U.S. and Latin America
Since the establishment of the United States, successive U.S. administrations have viewed Latin America as their backyard of resources to plunder, labour to exploit and markets to control. Any movement or government that has defied U.S. dominance has faced a swift attack in the way of U.S. orchestrated coups to install U.S.-backed dictators, crippling sanctions and blockades, and covert or overt military assaults. The threats of U.S. imperialism haven’t stopped the heroic fight for sovereignty and self-determination all throughout Latin America through the ages and continuing today.
Venezuelan Revolution Under U.S. Attack
For over 24 years, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, from the leadership of former President Hugo Chávez to the current President Nicolás Maduro, has defied U.S. hegemony to develop a society to benefit poor, working and historically oppressed people in Venezuela. However, the U.S. government has tried to defeat the Bolivarian Revolution through failed coup attempts, economic warfare including sanctions and blockade, and even the kidnapping of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.
Alex Saab, A Political Prisoner
On June 12, 2020, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab was en route to Iran to negotiate a deal to alleviate the effects of U.S. sanctions, enabling Venezuela to receive much needed fuel, food and medical supplies. During a refuelling stop in Cape Verde, Alex Saab was abducted and arbitrarily imprisoned at the command of the U.S. government and, over a year later, was illegally extracted by the U.S. from Cape Verde, bypassing his diplomatic immunity. Alex Saab is currently being unjustly held in a Miami jail, where his detention is a violation of international law and continued injustice against the people of Venezuela.
Defending Alex Saab is a Task of the Working Class Movement
For over two years, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, the Venezuela Peace Committee in Winnipeg, and Just Peace Advocates have organized monthly online picket actions in defence of Venezuela, demanding an end to U.S./Canada sanctions and freedom for Alex Saab. These actions have received the support and participation of Venezuelan solidarity organizations and individuals across Canada, the U.S. and worldwide.
The March 28, 2023, virtual picket action featured speakers from Venezuela, the U.S. and Canada and also included the launch of a new “Free Alex Saab!” postcard campaign, addressed to U.S. President Biden, with the aim of flooding the White House with postcards demanding the freedom of Alex Saab! This new postcard campaign is also a public education campaign, and supporters are encouraged to take selfies while mailing the cards to share on social media and to hand them out at actions and events. For more information and to participate in the campaign, send an email to email@example.com or call/message +1-604-518-7361.
These virtual pickets are held monthly and continued on April 25, May 30 and June 27, reflecting the struggle of the Venezuelan people to defend their sovereignty and selfdetermination against continuous U.S.-led attacks and the responsibility of people in the U.S. and Canada to stand in solidarity with Venezuela!
Building A United Front for Venezuela and Alex Saab
Another important venue to discuss the case of Alex Saab has been Proletarian Internationalism, an online program organized by the Intercontinental Front of the FMLN in El Salvador. On May 10, this Spanish language program featured a conversation with Alison Bodine, the coordinator of the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. The topic of this episode of the program was “The Alex Saab Case - Violation and Disrespect of International Laws and Human Rights,” and Alison Bodine had the opportunity to discuss the fight to free Alex Saab with audiences in El Salvador and beyond, where the program is broadcast both on the radio and online.
June 14, the Free Alex Saab Movement in Venezuela organized a one-day international conference titled “Lawfare Against Venezuela: Three Years After the Kidnapping of Diplomat Alex Saab” in Caracas, Venezuela. Alison Bodine was invited to attend as a speaker on behalf of the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice and was one of over 50 international guests in attendance. The conference included over 300 Venezuelan government officials, social movement leaders, and organizers of the Free Alex Saab Movement, including Camilla Saab, the wife of Alex Saab, Yvan Gil, the Foreign Minister of Venezuela and freed Cuban Five political prisoner Rene Gonzalez. Alison Bodine gave a rousing speech to the conference, which can be read in this issue of FTT on page 7.
The struggle to free Alex Saab and to defend Venezuela against U.S. imperialist attacks continues! Find out how you can stand in solidarity with Venezuela! Upcoming events are listed on www.firethistime.net, and you can register for the next monthly picket action at https://tinyurl.com/handsoffvzla or follow the Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign on Instagram @ftt.venezuela
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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