President Maduro is calling on all Venezuelans to sign an anti-imperialist document against the sanctions recently announced by the U.S. government.
It is unclear what document supporters will sign. A series of links in government web pages asking for signed support leads to the document issued by UNASUR rejecting the sanctions, but a link in the Telesur web page leads to this second document in Spanish and English (copy and pasted below), which is a letter directly addressed to president Obama.
President Maduro in person started the gathering of signatures in a street “hotspot” (esquina caliente) set up by the government. Maduro said that he hopes to collect 10 million signatures.
The signature collection campaign has four levels: the first level includes the parties of the pro-government umbrella organization “Gran Polo Patriótico” which will collect signatures among their militants; the second is the work place “so that in an organized way the working class, the professionals and workers, sign in their own working centers,” explained Maduro; third is the network of pro-government street hotspots (Red de Esquinas Calientes), which would also serve, according to Maduro, “to educate the population;” and a fourth level will cover telephone services and social networks.
“Each person who signs should know that he is signing for peace and sovereignty. I am asking for a signature for Venezuela. I am asking for a vote of confidence and conscience on the country,” declared Maduro.
Minister of communications and information Jacqueline Faria also called on the people to sign: “We will continue our struggle, working in order to keep on living, because the empire will continue to attack us through its puppets and lackeys. But because they [puppets and lackeys] have failed this time, they [the empire] has decided to attack us directly,” said the minister.
The signature drive is part of a broader anti-imperialist campaign called “Obama, Venezuela is not a threat.” The campaign will be coordinated by the Mayor of Libertador municipality Jorge Rodriguez as “Chief of the Special Command for the National Campaign against the U.S. Decree.”
President Maduro stressed that the campaign should have a strong educational component in order to “explain to the people the truth about the conspiracy by the government of the United States and the right against Venezuela.” According to the president this will not be campaign only to gather signatures, but also to organize “forums and debates to inform of the constant attacks of the U.S. government, and the Venezuelan right, against the Bolivarian people and government.”
The president seems aware that, despite the attention given to the sanctions announced by Obama against Venezuelan officials, the deteriorating economy could still pose a problem for his support levels. However Maduro has also adjusted for this in his conspiracy narrative: during a rally this Wednesday he told supporters that “the government of the U.S., allied with the national [Venezuelan] bourgeoisie has given the order to a group of bourgeois that they should do everything in their hands to sabotage the Venezuelan economy and to deviate attention from the huge problem [problemón] the U.S. has provoked with the international indignation aroused by the infamous Obama decree against Venezuela.”
Maduro revealed that according to the latest information he has received form “U.S. allies”, “they [the U.S.] have ordered from their embassy that bourgeois, form CAVIDEA, FEDEAGRO, and CONINDUSTRIA [business unions], always the same people that spend their time at the gringa [U.S.] embassy, should take to street to create problems [bochinche], they should do something scandalous, so that the people forget that people has been slandered by Obama.”
He also said that he is not really facing the local opposition because there is no opposition in Venezuela: “we don’t have an opposition, what we have is a right wing kneeling in front the embassy of the United States.”
Here is the complete text of the letter linked by Telesur:
OBAMA, VENEZUELA NO ES UNA AMENAZA
Nosotros, amantes de la paz, hacemos un llamado al gobierno de EEUU para que asuma sus obligaciones internacionales en cuanto al respeto a la autodeterminación de los pueblos y el derecho de los mismos a decidir libremente su camino.
El día 9 de marzo fuimos sorprendidos con la Orden Ejecutiva dictada por el presidente Obama a través de la cual se “declara una emergencia nacional con respecto a la amenaza inusual y extraordinaria para la seguridad nacional y la política exterior de Estados Unidos representada por la situación en Venezuela.”
Sorprende aún más que esta declaración se haga 2 días después de que la Unión de Naciones del Sur, órgano de integración regional, estuviera en Venezuela y se reuniera con todos los poderes públicos de ese país y con varios representantes de los diversos partidos que componen la oposición venezolana, y que significó un espaldarazo a la democracia de Venezuela y a las elecciones parlamentarias previstas para finales del año.
Destacamos, además, que la presencia del Secretario General de la UNASUR y de los Cancilleres de Ecuador, Colombia, Brasil y Uruguay, se produce por iniciativa del propio Presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, quien desde comienzos del año ha pedido la participación de este organismo para que facilite un diálogo con el gobierno de EEUU.
Ni las sanciones, ni los bloqueos, ni las agresiones armadas son los caminos para un diálogo verdadero. La historia ha demostrado, como lo admitiera el gobierno de Obama el pasado 17 de diciembre en relación con Cuba, que esas son políticas ineficientes que sólo causan daños a los pueblos.
Nosotros, amantes de la PAZ y acérrimos enemigos de la GUERRA, nos oponemos a estas acciones y hacemos un llamado a que el Presidente Barack Obama retire la Orden Ejecutiva contra Venezuela y normalice las relaciones diplomáticas con el gobierno legítimamente electo del Presidente Nicolás Maduro, con base en el respeto mutuo y el principio de no injerencia en los asuntos internos de los países.
OBAMA, VENEZUELA IS NOT A THREAT
Venezuela, a peace-loving nation, calls on the U.S. government to fulfill its international obligations regarding the respect for a country’s self-determination and the right of its people to freely choose their own path.
On March 9, we were surprised by the Executive Order issued by President Obama in which he declares "a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States represented by the situation in Venezuela."
Even more surprising is the fact that this statement was made two days after a delegation from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional integration body, visited Venezuela and met with the Venezuelan authorities as well as several representatives from the various parties that comprise the Venezuelan opposition. UNASUR showed great support for democracy in Venezuela and for the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year.
It is important to highlight that the visit of the Secretary General of UNASUR and the Foreign Ministers of Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay, took place at the invitation of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who earlier this year requested the participation of this body to facilitate a dialogue with the US government.
Sanctions, blockades and armed aggressions are no substitute for genuine dialogue. History has shown, as the Obama administration admitted last December 17 with regard to Cuba, that these are ineffective measures that succeed only in causing harm to innocent people.
Venezuela, a peace-loving and anti-war nation, rejects these actions and calls on President Barack Obama to repeal the Executive Order against Venezuela and normalize diplomatic relations with the legitimately elected government of President Nicolás Maduro and reaffirm the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries.
Presidente de EE.UU. Barack Obama
Retiro inmediato de la Orden Ejecutiva en contra de Venezuela