From Venezuela: An open letter to the people of the U.S. from President Nicolás Maduro
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela delivered this Feb. 7 message to the people of the U.S. through social media.
If I know anything, it is about the people, because just like you, I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I was forged in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am no tycoon; I am a worker of mind and heart. Today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which Comandante Hugo Chávez forged starting in 1998, inspired by the legacy of Simón Bolivar.
We are living today in a historical crossroad. There are days that will define the future of our countries, giving us a choice between war and peace. Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they sowed in Vietnam. They want to invade and intervene in Venezuela — they say, as they said then — in the name of democracy and freedom. But this is false. Their history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false argument, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region.
Venezuela is a country that, by virtue of its 1999 Constitution, has broadly expanded the participatory and protagonist democracy of the people, and that in an unprecedented way so that today Venezuela is one of the countries that has held the largest number of elections in the last 20 years. You may not like our ideology or how our society looks, but we exist and we are millions.
I address these words to the people of the United States of America to warn of the gravity and danger that some sectors in the White House intend, that is, to invade Venezuela with unpredictable consequences for my country and for the entire American region. President Donald Trump also intends to disrupt the worthy initiatives to open a dialogue promoted by Uruguay and Mexico, with the support of CARICOM, for a peaceful solution and dialogue on behalf of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela we have to sit down and talk because to refuse to dialogue is to choose the path of force. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Those who do not want to dialogue, are they afraid of the truth?
The political intolerance toward the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches have prompted an international coalition headed by the U.S. government to commit the serious insanity of waging a military attack on Venezuela under the pretext of a nonexistent humanitarian crisis.
The people of Venezuela have painfully suffered social wounds caused by a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught.
And yet, thanks to a new system of social protection, of direct attention to the most vulnerable sectors of our society, we proudly continue to be a country in the Americas with high human development index and low inequality.
The U.S. people must know that this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles and purposes, for the sake of peace and friendly relations between nations.
We want to continue being business partners of the people of the United States, as we have been throughout our history. Their politicians in Washington, on the other hand, are willing to send their sons and daughters to die in an absurd war, instead of respecting the sacred right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and to safeguard their sovereignty.
Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all our soul. Today Venezuela is united in a single cry: We demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention against Venezuela.
We appeal to the good soul of U.S. society, a victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace. Let us be all one people against warmongering and war.
Long live the peoples of America!
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela