Solidarity groups in Canada are calling on their government to rescind the sanctions against 40 Venezuelan officials that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration imposed last week.
The Canadian, Latin American & Caribbean Policy Centre (CAL&C), along with a number of other groups, issued a statement this week condemning the move.
“It’s very lamentable because (Trudeau) is following the lead of Trump,” Maria Victor, the chair of CAL&C, told teleSUR.
“Venezuela is no enemy of Canada,” she added. “On the contrary, it sells the oil Atlantic Canada needs.”
The groups have called on Trudeau to respect Venezuela's sovereignty, recognize its democratic electoral process and human rights record.
“Respect the human rights record of Venezuela whose constitution enshrines women’s, Indigenous, minorities and environmental rights and which the United Nations Human Rights Council has lauded for having accomplished 70 percent of the recommendations it proposed and which has signed 24 further voluntary human rights initiatives,” reads the statement.
Victor said former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, did not cave in to U.S. pressure to break ties with Cuba and China — even at the height of the Cold War.
“I am appalled younger Trudeau isn’t following his lead,” she said.
The groups also urge the Canadian government to “recognize publicly that it was the Venezuelan extreme right with international support that perpetrated terrorist hate crimes, killing 121 citizens, including burning alive poor and colored people because they resembled government supporters.”
Canada’s sanctions include freezing the assets of the 40 officials, including President Nicolas Maduro, as well as banning Canadians from having any dealings with the officials.
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry responded to the measures in a statement shortly after, saying that the hostile action against Maduro's government broke international law.
"These are sanctions aimed at undermining efforts to establish dialogue between the government and the Venezuelan opposition, with the support of members of the international community,” the Ministry said.
CAL&C is not alone in its support for the Venezuelan government.
At the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, 57 other countries signed an expression of support for the sovereignty and independence of Venezuela.
As such, the groups in Canada have called on Trudeau to “rescind the illegal sanctions … which are against International Law, the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organization of American States.”
“The sanctions are self-serving,” pressed Victor. “I speculate they are in order to get on Trump’s good side because (Canada) wants Trump to stay in NAFTA.”
The other groups urging support for Venezuela’s sovereignty and its peace process include the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Casa Salvador Allende, Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel, Venezuelan Solidarity Coalition, Rights Action, among other organizations representing Canadians, Latin-Americans and Caribbean communities in Canada.
The groups are planning continued action in the next few weeks.