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Common Frontiers calls on Trudeau to rethink his antagonistic policy toward Venezuela

Common Frontiers program director Raul Burbano.

Our ally Common Frontiers is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rethink his policy towards Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The Latin American news service Telesur reports, “Canada is one of the main countries spearheading the antagonist campaign against the Chavista government in Venezuela. Amid the ongoing right-wing induced crisis in Venezuela, a coalition of labor groups and activists in Canada have urged the federal government to rethink its policy towards the socialist South American country. …Slamming Ottawa’s policy on Venezuela, [Common Frontiers program director Raul] Burbano said Canada needs to be fair and play an even-handed role in resolving the political impasse in Venezuela.”

Burbano says, “I think the government of Canada should make clear its support for the constitutional government, electoral democracy and rule of law in Venezuela, and support mediation by organizations that are neutral.”

The article highlights, “After the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999, Venezuela made significant gains in health care, education, reducing poverty — all while wrestling for economic and political control from the country’s right-wing elite who were not interested in social gains or programs designed for the public.”

Burbano notes, “These gains have come at a cost to local elites, which means they’ve lost power, revenue from oil in Venezuela has gone towards social programs as opposed to corporate profits and I think this has created an element of contradictions of power within Venezuela.”

Radio-Canada adds, “Canada’s policy is not coherent when Ottawa is pushing for human rights in Venezuela but ignores human rights abuses committed by right-wing governments in Colombia, Mexico Honduras, Burbano said.”

Burbano says, “Canada has predominantly talked a lot about human rights, labour rights on the global scale and that’s the way it sort of presents itself. Unfortunately, the reality we see in Latin America – it could be Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras – Canada has been pretty much preoccupied with its economic interests, much of that extractive industries.”

That article notes, “Venezuela has one of the strongest and most active democracies in the region having carried out 20 elections in 17 years (presidential, regional, municipal and referenda), Burbano argued. It has a strong direct democracy that empowers grassroots groups through communes and communal councils, he said.”

Burbano concludes, “Extremist elements in the opposition have declared themselves in open rebellion against the democratically elected president, rejecting further negotiations and calling for street mobilizations. By making Venezuela ungovernable the opposition coalition is betting on foreign interference to pressure the government to resign, thus allowing them to regain power – something they have failed to achieve democratically at the ballot box for the past 17 years.”

To read the Telesur article click here, to read the Radio-Canada article click here. Burbano’s analytical piece Venezuela: a Threat to US Energy Hegemony? can be read here.