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The U.S. mainstream media has been filled with sympathetic narratives about the “democracy” protesters in Venezuela and the Ukraine. This is coupled with diplomatic efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama Administration to encourage these right-wing movements to topple their governments.
The Anti-War Committee stands for self-determination and against U.S. intervention (military, political and economic) into the internal affairs of other countries.
We find the Obama administration’s recent expressions of concern for the right to dissent in other countries to be deeply disingenuous while anti-war activists like ourselves are under federal investigation in this country for organizing peace protests and solidarity with Colombia and Palestine.
Venezuela: The U.S. has had a long history of intervention in Latin America. Since the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. has treated Latin America as its own “backyard,” interfering in sovereign affairs of countries throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez not only stood up to the U.S. and declared the country of Venezuela independent from the U.S. agenda, he inspired the same among Venezuela’s neighbors. U.S. control of the region has decreased strongly since 2001. When Chavez died the Obama administration hoped it had an opportunity to steer the country back under its “influence.” Instead, Nicolas Maduro, who had served as Vice President under Chavez, was elected president and continued the work of the Chavista movement.
For fifteen years, the Anti-War Committee has worked in solidarity with Venezuela’s neighbor, the people of Colombia. While Venezuela has resisted the agenda of US empire, Colombia’s repressive government has been the principal US ally in South America. While Venezuela has worked to close the gap between rich and poor, Colombia is a doormat for US corporations against the interests of its own people.
Dan Kovalick, labor rights lawyer, compared the two countries last week in the Huffington Post, stating “While the U.S. government and media have been portraying Venezuela as a basket case ever since Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, this is far from the truth. Indeed, if we look at the UN’s Human Development Index, which measures several key indicators of the health of a country’s citizenry (e.g., life expectancy, income, education, equality), we see that Venezuela has actually experienced a steady growth in such human development indicators since Chavez took office… Venezuela had a huge relative increase in this index during that time, jumping nine (9) rankings in the HDI chart from 80 to number 71 in the world.
“If we compare this to Venezuela’s neighbor, and chief U.S. ally in this hemisphere, Colombia, that country has been stuck at position 91 in the world during that same time period. Moreover, in terms of human rights, there is no comparison between these two countries with Colombia, one the largest recipients of U.S. military support in the world, having the dubious distinction of leading the world in forced disappearances at 50,000 and internally displaced peoples at over 5 million. Moreover, it is the very poor and those of darker skin tone who have benefited most from the improvements since the election of Hugo Chavez, and it is they – by the way, the vast majority of the Venezuelan population — who support Chavez and his successor the most. Of course, the U.S. government and its compliant media openly side with the white, wealthy elite…against Venezuela’s poor in their current cheer leading for the opposition.
“Without irony, the media fulminates about Venezuela’s alleged lack of democracy (again, ignoring Colombia’s death squad violence against its own population) to justify its open support of Venezuela’s elite opposition.”
Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday said, “I am watching with increasing concern the situation in Venezuela. The government’s use of force and judicial intimidation against citizens and political figures, who are exercising a legitimate right to protest, is unacceptable and will only increase the likelihood of violence.” This ignores the more probable cause of potential violence: U.S. provocation. Democracy Now reports that President Obama has invested even more in overturning Venezuela’s democratically elected government than President Bush.
The Anti-War Committee rejects the U.S. efforts to delegitimize and encourage a coup against Venezuela’s democratically elected government. We stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people. We oppose the 5 million dollars in the 2014 US federal budget and the hundreds of millions of dollars the US has spent over the past fifteen years funding opposition activities inside Venezuela. We support the Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination and to choose their own government free from U.S. intervention. We call on our supporters to say Hands Off Venezuela!
Ukraine: The U.S. media first portrayed the conflict in the Ukraine as a European “Occupy movement,” and now parrots the Obama Administration’s lie that the coup in Kiev represents a sovereign power that must be guarded against Russian invasion.
In truth, Ukraine’s government was overthrown by ultra-right wing forces with the full backing of the US and the European Union. The “protests” in the streets were carried out by fascists proudly hoisting Nazi-collaborationist flags, while the seats of political power have been taken by forces allied with a western imperialist effort to encircle Russia. Rather than holding the promise of political or economic democracy, a new regime will only put the needs of the Ukrainian people behind the demands of empire.
Global Research reports that the U.S. State Department in the Ukraine actively encouraged the coup with food, money, and diplomatic and logistical support. Just like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, the U.S. doesn’t have the legitimacy or authority to declare a “regime change.” It is the Ukrainian people’s right to determine their own government.
Repealing laws protecting the political and cultural rights of ethnic minorities were among the first actions of Kiev’s new self-declared government. In response, the Crimea region, populated by a 60% Russian majority (97% of the Crimean population speaks Russian as their first language), took steps to protect their autonomy. These measures include plans for a March 30 referendum proposing greater independence from Kiev and requests for support from neighboring Russia.
According to Vladimir Konstantinov, the speaker of the Crimean parliament, “The situation in southeastern Ukraine is very tense. People are trying to protect themselves. We all know what that Nazi gang [in Kiev] is capable of. I am sorry that respectable politicians in Kiev decided to settle their scores with the help of that terrible force.” He continued, “We turned to Russia for help in ensuring law and order, and providing financial aid in this difficult period.”
The US has allied itself with neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine, and ignores aggression against its minority populations. While the Obama Administration, NATO and the rest of the west criticize Russia for its “aggression … against the sovereignty of Ukraine,” they are playing down their own support for Ukrainian regime change aimed at further encircling and isolating Russia.
The Anti-War Committee denounces the Ukrainian coup, and the U.S. support for it. We do not support the neo-con strategy of organizing coups to destabilize governments that do not support U.S. corporate interests. We do not want the US or NATO to escalate the situation with military intervention. We call on our supporters to say Hands off the Ukraine!
Call President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to say hands of Venezuela and hands off the Ukraine! No to US intervention!
Call President Obama @ 202-456-1111
Call the State Department @ 202-647-4000
Sample call script:
My name is [blank] and I am calling to demand the U.S. cease its intervention in the affairs of Ukraine and Venezuela. I believe firmly in self-determination for all peoples and am staunchly against U.S. meddling whether through political, economic, or military channels. The governments of both Nicolas Maduro and Viktor Yanukovych must be respected as the elected decision makers in their respective spheres. Thank you.
For further information on Venezuela and the Ukraine:
As US Media Mangles Venezuela Coverage, Maduro Calls for ‘Peace Conference’
From Ukraine to Venezuela: U.S. wages dirty wars
#LaSalida? Venezuela at a Crossroads
Neocons and the Ukraine Coup
Staged Opposition Violence in Venezuela. Towards a “Colored Revolution”?
The Spectacle in Kiev: The Brown Revolution in Ukraine
The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine
US Backing the Destabilization of Venezuela
US support for regime change in Venezuela is a mistake
Venezuelan Protests: Another Attempt by U.S.-Backed Right-Wing Groups to Oust Elected Government?