SPECIAL VSC UPDATE, JULY 2011:
Leading voices in Britain call for respect for Venezuelan Sovereignty & Oppose US Sanctions
Prominent figures including Members of Parliament, performing artist Linton Kwesi Johnson and film-maker John Pilger have called for opposition to the recent imposition of US sanctions on the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. Academics, trade union leaders and peace campaigners also backed the call.
In a letter they call the sanctions the “latest in a series of violations of Venezuela’s sovereignty in recent years,” arguing they “reflect an increasingly hostile agenda being driven by the Republican Right, following its successes at last November's US elections, which have led to it controlling a number of important foreign affairs committees.”
In light of this, they conclude by arguing that “in the run-up to Presidential Elections in December 2012, it is up to the Venezuelan people alone to decide their own future, free from external interference, and call on all governments to respect this right.”
The letter and a number of its signatories appeared in the labour movement weekly Tribune (22 July 2011). The letter and its signatories are below
TAKE ACTION TODAY: We are still collecting signatories for this statement - Click here to ask your MP to oppose US sanctions on Venezuela!
The statement reads: “We oppose the decision of US government to impose sanctions on the Venezuela state-owned oil company PDVSA, when no action of any kind undertaken by Venezuela contradicts any principle of international law. The sanctions have been described by Venezuela as "a hostile action on the fringes of international law that violates the principles of the Charter of the UN," and rejected by Venezuela’s elected National Assembly.
This is the latest in a series of violations of Venezuela’s sovereignty in recent years. It reflects an increasingly hostile agenda being driven by the Republican Right, following its successes at last November's US elections, which have led to it controlling a number of important foreign affairs committees.
This hostility includes a stated desire by leading right-wing republicans to add Venezuela to the US list of "state sponsors of terrorism" and has seen substantial increases in funding of Venezuela opposition groups. It also comes within the context of a build up of US military bases in the region in recent years, which many see as a threat to the region’s stability.
We believe that in the run-up to Presidential Elections in December 2012, it is up to the Venezuelan people alone to decide their own future, free from external interference, and call on all governments to respect this right."
The current published list of signatories is:
Colin Burgon , Venezuela Solidarity Campaign/Labour Friends of Venezuela
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign/Centre for Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
Martin Caton MP
Paul Flynn MP
Sheila Gilmore MP
Peter Hain MP
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP
Andy Love MP
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party Leader
Marsha Singh MP
Graham Stringer MP
Mike Wood MP
Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU
Bob Abberley, Assistant General Secretary UNISON
Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary Unite the Union
Gerry Doherty, General Secretary TSSA
Jonathan Ledger, General Secretary NAPO
Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU
Simon Dubbins Director of International, Unite the Union
David Drever, Past President EIS
Peter Kavanagh, Acting Regional Secretary Unite the Union, London & Eastern Region
Richard Ascough, Regional Secretary GMB Southern Region
Linda Perks, Regional Secretary UNISON Greater London Region
Peter Purton, LGBT Officer TUC (personal capacity)
John Pilger, filmmaker & writer
Linton Kwesi Johnson, musician
Jody McIntryre, Journalist & activist
Bruce Kent, prominent peace campaigner
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Cllr Salma Yaqoob, Leader Respect Party
Cat Smith, Vice-Chair London Young Labour
Karen Mitchell, Thompsons Solicitors
Katherine Craig, Christian Khan Lawyers
Martin McIvor, Editor of Renewal Magazine
Professor Doreen Massey, Professor of Geography, The Open University.
Dr Michael Derham,University of Northumbria
Dr Peter Lambert, Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching University of Bath
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Emeritus Professor of Operational Research London School of Economics
Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy Kingston University
Dr. Diana Raby, Senior Fellow Latin American Studies, Liverpool University
Dr Mike Cole, Director of the Centre for Education for Social Justice, Bishop Grosseteste University College
The Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign