Antimilitarist and nonviolent solidarity with Venezuela - statement of the Antimilitarist network of Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo: Miguel GutierrezPhoto: Miguel GutierrezThere are antimilitarists, conscientious objectors, nonviolent activists and pacifists in Venezuela. There are also member organizations of the Latin American and Caribbean Antimilitarist Network, Ramalc. We embrace all of them, and send our solidarity and accompaniment. We want them alive, healthy and free.

At present, the community of human rights defenders in Venezuela is being subjected to persecution and repression because of their activities. We extend to them our solidarity and support; we are and will continue to be vigilant in denouncing these persecutions.

Venezuela is experiencing a cycle of demonstrations carried out overwhelmingly peacefully - as recognised by the Attorney-General of the country - in cities, towns and rural communities - after worrying decisions of the Government of Nicolas Maduro, including: approving a decree on a state of emergency that has replaced the Constitution; economic decisions that have increased poverty in the country and created shortages of medicines and food; suspension of the right to vote; erosion of the powers of the Parliament and the Office of the Attorney-General, and adopting and implementing a plan of military occupation of the territory under the name of "Plan Zamora".

We do not want those who exercise their rights to face repression, in Venezuela or anywhere in the world. We do not want the militarised repression of those who demonstrate, or wish to demonstrate, or for them to undergo military trial and detention. The use of military courts against civilians has increased in the last year, and has become a permanent repressive practice that seeks to override civil justice. There have been more than 40 people killed in the context of demonstrations, in addition to hundreds of wounded and arrested, almost 300 of them passed to military courts recently. Denunciations, made by independent Venezuelan human rights organizations, are multiplying day by day, demonstrating that Venezuela is experiencing an escalation in militarisation.

We want to stop the process of militarisation that Venezuela is undergoing for example, the formation of militias made up of workers and civilians who receive weapons and military training, and who are under the command and supervision of the Bolivarian national armed force. Participation in this militia is mandatory. Moreover, they have joined groups of civilians armed for suppression of protests.

Military plans to deal with the economic and social crisis merely exacerbate militarisation, as is currently happening with Plan Zamora. Different human rights organisations, social movements and even ordinary Chavista groups have described the Government as having practices that could not be further away from what is considered revolutionary, when human rights are violated and society is militarised. For the same reasons, we believe that the current conflict and popular discontent can in no way be used as an excuse for foreign intervention and violence against the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people.

We congratulate those who persist in using nonviolence as a way of demonstrating, without falling for provocations to violence in this process of militarisation. The creativity and originality demonstrated by these nonviolent demonstrations constitute a social resource available to overcome the political and social conflict that Venezuela is experiencing today.

Therefore, we call upon the broad nonviolent, antimilitarist and conscientious objector movements of Latin America and the world to accompany, monitor and give moral support to those undertaking nonviolent resistance to militarisation in Venezuela.

We extend our words of encouragement to the relatives of the victims of the repression, and ask that all cases are investigated and clarified, and their perpetrators and planners brought to justice.

The Venezuelan government must refrain from continuing to meet discontent with repression, and it must permit democratic, constitutional and peaceful solutions to the current crisis that the country is experiencing.

Finally, we extend our solidarity to all the Venezuelan people in their nonviolent struggle.

RAMALC, May 24, 2017

Endorsed:

  • War Resisters' International Executive Committee