Carta abierta al Comité Ejecutivo de la Asociación de Estudios Latinoamericanos 61 académicos del continente critican la declaración de LASA sobre Venezuela

13-05-2017
 Mayo de 2017

Como miembr@s de la Asociación de Estudios Latinoamericanos, criticamos la declaración del Comité Ejecutivo de abril de 2017 sobre Venezuela. La declaración denuncia al gobierno venezolano por “ un paso decisivo hacia un régimen autoritario,” refiriéndose a la decisión del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) del 29 de marzo, la cual revocó temporalmente los poderes de la Asamblea Nacional como respuesta a su sentar de tres diputados de la oposición que habían sido acusados de fraude electoral. Nosotr@s también criticamos ciertos actos del gobierno venezolano, incluyendo la decisión del TSJ del 29 de marzo – la cual, notamos felizmente, el TSJ revocó en su mayor parte el 1º de abril. Pero consideramos que la declaración del Comité Ejecutivo es altamente engañosa. Al enfocar toda su crítica en el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro, y al ignorar las amenazas a la democracia y la paz venezolanas representadas por la oposición de derecha y el gobierno estadounidense, la declaración distorsiona seriamente la situación. Esta omisión corre el riesgo de justificar aún más intervención estadounidense en el país y de dar cobertura a una oposición con una larga trayectoria de comportamiento antidemocrático.

Muchos factores han contribuido a la grave crisis económica y política en Venezuela. Algunos son antiguos y estructurales, como por ejemplo las debilidades inherentes de una economía dependiente del petróleo. Otros factores incluyen la hostilidad de la mayoría de las empresas privadas frente a los gobiernos de Hugo Chávez y Nicolás Maduro, una oposición muchas veces violenta y un gobierno estadounidense que nunca han aceptado la legitimidad electoral ni de Chávez ni de Maduro, y – hay que decirlo – ciertas acciones e inacciones del propio gobierno, lo cual, a pesar de facilitar avances en el bienestar social y la gobernanza participativa desde 1999, ha manejado mal la moneda y no ha hecho lo suficiente para promover la diversificación y la democratización de la economía.

Lastimosamente, la declaración del Comité Ejecutivo implica que la culpa principal de la crisis actual queda con el gobierno de Maduro. Además, perpetúa la narrativa derechista sobre los “presos políticos,” sin divulgar que la mayoría de esos presos están encarcelados por haber cometido o incitado actos violentos contra el gobierno o contra los civiles de izquierda. No nos sorprende este tipo de discurso guerrafriísta cuando proviene de Fox News o de los New York Times, pero sí cuando proviene del liderazgo de LASA.

Una evaluación más balanceada de la crisis venezolana fue emitida por el Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, António Guterres, el día 20 de abril. La declaración de Guterres “pide que el Gobierno de Venezuela y la oposición se entablen sinceramente para reactivar los esfuerzos de diálogo,” y “urge que se haga todo esfuerzo por reducir las tensiones y prevenir más choques.” Nos hacemos eco del espíritu de la declaración de Guterres, y además abogamos el cese de toda hostilidad estadounidense hacia Venezuela – incluyendo las sanciones actualmente vigentes contra oficiales venezolanos, los programas de “promoción de la democracia” que canalizan fondos a las fuerzas opositoras de derecha y toda forma de intervención adicional.

Atentamente,

L@s siguientes miembr@s y ex-miembr@s de LASA:

1. Serena Ahmed, Independent scholar

2. César Aponte, Casa de Cronopios

3. Robert Austin, University of Sydney

4. William Aviles, University of Nebraska at Kearney

5. Dario Azzellini, Murphy Institute, CUNY

6. Marc Becker, Truman State University

7. William Bollinger, California State University Los Angeles

8. Rosalind Bresnahan, California State University (retired)

9. Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers

10. Ronald Chilcote, University of California Riverside

11. George Ciccariello-Maher, Drexel University

12. Amy Cooper, Saint Louis University

13. Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli, Sosa University of America

