Venezuela sign-on letter seeks organizations and prominent individuals to join Noam Chomsky in saying No to Sanctions!


Sen. Harry Reid

Majority Leader

US House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Sen. Reid,

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals strongly oppose bills in both Houses of Congress to impose sanctions on Venezuela during a time when the Venezuelan government and democratic forces in the opposition are in formal talks mediated by the Vatican and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). We do not think that sanctions would in any way contribute to a peaceful resolution of the problems facing Venezuelans in this polarized environment.

Sanctions against Venezuela would be all too reminiscent of the failed 55-year US policy of sanctions against Cuba. Each year in the UN General Assembly, the US policy toward Cuba is condemned by a nearly unanimous vote of the Community of Nations. At the beginning of his presidency, President Barack Obama promised Latin America a new chapter in US relations. Instead Latin America has witnessed the same old policies of interference in their sovereign affairs and a lack of respect for the right of self-determination. To now impose sanctions against Venezuela would further confirm the perception of the United States as a bad neighbor and a bully.

We are also troubled that some groups in the violent opposition receive US funding through the US Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy. The violent opposition is responsible for more than half the 41 deaths since the beginning of street violence in February, including the decapitation of a motorcyclist from razor wire strung across a street. While the democratic opposition sits down at the table and talks to the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro, the violent opposition attempts to win in the streets what they have failed to win in 16 elections since 1998 – elections that former President Jimmy Carter calls “the best in the world” in terms of transparency and fairness. We call on the Congress to stop funding violence in Venezuela.

Venezuela holds the largest proven oil reserves in the world. As the largest consumer of oil, it is in the interest of the people of the United States to maintain friendly and regular relations with Venezuela. To that end we further call on the Administration to appoint, and the Senate to approve, an ambassador to Venezuela and to approve the seating of the ambassador President Maduro has named to represent his government to the United States. Just as peaceful dialogue is the only rational solution to Venezuela’s social divisions, normalized relations and peaceful dialogue, based on respect, is the only rational solution to the differences between our two nations.


Noam Chomsky, MIT

E-mail Chuck Kaufman at


3 Responses to “Venezuela sign-on letter seeks organizations and prominent individuals to join Noam Chomsky in saying No to Sanctions!”

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