On December 25, 2017, Chrystia Freeland, the Foreign Minister of Canada,
announced that the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada, Wilmer Barrientos
Fernandez, “is no longer welcome in Canada.” Freeland also declared the
chargé d’affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Canada, Angel Herrera,
This declaration was a direct response to the announcement made by the
government of Venezuela on December 23, that the chargé d’affaires at
the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela, Craig Kowalik, was a persona
non-grata, and would be expelled from the country.
For mainstream media, this is where the analysis has stopped; Canada’s
announcement is being painted as a “tit-for-tat” maneuver, nothing more.
However, there is much more that must be understood from this
escalation in Venezuela-Canada relations, and much that the imperialist
media isn’t reporting.
Why Did Venezuela Expel Canada’s Diplomat?
Delcy Rodriguez, the elected President of Venezuela’s National
Constituent Assembly, explained why Venezuela was expelling Canada’s top
diplomat in a statement from Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She said, “We have decided to declare persona non-grata to the chargé
d'affaires of Canada for its permanent and insistent, rude and vulgar,
interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela; whom, despite the
fact that the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry has called attention to
respect the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, persistently
makes statements and use Twitter to try to give orders to Venezuela.”
Essentially, the expulsion was a result of the diplomat’s intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
Venezuela’s decision to declare the chargé d’affaires at the Canadian
Embassy in Venezuela it should not have come as any surprise to Canada’s
diplomatic mission. In October, Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Jorge Arreanza, delivered an official letter calling on the
mission and the government of Canada to end their intervention in the
internal affairs of Venezuela, especially Canada’s questioning of the
legitimacy of the elections for governors held in mid-October.
The government of Canada issued inflammatory statements about the
October 15 regional elections even though they were broadly supported
throughout Venezuela, with 220 candidates running in the 23 states, and a
61.4% voter turn-out. They questioned the results because PSUV (United
Socialist Party of Venezuela) candidates won in 18 out of 23 states,
once again proving that, despite what imperialist governments would like
us to believe, there is mass majority support in Venezuela for the
government of President Nicolas Maduro.
As well, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Canada had recently been called back
to Venezuela for consultations in response to the increased intervention
and provocations. This included Canada’s sanctions against Venezuela,
which were expanded twice in the last two months and now target 52
Venezuelan officials, including President Nicolas Maduro.
Canada’s intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela is also not
new. From 2014-2017, Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela was Ben Rowswell, a
career diplomat recognized for his expertise and experience in working
with “opposition groups.” As reported by VenezuelaAnalysis in 2014,
“While overseeing the "democratic transitions" of Afghanistan, Iraq, and
Egypt, the fledgling attaché [Rowswell] specialized in the harnessing
of social media for diplomatic missions, in order to interact directly
with non-state actors, in effect bypassing the target nation’s
government.” Even just as indicated by the Canadian Embassy in Canada’s
Twitter account, when Rowswell left in July, the chargé d’affaires
certainly continued the same interventionist policies.
The government of Canada’s continued close relationship with Venezuela’s
violent counter-revolutionary opposition is also apparent in the “Human
Rights Prize” that the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela sponsors each
year. The award is always given to someone that is a member of the
counter-revolutionary opposition, someone whom has been actively
campaigning against the democratically elected government of Venezuela.
Most recently, the government of Canada has also established itself as a
pivotal member of the “Lima Group.” The Lima Group is made up of Canada
and 11 other right-wing governments in Latin America, who have aligned
with the objective of promoting foreign intervention in Venezuela. The
third meeting of the Lima Group, which was held in Canada, concluded
that "If necessary we must put added pressure on the Maduro regime by
taking concrete steps to further isolate it from the international
community.” This same sentiment was echoed again by Freeland in her
report on meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on December
19 “Rex and I also had the opportunity to discuss hemispheric concerns,
including the crisis in Venezuela and what actions we can take
individually, together, and in cooperation with the Lima Group, of which
Canada is a member, to address the deteriorating political, economic,
and humanitarian situation there.”
