No. 24October 2, 2019
Over recent days, Canadians and Quebeckers have witnessed the big powers stepping up their activities to justify all manner of attacks against Venezuela and the sovereignty of its people: inflammatory statements on September 24 and 25 at the United Nations by Colombian President Ivan Duque, accusing the Venezuelan government of “genocide” and protecting drug dealers and guerrillas preparing to attack his country; a conference planned on October 8 in Montreal with the false ambassador to Venezuela; the adoption of a resolution at a meeting of the Lima Group on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, instigated by Canada and three other countries, calling for the creation of a group of experts charged with investigating human rights violations in Venezuela
Every effort is being made, in concert with the U.S., to destabilize the region, isolate Cuba and Venezuela and justify a new intervention in the name of the Responsibility to Protect and other pretexts.
This must be firmly opposed. Join in a discussion and get information about what is taking place. Representatives of various communities will speak of their experience with such pretexts to justify interference and aggression. Let’s discuss the shameful role that Canada is playing in this. Canada must be a zone for peace, not war.
Oppose the Dirty Work Against Venezuela by the Agents of Violent Regime Change and Their Backers in Canada
Join a discussion to be held in Montreal on Friday, October 4 and an information picket on Tuesday, October 8 to oppose the dirty work against Venezuela by the agents of violent regime change and their backers in Canada. The actions are prompted by the holding, during the election campaign, of an anti-Venezuela conference which claims to deal with the current crisis in that country. This conference is organized on October 8 by Concordia University’s Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Montreal Branch of the Canadian International Council. The speaker is Orlando Viera-Blanco who the organizers misleadingly call the Venezuelan ambassador to Canada. He was appointed by the self-proclaimed imposter president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, who Canada recognizes in an act of gross interference into Venezuela’s sovereign internal affairs.
While Canada’s diplomatic corps are advised not to intervene in Canada’s election campaign, that does not seem to apply to Viera-Blanco, a member of the foreign-backed opposition forces attempting to overthrow Venezuela’s constitutionally elected president Nicolás Maduro. The October 8 Conference aims to win support for that unjust cause in Canada. Viera-Blanco gave an indication of what this means on his return from a recent junket to Israel as an official guest of that government when he wrote glowing accounts announcing that Israel is an example for Venezuela to emulate.
All of it is part of an offensive taking place at and surrounding the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly aimed at stepping up the U.S.-led siege of Venezuela and making a case for the Security Council to approve the illegal coercive measures currently in effect and the eventual use of force against the government of Nicolás Maduro.
On September 23, the foreign ministers of 16 Latin American countries and the U.S., which are signatories to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, met in New York to approve the activation of provisions of that treaty against Venezuela. A vestige of the cold war, the Rio Treaty was imposed on Latin America and the Caribbean by the United States in 1947 as an instrument for “containing communism” in its “backyard.” Following the same logic as NATO’s Chapter V, it commits state parties to engage in collective defence if any one of them comes under armed attack and allows for the authorization of a range of punitive measures up to and including military force. It was used in the past by the U.S. to invade the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama and Nicaragua.
Canada is not a signatory to the Rio Treaty but agreed to its use at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) called earlier in the month to discuss its invocation. Canada said that Venezuela represented “a clear threat to peace and security in the region” — language crafted to get the UN Security Council on board, despite this having failed miserably in several prior attempts.
On September 25 Colombia’s warmongering president Ivan Duque, engaged in destroying the peace process in his country and presiding over the massacre of former guerrilla members and social leaders that continues with impunity, dedicated the bulk of his UN address to painting Colombia as the victim of an impending armed attack from Venezuela. His “proof” rested on photographs he displayed that he said were of Colombian guerrillas operating inside Venezuela. Within hours they were exposed to all the world as having been taken in his own country. (It is worth noting that Colombia has the status of being NATO’s first and currently only “global partner” in Latin America.) In his speech to the General Assembly Donald Trump contributed his own venomous lies to the cause, targeting Cuba who he and Duque both blame for their inability to bring the Venezuelan government, its Bolivarian armed forces or the people, to their knees.
