Calling on Congress to become educated about Venezuela


As negotiations begin in Norway, the U.S. threats intensify — VP Pence: “time for talk is over”; Pompeo: “we must intensify pressure.” And, OAS leader Almagro: “reject any dialogue.”


Media coverage is lacking in any truth and substance.

Peninsula Peace & Justice has penned the following letter to Senator Angus King about the effects of sanctions and the danger of any intervention that goes against international law.



Dear Senator King:

I appreciate your taking the time to respond to me on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. While some members of Congress are ratcheting up tensions, I urge you to take a deeper look at the situation. I believe you have been misinformed on several points. While it is true that the humanitarian crisis is intensifying, it has been steadily growing worse since the sanctions imposed in August 2017, which have contributed to a sharp decline in oil production causing great harm to the population (CEPR report). This has resulted in an estimated 40,000 deaths from 2017 to 2018 in Venezuela. The sanctions imposed since January 2019 will cause many more deaths due to restriction on the availability of medicines and other intentionally imposed hardships. Sources of these statements are available here.

When you refer to “diplomatic efforts to bring the Venezuelan government to the negotiating table,” I assume you are referring to the sanctions. President Maduro has reached out to the United States for peaceful negotiation, but has been rebuffed. It is clear that the intention of sanctions is to cause great suffering, not negotiation.

Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2018 in open, free and democratic elections by a large majority. Former President Carter has stated that Venezuela has one of the most transparent and legitimate electoral processes in the world. It is also important to note that the Trump administration declared before the election that they would not recognize the results. 

Thank you for being skeptical about the potential for direct U.S. military involvement. I urge you to expand your skepticism to much of the state and media misinformation about the Maduro government and realities on the streets that floods the airwaves, as well as the flagrant disregard for the lives of the Venezuelan people manifested by Mr. Almagro, who recently has rejected negotiation.

Members of our Blue Hill organization have been studying U.S./Latin America relations over the past 20 years and we are dismayed at the short view taken by many in Congress. We hope you will use your influence and leadership to contribute to peace.

Sincerely,

for Peninsula Peace & Justice
Bonnie Preston
Steve Benson
Ron King
Peter Robbins
Connie Jenkins
Dud Hendrick

Peninsula Peace & Justiceest. 1999
P.O. Box 1257
Blue Hill ME 04614

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