1. Update
  2. Peacebuilding, U.S. Wars & Militarism

Support dialogue and diplomacy, not military intervention in Venezuela

By Diana Ohlbaum, January 29, 2019

The people of Venezuela have suffered through years of severe economic hardship and political crisis brought on by a repressive and authoritarian government.

While the United States should stand with the people of Venezuela in their demand for legitimate, accountable, and democratic governance, the Trump administration’s threat of military action is counterproductive.

As Quakers, we firmly believe in the power of diplomacy and dialogue as a means of ensuring peace. Military intervention will only deepen the crisis and could destabilize the entire region.

On January 23, millions of people took to the streets to protest Nicolas Maduro’s claim to another presidential term. On the same day, the opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself as the president of Venezuela.

Immediately following this declaration, the United States recognized Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela and called on Maduro to step down. Several Latin American countries quickly followed suit, while others, including Mexico and Uruguay, have called for dialogue.

The United States has an obligation to seek a reduction in tensions and prevent an escalation of violence. Saber-rattling and grandstanding are only likely to worsen the risks to Venezuelans and U.S. diplomats. They could also undermine the legitimacy of democratic processes.

Mexico and Uruguay have urged dialogue and reconciliation between the two factions in Venezuela, calling for a “process of inclusive and credible negotiations, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights.” The U.S. should support these types of efforts. It should urge the parties to the Venezuelan political crisis to seek a peaceful de-escalation of tensions so that Venezuelans can choose their own leaders freely and openly.

Diana Ohlbaum

  • Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.