Biden should normalise relations with Venezuela


“April marks twenty years since the US-backed coup in Venezuela against then President Hugo Chavez, which was defeated by an amazing display of people power.”

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

By the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign team.

April marks twenty years since the US-backed coup in Venezuela against then President Hugo Chavez, which was defeated by an amazing display of people power. The defeat of the coup not only radicalised the social change taking place in that country, but also helped spark the first ‘pink wave’ of left wing progress across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Whilst a lot has changed on 20 years since the coup, one thing that hasn’t is different US administrations seeking to reclaim domination of the oil-rich country through pursuing hostile policies – including sanctions – aimed at securing ‘regime change,’ even though such policies are against international law.

In recent years, these deadly US sanctions have reached a level akin to ongoing US blockade of Cuba, with the US-based Center for Economic and Policy Research estimating they have claimed the lives of over 40,000 innocent Venezuelans.

However, the continued failure of these aggressive policies to secure ‘regime change’ and the deepening global energy crisis have led to reports that the US is considering changing approach when it comes to Venezuela.

For this reason – and to stand with the people of Venezuela twenty years on from the defeat of the US-backed coup – a campaign and petition has been launched calling on President Biden to end sanctions and restore normal relations with Venezuela. Please give it your support.

PETITION TEXT: President Biden – fully normalise relations with Venezuela!

Twenty years ago in Venezuela – in April 2002 – a coup by right wing elites aided and abetted by the US failed to unseat the elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. Since then, the US has refused to recognise Venezuela’s right to self-determination, instead pursuing an illegal policy of ‘regime change.’

This policy stance became overtly hostile in 2015 when, without foundation, the US declared Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the US, enabling sanctions to be levied on companies and individuals. Under President Trump, these were ratcheted up to become an economic blockade akin to that imposed against Cuba.

These illegal coercive measures have failed to achieve the goal of ‘regime change’. 

But they have caused immense suffering, leading to over 40,000 deaths between 2017 and 2018 alone. In the last five years, the blockade and the illegal confiscation of Venezuelan assets has led to a 99% loss of state income. This has been particularly damaging for Venezuela in fighting the COVID pandemic.

The US has pursued a deeply harmful and inhumane policy towards Venezuela, which has failed to secure widespread support, both inside Venezuela where numerous opposition parties have joined in dialogue with President Maduro and participated in recent rounds of elections, and on the international stage, where the UN recognises the Maduro-led government.

The election of President Biden seemed to offer hope of change. But it has taken the gathering global energy crisis for the US to make the first tentative moves towards easing the sanctions on the export of Venezuelan oil.

Now is the time for President Biden to act boldly and forge a new chapter in US-Venezuela relations by ending sanctions and fully normalising relations with Venezuela.

  • Add your name to the petition here.
  • EVENT: 20 years since the coup against Hugo Chávez Tariq Ali & special guests. Thu, 28 April,19:00. Register here.

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