Letter sent to The Canberra Times and my local MP. Feel free to copy.
I write as a Venezuelan Australian deeply troubled by recent events in my country of origin that have so far left 7 people dead and hundreds injured. This toll I am afraid is only set to increase. I have lived in Canberra for 11 years. My 3 daughters (6, 3 and 1) were born here. Me and my wife are forever grateful for the life this city and this country have allowed us to create for our family. The future for us and our girls is bright.
We find ourselves in the conflicting position of relief for being here but angst and despair for those we left behind. The April 14th vote in Venezuela was tainted with countless irregularities that raise legitimate concerns over the narrow victory attributed to the government’s candidate. In a democratic state, there is no reason why the government should refuse to do a recount when such a large portion of the population demands it. Instead, the politically biased Supreme Court issued arrest warrants against the opposition candidate and other opposition leaders. In the National Assembly opposition MP’s were denied their right to speak, physically assaulted and told to leave the chamber if they didn’t like the new order of things.
For all of this and in the tradition of Australian democratic principles and international solidarity I urge the Australian Government to refuse to accept the results of the Venezuelan presidential elections up until there has been a full recount. I urge the Australian Parliament to express solidarity with their Venezuelan colleagues who are being attacked, threatened and silenced.
Over the past decade a large number of Venezuelans like me and my wife have come to Australia looking for the safe and peaceful life we couldn’t find in our own country. We are a happy, laid-back and hard-working people eager to contribute to Australian society. As far removed from Australian daily life as this conflict may seem, there are many of us increasingly concerned by it. We hope the Australian Government can take a firm stand against an illegitimate government where ever it may be.