14. Héctor Cruz Feliciano, Universidad Autónoma de Nicaragua

15. Jorge Enrique Cuéllar, Yale University

16. Isaac Curtis, University of Pittsburgh

17. Jonathan Dettman, University of Nebraska at Kearney

18. Monica Dias Martins, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Brasil

19. Steve Ellner, Latin American Perspectives

20. Linda Farthing, Independent scholar

21. Sujatha Fernandes, University of Sydney

22. Edgar Iván Gutiérrez, Riverside City College

23. John L. Hammond, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

24. Richard L. Harris, University of Hawai’i at Hilo

25. Kevin Henderson, University of Massachusetts Amherst

26. Forrest Hylton, Northwestern University

27. Clara E. Irazábal Zurita, University of Missouri – Kansas City

28. Dale L. Johnson, Rutgers University (emeritus)

29. George Leddy, Latin American Perspectives

30. Fernando Leiva, University of California Santa Cruz

31. Rowan Lubbock, Birkbeck College, University of London

32. Stanley Malinowitz, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

33. Liz Mason-Deese, University of Mary Washington

34. Angus McNelly, Queen Mary, University of London

35. Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City university

36. Simeon J. Newman, University of Michigan

37. Richard Parra, Peruvian writer

38. Ivan Pojomovsky, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

39. Shahid Qadir, Third World Quarterly

40. Peter Ranis, Graduate Center, CUNY

41. Tathagatan Ravindran, Universidad Icesi, Colombia

42. Gerardo Rénique, City College of New York, CUNY

43. William Robinson, University of California at Santa Barbara

44. Alexander Sanson, Goucher College

45. Naomi Schiller, Brooklyn College, CUNY

46. T.M. Scruggs, University of Iowa (emeritus)

47. Diana Carolina Sierra Becerra, University of Michigan

48. Pablo Silva, University of California Davis

49. Victor Silverman, Pomona College

50. Susan Spronk, University of Ottawa

51. Richard Stahler-Sholk, Eastern Michigan University

52. Luis Suárez Salazar, Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba

53. Sinclair Thomson, New York University

54. Miguel Tinker Salas, Pomona College

55. Harry E. Vanden, University of South Florida

56. Jonah Walters, Rutgers University

57. Clare Weber, Latin American Perspectives

58. Kristi M. Wilson, Soka University of America

59. Tamar Diana Wilson, Latin American Perspectives

60. Tony Wood, New York University

61. Kevin A. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

An Open Letter to the LASA Executive Committee on the Situation in Venezuela

May 2017

As members of the Latin American Studies Association, we take issue with the Executive Committee’s April 2017 statement on Venezuela. The statement condemns the Venezuelan government for “a decisive step towards authoritarian rule,” referring to the March 29 decision of the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (Supreme Court) to temporarily revoke the powers of the Venezuelan National Assembly in response to the Assembly’s seating of three opposition legislators accused of fraud. We too are critical of certain actions of the Venezuelan government, including the TSJ’s March 29 decision – which, we were happy to observe, the TSJ mostly reversed on April 1. But we find the Executive Committee’s statement highly misleading. In singling out the Nicolás Maduro government for criticism, and ignoring the threats to Venezuelan democracy and peace represented by the right-wing opposition and U.S. government, the statement seriously distorts the situation. This omission runs the risk of justifying further U.S. intervention in the country and lending cover to an opposition with a long record of antidemocratic behavior.

Many factors have contributed to the grave economic and political crisis in Venezuela. Some are longstanding and structural, such as the inherent weaknesses of an oil-dependent economy. Other factors include the hostility of most private businesses to the Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro governments, an often-violent opposition and U.S. government that have never accepted the electoral legitimacy of Chávez or Maduro, and – yes – certain actions and inactions of the government itself, which, despite facilitating advances in social welfare and participatory governance since 1999, has mismanaged the currency and done too little to promote the diversification and democratization of the economy.

