By Pierre LeBlanc – Jun 13, 2021
The Canadian government has proudly announced that it is hosting an International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on June 17, 2021. Once again, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, at the beckoning of their corporate giant and US State Department ventriloquists, are orchestrating this well worn albeit disingenuous “humanitarian aid” charade. It is but another chapter in the 20-year-long US-led litany of failed attempts at overthrowing a duly elected government and grinding into a pulp Venezuelans’ chosen path to social, economic and political sovereignty.
In the wake of the rapidly shrinking world appetite for this particular regime-change gambit, the donors’ conference, a chocolate-coated substitute for the late Lima Group gangster cabal, is a thinly veiled attempt to revive the grotesque dreams of the finance, oil and mining industries’ robber barons. These merchants of 21st century colonialism seek to overrun Venezuela in order to eviscerate its many riches. One of their stars, Elon Musk, famously said of the US-sponsored coup d’état against lithium rich Bolivia: “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” Mere regime change will not quench these barons’ thirst. They must implement the US hegemonic tenet that the Venezuelan people shall never again have the audacity to rise up from the ashes of the dismemberment of their chosen institutions and systems. (A similarly nefarious illegal scenario led by the American Congress is presently playing out against Nicaragua, with egregious sanctions, and internal interference and mischief-making, by the US and Canada.)
Recently, Canada has been beset by status-quo-shaking events and recriminations:
• the hideous London, Ontario mass murder of four members of a Muslim family, simply out for a quiet evening walk;
• the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, victims of a 100-year-plus white settler policy of extinguishing Canada’s Indigenous peoples, including the intended wiping out of the very memory of their existence;
• the championing by Canada of the apartheidic Zionist Israeli horrendous bombardment and callous mass murder of countless Palestinian children, women and men, and the house theft and catastrophic destruction of the Sheikh Jara neighborhood—an epic, ethnic-cleansing pogrom against Palestinian and Israeli-Arab East Jerusalem;
• in Yemen, the unspeakable, Canadian-enabled mass execution of Muslims, be it by bombing (hundreds of thousands of people) or barbaric, war-tactic starvation (tens of thousands of children have already died and millions of people are starving) by Saudi Arabia, using Canadian-made, taxpayer-supported armored vehicles and a wide array of military hardware.
What, one may ask, does all this have to do with Canada’s sweet and altruistic-sounding hosting of the Donors’ Conference? The 20-year-long US/Canada-led persecution and relentless attacking of the Venezuelan people and the degrading of their cherished political and economic systems through lethal sanctions, paramilitary incursions, and the sea and air economic blockade have a similar genesis as Islamophobia, and the identical purpose. It is to annihilate the “ingrates” and crush their way of life and institutions because their very existence as an alternative model of “a better, more human way to live, for and with each other” is an existential threat to the dominance and wildly accruing wealth of the uber rich and powerful who have built their cathedrals on exploited, often forced, labor and tax evasion. And who, contemptuously, have exploited the COVID-19 scourge, including by bilking the pandemic aid programs, to propel themselves into stratospheric wealth and power.
The publicly subsidized flights into space of these not-so-petty-thieves (Bezos, Musk) are not merely vanity projects; they are their declaration to us mere mortals and subjects of their divine right to “master” and ruthlessly exploit us, down to our very bones and souls, to the last ounce of the worker-to-oligarch transfer that they have engineered. The success of their project could only be achieved by the instrumentalization of that long-recognized, go-to instrument of capitalism—racism. Racial tension is nourished by the relentless propagation of fear and deep hate of the other, the foreigner; in the case at hand, the Venezuelan system and its people, hence Venezuelaphobia. The deliberate nurturing of hate is the vehicle of predilection employed by those seeking to manufacture consent for strife and war in all its forms, including via sanctions and economic blockade. Hatred and racism among the targeted peoples work because the levels of solidarity required to successfully resist billionaire control and destructive power are much harder to build and maintain. Canadian governments, at the behest of Canadian and foreign corporations, and foreign governments, have become masters at it.
The present obsession with crushing the Venezuelan model has reached absurd dimensions. Uncle Sam, through its sanctions and control of the international money transfer apparatus, has just cancelled the Venezuelan purchase of $10 million dollars-worth of COVID-19 vaccines for its people, from COVAX no less, by directing the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) to illegally block and seize Venezuela’s payment. The message from the US is clear: the global health system is a geopolitical weapon that will be deployed against any of its enemies, real or imaginary. This American act makes a mockery of Joe Biden’s pledge to give “needy” countries 500 million doses of COVID vaccines. On the other hand, it does remind us of Biden’s true political mindset and impulses, and of what awaits the world. Way back in 1986, he declared the following in the US Senate: “Aid to Israel is the best $3 billion dollar investment we make. Were there not an Israel, the US would have to invent an Israel to protect our interests in the region.”
Israel’s Mossad and military contractors then went on to act as shock troops against any hint of people-initiated resistance in many corners of the planet where the empire did not wish to be seen in action. Scandalously, for some years now, Israeli police have been training American police officers, in American cities themselves, in how to put down Black Lives Matter and American Indian movements. The question must be asked. Are they here in Canada as well? A clearer demonstration of the exploitation of racism as a tool of domination is hard to come by.
