Tell Congress to cease hostility towards Venezuela!
We just returned from Venezuela on a CODEPINK delegation to learn from and collaborate with the Venezuelan socialist communes. A commune is a group of ordinary people occupying shared land and coming together to plan and carry out projects through enterprises they own and run. Unfortunately, U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have significantly undermined the communal projects, not only limiting their productivity but also affecting their members’ welfare.
These bills, currently being considered in Congress, seek to intensify sanctions that will inflict greater harm on the Venezuelan population.
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Our delegation started at the El Panal 2021 commune in Caracas, which runs a textile factory, a fish farm, a pig farm, a recycling plant, and a radio station. They have their own monetary system and a popular education project called “Pluriversity”. Then we headed to Sucre and arrived at the 5 Fortalezas Commune. They specialize in growing vegetables, legumes, and sugar cane, as well as breeding red tilapia fish. Lastly, we visited the commune Ezequiel Zamora in Anzoátegui. This community is committed to urban ecology and conservationism. It runs its own recycling and waste disposal enterprises. It also operates a social center for women to promote women's rights, and a food distribution center.
During our visit, we volunteered and stayed in the homes of the members to see first-hand how life is in the commune and the effects of sanctions.
Photo by: Christian Stalberg
The communes have been able to resist the worst consequences of crippling sanctions. During the most challenging times, communes not only helped feed the Venezuelan people, but also served as a great example of the power of organizing. Unfortunately, U.S. unilateral sanctions jeopardize fundamental activities crucial for their development. Venezuelan communes should be able to operate at their full potential and continue building alternative systems of self-governance and production that prioritize community needs.
One aspect that truly impressed me was their commitment to keeping an accurate record of their community and its needs. For example, within the commune El Panal 2021, older adults actively participate and receive respect and care through the Senior Citizens' club known as “Club de Abuelos,” which operates as a self-managed program offering a combination of leisure activities, social engagement, and medical assistance. But while many Venezuelans are tirelessly working towards a progressive transition to a self-governing society that values both people and the planet over profit and capital, the U.S. government continues to strangle the Venezuelan economy. Tell Congress to put an end to U.S. hostility towards Venezuela!
We are told that sanctions are a relatively innocuous tool used only to target a few public authorities to change their behavior. However, not only do sanctions not work, they are also illegal and tantamount to economic war. They result in the deaths of innocent people, damage to the nation's infrastructure, and widespread suffering. Let's urge our leaders to make the right decisions. Interventionism and the imposition of criminal sanctions only undermine the efforts of the people to achieve what we all desire - freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Tell Congress to oppose the AFFECT Human Rights in Venezuela Act, and also the Venezuelan Democracy Act bills that would stifle growth and cause great suffering!
PS: RSVP for an engaging report-back webinar featuring all of the delegates on September 8th, 2023 at 6:00pm ET. We each have inspiring stories to share with you. In the meantime, read our recap and browse through our delegation photos!