This is the cesspool in which the meeting at Concordia put on by a cabal of Canadian and Venezuelan regime change forces is taking place. One of the organizers, the Canadian International Council, is headed at the national level by Canada’s last ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Roswell, who spent his time there violating the norms of diplomacy by using the embassy as a base for interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs in support of the regime change forces. Since his return to Canada in 2017 he has been leading the charge for the same cause as a media pundit and serving as a cheerleader for what he says is the Trudeau government’s “uniquely Canadian approach to democracy promotion” in Venezuela. This is touted as contrasting with the U.S. approach and its threatened military intervention even though the aim is the same.
The other organizer, The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, hosts a project called The Will to Intervene co-headed by General Romeo Dallaire. It was created to allegedly “prevent another Rwanda” by promoting foreign intervention to stop mass atrocities and human rights abuses based on the controversial Responsibility to Protect doctrine Canada promotes to justify foreign aggression and intervention in the name of humanitarian causes. The meeting announcement says Viera-Blanco will discuss “risks of mass atrocity crimes and the failure of the current government to uphold its responsibility to protect.”
Canadians oppose this vile pro-war activity carried out under U.S. dictate. What Canada is up to in Venezuela needs to be raised as an election issue by those who want Canada to be a factor for peace, not of war and aggression.
– ALBA Social Movements Canada –
The Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University in Montreal has announced a meeting to be held on October 8, under the title “The Crisis in Venezuela: a discussion with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada.” The fact that the person they announced as speaker is not the legitimate Ambassador of Venezuela assigned by the legitimate government of Venezuela shows that it is clearly part of the ongoing U.S.-led assault against Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
The meeting notice is designed to disinform and create maximum confusion in Canada about the problems faced by the Venezuelan people who are under brutal, illegal sanctions and a blockade intended to punish them for supporting the elected government.
To suggest that the guest speaker at this event is the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada is a barefaced lie. He was not appointed by the legitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro but by the self-appointed “president” of a foreign backed opposition party the U.S. and Canada set up as a parallel government in the latest failed coup.
The meeting is held in the middle of a federal election to support the Canadian government’s active participation in the U.S.-led assault against Venezuela. Besides its support for the illegal sanctions and blockade imposed by the U.S., which constitutes collective punishment of populations and is a crime against humanity, Global Affairs Minister Freeland has been implementing an aggressive policy using “diplomatic means” to strangle the work of the Venezuelan Embassy in Ottawa to exert maximum pressure on the Venezuelan government.
Global Affairs began denying visas to Venezuelan diplomats in Canada in January 2019 in an effort to intervene in the legitimate activities of the diplomats which resulted in the closure of Venezuelan consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.
On June 2, 2019, Freeland announced that Canada was “temporarily” closing its embassy in Venezuela and that Canada intended to evaluate the status of the Venezuelan diplomats to Canada appointed by President Nicolás Maduro.
Since that time, systematic measures have been taken by public and private institutions in the U.S. and Canada to prevent the Venezuelan Embassy from carrying out its consular and other duties. The Venezuelan Embassy in Ottawa is the only office representing the Government of Venezuela and is responsible for processing all applications for visas, passports and other official documents for Canada and the United States.
In addition to the attacks of the U.S. and Canadian governments, FedEx recently notified the Venezuelan embassy that it would no longer be handling any packets or parcels destined for U.S. addresses. The Chargé d’Affaire of the Embassy has also been directed by several banks to close all the Embassy accounts based in U.S. dollars.
All these measures are a result of the U.S. financial, economic and commercial blockade intended to suffocate Venezuela on all fronts, including through targeting the Embassy in Canada which has in spite of all the attacks carried out its duties with honour.
The hypocritical declarations in the meeting notice about Canada having supported Venezuelans in their “efforts to achieve political and economic reforms,” and the “restoration of democracy through peaceful and negotiated means” cannot hide the crimes that are being committed by the U.S. and Canada against the people of Venezuela. The confusion which meetings like this one at Concordia are intended to create, coming as it does when the U.S. and the forces it commands are busy trying to sabotage the prospects of Venezuelans resolving their problems peacefully through dialogue, serves to cover the ongoing attempt to ramp up the siege of Venezuela and its people, and is a prelude to the use of force.
ALBA Social Movements Canada calls on you to support the information picket in front of Concordia University on October 8, to protest the anti-Venezuela activity promoted by the Government of Canada and Canadian institutions.