Unfortunately, the Executive Committee’s statement implies that the Maduro government bears primary blame for the current crisis. It also perpetuates the common right-wing narrative about Venezuelan “political prisoners,” failing to acknowledge that most of those prisoners are incarcerated for committing or inciting violence against the government and leftist civilians. We would expect this kind of Cold War framing from Fox News or the New York Times, but not from the LASA leadership.

A more balanced assessment of the Venezuelan crisis was issued by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on April 20. Guterres’ statement “call[s] on the Government of Venezuela and the opposition to engage sincerely to reactivate dialogue efforts,” and “urge[s] that all efforts be made to lower tensions and prevent further clashes.” We echo the spirit of Guterres’s statement, and further call for the cessation of all U.S. hostilities toward Venezuela – including the sanctions currently in place against Venezuelan officials, the “democracy promotion” programs that funnel money to right-wing opposition forces, and all other forms of intervention.

Sincerely,

The undersigned current and former members of LASA:

1. Serena Ahmed, Independent scholar

2. César Aponte, Casa de Cronopios

3. Robert Austin, University of Sydney

4. William Aviles, University of Nebraska at Kearney

5. Dario Azzellini, Murphy Institute, CUNY

6. Marc Becker, Truman State University

7. William Bollinger, California State University Los Angeles

8. Rosalind Bresnahan, California State University (retired)

9. Raul Burbano, Common Frontiers

10. Ronald Chilcote, University of California Riverside

11. George Ciccariello-Maher, Drexel University

12. Amy Cooper, Saint Louis University

13. Tomás Crowder-Taraborrelli, Sosa University of America

14. Héctor Cruz Feliciano, Universidad Autónoma de Nicaragua

15. Jorge Enrique Cuéllar, Yale University

16. Isaac Curtis, University of Pittsburgh

17. Jonathan Dettman, University of Nebraska at Kearney

18. Monica Dias Martins, Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Brasil

19. Steve Ellner, Latin American Perspectives

20. Linda Farthing, Independent scholar

21. Sujatha Fernandes, University of Sydney

22. Edgar Iván Gutiérrez, Riverside City College

23. John L. Hammond, Hunter College and Graduate Center, CUNY

24. Richard L. Harris, University of Hawai’i at Hilo

25. Kevin Henderson, University of Massachusetts Amherst

26. Forrest Hylton, Northwestern University

27. Clara E. Irazábal Zurita, University of Missouri – Kansas City

28. Dale L. Johnson, Rutgers University (emeritus)

29. George Leddy, Latin American Perspectives

30. Fernando Leiva, University of California Santa Cruz

31. Rowan Lubbock, Birkbeck College, University of London

32. Stanley Malinowitz, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

33. Liz Mason-Deese, University of Mary Washington

34. Angus McNelly, Queen Mary, University of London

35. Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City university

36. Simeon J. Newman, University of Michigan

37. Richard Parra, Peruvian writer

38. Ivan Pojomovsky, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

39. Shahid Qadir, Third World Quarterly

40. Peter Ranis, Graduate Center, CUNY

41. Tathagatan Ravindran, Universidad Icesi, Colombia

42. Gerardo Rénique, City College of New York, CUNY

43. William Robinson, University of California at Santa Barbara

44. Alexander Sanson, Goucher College

45. Naomi Schiller, Brooklyn College, CUNY

46. T.M. Scruggs, University of Iowa (emeritus)

47. Diana Carolina Sierra Becerra, University of Michigan

48. Pablo Silva, University of California Davis

49. Victor Silverman, Pomona College

50. Susan Spronk, University of Ottawa

51. Richard Stahler-Sholk, Eastern Michigan University

52. Luis Suárez Salazar, Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba

53. Sinclair Thomson, New York University

54. Miguel Tinker Salas, Pomona College

55. Harry E. Vanden, University of South Florida

56. Jonah Walters, Rutgers University

57. Clare Weber, Latin American Perspectives

58. Kristi M. Wilson, Soka University of America

59. Tamar Diana Wilson, Latin American Perspectives

60. Tony Wood, New York University

61. Kevin A. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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