Beset by corruption, runaway inflation, starvation and mass migration, Venezuela is a country in chaos that demands an international response. Canada must weigh in but not by supporting a military coup but rather by taking a larger view based on peaceful internationalism.
The United Nations rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), blames U.S. sanctions for Venezuela’s downward spiral. Zayas explains that the U.S. sanctions are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law since they are not endorsed by the UN Security Council. Along with the European Union, the UN rapporteur singles out Canada as a partner in a practice he calls “economic warfare.” In March of 2015 President Obama issued an executive order declaring the country a threat to U.S. national security and under Trump the belligerent discourse has only heightened as he threatened a military invasion and discussed a military coup.
“Rather than pick sides in recognizing Juan Guaido over Russian-backed Nicolas Maduro in a positioning that is reminiscent of the primitive thinking of the Cold War,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, “Canada should root its foreign policy in the evidence the UN provides. What’s needed here is an honest broker. Pope Francis could assist. The Vatican is a full party at the United Nations, and in light of the Pope’s South American roots and the important part Catholicism plays in Venezuela’s heritage, the Office of the Holy See could be the right institution to calm the waters and take the steps toward a fair election. Canada should not be supporting a military coup. It should be a voice for peace and dialogue.”