– Margaret Villamizar –
On September 11, at a regular meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) the United States and 10 Latin American countries that are parties to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, passed a resolution recommending that it be activated against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, based on Venezuela allegedly representing “a clear threat to peace and security” in the Americas. Five other countries that are also party to the treaty abstained and another was absent. On September 23, at a follow-up meeting of foreign ministers of the member countries held in New York, 15 of them approved activating more sanctions but stopped short of openly calling for the use of force. Uruguay opposed the motion and announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty and Trinidad and Tobago abstained.
Rio Treaty, Tool for Foreign Intervention
The Rio Treaty, a relic of the cold war described as a mutual “defence” pact was imposed on Latin America and the Caribbean in 1947 by the United States as an instrument for “containing communism” in its “backyard.” Like NATO’s Chapter V, it commits state parties to engage in collective defence if any one of them comes under attack, based on the same logic that an attack on any one of us is an attack on all of us. It allows for the authorization of a range of punitive measures of a diplomatic and economic nature through to military force. At the September 11 meeting of the OAS an amendment proposed by three countries to exclude the military option against Venezuela was defeated.
This latest attempt to muster a regional force to intervene against Venezuela and provide it with a veneer of legitimacy was led by the U.S. together with the pro-war government of Colombia that today is engaged in destroying the peace process in its own country as former guerrillas and social leaders are being massacred with impunity almost on a daily basis. There was enthusiastic support for the resolution from the phony parallel “government” and “president” the U.S. and Canada have tried, but failed, to impose on the Venezuelan people, but which has has been illegally accredited to represent Venezuela at the OAS.
The centrepiece of the meeting, called auspiciously for September 11, was a harangue by the Colombian foreign minister who painted his country as the victim, claiming it was under threat of attack because of “illegal Colombian armed groups” and “new narco-terrorist groups” he alleged were being harboured, armed and trained in Venezuelan territory with the support of the Venezuelan government and its armed forces.
Canada was unable to take part in the vote at either the OAS meeting in Washington or the one held in New York on September 23 since it, like a number of other OAS members, is not a party to the Rio Treaty. However Canada and several other countries that make up the so-called Lima Group, put in motion by the U.S. to support its regime change efforts in Venezuela — and in which Canada plays a leading role — were the first to speak in favour of the resolution’s content aimed at opening the way for escalating and providing an air of legality for the criminal siege of Venezuela already underway.
Canada’s representative began his intervention at the OAS by condemning what he called the “illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro,” repeating the Colombian foreign minister’s allegations that would soon be shown to have come from an obviously forged document attributed to Venezuela’s Bolivarian Armed Forces, about the government of Venezuela “protecting narco-terrorist and delinquent organizations.” Leaving little doubt about Canada’s support for activation of the Rio Treaty, invoked by the U.S. in the past to lend legitimacy to its invasions of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua and other countries, the Canadian representative agreed there was “a clear threat to peace and security in the region” from Colombian armed groups allegedly operating freely in Venezuela, and said Canada shared Colombia’s interest in suppressing such organizations.
In its haste to appease the U.S. war government rather than upholding international law and the norms of diplomacy, the Trudeau government has landed knee-deep in a putrid swamp. Hypocritical words from the likes of Chrystia Freeland, ringleader of the Lima Group, who says Canada supports the Venezuelan people and is working for a “peaceful transition” to “democracy” on their behalf are belied by the facts. There is nothing peaceful, democratic or legal about organizing a coup d’état against a government freely elected by its people, and if that does not work, laying siege to the country with coercive measures aimed at starving its people and depriving them of medications to try and force them to stop fighting in defence of their sovereignty and right to be, as the U.S. continues to hold out the prospect of an invasion.
What Canada is participating in is imperialist gangsterism pure and simple. It must not pass!
It is clear that there is an urgent need for a new direction in Canada’s foreign policy — one that does not fly in the face of Canadians’ desire for their country to be a force for peace in the world and to have friendly relations with all peoples instead of meddling in their affairs. Without an independent foreign policy there will be no way for Canada to get out of the swamp it has landed in by appeasing the U.S. imperialists — the main threat historically as well as today to peace and security in the Americas and the world. The need to get Canada out of the U.S. war machine is a topic deserving of serious discussion in the election.
Make Canada a Zone for Peace!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
1. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, Paraguay and Dominican Republic voted in favour. Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay abstained. Bahamas was not present.
Margaret Villamizar is the MLPC candidate in the riding of Windsor West.
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