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      Vancouver Stands With Venezuela:
      U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!

      By Janine Solanki

      Each day, cruel and illegal sanctions against the people of Venezuela by the U.S., Canada, EU and Switzerland cost the government of Venezuela more than $30 million. At the same time, they severely limit Venezuela’s access to imported food, medicines, medical equipment and basic goods. Since March 8, the devastating impact of these sanctions on the people of Venezuela has been amplified by sabotage against Venezuela’s electrical grid.

      While the people of Venezuela are faced with this brutal assault, the U.S. government continues to make the ridiculous statement that Venezuela is an “extraordinary and unusual threat to U.S. national security.” Meanwhile, U.S. President Trump and his administration are repeating that “all options are on the table” when it comes to how the United States will go about overthrowing the democratically elected President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.

      In Vancouver, Canada, the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign organizes a protest action and educational tabling and petitioning every month. The latest protest on March 12 brought together activists and supporters in front to the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. Protesters held up signs reading “No regime change in Venezuela!” and chanted in unison up to the top floors of the U.S. Consulate to demand that the U.S. end its policy of intervention and foreign meddling in Venezuela. In between rounds of picketing, protesters gathered in front of a huge banner reading “U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!” and heard from speakers over the megaphone.

      From the U.S. Consulate, the protest moved up to the busy Vancouver Art Gallery public square, where passersby took notice of the giant Venezuelan flag and protest banners. An information table attracted many people who stopped to talk to organizers and find out about what is really happening in Venezuela. Teams of activists talked to people passing by and collected signatures demanding that Canada end its sanctions against Venezuela. During a program of speakers, Azza Rojbi, an organizer with the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign spoke about her firsthand experience in Venezuela, where she along with another FTT organizer recently travelled with an international youth brigade. A full report of their trip, and of the March 2 report back event, is published in the FTT volume 13 issue 3 newspaper.

      Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign organizers are protesting on the streets of Vancouver, but are also marching in Venezuela alongside the Venezuelan people. FTT organizers have participated in many delegations and conferences in Venezuela over the past few years, and currently, the FTT Venezuela Solidarity Campaign coordinator Alison Bodine is in Venezuela on a U.S./Canada delegation to assess the impacts of the U.S./Canada/EU sanctions against Venezuela. Check the next issue for Fire This Time for reports from her trip!

      From Vancouver to Venezuela and around the world, supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution are continuing to mobilize in defense of Venezuela sovereignty and against imperialist intervention. To find out about upcoming Vancouver events visit www.firethistime.net or follow on Facebook or Twitter @FTT_np

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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