Urge US Government to Recognize Venezuelan President-Elect Nicolas Maduro and stop funding violent opposition

This Friday April 19, 2013, Venezuelan President-Elect Nicolas Maduro formally takes office. The people of Venezuela are determined to stand by the president they elected and defeat attempts at another coup by the US-funded opposition – it has already caused eight deaths and over 70 people injured, attacks on the National Electoral Council, the health clinics, subsidized food markets, and other notable gains of the Bolivarian Revolution. Women have spearheaded all government programs to reduce poverty and increase health, housing and education; children have been the first beneficiaries. The people of Venezuela have voted for these policies to continue. 

Nicolas Maduro has been recognized by governments all over the world from Latin America and the Caribbean to China, France, Russia, Spain, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

We residents of the US call on the US government to
• immediately recognize Nicolas Maduro as the duly elected President of Venezuela
• halt its intervention and/or destabilization efforts
• end its funding of opposition groups in Venezuela

Millions of people who voted for President Obama hoped that his election would signal a change in foreign policy towards showing some respect for peoples’ sovereignty and their right to elect their own government. Instead there has been no change. The Obama administration has: allowed Guantanamo to stay open; used drones to kill thousands of civilians, starting with women and children, in Afghanistan and Pakistan; conducted targeted assassinations including of US citizens; backed a coup in Honduras; imposed fraudulent elections on Haiti where the most popular party was kept off the ballot; continued to fund Israeli arms used to murder the Palestinian population . . . and now it encourages violence in Venezuela by refusing to recognize the result of the election. People of color around the world, starting with women and children, have been the first victims of continuing US intervention/destabilisation policies.

Actions You Can Take

1. Call the US State Department's Venezuela Desk at 202-647-4216 or email mcnamarajt@state.gov. Comments can be directed to Secretary of State John Kerry.

2. Call the White House comment line: 202-456-1111 (9am-5pm EST)

3. For Congress contact the ranking members of the Foreign Operations Sub-Committee and ask them to cut all US funding of opposition groups in Venezuela from the 2014 Federal Budget.

Republican Chair Kay Granger (TX)
(202) 225-5071 email: johnnie.kaberle@mail.house.gov

Democrat ranking member Nita Lowey (NY)
202-225-6506 email: Ralph.falzone@mail.house.gov

4. Attend a Venezuela solidarity rally in your area or organize one.

5. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper countering media misrepresentation of Venezuela’s elections.

Talking Points and Background

We call on the US government to immediately recognize the election of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who was elected by majority vote in a free and fair election on April 14. In not recognizing the elected President, the US is giving cover to opposition forces within Venezuela who look to the US for leadership. We further call on the United States government to condemn post-election violence perpetrated by elements of the Venezuelan opposition - and to cut off US aid to opposition groups including those calling for or perpetrating violence in the post-election period. That violence has already taken the lives of at least eight people; health clinics, government food stores, and other "Missions" that the revolution created have been burned, as well as homes and offices of Chavez supporters.

We note that the US government has been quick to recognize US-favored winners of elections in the hemisphere which lack legitimacy including: the election of Porfirio Lobo in 2009 under a Honduran coup-regime run election conducted during a State of Emergency, and the 2011 election of Michel Martelly in Haiti where the largest party, Lavalas, was not allowed to run a candidate.

Former US President Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela's electoral system “the best in the world.” Venezuela, unlike the US, conducts both pre and post-election audits, including 54% of voting machines, before the electoral authority, which is an independent fourth branch of government, certifies a victor. Fraud is nearly impossible under the Venezuelan system because the voting machines produce a paper receipt which is kept and compared against the machine count. All political parties participate in every step of the election audit. There is no doubt that President Maduro won the popular vote with 50.66%.

With a winning margin of over a quarter of a million votes, Maduro’s victory is far from the closest vote in the history Venezuela or elections around the world. In the last fourteen years, the Bolivarian Revolution has won 17 of 18 elections and recognized the election outcome of the 2004 constitutional reform, which it lost by a 0.59% margin, which was much closer than the 1.59% margin in the April 14 election. There is therefore no legitimate reason for the US government to withhold its congratulations to the new president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.

And the US position is increasingly isolated. President Maduro’s election has been recognized by many countries all over the world including Spain, El Salvador, China, Russia, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina, as well as by the Organization of American States (OAS).

In 2002 the US government backed a failed coup against democratically elected former President Hugo Chavez. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, was elected president 11 years and one day after the people and army of Venezuela returned President Chavez to his elected office.

We further demand that the United States government and the quasi-governmental National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, as well as the CIA, US Embassy, and other US entities cease funding opposition forces in Venezuela and cease efforts to destabilize and delegitimize the democratically elected Government of Venezuela. 

Contact us to find out about local actions in your area or for a list of recently returned U.S election monitors and available Venezuela expert speakers.

Global Women’s Strike/Philadelphia philly@globalwomenstrike.net 215-848-1120 
Call to Action initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Network