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Call for the US government to adopt a position of strict neutrality on Venezuela

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We Stand with All Venezuelans! We stand for their right to peacefully protest their government, their institutions and even each other. We stand for their right to peacefully recall their government leaders. Above all, we stand for their right to elect a government and to have their decisions respected.

Today, all these rights are under threat as those who exercise them face mortal consequences for their choices. In powerful parts of the US media and even among a cabal of former State Department officials, a simple and old-fashioned story is told: blame the Venezuelan government! Or, failing that, the Cubans…

The undersigned Venezuelans and supporters of Venezuelan sovereignty reject this attempt to polarize Venezuela and to polarize the American conversation about the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Instead, we observe that the attempt to initiate a cycle of violence, charge and counter-charge, comes after:

• The Venezuelan people ratified their April 2013 presidential election choice in free-and-fair local government elections in December 2013 when the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela was elected to run 76% of the city/State councils and municipalities across the country.

• Increasing divisions and polarization within the opposition between those wanting to build on their local government victories through dialogue and loyal opposition, on the one hand, and those opposition figures who have chosen confrontation and violence to undemocratically return themselves to the political power.

• Parts of the opposition had begun to peacefully prepare themselves to use existing, constitutional mechanisms to recall their president under Article 72 of the constitution.

We note that the Venezuelan people have a lot to be concerned with as they confront historical inequalities and economic imbalances, and immediate challenges of violent crime, price inflation, and corruption. But we also note that the Venezuelan government has achieved radical and widely acclaimed reductions in poverty and illiteracy while also expanding education and health access. These universal benefits have empowered historically disenfranchised Venezuelans including indigenous people, Afro-Venezuelans, youth, women and older citizens.

Outside observers judge Venezuela’s electoral process to be both free and fair, and a model for other countries. Furthermore, despite claims to the contrary, a powerful, widespread private media establishment exists that is not merely independent of the government but broadly aligned against it.

We note that other governments around the world have faced dramatic grassroots challenges as people react to the failure of our global economy to deliver peace and prosperity. These include the peoples of Greece, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, and numerous other examples. In other countries, where polarization has been encouraged such as Syria, the Ukraine, and Libya, whole nations have been drawn into civil conflict and even civil war. Where “regime change” takes place in these situations, the new governments, lacking majority support, govern through repression.

We, the undersigned, Venezuelans and supporters of Venezuelan self-determination:

• herewith record our support for the Venezuelan constitution and its institutions for building peace, prosperity and democracy in Venezuela
• call upon the United States’ Government and all its institutions to fully respect the choices of the Venezuelan people and to completely reject the polarizing politics of the armed, Tea Party-style opposition
• strongly call for the US government to adopt a position of strict neutrality that is fully consistent with the values of the American people who reject foreign wars and who recognize that it is easier to bring chaos and disorder than it is to build peace and stability.

Peace, now!

Today: Jorge is counting on you

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