March 18, 2018
We, people from the United States, join the people and government of Venezuela, and people and their governments across Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean in calling on the U.S. government to cease interference into the independent, sovereign, and self-determined affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
We call on all people and governments to support peaceful debate and negotiations and to urgently and unequivocally denounce violent opposition, economic sabotage, biased media critiques, calls for foreign military intervention and regime change supported by U.S. rightwing politicians and the Trump-Administration State Department and military.
We make this urgent appeal in full acknowledgement that the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are in the midst of an intense internal and conflicting self-defining moment. One that runs across ideological and political lines to determine constructive pathways forward in crafting their own national citizen-centered democracy and social justice development project. The process was launched by a majority vote under the mandate of the Bolivarian Revolution, the leftist political process, initiated by late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and led by the current elected President Nicolas Maduro. Their internal differences are great and serious and are of profound importance for their nation’s future and for the future of participatory democracy and social justice development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, guided by the philosophy and practice of participatory democracy established in1999, achieved in less than two decades unprecedented levels of development in the active exercise of citizenship by its most marginalized, discriminated, and impoverished citizens. At one point under the Bolivarian Revolution Venezuela achieved the status of the country in the region with the lowest inequality level (measured by the Gini Coefficient) having reduced inequality by 54%, poverty by 44%. Extreme poverty was reduced from 40% (1996) to a very low level of 7.3% (2010). UNESCO recognized that under the Participatory Democracy citizen-government collaboration illiteracy was eliminated in Venezuela. Venezuelans became the 3rd county in the region whose population read the most. Governmental policies instituted tuition free education from daycare to university; 72% of children attended public daycares and 85% of school age children attended school. Venezuela became the 2nd country in Latin America and 5th in the world with the greatest proportions of university students.
Those admirable national humanistic achievements have been undermined mainly by the global economic crisis that diminished social spending and economic sabotage by U.S. led economic sanctions and limitations on the Venezuelan government’s normal access to global finance protocols.
We respect the right of people outside of Venezuela to express and to debate sincere and intense critical opinions about Venezuela’s internal affairs as long as they do not interfere with or compromise the rights and obligations of Venezuelans to mediate their own differences and to unite through their constitution around issues of mutual interests to establish their sovereign will and national development. The efficacy of the Maduro elected government, which the U.S. government is constantly maligning and attempting to overthrow, is solely a matter of evaluation and decision at the ballot box by the Venezuelan people. Therefore we support the Venezuelan constitutional mandate for the upcoming presidential elections in May and call a halt to U.S. imperial condemnation of the election before it takes place.
There is no justification based in international protocols between nations or of ethical solidarity among progressive and peace loving people for such illegal, injurious outside interference, threats of invasion, or regime change now dangerously underway by the U.S. government in Venezuela.
In the interests and integrity of the Venezuelan nation and for preservation of stability, respectful lawful engagement, mutual interests, and peace in the Americas we must support the negotiation process between Venezuelans of widely varying ideological and political perspectives to achieve self-determined resolutions. We must support the upcoming May presidential elections and implore the U.S. government to halt interference in Venezuelan people’s decisions to express their will—-as they have peacefully done in accordance with their Constitution and respectfully accepted as majority will at the ballot box time and time again since 1998.
Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity, U.S. Chapter
**The article was originally published on Resumen-english.org