Venezuela: WRI Executive Committee Solidarity with Laboratorio de Paz and Provea activists*
The latest development in Venezuela created additional tensions not only in the country itself but across the entire region. As part pacifists and antimilitarists, War Resisters’ International Executive Committee wants to repeat, once again, that war is not an answer to any situation, and call for resistance to all preparations for war.
WRI supports all conscientious objectors from all around the world, because we consider refusing to enlist in an armed force and/or participate in war preparation as the very core of war resistance work. Therefore, we welcome anyone who at any time and for any reason (philosophical, religious, political, etc.) refuses to participate in these activities. Throughout WRI’s long history we have supported all conscientious objectors, deserters and other war resisters, even from the conflicting parties. We supported and support both US and Russian objectors as well as Colombian and Venezuelan, Turkish and Greek, Croatian and Serbian, Israeli and Egyptian conscientious objectors, etc. While every side in a conflict uses its propaganda to build the justification for participation in a war, we resist and refuse the very logic of war.
On a global level, WRI has constantly expressed our solidarity in word and action for the oppressed, supporting those groups and people who are practicing active nonviolent responses to oppression. On the one hand, we see that there are countries that are permanently threatened with war, invasions, forceful regime changes, forceful annexations by other states, and territories being occupied, etc. On the other hand, we see that many of the threatened countries use these external threats as an excuse to reduce the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to freedom of opinion and expression, always as a part of the militaristic binary logic of diving the people in “us” vs. “them”. However, we’ve seen in the past that the two human rights mentioned above - refusing to enlist in an armed force, or to participate in war preparation - are fundamental for effective opposition to wars and war preparations, as the right to conscientious objection derives directly from them. Therefore, we express our solidarity and support to all those whose right to freedom of opinion and expression or the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion has been threatened.
Bearing in mind the situation in Venezuela, we refuse all armed methods of solving the crisis in that country. We call for an immediate de-escalation of the situation and reject any involvement of foreign armed forces in Venezuelan internal affairs, either by constant threats of invasion, by supporting insurrectional armed groups or by providing military aid to the Venezuelan government. We reject the logic of war and permanent conflict in Venezuela and the region, and, at the same time, call for the authorities to fully guarantee the application of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to conscientious objection to all Venezuelans. In that sense, WRI Executive Committee, wants to make public our support to activists of Laboratorio de Paz and Provea, among whom are members of War Resisters' International network, that have been labelled as terrorist, threatened and criminalized by Venezuelan officials while performing their work in defense of the human rights for all in Venezuela. We want to assure them that we will not accept any form on violence against them.
This document signed as War Resisters' International (WRI) Executive Committee recognizes and also includes the possibility of latent disagreements, questions and reflections that we must elaborate as network in permanent dialogue and collective construction of realities, dynamics and nonviolent resistance against war and all its causes. We assume a voice that attends to an emergency and thus also the collective processes that must be organized to continue tuning our perceptions, actions and proposals. Along these same lines, we invite all the organizations involved to share or join to the reflection that this statement invites.