of 78
  45. Linda Dahms, Ottawa Cuban Connections
  46. Ruby Dagher, University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
  47. Lyette Des Alliers
  48. Pierre Deschênes
  49. Marilyse Devoyault
  50. Isabelle Doneys
  51. Pascal Drouin
  52. Pierre Dufort
  53. Marcel Duhaime
  54. Fernand Dumont
  55. Christina Duvander
  56. Maha Elmarraghi
  57. Martine Eloy
  58. Anna Louise Fontaine
  59. Ormsby Ford
  60. Eric Forgues
  61. Guy Fortier
  62. John Foster, University of Regina
  63. André Francoeur
  64. André Frappier
  65. Osanne Frémond-Guilbault
  66. Gavin Fridell, Saint Mary’s University
  67. Lise Gagnon
  68. Lucie Gagnon
  69. Elisabeth Garant
  70. Alain M Gaulin
  71. Bernard Gauvin
  72. Maurice Gendron
  73. Élisabeth Germain
  74. Hélène Gobeil
  75. Carlos Gomes
  76. Mauricio Gonzalez
  77. Carol Greene
  78. Camila Grossi
  79. Jeannine Guérin
  80. Luis Guerrero
  81. Gilles Halley
  82. Richard Harmston, Ottawa, Ontario
  83. Françoise Houle
  84. Owen Hughes
  85. Mouloud Idir
  86. Nicole Jetté
  87. John M. Kirk, Dalhousie University
  88. Michel Laberge
  89. René Lachapelle
  90. Francis Lagacé
  91. Monique Lalande
  92. Claire Lalande
  93. Serge Lalonde
  94. Carmen Lanoue
  95. Claire Lapointe
  96. Dominique Lebeau
  97. Marc LeBlanc
  98. André Leblanc
  99. Jacques Lecours
  100. Raymond Legault
  101. Michel Léger
  102. Yvon Lemay
  103. Chantale Lévesque
  104. Suzanne Loiselle
  105. Jean-Marc Lord
  106. Amir M. Maasoumi
  107. Laura Macdonald, Carleton University
  108. Paul Maillet, Canadian Peace Initiative
  109. Lisa Makarchuk, Retired Teacher, Ontario
  110. Guillaume Manningham
  111. Gilles Marsolais
  112. Réjeanne Martin
  113. Peggy Mason, L’Institut Rideau Institute
  114. Marie-Josée Massicotte, University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
  115. Réjean Mathieu
  116. Paulina Maya
  117. Robert McBryde
  118. Alejandro Mendoza
  119. Albino Moldes
  120. Claude Morin
  121. George Neville, Ottawa, Ontario
  122. Liisa L. North, York University
  123. Sean O’Donoghue
  124. Gaby Ouellette
  125. Jocelyne Patole
  126. Gisèle Pellerin
  127. Lucie Pelletier
  128. Claude Perron
  129. Dominique Peschard
  130. Gilles Pilette
  131. Michel Pilon
  132. Bernard Pomerleau
  133. Josette Potvin
  134. Jean-Yves Proulx
  135. Pierre Renaud
  136. Dominique Reynolds
  137. Jean-Yves Rioux
  138. Mercédez Roberge
  139. Philippe Robert de Massy
  140. Chris Roberts, Ottawa, Ontario
  141. Joseph Roberts, University of Regina
  142. Nora Robichaud
  143. Christina Rojas, Carleton University
  144. Jean-Léon Rondeau
  145. Marianne Roy
  146. Martha Ruben, M.D., Ph.D., Biomedical Consultant
  147. Kathleen Ruff, Right on Canada
  148. Anne Schlenker
  149. Jean Philippe Sapinsk
  150. Safa Sebhi
  151. Vivian Seguin, Ottawa, Ontario
  152. Jorge Sorger, Ottawa, Ontario
  153. Michael Springate
  154. Susan Spronk, University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa
  155. Ken Stone
  156. Lise St-Pierre
  157. Julie Talbot
  158. Jacques Tanguay
  159. Christiane Tardif
  160. Heide Trampus, Scarborough, Ontario
  161. Gilbert Troutet
  162. Yves Vaillancourt
  163. Constance Vaudrin
  164. Gloria Villamil
  165. Chris Walker, Saint Mary’s University
  166. Michael Walsh, Association québécoise des amis de Cuba
  167. Carole Yerochewski

Cc:      The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Conservative Party
The Hon Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party