Canada is Defending Its Own Interests in Venezuela
When Chrystia Freeland made her announcement on December 25, she said
“Canadians will not stand by as the Government of Venezuela robs its
people of their fundamental democratic and human rights, and denies them
access to basic humanitarian assistance.” These words, and the
government of Canada’s baseless excuse for intervention in Venezuela,
are not new.
There is not a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. As reported by an
Independent Expert from the United Nations Human Rights Commission,
Alfred de Zayas. “The situation in Venezuela definitely does not reach
the threshold of humanitarian crisis” And we only have to examine the
government of Canada’s genocidal treatment of indigenous people to know
that the government of Canada is not interested in “democracy” or “human
As reported in Volume 11, Issue 10 of Fire This Time Newspaper “Make no
mistake about it; the government of Canada is not just following the
orders of US President Trump when it comes to attacks on Venezuela. They
are also protecting their own interests.
In fact, the government of Venezuela has been in the targets of Canada
ever since Hugo Chavez was first elected. This is when the Bolivarian
revolutionary process began to put the powerful natural resources of
Venezuela into the hands of the people of Venezuela. For example, in
2008, the revolutionary government expropriated two Canadian firms, Gold
Reserve and Crystallex International Corp. both of which had invested
hundreds of millions of dollars into gold mining projects in Venezuela.
A report by the Senate of Canada on Venezuela, issued in July 2017, also
sheds light on the government of Canada’s interests in Venezuela. These
interests that have nothing to do with “democracy” and “human rights”
and everything to do with making sure that Canada remains competitive in
the world financial market. As the report says, ‘In other respects, the
government has become increasingly dependent on financial support from
Russia and China in order to sustain the oil industry, giving these two
countries an important stake in the future of the Maduro regime.’”
What Is at Stake?
As poor and oppressed people in Canada, we must condemn the hostile
action of the Canadian government to expel Venezuela’s leading
diplomats, but we also must recognize that this expulsion is an
indication of the dynamics between revolution and counter-revolution in
Today Venezuela’s pro-imperialist, counter-revolution is disintegrating.
Even the New York Times and the Washington Post are reporting on it:
“political opposition is weakened and divide,” “The grim reality is that
the opposition's morale is at rock bottom.”
So, it seems that the government of Canada and the United States can no
longer rely on the opposition in Venezuela to carry-out their dirty
work. The revolutionary government of President Maduro is stronger than
ever before, whether in the polls during the last three elections, in
the National Constituent Assembly, which is actively introducing new
legislation that is improving the lives of everyday Venezuelans, or out
in the streets, where the people of Venezuela continue to bring the
gains of the Bolivarian revolutionary process forward.
Every victory of the people of Venezuela for their independence and
self-determination makes imperialist governments angrier. Politically,
President Maduro and PSUV are gaining ground again, becoming stronger in
order to be able to advance the Bolivarian revolutionary process. As
their influence increases, and that of the opposition wains,
imperialist’s will have to work differently, and find new henchmen, to
regain their control over the people of Venezuela.
Defend Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution!
Today, the governments of the United States, Canada, and their
imperialist allies are recognizing that they have so far been unable to
turn back the tide of the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela,
and are continuing to lose their hegemony over Latin America. The
people of Latin America have suffered a few set-backs, including the
establishment of right-wing governments in Argentina, Honduras, and
Brazil, but imperialists have not been able to roll-back every
achievement made and strong dynamics of anti imperialist movement
growing in Latin America.
The Bolivarian revolutionary process needs us more than ever before. As
the revolutionary forces in Venezuela continue to gain ground and expand
the Bolivarian revolutionary process, imperialist’s threats, sanctions
and attacks on Venezuela will also increase. We must unite together to
demand an end to all forms of imperialist intervention in Venezuela.
Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter: @Alisoncolette
Back to Article Listing