Public Letter to the Guardian: Violent Protest will not Help Venezuela

Prominent figures in Britain have written a public letter to the Guardian "deplor[ing] the wave of violence from minority and extremist sections ofVenezuela's opposition".


We deplore the wave of violence from minority and extremist sections ofVenezuela‘s opposition, that left three dead, 60 injured and saw physical assaults on government institutions, including shots and Molotov cocktails attacks on the state TV channel and a state governor’s residency (Jailed López tells his allies to keep fighting, 22 February). This followed a recently launched campaign by Venezuela’s extreme right for La Salida (the ousting) of the government of President Maduro before his constitutional mandate ends in 2019. La Salida is led by extremist politicians Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado, who were both implicated in the 2002 coup in Venezuela. This is not the first time that the sections of the opposition have sought to oust the elected government by unconstitutional means, having lost at the ballot box.

We believe that while people in Venezuela have the right to protest – and that the Venezuelan constitution guarantees these and other democratic rights – this must be done peacefully. There is no justification for violent opposition to the elected government in Venezuela. We strongly support the statement of the Union of South American Nations that violence to seek to overthrow the elected, constitutional government is unacceptable. We join them in both condemning the wave of violence and in supporting calls for dialogue and peace.
Grahame Morris MP Chair, Labour Friends of Venezuela, Colin Burgon Chair, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Ken Livingstone, Tariq Ali, Billy Hayes CWU, Peter Hain MP, Professor Doreen Massey, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sandra White MSP (SNP), Ken Loach, Professor Julia Buxton, John Pilger journalist & filmmaker
Bruce Kent peace campaigner
Dave Anderson MP Labour
Michael Connarty MP Labour
Richard Gott writer & journalist
Andy De La Tour actor 
Paul Flynn MP Labour
Roger Godsiff MP Labour
Ian Lavery MP Labour
Elfyn Llwyd MP Plaid Cymru
John McDonnell MP Labour
Chris Williamson MP Labour
Mike Wood MP Labour
Baroness Gibson APPG on Latin America
Murad Qureshi London Assembly Member, Labour
Professor Julia Buxton academic & consultant
Dr Francisco Dominguez Head of Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
Tim Potter Barrister & Haldane Society