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Opinion and Analysis: Indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans

Black Lives Matter Network Denounces U.S. “Continuing Intervention” in Venezuela

The co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network and Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration warns that the recent electoral victory of U.S.-backed counter revolutionary parties in Venezuela endangers the country’s African-descended population. The letter denounces “corporate media lies about electoral corruption voiced by Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sander’s defamation of late President Hugo Chavez labeling him a dictator.”

We reject any action the U.S. puts forward to plunder Venezuelan natural resources, occupy the country and incite violence.”

Black North American Solidarity Statement with the Venezuelan People

On December 6, 2015, the eyes of the world turned to the National Assembly elections in Venezuela. For the 20th time in 17 years the Venezuelan people went to the polls, this time to elect the national legislature. In a significant blow to the progressive and most impoverished sectors of Venezuela – working-class, Afrodescendant and indigenous people – and to global allies, the counter-revolutionaries won control of the National Assembly.

In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world – a democratic process that has advocated the rights of Afrodescendants and other oppressed people within Venezuela and across the globe. We have seen the most marginalized sectors of Venezuela transform into active citizens in collaboration with a government that has responded to their needs and aspirations. Thousands of people who once worked cacao plantations as enslaved Africans, then sharecroppers, now run those fields as cooperatives. The profits from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves that once went directly to U.S. oil now are invested in social programs.

Black people in North America understand that the triumphs of oppressed people anywhere in the world are triumphs for Black people everywhere. And so, we smile with the young girl in the Venezuelan countryside, as she leaves a Mission Barrio Adentro clinic, her asthma symptoms treated without cost by a Cuban doctor. Her health is our own. We stand with the single young mother, as she takes leadership of her community council with unwavering commitment to her barrio’s collective well-being, building their own urban gardens. Her voice is our own. We enter the house of a family who has benefited from Venezuela’s housing mission which has built nearly one million homes across the country. Their dignity is our own. We stand with the Venezuelan people as they build a revolutionary and popular democracy based on communal power. Their struggle is our own.

“We reject the hypocrisy of the Venezuelan elite – who like settlers everywhere – cling to their white privilege to the point of even lynching Afrodescendants.”

We denounce the United States of America’s continuing intervention and support for the counter-revolution in Venezuela using economic, political, psychological, media and military means. We will never forget the U.S.’s shameless backing of the 2002 coup carried out by the right-wing Venezuelan elite. We reject any action the U.S. puts forward to plunder Venezuelan natural resources, occupy the country and incite violence. For example, the U.S. supported the opposition’s guarimbas in 2014 resulting in the deaths of 43 people and millions of dollars of property and commercial damage. We reject the hypocrisy of the Venezuelan elite – who like settlers everywhere – cling to their white privilege to the point of even lynching Afrodescendants. We denounce U.S. espionage against Venezuelaillegal surveillance of PDVSAviolation of Venezuelan airspace and sanctions against Venezuela. We denounce the corporate media lies about electoral corruption voiced by Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sander’s defamation of late President Hugo Chavez labeling him a dictator.

We deeply appreciate solidarity that the Venezuelan people have expressed with Black people in North America in our struggles against state violence, social injustice and exclusion from democratic decision making. We recognize how the Bolivarian government offered aid to the people of New Orleans after Katrina and free and low-cost heating oil to communities like the Bronx, New York.

We are Black organizations and individuals fighting against U.S. white supremacy and imperialism and for human rights and social justice. We offer this expression of our unwavering solidarity with the progressive and revolutionary Venezuelan people as they reflectregroup and rectify to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

We demand U.S. Hands off Venezuela! 

We stand with the Venezuelan people and defend their right to self-determination!

In solidarity,

Opal Tometi 


Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter / Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration 

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