IS LIVING A TRANSCENDENTAL HISTORIC MOMENT”
Voice recently interviewed Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández, the Ambassador to Canada
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Here are the
Ambassador's replies to our questions.
Currently, what is
the general, economic and social situation in Venezuela?
Venezuela is living a transcendental historic
moment. This is a decisive historic stage for the continuity of a progressive,
free, independent and sovereign government with no ties to neoliberal ideas.
Venezuela lives a true and vigorous democracy, whose centre is the human being.
For almost 20 years, the Venezuelan
people have resisted firmly internal and external attempts to destabilize the
country. The election and implementation of the National Constituent Assembly
is the most recent example of the degree of political consciousness that
Commander Hugo Chavez thought us. Unfortunately, with the beginning of the
National Constituent Assembly’s work, the imperial threats have increased—even
military ones, and unilateral and illegal economic
sanctions have been imposed, trying to establish a diplomatic-financial fence
This imperial strategy has the
support of transnational media corporations, which have spread an image of Venezuela
as a country in bankruptcy and with an insurmountable economic crisis
throughout the world. With the imposition of unilateral and illegal sanctions
the international financial war has deepened. These actions, together with the
breakdown of the oil profitable model and the internal economic war, have
destabilized the Venezuelan economy, sharpening the shortage of basic products
and hitting the most vulnerable people. Among other measures, the Bolivarian
Government has promoted a plan to diversify the economy. The results will be
seen in the medium and long term.
What should Canadians know about the National Constituent Assembly?
Constituent Assembly is already a political-juridical fact and is a faithful
reflection of the sovereign will and the firm dignity of a people with a clear
has returned to normalcy. Violent demonstrations have ended, and people can now
live in a climate of peace and tranquility. The National Constituent Assembly
is an instrument of peace and dialogue. Its call by President Nicolas Maduro was attached to the Constitution, our legal
framework. Anyone who has taken the time to read our constitution will note
that the National Constituent Assembly is clearly defined. Its call was aimed
at restoring national peace, favouring respect and
political tolerance. A response against the generalized
violence that the Venezuelan opposition tried to impose, and the growing
imperial interference led by the United States,
seconded by Canada.
The election of
the National Constituent Assembly was a successful process for the Venezuelan
society. It was supported by the participation of more than 8 million Venezuelans. Our people’s only desire is to live
in peace and independence. We have developed a transparent electoral timetable.
We try to maintain and deepen the social gains achieved since the arrival of
the Bolivarian Revolution under the leadership of Hugo Chavez.
Have the mainstream Canadian media
interviewed you about the developments in Venezuela?
mainstream Canadian media follows patterns established by big television
channels and international media agencies, carrying a communication campaign of
reality distortion and international discrediting against Venezuela. In spite of this
strategy, I have given some interviews to alternative newspapers and radio
stations to counteract the negative effects of such campaign and offer an
accurate vision to the Canadian public.
What is the status of diplomatic and economic relations between Canada and Venezuela?
Venezuela and Canada have had respectful
diplomatic relations since 1948. Currently, the dynamics of the bilateral
relationship is complex. Canada
has accentuated its criticism and interventionist stance against the Bolivarian
Government of Venezuela.
Canada has placed itself as the unconditional, and sometimes executioner,
standard-bearer of United States
interventionist policies against Venezuela. Obviously this position of interference and illegal unilateral
actions has impacted all areas of bilateral interest, especially our
Is it safe for Canadians to travel for tourism and business in Venezuela?
Venezuela is an emerging market with immense economic potential and a
privileged geographic location. It is no secret that Venezuela is a country with huge
mining resources and hydrocarbons. We offer comparative and competitive
advantages for its use in a business framework with shared benefits, under
investment conditions that respect national sovereignty.
Venezuela is a multi-destination country with internationally recognized
tourist attractions. Canadian tourists keep a positive image of their tourism
experiences in Venezuela, despite the recurrent warnings to travellers
issued by the Canadian government.
on business and tourists’ trips, can give their testimony about the guarantees
that they have received during their stay in Venezuela.
Any other comments you would like to make to our readers?
I ask Canada
to respect our democracy and the essential principles of international law such
as non-interventionism in other States’ internal affairs and the free
self-determination of people. Indeed, imposing unilateral sanctions are
measures that, besides being illegal and contravening international standards,
are aimed at breaking the spirit of a people that mostly supports the
violate the human rights of the vast majority of poor sectors since they
provoke economic difficulties. These sanctions increase even more scarcity and
shortages caused by the economic war that hegemonic power centres
lead against the homeland of Simon Bolívar and Hugo Chavez. Such circumstances
lead us to reflect about Canada’s
double standard in the defence of human rights.
This year, Venezuela
experienced a period of violence that resulted in 121 deaths, including 23 who
were burned alive. Canada
never condemned the Venezuelan opposition for such brutal and inhumane acts.
Based on these facts, these people were not worth for Canada to defend their human
rights. Insisted, Canada
has advocated for human rights, which we have respected, of politicians
imprisoned for violating Venezuelan laws.
above article is from the December 1-31,2017, issue of
People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist
newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription
rates in Canada: $30/year,
or $15 low income rate; for U.S.
readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year.
Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark
Drive, Vancouver, BC,