Common Frontiers rejects interference in Venezuela’s democratic order

January 25, 2019

On May 20, 2018 Presidential elections were held in Venezuela, and incumbent Nicolás Maduro was re-elected president for a second term with 67.8% of the vote. A delegation of Canadian election observers were on the ground as eyewitnesses and corroborated what international elections observers unanimously reported – the Venezuelan presidential elections were fair, transparent and represented the will of the Venezuelan people.

The Canadian government, along with its allies in the Lima Group, have consistently attempted to delegitimatize President Maduro and provide unconditional support to extreme right-wing sectors of the Venezuelan opposition. The New York times reported that the Trump administration has been actively discussing plans with rebel Venezuelan military officials to stage a coup against president, Nicolás Maduro. Over the past couple of days, the Trump administration has escalated its attacks against Venezuela including recognizing self-proclaimed opposition leader, Juan Gerardo Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau echoed Trump and called upon president Nicolás Maduro to “cede power to the democratically elected National Assembly”. Juan Gerardo Guaidó is a relative unknown figure in Venezuela with no mandate from the people and whose actions have no constitutional bases whatsoever.
Common Frontiers is deeply concerned with these actions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s willingness to follow Trump’s lead. We consider the actions of the Canadian government to be a provocation which violates Venezuela’s sovereignty and democratic norms. This reflects interventionist polices that seek nothing less than undemocratic regime change in Venezuela. Canada’s actions will only serve to heighten the conflict and polarization facing the country with the added danger of an open civil war between supporters of Guaidó and Maduro. Accounts from Venezuela indicate at least 13 people were killed on January 23rd in the context of violent demonstrations and street blockades during the recent protests called for by Guaidó and his supporters.

We reject any attempts by the Canadian government to interfere with the sovereignty and democratic order in Venezuela or actions that seek to bring about regime change.

Canada should not be supporting US led coups and be seen as playing politics with democracy and human rights in the region. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has consistently and vehemently condemned Venezuela, while turning a blind eye to well documented fraudulent elections and human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras.

The economic and political problems facing Venezuela must be resolved internally by Venezuelans through peaceful dialogue and in accordance with the democratic norms of the country. The role of Canada and the international community should be to support and foster a climate of dialogue and peace, rather than to support attempts to impose a Washington based solution to the crisis in Venezuela.