This rapacious seizure of funds is just another milestone of depravity in a long list of atrocities that, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas (July 2020), have caused 100,000 needless deaths and the empire-orchestrated suffering of millions of Venezuelans. In February 2021, Alena Douhan, United Nations Human Rights Commission Special Rapporteur, said of unilateral coercive measures and human rights: “The devastating effect of sanctions imposed is multiplied by extra-territoriality and over-compliance adversely affecting public and private sectors, Venezuela citizens, non-governmental organizations, third country national and companies.” It is precisely this kind of puerile crimes-against-humanity shenanigans by the US and its allies that has spawned the large number of migrants seeking a more promising future in other countries. Even the New York Times now admits that the economic devastation and resulting migrant flow was caused by the US sanctions. To their surprise, the migrants are worse off in those countries and many are streaming back home, while others are blocked from travelling home by those states’ ultra-right-wing governments. The Canadian government’s claim that these Venezuelans are refugees is a bald-faced lie—a testament to its fundamentalist subservience to the financial baron supremacy creed. Simply put, the Canadian government is a captured entity committed to executing hybrid wars and inflicting massive, long-term pain.
Like Venezuela’s citizens, all that Canadian Muslims and First Nations, and also Palestinians and Yemenis, wish for is a decent life and the power to choose their own economic and political futures. Unfortunately, the Canadian corporate elites, the sycophant media barons and their misguided political handmaids won’t stand for it. Indentured to its masters and US sponsors, the Canadian government dutifully serves as a hatred/racism-propagating machine. Every time PM Justin Trudeau or one of his ministers declares its blind, unconditional support for the Zionist Israeli apartheid state and the mass murder of Palestinians, they nurture Islamophobia in our land; numerous Canadians perceive this as a green light to dump on or, much worse, assassinate Muslims.
The 215 Indigenous children (only the first of such discoveries) entombed in Kamloops is deeply upsetting. Moreover, the government’s waste of millions of dollars in legal maneuvers in attempts to bypass judicial decisions including the rejection of calls to equitably finance education and health care for Indigenous children, in the eyes of many Canadians, confirm that First Nations children and their families are unequal, inferior people worthy of scorn and opprobrium. The theft of Indigenous lands for pipelines and the Site C-Dam and the wanton destruction of their environment and way of life are akin to corporations and governments declaring open season on First Nations. The government’s crocodile tears, in full flow at the moment, have little currency among Indigenous peoples and other Canadians of good faith.
The massive sales of Canadian, taxpayer-supported armored vehicles and other military hardware that Saudi Arabia uses to exterminate, maim and starve millions of Yemenis is another shoutout to racists in Canada that Muslims are fair game. Canada’s silence in the face of the American bombardment of and military attacks on Yemen speaks volumes to “look over here at this shiny object of make-believe anti-racism policy” while effectively greenlighting white supremacy-type behaviour. Vigils and nice-sounding phrases won’t reduce racism-generating hate in Canada; only reversing positions re: Palestine, Yemen, Venezuela, and doing right by Canada’s First Nations and racialized communities will.
In the wake of the London Ontario Massacre, Prime Minister Trudeau said: “Islamophobia is real. Racism is real. You should not have to face that hate in your communities, in your country.” Mr. Trudeau, your government’s actions are speaking much louder than your words, purveying the hatred and thus the racism that spurs on economically and socially disaffected souls who are scouring the streetscape for scapegoats upon which to vent their anger and desperation.
Canada’s present policy towards Venezuela is not celestially preordained. The Justin Trudeau/Chrystia Freeland government can and must:
1.- Cancel the June 17, 2021 International Donors’ Conference.
2.- Immediately cancel all of its sanctions against the Venezuelan State, its officials and its citizens.
3.- Reinstate full bilateral relations with the duly elected government of Venezuela, including providing credentials to the Maduro government-designated ambassador and consuls-general to Canada.
4.- Pass legislation, buttressed by stiff financial and legal penalties, obliging all Canadian oil and mining companies to stop interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs, and to return all the funds and properties, including CITGO, that they have stolen from the Venezuelans by illegitimate means and contrived court cases in American kangaroo courts.
5.- Compensate Venezuela for the terrible devastation that the Canadian hybrid war has visited upon the children, women, men, and economy over the last 20 years.
6.- Prevail upon President Joe Biden to immediately dismantle the “sanctions, blockade and arm-twisting tactics apparatus” that the US has erected to such destructive and deadly effect.
7.- Marshall international support for the removal of all the policies and practices of the international financial system that serve to block all financial transactions by and with the Venezuelan government and Venezuelan institutions, organisations and individuals.
8.- Insist that Britain immediately release to Venezuela the huge pot of gold that it stole so that Venezuela may purchase the vaccines, medicines and medical equipment it needs to fight COVID-19 and provide adequate medical services to its people, just as it was doing prior to the imposition of this obscene crimes-against-humanity collective punishment.
9.- Insist that all financial institutions and all countries that are withholding or have stolen Venezuelan funds under the cover of this US/Canada-engineered hybrid war release all these funds to Venezuela, be they held in Switzerland, the US, Portugal, Britain, Canada or anywhere else in the world.
10.- Cancel its free trade agreement with Colombia so that this rogue state puts an end to armed cross-border attacks by Colombian paramilitary and organized crime groups against Venezuela. And, of course, prod Colombia’s Duque to stop the massacre of its own citizens as it is presently doing, with impunity on a massive scale.
These measures, required by elementary human justice principles, would allow the Venezuelan economy to flourish and would be much more helpful to the migrants than any crumbs that may drop, with suffocating strings attached, from the June 17 Ottawa-hosted gabfest. Prime Minister Trudeau, the time to take an honest, effective stand against racism and all manner of socio-political phobias, including Venezualaphobia, is now.
Featured image: Referential image. Poisoned candies are a good metaphor for the new imperialist Canadian approach towards Chavista Venezuela. File photo.