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      Vancouver Campaign Continues Defending Venezuela Against U.S. & Canada Attacks!

      By Janine Solanki

      On November 3, 2017 Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced sanctions against 52 Venezuelan officials, under the “Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.” These new sanctions strengthen sanctions implemented by the government of Canada in September. The US also added 10 more people to their sanctions list, even targeting the person in charge of one of Venezuela’s main food distribution programs.

      These sanctions are in violation of international law, as well as the self-determination and sovereignty of the people of Venezuela and the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro. The government of the US, joined by the government of Canada and other imperialist allies, is implementing sanctions as part of their strategy to overthrow the government of President Maduro.

      The Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has been showing its support for Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution with monthly actions, demanding that the US and Canada lift the sanctions and stop meddling in Venezuela. In light of the sanctions and escalating inflammatory and threatening statements by the government of Canada against Venezuela, these actions are especially important to show the government of Canada that people here in Canada are against the sanctions and meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

      On December 8th, the monthly picket action organized by the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign took place in front of the US consulate in Downtown Vancouver. The picket started off with a welcoming by Eagle Eyes, an Indigenous elder and activist, who reminded protesters that the action was taking place on the unceded and traditional territory of the Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilwətaɁɬ), the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), and the Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh) Coast Salish Nations. The picket line marched in front of the consulate, raising voices and picket signs to demand “Canada, US, Hands Off Venezuela!” and “No to Sanctions, No to Threats!”. The picket action was joined by Palestinian solidarity activists, who were at the US consulate to attend a later action against the recent move by US President Trump to declare that the US would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move their embassy to the city. This act of solidarity, recognizing that these struggles against US imperialism are connected, and stronger when united, was later reciprocated as the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign had canceled its monthly information table and petitioning following the picket, and called for people to join the action in solidarity with Palestine.

      The importance of activists and peace and justice loving people in Canada to stand in support of Venezuela is becoming more and more critical. In response to Canada’s sanctions against Venezuela, on December 24th the Canadian Charge d'Affaires Craib Kowalik was expelled from Venezuela. The National Constituent Assembly (ANC) President Delcy Rodriguez provided additional reasons for this action, saying that Kowalik showed no restraint in his "permanent and insistent, rude and vulgar interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela." The next day Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that Venezuela’s ambassador to Canada, who Venezuela already withdrew in September in protest of Canada’s sanctions on Venezuela, would be officially expelled from Venezuela.

      Visit www.firethistime.net to find out about more actions in support of Venezuela, or follow on Facebook or Twitter @FTT_np. Let’s tell the governments of Canada and the US: Hands Off Venezuela!

      US and Canada Respect the Sovereignty and Self-Determination of the Venezuelan People! No to Regime Change in Venezuela!
      No to Sanctions and Threats Against Venezuela!

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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