FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Open Letter to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Lima Group Meeting

Re: “Lima Group” meeting of February 20, 2020 in Gatineau, Quebec

18 February 2020

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

I am addressing you as a concerned Canadian regarding Canada’s foreign policy position vis-à-vis Venezuela.

Your government has announced a meeting of the so-called Lima Group on February 20, 2020 for the reported purpose of “build[ing] on [Juan] Guaido’s recent international travels.”

In fact, I have read with great distress about your meeting in Ottawa with Mr. Guaidó who many, including myself, regard as an impostor from Venezuela. Your government has recognised Juan Guaidó as the “interim president” of Venezuela, title that he unconstitutionally bestowed upon himself without ever participating in democratic presidential elections. At the same time, your government has declared as illegitimate the presidency of Nicolas Maduro who was elected in democratic elections as witnessed by international observers.

Can you tell Canadians why your government recognises a self-appointed “president”, contrary to Canada’s proclaimed principle of democratic and constitutional order and, more importantly, contrary to the UN recognition of the Maduro government together with 120 UN member States? Is Canada operating outside the global institution of the United Nations?

Mr. Guaidó has no legitimate claim to the presidency of Venezuela. He appointed himself on a street in Caracas. As I mentioned, he has never participated in presidential elections, and as an impostor he has made several coup attempts such as the one in April 2019 against the constitutional government of Venezuela. Those are the qualifications of your protégé.

Can you tell Canadians why your government tolerates undemocratic actions in other countries – including the recent military coup in Bolivia directed against the indigenous people of that country – while it represses legitimate protests of the Wet’suwet’en First Nations in Canada defending their ancestral land from threats of environmental devastation?

Only a small minority in Venezuela supports Mr. Guaidó. However, while Venezuelans have a sovereign right to resolve their differences based on their constitutionally granted freedoms and legal system, Canada – your government – has no business in interfering by any international standard except a bullying attitude.

Can you tell Canadians which international law gives your government the right to interfere in Venezuela?

I am sure that you would not conceive of any foreign country interfering or intervening in the internal affairs of Canada.

Can you tell Canadians the logic of your government’s blatant double standard?

As we all know, the OAS has not been able to gather the sufficient number of votes to condemn the legitimate government of Venezuela – when still an OAS member – because the majority of OAS member States correctly opted to abide by Article 19, Chapter IV of the OAS Charter that specifically states, “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.” Nevertheless, your government has taken upon itself the role of co-opting a splinter group of about a dozen OAS countries called “Lima Group” with no other purpose than delegitimise the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Can you tell Canadians why your government has taken such a position – that knowingly breaks international law – to interfere in Venezuelan affairs?

Many in Canada question the close alignment of Canadian foreign policy with US foreign policy that is fully evident in the military interventions in the Middle East on the side of the US. In reference to Venezuela, I am aware that on September 5, 2017 the Canadian government formed a bilateral Association with the US government. The Association called on the two members to take “economic measures” against Venezuela and persons close to the Venezuelan government. To implement this decision, on September 22, 2017, Canada imposed its own unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, Venezuelan officials and other individuals. These were followed by further sanctions.

Can you tell Canadians why Canadian foreign policy is so aligned with US foreign policy whereby the two governments are imposing an economic and financial blockade against Venezuela in an attempt to paralyse its economy, and cause severe suffering and deaths among the civilian population?

I am aware that your government has developed a “Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration” with the US. The announcement of the Plan stated the importance of, “advancing our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.” Of particular concern is the statement, “The Action Plan will guide cooperation in areas such as industry engagement; efforts to secure critical minerals supply chains for strategic industries and defence.” It is well known that Venezuela holds the largest proven oil reserves as well as large reserves of minerals including gold. I am also aware of the Canadian corporate interest in Venezuelan gold that have enticed corporations like Crystallex to put legal claims in US courts against illegally seized Venezuelan-owned oil company Citgo.

Can you tell Canadians that your government is not pursuing a regime change in Venezuela guided by an imperialist agenda of “securing critical minerals supply chains”, which Mr. Guaidó seems more than willing to allow (without authority) contrary to the will of the majority of Venezuelans?

Finally, given Canada’s record of a foreign policy prone to involvements in wars like in the Middle East, and turning a blind eye to human rights violations for the sake of arms sale like in Saudi Arabia, I doubt Canada’s impartial role in global decisions based on sound principles of non-aggression, non-intervention, human security, and respect for human life and dignity. Certainly, your government’s association with countries of the “Lima Group” that have serious human rights records like Colombia does not lend your government much credibility.

Can you tell Canadians why Canada deserves a seat at the UN Security Council, as you are currently campaigning for?

Mr. Trudeau, I expect you to address explicitly all the questions I posed above for my sake and the sake of many in Canada who share my concerns.

I will continue to express my utmost rejection of your government interference in the domestic affairs of Venezuela based on principles of international law, on principles of democratic values that should not be biased and have double standards, as well as on principles of not causing harm and hardship to a population that has no ill intentions against Canada.

I urge the Canadian government to leave the “Lima Group”, end all sanctions against Venezuela and pursue a path of cooperation, dialogue and peace-building in the region. I assure you that it is possible to pursue respectful trade relationship while following different social path like in the case of Canada and Cuba.

Let it be known that it is not Venezuela that constitutes a danger to regional peace nor its socialist path, but rather the warfare, aggression, threats and siege of yours and the US government.

Venezuelans are a people with a resolve for self-determination and sovereignty.

Venezuelans are a peace-loving people that do not wish any harm to others.

I know this because I am a Venezuelan-Canadian pledging my loyalty to social justice.

Respectfully,

Nino Pagliccia

Vancouver, Canada

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail