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A supporter of the government of Nicolás Maduro holds a sign against the U.S.-backed intervention in Venezuela during the summit to discuss diplomatic actions to address the Venezuelan crisis on February 7, 2019 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, UK and Sweden will be joining Bolivia, Costa Rica and Ecuador on the summit proposed by Mexico and Uruguay. (Photo: Santiago Mazzarovich/Getty Images)

Why We in Colombia and Elsewhere Reject US Intervention in Venezuela

An international communique from the leader of the Colombian Opposition concerning Venezuela

Gustavo Petro

Humanity is experiencing times characterized by change, instability and above all, fear. It’s experiencing a structural transition which, in the case of Latin America, is causing panic. Failing to understand that our society requires transformation, anachronistic forces currently governing us are engaged in desperate attempts to avoid the reforms our society demands thereby rendering it ever more fragile. In this regard, the apparent danger of a foreign military invasion of Venezuela would initiate an absurd war, impacting the entire region.

Most of the Colombian people, as victims of armed conflict for more than half a century, have no desire to open a new front of bellicosity, this time against a neighboring country, and oppose the current threats of armed confrontation. They are joined by politicians, intellectuals and social activists everywhere who have also raised their voices in opposition to the possibility of a war. While it is true that the United States-sponsored Lima Group and others support Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez’ aspirations in Venezuela, we Latin Americans are not by nature interventionists and the majority would not accept a war that ultimately primarily responds to United States, rather than Venezuelan interests.

"We must collectively oppose foreign intervention and invasion, not because we defend Mr. Maduro’s government but rather, because we defend the right to free and popular self-determination."

The current drums of war are a result of the political inability to understand events in progress, i.e., the emergence of a multipolar world where diversity reigns and colonialism, as a political practice, is finally being overcome. Such a world, based on international law and state sovereignty, is one we must protect by responding to the bellicose discourse of politicians leading peoples immersed in fear with proposals for dialogue and peace. Leaders in democracies should be subordinate to the will of their communities and thus it is the People who must exercise the historic role of building a new society. Because of that, heeding the example of the Latin American continent, one that for many generations has been subjected to internecine wars, all of us must raise our collective voices opposing regional and continental war.

We must collectively oppose war; in that we have to be inflexible. We must collectively oppose foreign intervention and invasion, not because we defend Mr. Maduro’s government but rather, because we defend the right to free and popular self-determination. In consequence, we are raising the banner of Peace, proposing coordinate anti-war marches both within the Americas and throughout the world. We believe that the only route to resolving the complex situation that prevails in Venezuela is through dialogue; dialogue from a perspective respectful of international law and human rights and prioritizing diplomacy as the means for restoring the serenity of the Venezuelan people. Only in such manner can tensions between political forces be reduced and the use of force avoided. In this regard we endorse the proposals by the Mexican and Uruguayan governments reflected in the Montevideo Mechanism whose goal is facilitation of a political agreement resolving the serious political, economic and social crises being experienced by Venezuela’s institutions and call on progressives everywhere to help us to avoid the barbarity of war. Together, let us assist humanity to reject fear, war and hatred.

"Together, let us assist humanity to reject fear, war and hatred.We invite progressive forces everywhere to march for peace, multilateralism and dialogue."

We invite progressive forces everywhere to march for peace, multilateralism and dialogue. Let us not permit anachronistic leaders to push us towards a war that would destroy our beloved Latin America, a continent which, from the heights of the Andes, like the condor, has sought to move skies, rivers and mountains in quest of a home where peace and justice prevail.

Signed,

Gustavo Petro
Bogotá, February 13, 2019

The undersigned—both individuals, organizations, and political parties—hereby join in the call by Gustavo Petro and Colombia Humana to avoid armed conflict and foreign intervention in Venezuela through dialogue and diplomacy reflecting the free, collective will of the Venezuelan People and respect for international law and the sovereignty and equality of all States:

Angela Maria Robledo (Congresswoman, Republic of Colombia; Vice President, Colombia Humana)

Hilda Carrera (International civic activist, political consultant and advisor)

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (Academic, writer, political analyst and civic activist)

Coordinación Socialista Latinoamericana (which includes):

  • PRD México
  • PRD Panamá
  • Partido Socialista de Ecuador
  • Partido Socialista de Perú
  • Nuevo Perú
  • Partido Socialista de Chile
  • Partido Socialista de Uruguay 
  • MAS Bolivia
  • Partido Revolucionario Febrerista de Paraguay
  • Partido Socialista Brasileño
  • Colombia Humana

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Gustavo Petro

Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego is a politician, economist, former presidential candidate, and member of the national Senate. He previously served as mayor of Bogotá. Runner-up in the 2018 Colombian presidential elections , Petro—together with his vice-presidential partner, Angela Maria Robledo—is currently the leader of the opposition to the administration of the current president, Ivan Duque, considered by most to be a mere stand-in for former president Alvaro Uribe Velez.  Senator Petro, together with Congresswoman Robledo, is the leader of Colombia Humana, a large political movement that obtained more than eight million votes in the 2018 elections but which has been denied legal status as a political party by the current administration making it currently ineligible for formal electoral participation, all too similar to what detractors of Venezuela's current government are accused of doing.

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