More Than 70 Scholars Join Noam Chomsky To Sign Petition To Stop The US From Interfering In Venezuelan Politics

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If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability.

The following open letter—signed by 70 scholars on Latin America, political science, and history as well as filmmakers, civil society leaders, and other experts—was issued on Thursday, January 24, 2018 in opposition to ongoing intervention by the United States in Venezuela.

The United States government must cease interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics, especially for the purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Actions by the Trump administration and its allies in the hemisphere are almost certain to make the situation in Venezuela worse, leading to unnecessary human suffering, violence, and instability.

Venezuela’s political polarization is not new; the country has long been divided along racial and socioeconomic lines. But the polarization has deepened in recent years. This is partly due to US support for an opposition strategy aimed at removing the government of Nicolás Maduro through extra-electoral means. While the opposition has been divided on this strategy, US support has backed hardline opposition sectors in their goal of ousting the Maduro government through often violent protests, a military coup d’etat, or other avenues that sidestep the ballot box.

Under the Trump administration, aggressive rhetoric against the Venezuelan government has ratcheted up to a more extreme and threatening level, with Trump administration officials talking of “military action” and condemning Venezuela, along with Cuba and Nicaragua, as part of a “troika of tyranny.” Problems resulting from Venezuelan government policy have been worsened by US economic sanctions, illegal under the Organization of American States and the United Nations ― as well as US law and other international treaties and conventions. These sanctions have cut off the means by which the Venezuelan government could escape from its economic recession, while causing a dramatic falloff in oil production and worsening the economic crisis, and causing many people to die because they can’t get access to life-saving medicines. Meanwhile, the US and other governments continue to blame the Venezuelan government ― solely ― for the economic damage, even that caused by the US sanctions.

Now the US and its allies, including OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have pushed Venezuela to the precipice. By recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the new president of Venezuela ― something illegal under the OAS Charter ― the Trump administration has sharply accelerated Venezuela’s political crisis in the hopes of dividing the Venezuelan military and further polarizing the populace, forcing them to choose sides. The obvious, and sometimes stated goal, is to force Maduro out via a coup d’etat.

The reality is that despite hyperinflation, shortages, and a deep depression, Venezuela remains a politically polarized country. The US and its allies must cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change. If the Trump administration and its allies continue to pursue their reckless course in Venezuela, the most likely result will be bloodshed, chaos, and instability. The US should have learned something from its regime change ventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and its long, violent history of sponsoring regime change in Latin America.

Neither side in Venezuela can simply vanquish the other. The military, for example, has at least 235,000 frontline members, and there are at least 1.6 million in militias. Many of these people will fight, not only on the basis of a belief in national sovereignty that is widely held in Latin America ― in the face of what increasingly appears to be a US-led intervention ― but also to protect themselves from likely repression if the opposition topples the government by force.

In such situations, the only solution is a negotiated settlement, as has happened in the past in Latin American countries when politically polarized societies were unable to resolve their differences through elections. There have been efforts, such as those led by the Vatican in the fall of 2016, that had potential, but they received no support from Washington and its allies who favored regime change. This strategy must change if there is to be any viable solution to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

For the sake of the Venezuelan people, the region, and for the principle of national sovereignty, these international actors should instead support negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opponents that will allow the country to finally emerge from its political and economic crisis.


Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, MIT and Laureate Professor, University of Arizona
Laura Carlsen, Director, Americas Program, Center for International Policy
Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University
Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor of Latin American History and Chicano/a Latino/a Studies at Pomona College
Sujatha Fernandes, Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, University of Sydney
Steve Ellner, Associate Managing Editor of Latin American Perspectives
Alfred de Zayas, former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order and only UN rapporteur to have visited Venezuela in 21 years
Boots Riley, Writer/Director of Sorry to Bother You, Musician
John Pilger, Journalist & Film-Maker
Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Jared Abbott, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University
Dr. Tim Anderson, Director, Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies
Elisabeth Armstrong, Professor of the Study of Women and Gender, Smith College
Alexander Aviña, PhD, Associate Professor of History, Arizona State University
Marc Becker, Professor of History, Truman State University
Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, CODEPINK
Phyllis Bennis, Program Director, New Internationalism, Institute for Policy Studies
Dr. Robert E. Birt, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History, Salem State University
James Cohen, University of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, Associate Professor, George Mason University
Benjamin Dangl, PhD, Editor of Toward Freedom
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Faculty of Professional and Social Sciences, Middlesex University, UK
Alex Dupuy, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology Emeritus, Wesleyan University
Jodie Evans, Cofounder, CODEPINK
Vanessa Freije, Assistant Professor of International Studies, University of Washington
Gavin Fridell, Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor in International Development Studies, St. Mary’s University
Evelyn Gonzalez, Counselor, Montgomery College
Jeffrey L. Gould, Rudy Professor of History, Indiana University
Bret Gustafson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis
Peter Hallward, Professor of Philosophy, Kingston University
John L. Hammond, Professor of Sociology, CUNY
Mark Healey, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut
Gabriel Hetland, Assistant Professor of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, University of Albany
Forrest Hylton, Associate Professor of History, Universidad Nacional de Colombia-Medellín
Daniel James, Bernardo Mendel Chair of Latin American History
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
Daniel Kovalik, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh
Winnie Lem, Professor, International Development Studies, Trent University
Dr. Gilberto López y Rivas, Professor-Researcher, National University of Anthropology and History, Morelos, Mexico
Mary Ann Mahony, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
Jorge Mancini, Vice President, Foundation for Latin American Integration (FILA)
Luís Martin-Cabrera, Associate Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies, University of California San Diego
Teresa A. Meade, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture, Union College
Frederick Mills, Professor of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Stephen Morris, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Middle Tennessee State University
Liisa L. North, Professor Emeritus, York University
Paul Ortiz, Associate Professor of History, University of Florida
Christian Parenti, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, John Jay College CUNY
Nicole Phillips, Law Professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide Faculté des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques and Adjunct Law Professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law
Beatrice Pita, Lecturer, Department of Literature, University of California San Diego
Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology
Vijay Prashad, Editor, The TriContinental
Eleanora Quijada Cervoni FHEA, Staff Education Facilitator & EFS Mentor, Centre for Higher Education, Learning & Teaching at The Australian National University
Walter Riley, Attorney and Activist
William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Mary Roldan, Dorothy Epstein Professor of Latin American History, Hunter College/ CUNY Graduate Center
Karin Rosemblatt, Professor of History, University of Maryland
Emir Sader, Professor of Sociology, University of the State of Rio de Janeiro
Rosaura Sanchez, Professor of Latin American Literature and Chicano Literature, University of California, San Diego
T.M. Scruggs Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Iowa
Victor Silverman, Professor of History, Pomona College
Brad Simpson, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut
Jeb Sprague, Lecturer, University of Virginia
Christy Thornton, Assistant Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University
Sinclair S. Thomson, Associate Professor of History, New York University
Steven Topik, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
Stephen Volk, Professor of History Emeritus, Oberlin College
Kirsten Weld, John. L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of History, Harvard University
Kevin Young, Assistant Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Patricio Zamorano, Academic of Latin American Studies; Executive Director, InfoAmericas

