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USA president Donald Trump has insulted Canada by saying it is a security risk and stating that as a reason for imposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
All Canadians, myself include, are aghast at such a disrespectful lie especially considering that Canada fought along side US troops in two World Wars, the Korean War and lately in Syria.
Furthermore, he insulted you, our representative, accusing you of being meek, weak, of stabbing him in the back, and he threatened dire consequences.
Trump is a very disagreeable man, one of the most disreputable US presidents in living memory, and whose popularity daily is suffering. And because Trump is, judging by his evident behavior, a vain bully, there is also some jealousy toward you, not least because of your popularity within Canada and outside it.
So you know how it feels Prime Minister to have Canada declared a risk to US security and for that to be used as a basis for tariffs. Perhaps now you could spare a thought for Venezuela that was declared (twice) “an unusual and extraordinary” risk to US security? Venezuela, a country that has never gone to war or invaded any neighbor, that has a very small armed forces and no state-of-the art military weapons? Nor, unlike several other countries, has Venezuela been accused of harboring terrorists. Only a thoroughly deluded person could think that Venezuela threatens the security of the world’s superpower.
Yet your government has joined President Trump in declaring President Nicolas Maduro a dictator. Your Minister of Foreign Affairs denounced –a priori- the May 20, 2018 presidential election as fraudulent despite the assessment to the contrary of 2000 international witnesses. Ironically, in the name of democracy, Canadian-Venezuelans were prohibited from voting in the election at Venezuelan consulates in Canada. And, your government has astonishingly also imposed economic sanctions on that country.
You should know that these US and Canadian sanctions are a violation of international law. They contravene the charters of the UN and the OAS, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant of Economic, Civil and Cultural Rights and they constitute a crime against humanity because they are specifically intended to create suffering of people by preventing them from buying food and medicines.
It is not only Venezuelans that are suffering from these sanctions. For a very long time they have known not to trust the United States which has designs on its oil and resents any kind of opposition coming from within its so-called back yard. Canada, on the other hand, has been a good friend to the region. Now Canada’s reputation in Venezuela and in numerous supportive countries has been sullied. We are seen as a lackey of the US government, willing to go along with almost anything it does in a vain attempt to curry favour with Trump and to protect a trade deal. Recent events show the folly of such an unprincipled approach to foreign policy.
Sir, giving in to a bully never works: rescue Canada’s reputation and rescind Canada’s ill-advised, immoral and illegal sanctions against Venezuela. By doing so you will be defending Canadian values and interests and showing the leadership of which we know you are capable.
Dr. Maria Páez Victor
Chair of the Board
Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean Policy Centre