AMERICAN DIPLOMATS URGE WORLD LEADERS TO OPPOSE PRESIDENT MADURO’S REPRESSION IN VENEZUELA
Frank Calzon (202) 427-3875
January 18, 2018
WASHINGTON. Five former American diplomats issued an appeal today to 12 heads of state and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Dr. Luis Almagro saying that the murdering of “Venezuelans who demanded a return to the rule of law and democracy … will not be [resolved] without democratic governments [taking] every step needed to bring peace, justice and democracy to the Venezuelan people.”
The diplomats are requesting “urgent action on the outrageous crimes occurring in Venezuela,” including the killing of Oscar Perez and others this week “by Maduro’s security forces, in spite of their efforts to surrender,” which were witnessed by millions of people on social media.
The letter was signed by several former American ambassadors and high level officials in the State Department and the National Security Council. The appeal went this afternoon to the Presidents of Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, France and the United States, and the Prime Ministers of Canada, the UK and Germany.
A copy of the letter is attached.
Washington, DC January 17, 2018
President of the United States Donald Trump
Prime Minister of Germany Angela Merkel
President of Chile Michelle Bachelet
President of Argentina Mauricio Macri
President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos
President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto
President of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solís
President of Brazil Michel Temer
President of Spain Mariano Rajoy Brey
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May
President of France Emmanuel Macron
Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Dr. Luis Almagro
We are writing as former American diplomats and supporters of democracy and human rights around the world to request your urgent action on the outrageous crimes occurring in Venezuela where Nicolas Maduro's regime continues to commit murder against the Venezuelan people.
Óscar Alberto Pérez was killed on Monday along with six others: Daniel Enrique Soto Torres, Abraham Israel Agostini, José Alejandro Díaz Pimentel, Jairo Lugo Ramos, Abraham Lugo Ramos and an unidentified woman. They were killed in what the international press reports was murder by the security forces, in spite of their efforts to surrender.
During several hours social media carried videos showing an attack by Venezuelan security forces against Óscar Alberto Pérez, a rebel officer and others. In the back ground explosions and gunfire could be heard. With blood flowing from his head, he said: "they are firing at us, they want to kill us, we want to turn ourselves in." In another video broadcast Óscar Pérez's mother said, "please do not kill my son."
Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro on July 19, 2017 said that “[t]here are currently about 15,000 Cubans in Venezuela." ..."It’s like an occupation army from Cuba in Venezuela.” These killings that took place yesterday could not have happened without Cuban military and intelligence involvement, possibly command and control.
These are but the latest murders committed against Venezuelans who demand a return to the rule of law and democracy for their country. Many demonstrators have been murdered by security forces under President Maduro. Without the international community there will not be a solution to the Venezuelan situation. It is incumbent on democracies witnessing this outrage to take every step needed to bring peace, justice and democracy to the Venezuelan people.
Ambassador James C. Cason, former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, former Chief of U.S. Mission, Havana, Cuba. Retired Foreign Service Officer.
Ambassador Everett E. Briggs, Former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, Honduras and Panama Former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Latin America, National Security Council, The White House. Retired Foreign Service Officer.
The Honorable Elliott Abrams, Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and for Inter-American Affairs, Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy.
Ambassador Jose S. Sorzano, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Latin America, National Security Council, The White House.
Ambassador Otto J. Reich, Former Assistant Secretary State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. The President’s Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, and Senior Staff Member, National Security Council.