  • pancho Zsoy

    I appreciate the work–past and present–of Dr. Chomsky. Thank you and THANKS all those who work and support you as well

  • Pat moore

    I was wondering how to learn what was really going on. Then I saw this article in Popular resistance. Thank you for what you do.

  • kevinzeese

    This article we just published is intended to provide activists with all they need to know about Venezuela to respond to the false narrative in the media and coming from the bi-partisans in Washington.

  • Guy

    The US and the usurper Guaido in Venezuela are using article # 233 to promote their case .Please read at the end of the article ,the exact wording of constitution of Venezuela article #233 .


    Gee, if the USA does invade Venezuela openly, then our government officials can be charge with war crimes like waging war against peace, waging war against humanity, waging war of aggression (not like it has been done before).

  • kevinzeese

    The US has illegally invaded many countries and committed many war crimes but has not been prosecuted. John Bolton warned the International Criminal Court that if it investigated US war crimes there would be economic sanctions against the court. He also said the ICC should not investigate Israel, either.


    I was just making a sarcastic remark considering the fact these crimes that I have mention did not come into existence until the Nuremberg trials and that the US government officials have never been prosecuted for committing them long after the Nuremberg trials were long over.

  • Guy

    “ICC should not investigate Israel, either”
    Of course not ,that is the big elephant in the room ,isn’t it , that none dare mentions it’s name.I have to wonder why they can kill / murder with impunity
    and no one mentions a word.

    Also please watch this very reveling documentary ” The occupation of the American Mind and see how it was and is done .

  • KennyB

    It’s important to notice that the USA has been absolutely consistent in response to every State that has stepped out of line in respect of Petrodollars, except Russia. The US doesn’t pick on States that can fight back. Russia has been preparing for a showdown on the dollar for years by buying gold and selling off its stock of US Treasury bonds.

    Iraq started moves to sell oil in currencies other than the US dollar. Destroyed. Saddam Hussein murdered. Libya started moves to float a Pan-African currency backed by gold and to sell oil in that currency. Destroyed. Muammar Gadaffi murdered.Venezuela has also started selling oil for currencies other than the US dollar. To American Capitalists, that’s tantamount to a declaration of war, and they will not draw the line at military action.

    Keep in mind that it does not matter how much debt the USA racks up as long as oil is traded only in dollars and as long as the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Any State that buys oil has to acquire US dollars so the number one export from the USA is the US dollar. As soon as the dollar becomes redundant, the USA can no longer simply export its debt, so the ruling elite will do whatever they can to prevent that happening. They are running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, and they are scared shitless at what will happen if the almighty US dollar loses its lustre.

    While Venezuela is no threat to the USA in any military sense, if the State with the largest proven reserves of crude oil succeeds in shifting the rest of the world away from the Petrodollar, that is a huge threat to the USA economically. That is why they have gone all out to destroy Venezuela via economic warfare (sanctions) and why the USA and its allies have declared support for Juan Guaidó. It is getting harder and harder to justify the USA’s wars and keep the US public on side, hence the propaganda war on Venezuela and the bullshit excuse that it’s for “humanitarian” reasons. The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is caused by the US sanctions.

  • KennyB

    The Nuremburg principles were cooked up especially for Germany. One cannot help but notice that the preponderance of military lawyers at the NMT were Americans, and the preponderance of those American lawyers were Jewish. The idea that one can declare a set of “principles” and apply them ex post facto violates every legal system on the planet. The legal basis for the State of Germany is forgotten now, but it is utterly fraudulent. What was done at the NMT was unprecedented and has not been repeated since.

    It doesn’t hurt to keep jibing at the USA for constantly violating the International Law that they were instrumental in creating.


    Well, you know the old saying: “It is the victors that write history” but you and I know that the victors don’t play by even their own rules which leads to another saying “Rules are meant to be broken.”