The United Church of Canada’s position is not to support either side in the struggle for leadership in Venezuela, but to support a process that would bring the parties together in dialogue.
The United Church has supported several Central and South American church-based initiatives over the past few years to try to cool the mounting tensions within the country. We would like to see Canada support and accompany the offer made by Mexico and Uruguay to convene a new dialogue between government and opposition. The most recent such effort ended in February 2018 just when it seemed agreement was within reach. A World Council of Churches delegation to Nicaragua last August made the same call for dialogue. The United Church also calls on Colombia to renew a peace process, which seems on the verge of collapse. These initiatives have not been widely reported in North American media but have the support of churches and human rights groups in Venezuela as well as Pope Francis and the CARICOM community of Caribbean nations.
In May 2018, the United Church’s program coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jim Hodgson, travelled with the coalition Common Frontiers to observe the elections. In his report to the church he noted: “Our observer delegation saw an election that was expertly run, had good participation, and which had no fraud that was evident to us.”
Canada is a member state of the Organization of American States (OAS) and must abide by the principle of sovereignty and non-intervention as enshrined in Article 19 of the OAS Charter: “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.”
The United Church of Canada is committed to peaceful processes, encouraging both sides in the political crisis in Venezuela to begin an earnest dialogue to resolve the situation with an internally made solution and not resort to foreign intervention.