Thursday, June 05, 2014

88 Organizations and Individuals Oppose US Sanctions against Venezuela

For Immediate Release

May 29, 2014
Contact: Chuck Kaufman

88 Organizations and Individuals Oppose US Sanctions against Venezuela

In reaction to House-passed bill instructing the Obama Administration to impose sanctions against Venezuela, 88 organizations, academics, and prominent individuals signed an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Academics Noam Chomsky and James Petras, leaders of the United Steelworkers and United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE), Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, lawyer/author Eva Golinger, religious leaders Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Gerry Lee, and others signed the letter to Reid. The letter opposes sanctions, comparing it to the internationally condemned 55-year old sanctions against Cuba. The letter also calls for cutting off US Aid for International Development and National Endowment for Democracy funding for violent groups within the Venezuelan opposition which are responsible for more than half the deaths arising from violent demonstrations which began in February.

Finally, the letter calls for the normalization of relations between the two countries, pointing out, “Venezuela holds the largest proven oil reserves in the world. As the largest consumer of oil, it is in the interest of the people of the United States to maintain friendly and regular relations with Venezuela.”  The letter asks the Obama Administration to name an ambassador to Venezuela, a position that has been vacant since 2008. Venezuela’s democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro has named an ambassador to the United States who has been kept waiting for his credentials to be accepted by the State Department.

Open Letter to Sen. Harry Reid Opposing Sanctions Against Venezuela

May 29, 2014
Sen. Harry Reid
Majority Leader
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Sen. Reid,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals strongly oppose bills in both Houses of Congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela during a time when the Venezuelan government and democratic forces in the opposition are in formal talks mediated by the Vatican and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). We do not think that sanctions would in any way contribute to a peaceful resolution of the problems facing Venezuelans in this polarized environment.

Sanctions against Venezuela would be all too reminiscent of the failed 55-year US policy of sanctions against Cuba. Each year in the UN General Assembly, the US policy toward Cuba is condemned by a nearly unanimous vote of the Community of Nations. At the beginning of his presidency, President Barack Obama promised Latin America a new chapter in US relations. Instead Latin America has witnessed the same old policies of interference in their sovereign affairs and a lack of respect for the right of self-determination. To now impose sanctions against Venezuela would further confirm the perception of the United States as a bad neighbor and a bully.

We are also troubled that some groups in the violent opposition receive US funding through the US Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy. The violent opposition is responsible for more than half the 41 deaths since the beginning of street violence in February, including the decapitation of a motorcyclist from razor wire strung across a street. While the democratic opposition sits down at the table and talks to the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, the violent opposition attempts to win in the streets what they have failed to win in 16 elections since 1998 – elections that former President Jimmy Carter calls “the best in the world” in terms of transparency and fairness. We call on the Congress to stop funding violence in Venezuela.

Venezuela holds the largest proven oil reserves in the world. As the largest consumer of oil, it is in the interest of the people of the United States to maintain friendly and regular relations with Venezuela. To that end we further call on the Administration to appoint, and the Senate to approve, an ambassador to Venezuela and to approve the seating of the ambassador President Maduro has named to represent his government to the United States. Just as peaceful dialogue is the only rational solution to Venezuela’s social divisions, normalized relations and peaceful dialogue, based on respect, is the only rational solution to the differences between our two nations.


