Letter to the editor of The Canberra Times re: Venezuela

The Venezuelan government’s response to what started as student protests has been nothing short of criminal. These thugs are shooting and throwing tear gas directly at people’s homes. They backup their motorcycle militias with tanks terrorising residential areas in every city in the country. The Venezuelan government is a family of gangsters defending their lucrative oil business at all cost.
 
In a country with 56% inflation, rampant crime (one of the highest murder rates in the world), chronic shortages of basic goods and no free media; there are plenty of reasons to protest.
 
While all this is happening; Venezuelan diplomats in Canberra enjoy an extended Aussie holiday.
 
I urge the Australian Government to officially condemn the use of military force against civilians in Venezuela. Australia cannot be a silent accomplice to flagrant human rights violations. Furthermore, I ask for all representatives of the illegitimate and criminal government of Venezuela to be expelled from Australia. Canberra is no place for crooks. 

Venezuelan Government declares war on its citizens

Tear gas thrown directly at residential buildings – Barquisimeto

 


 

Pro-government militias shooting civilians – Caracas

 

Tanks protecting pro-government militias
while they attack residential buildings – Barquisimeto

 


 

National Guard destroying private property

and shooting at residential buildings – Valencia

 

 

National Guard shooting civilians – Caracas

 

 

Illegitimate Government

Letter sent to The Canberra Times and my local MP. Feel free to copy.
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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.