March 21, 2015: The undersigned organizations and individuals in Chicago declare the following:
On March 9, Obama issued an alarming and outrageous Executive Order declaring Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States…” imposing sanctions and basically threatening to overthrow the democratically elected government.
Venezuela has not threatened the U.S. in any way, except by being politically independent and working to develop independent, sovereign economic policies in collaboration with other Latin American countries that also reject US domination. We note that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which represents every country in South America, has condemned the Executive Order as a “threat of interference” against Venezuela’s sovereignty. Presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro were both elected in what the Carter Center, runs by former President Jimmy Carter, declared to be the best election process in the world.
On the other hand, the US has, since 1998 when Hugo Chavez Frias and the Bolivarian movement won the first of many elections, carried out covert and overt interference leading to violence and threatening Venezuelan democracy. These actions include funding and advising opposition parties and groups that have in turn fomented violence in Venezuela, and in April 2002 the US supported an attempted coup d’état in which President Chavez was kidnapped by opposition groups.
US interference and aggression has continued since Nicholas Maduro was elected president in April 2013. The most extreme opposition groups, funded and encouraged by the US, led violent street actions and attacks from January – May 2014. While other governments in Latin America and the Vatican assisted the Venezuelan government in bringing much of the opposition to dialogue, US officials and members of the US Congress House of Representatives approved sanctions against Venezuela in May 2014 — de facto support for the extremist opposition. In February 2015 a new coup plot “operation Jericho” was uncovered that planned bombings of government and civilian centers in Caracas and involved some of the same opposition figures involved in the 2002 coup.
As residents of the Chicago area, we reject the pressures from the US government and others that led to a Chicago City Council resolution in 2014 supporting US interference in Venezuela. It is clear to us that Venezuela’s government and people are no threat to the people of the United States or to US National Security. On the contrary, support for violence and attempts at destabilization by the US government are a threat to peace and to the well being of the people of the United States and of Venezuela.
We call on President Obama, to rescind the executive order naming Venezuela a US national security threat and to end sanctions against Venezuela and Venezuelan officials and we call on the US government to end all interference in Venezuela.