Green Party: The U.S. must normalize relations with Venezuela and end "irrational" hostilities
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
Friday, September 25, 2015
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. should help Venezuela end its oil-based economy and move towards diversification, say Greens, citing climate crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party of the United States urged President Obama to normalize relations with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and to lift the sanctions against the latter.
Greens called for friendly and constructive engagement with Venezuela and other Latin American countries, especially to help Venezuela move towards economic diversification and away from reliance on oil for the country's wealth
"The U.S.'s hostile policies regarding Venezuela is as irrational as the current posture against Iran. It's motivated by U.S. business interests that wish to exploit Venezuelan oil resources and by Venezuela's friendly relations with Cuba and Iran -- in other words, by refusal to comply with U.S. economic and political domination. The Green Party upholds the right of nations throughout the world to serve the needs of their own people instead of corporate power and greed," said Didier Ortiz of Florida, co-chair of the Latinx Caucus of the Green Party of the U.S. (http://www.gp.org/caucuses_affinity_groups#latinx).
Green Party leaders said that the sanctions, imposed by President Obama's executive order in response to allegations of Venezuelan violence against protesters, were hypocritical in light of U.S. silence over brutal suppression of internal protest by allies like Saudi Arabia.
"Instead of forcing subservience to U.S. policies and corporate interests, the U.S. should assist Venezuela in ending its fossil-fuel based economy, a necessity during the global climate crisis. There are already internal movements in Venezuela for scaling back the oil industry and diversifying the economy. They deserve our support," said Margaret Flowers, Maryland Green candidate for the U.S. Senate (http://flowersforsenate.org).
Greens noted that U.S. hostilities against Venezuela resentment that President Hugo Chávez reversed the privatization of state-owned oil company PDVSA, which raised the country's GDP and benefited the Venezuelan people but imposed royalties on foreign firms. In retaliation, the U.S. launched a series of covert actions in Venezuela, including aid for the failed 2002 coup, in violation of international law.
The U.S. sanctions and lowering of the price of oil to $40 per barrel (also meant as an economic blow to Iran and Russia) did not succeed in imposing austerity on the Venezuelan people. Social programs begun under President Chávez and maintained by President Nicolás Maduro remain in full operation.
Greens said that President Obama's statement in March 2015 that Venezuela posed an "extraordinary threat" to U.S. security was reckless and deserved the widespread denunciation it received from other Latin American countries' leaders.
Greens also sharply criticized Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for calling Hugo Chávez a "dead communist dictator." Greens said that the label was grossly misinformed (especially for a socialist) and consistent with Sen. Sanders' support for neoliberal foreign policies and U.S. military dominance, in contrast to his progressive domestic positions.
"One of the best ways to give people hope that a political revolution is possible through elections is to give examples of where it has happened. Venezuela is such an example. Since Hugo Chávez was first elected in 1998, poverty and inequality have been reduced. By falling in line with the demonization of Chávez, Bernie Sanders undercuts his stated platform of fighting the billionaire class and his ability to tell truth to power," said Laura Wells, Green candidate for state controller in California in 2014.
Laura Wells has participated in several political delegations to Venezuela to study firsthand the changes since President Chávez's election in 1998. (See Ms. Wells' essay "Ten Things I Learned from Hugo Chávez," http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2015/09/02/ten-things-i-learned-from-hugo-chavez/)
"President Obama has begun to normalize relations with Cuba. Why not Venezuela?" said Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party and delegate to Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas (http://www.fpva.org). "Unfortunately, the U.S. political establishment wants Venezuela to be a South American Saudi Arabia. The Green Party wants an alliance between the U.S. and Venezuela based on mutual cooperation and respect."
"The basis for friendship between the two nations was established in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when President Chávez sent tons of food, fresh water, and petroleum to aid the storm's victims, as well as his gift of heating oil at a 40% discount to low-income families in New England and Detroit in 2005," added Bahram Zandi, co-chair of the Internatonal Committee and delegate to Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas.
The Truth About Chávez: Bernie Sanders is wrong — Hugo Chávez was no dictator.
By Gabriel Hetland, Jacobin, September 20, 2015
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