The horrific situation that we see in Venezuela today is not something that just happened; it is something that has been growing like a cancer for 18 years. Think about it! 18 years! It has taken 18 years for this corrupt and criminal regime to bring down the country with the largest oil reserves in the world to the chaos and misery it is in today. So the misery is not really new. What is new is that the Maduro Regime has showed the world its true colors and everyone now knows that Venezuela is a Dictatorship; what is new is that faced with such final strike to democracy, people have decided to take the streets and speak-up. So there have now been over 40 days of mass demonstrations. Millions of people (including mostly young students who wish to live in a safe, free country) have taken the streets to claim their rights.
What’s going to happen and why do we need Norway to get involved?
It is hard to predict what will happen in the next weeks but there are 2 possible scenarios:
1. A sad and unfortunate one where people begins to lose hope and confronted with the brutal repression give-up their fight for democracy and freedom accepting a cruel and corrupt dictatorship (like Cuba) that will stay in power forever,
2. A more optimistic one where people continue to fight for freedom and for a better future for our country. Today we are here to say that we are not giving up. Today we want to say: We will FIGHT.
But what do we mean by fight? Venezuelans don’t want a war. Venezuelan people alone cannot bring down this dictator by force because the government has all the weapons, all the power and a corrupt and cruel army & security forces backing them up. Any attempt by people to bring down Maduro by force in the current circumstances would be suicidal and could result in a massacre.
So what do we do?
Our only option and the dream of all of us here today in front of the Norwegian Parliament is that with a) increased local pressure and b) support from the international community (including Norway) the regime will either crack down and leave (negotiate an exit) or accept the 4 clear requests put forward by the people i.e. allow immediate free and transparent elections; allow humanitarian aid into the country, liberate the political prisoners and restate the democratically elected National Assembly.
What can Norway do?
We are asking the Norwegian government to take side with the Venezuelan people; to take a clear stand and firmly condemn the violation of human rights, and demand the Venezuelan Government to obey the law and the constitution and comply with the above mentioned 4 legitimate requests of the people.
The Norwegian government could also take some concrete actions such as establishing sanctions. This can take various forms such as denying entry into Norway of governments officials involved in corruption or drug-trafficking investigations and calling for a closure of the Venezuelan embassy in Oslo until democracy is restored.
How can YOU (Norwegian people) help us?
We would like you to become engaged and help us influence the Norwegian government to take action against the Venezuelan Dictatorship. A very clear action today is to sign the letter that we are sending to the Parliament today.
Thank you for being here today and showing your solidarity to our country!
Sonia Zapata (11/05/2017)