AP NEWS

Allow no U.S. intervention in Venezuela

May 5, 2019

As a Texan, it is concerning to see the White House’s obsessive and almost sadistic attacks on Venezuela.

These unprovoked acts of violence against the Venezuelan economy, currency, infrastructure and citizens are unwarranted. This is a nation that has not posed any sort of threat to the United States, and our continued interventions could destabilize the entire region with disastrous results for generations.

I urge Texas members of Congress to co-sponsor HR 1004 and Texas senators to sign on to S.J. Res. 11 as a first step in de-escalating aggression against Venezuela. Both bills prohibit the unauthorized use of the military against Venezuela.

Furthermore, I ask that Congress urge the White House to lift all sanctions and economic blockade against the besieged South American nation, which former U.N. Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas said are killing Venezuelans and may amount to a crime against humanity.

The hardships that the Venezuelan people are enduring can easily be relieved if sanctions are lifted, the billions of dollars of frozen Venezuelan assets are released and appropriated funds returned.

The brazen efforts by the U.S. to topple a democratically elected president and install in his place a relatively unknown, unelected person who proclaimed himself president in a public park and who belongs to a discredited, undemocratic opposition is unacceptable, and most likely illegal and unconstitutional. It is an insult to Venezuelans and a mockery of the democratic principles that the U.S. publicly proclaims.

After demanding that early national elections be held on May 20, 2018, instead of December — which is when Venezuela normally has elections — the opposition then turned around and boycotted the elections.

But despite all this, four candidates still ran for office with a 46 percent voter turnout. Out of 8.6 million registered voters who cast ballots, 5.8 million voted for the incumbent. This was done under the watchful eyes of about 150 on-the-ground international observers from about 30 countries, which included people from the United States, Spain, Germany, South Africa, various Latin American and Caribbean countries, the United Kingdom and Russia — just to name a few. These were academics, senior politicians, two former presidents, election officials, journalists and civil servants, all confirming the authenticity and legitimacy of the elections.

However, despite this, the Venezuelan opposition, Washington and about 14 Latin American countries, some with governments that have dubious claims to legitimacy of their own, decided to not recognize the electoral outcome, calling the elections a sham.

The goal of the opposition is not just to unseat President Nicolás Maduro but to eradicate Chavismo, a popular movement named after the late President Hugo Chávez, which Maduro has inherited and continues to support.

People from the popular sectors of Venezuelan society support this movement because they have seen real improvements in their lives. They refuse to return to the political and socioeconomic system that ruled over them prior to Chávez, which excluded them totally.

The hard-line opposition wants to return to the pre-Chávez era, a four-decades-long, two-party duopoly in which the concerns of the working classes were invisible and a tiny minority, along with their international business partners, enjoyed most of Venezuela’s wealth. They have been actively attempting to overthrow the government ever since Chávez won elections in 1999.

To be sure, Venezuela is a highly polarized and stratified society. But claims that the Maduro regime is a dictatorship are absurd. Uruguayan journalist and novelist Eduardo Galeano said it best — that if Venezuela is a dictatorship, it is a strange dictatorship. “It is where the rich protest and the poor celebrate,” and where those who plot openly to oust the government still hold government jobs.

Jovanni Reyes is an U.S. Army veteran who holds master’s degrees in international relations and instructional technology. He lives in San Antonio.