Noam Chomsky, MIT
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General
James Petras, Binghamton University
Eva Golinger, Lawyer/Writer
Larry Birns, Director, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Dan Kovalik, Senior Counsel, United Steel Workers
Father Roy Bourgeois, Founder, School of the Americas Watch
Azadeh Shahshahan, President, National Lawyers Guild
Ronald Chilcote, Managing Editor, Latin America Perspectives
Bruce J. Klipple, General President, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)
Andrew C. Dinkelaker, General Secretary-Treasurer, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)
Robert B. Kingsley, Director of Organization, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE)
Gerry G. Lee, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Patrick McCann, President, Veterans for Peace
Katherine Hoyt, National Coordinator, Nicaragua Network
Suzanne Baker, Co-Coordinator, Nicaragua Information Center-Community Action
Tanya Cole, Director, Witness for Peace Southwest
Rev. Dan Dale, President, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Blasé Bonpane, Director, Office on the Americas
Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
Dale Sorensen, Director, Marin (CA) Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
Midge Quandt, Board,  Princeton (NJ)-Granada Sister Cities
Fred Mills, Jr., , Bowie State University (MD)
Williams Camacaro, Artist/Radio Host, New York City
Susan Letendre, RO, Regional Organizer, Witness for Peace New England
Sara Flounders & Teresa Gutierrez, Co-Directors, International Action Center
Alexis Stoumbelis, Director, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Craig Hennecke, Organizer, Portland (OR) Central America Solidarity Committee
Robert Nixon, Steering Committee, School of the Americas Watch West
Michael Bass, Steering Committee, School of the Americas Watch West
Peter Bohmer, Faculty in Political Economy, The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
Hector Perla, Jr., Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
Isabel Garcia, Board Chair, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Tucson, AZ
Babette Grunow, Board Coordinator, Latin America Solidarity Committee
Steve Ellner, Professor, Universidad de Oriente, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
Michael Eisenscher, Coordinator, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice
Rosalind Bresnahan, Editorial Board, Latin American Perspectives
William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology and Global and International Studies, University of California-Santa Barbara
Donald W. Bray, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Los Angeles
Marjorie Woodford Bray,PhD, Director of Latin American Studies, Retired, California State University, Los Angeles
Nora Hamilton, Professor (Retired), University of Southern California
Sheryl Lutjens, Chair, Chair, Women's Studies Department, California State University
Dr. Claudia Ferman, Latin American & Film Studies, University of Richmond, VA
Tamar Diana Wilson, Community4ImmigrantRights, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Horacio N. Roque Ramírez, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Prof. Bruce Calder, Emeritus Professor of Latin American History, University of Illinois
George Leddy, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science, Los Angeles Valley College
Clifford A Welch, Professor, UNIFESP - Universidade Federal de São Paulo
William Aviles, Professor, University of Nebraska, Kearney
Alejandro Alvarez Béjar, Professor, UNAM-Mexico
John L. Hammond, Professor, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY
David Horvath, Chair , Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean
Beth Baker-Cristales, Ph.D., Director, Latin American Studies Program, California State University, Los Angeles
Dra. Mercedes Olivera Bustamante, Professor, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas, México
Marilyn Frankenstein, Professor, College of Public and Community Service, University of Massachusetts
Suren Moodliar, Professor, Massachusetts Global Action
Paul Lauter, Allan K. & Gwendolytn Miles Smith Professor of Literature, Trinity College
James Cockcroft , Honorary Editor, Latin American Perspectives
Armando Gonzalez Caban , Editors Collective, Latín American Perspectives, UC
Lauren Carasik, Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Western New England University School of Law
James Levy, Professor, University of South Wales, Australia
James W. Russell, CSU Professor of Sociology, Eastern Connecticut State University
Buddy Bell, Organizer, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Chicago, IL
Karyn Hollis, Ph.D., English Department, Villanova University
Diana Bohn, Organizer, Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition
Rev. John Fife, Co-Founder, No More Deaths & Sactuary Movement, Tucson, AZ
Tom Baker, Director, Chicago Fair Trade Group
James Jordan, Coordinating Committee, Latin America Solidarity Coalition
Emily Zucchino, Associate Director, Witness for Peace Southeast
Julian Kunnie,  Professor, University of Arizona, Chi Endeh Community Alliance
Dana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
George Ciccariello-Maher, Asst Prof, Department of History & Politics, Drexel Univ.
Lee Artz, Ph. D., International Communication, , Purdue University Calumet
Kim Scipes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University North Central
Cori Ring-Martinez & Catie Johnston, Co-Coordinators, US-El Salvador Sister Cities
Jerry Pendergast, Board, Chicago-Cinquera Sister Cities
Lee Sui Hin, National Coordinator, National Immigrant Rights Network
Colleen Rose, Events Coordinator, Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
Dave King, Co Chair , Climate Jobs committee, PDX*
Laurie King, Co Chair, Portland Jobs with Justice*
Lee Robinson, PAIA Secretariat, All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party-GC
Banbose Shango, National Co-Chair, National Network on Cuba
Manik Mukherjee, General Secretary, International Anti-imperialist Coordinating Committee (IACC), Kolkata, India
Collective, Power through Community Action (PICA)
Collective, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Alejandro Mencha, Collective Representative, 3rd Space, Phoenix, AZ
Cecelia Kluding, Board, Communities Engaged in Global Justice

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