Photo by Barbara Biley: Hands off Venezuela demonstration in Courtenay February 10th.


This year’s annual World Community Film Fest(WCFF)–the twenty-eighth film fest in the Comox Valley—was, in my humble opinion, the most informative, enjoyable, entertaining, emotionally animating and intellectually disturbing film fest (or any event for that matter) I have  attended in a very long time.

Centre piece to my high regard for this year’s film fest is the informative/disturbing film, Haiti Betrayed, about Canada’s— propaganda support/involvement in the 2004 US military invasion of Haiti.

Attending WCFF this year I saw films that were funny, emotionally moving, disturbingly informative of issues of the day, but the eerie film that continues to haunt my day time thoughts and disturb my night time is Haiti Betrayed. I call this film eerie not so much because of is dramatic and revealing exposition of Canada’s 2004 role in working with the US and France to militarily overturn the democratically elected government of Haiti with its progressive reforms designed to assist its impoverished majority, but because, as almost everyone in the room knew, while we were watching the film Canada was again in the process of working, Meech Lake styled, with the US to prepare for the overthrow of another democracy in yet another of America’s southern neighbours—this time Venezuela.   

Once again our government joins the pack in promulgating the patently absurd notion that this time the US really is preparing to invade another country to help the impoverished and assist in the “establishment” of democratic institutions. Given the US record in Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Panama, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc. the idea of the US invading a country to establish/support democracy and provide assistance for the impoverished is an oxymoron at best. The US is not/has not been interested in promoting democracy or the interests of the disadvantaged. It has become beyond Orwellian in its ability to manufacture fake rationales for invading other countries to depose democratic governments that seek to benefit the disadvantaged before adding to the hideous wealth of the few.

As it did in the invasion of Haiti, Canada is leading the way in promoting the CIA inspired vacuous rhetoric of militarily invading Venezuela. According to Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada is applying sanctions on Venezuelans “consistent with Canadian principles and values and aim to maintain pressure on the Venezuelan government to restore constitutional democracy and respect for democratic and human rights…“These sanctions send a clear message that the Maduro regime’s anti-democratic behaviour has consequences. Today’s announcement is evidence of our commitment to defending democracy and human rights around the world and our rejection of Venezuela’s fraudulent presidential elections. Canada is as determined as ever to support the people of Venezuela as they seek a more peaceful, democratic and prosperous future.”

” Wow, that one could have come directly from a CIA playbook—for Haiti or whichever country it is targeting at the moment.  If you dug through the files you could probably find the exact same words used as propaganda in preparing for the invasion of Haiti—or whatever democracy the US is preparing to attack for its insolence in suggesting that the needs of the impoverished should be addressed before adding to the extravagances of the privileged few. 

Where did all this urgency to depose the democratically elected president come from?

Well it didn’t come from a Canadian priority list for assisting the poor and promoting democracy. The priority came from the American government that is once again demanding that Canada follow it into war on those who do not kowtow to its business and political priorities.

The whole propaganda attack on Venezuela, and the invasion that will almost certainly follow, come from the same source as almost all Canadian foreign policy—the US and now from the mad man that serves as president of the country.

As Joshua Goodman, Associated Press correspondent, reported in a July 4, 2018 article in Business Insider,

“At a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: ‘With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?’”

There you have it. The US did not immediately invade Venezuela. It simply ramped up the preparations to invade–intensifying its training with those working to over throw the Venezuelan government and calling on co-conspirators like the Canadian government to begin ramping up the rhetorical grounds for such an invasion. The coming invasion of Venezuela is simply another stamp from the same cookie cutter that saw the invasion of Haiti with its overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haitian President whose crime was his unbreakable connection to the black, poor people of his country.

The so far verbal and economic attacks on Venezuela and its president, Nicolas Maduro, are not motivated by concern for democracy and human rights as Chrystia Freeland suggests. In fact the motivations are exactly the opposite of those stated. If there were any concern by the Canadian government for the people of Venezuela, they would be working to end the crippling oil embargo and other commodity and currency sanctions imposed by the US and its allies that are there simply because the United States wants Venezuelan oil and gold and control of the currency that Venezuela uses to trade its exports in. Instead of working hand in glove with Donald Trump to try to undo Venezuelan democracy by maneuvering a CIA trained right wing puppet(whose clearly stated priority is to restructure and privatize Venezuela’s oil industry for the benefit of multinational corporations in to an office he has clearly not been elected to), they would work with the President and legislature of Venezuela to bring peace, prosperity(for all) and respect for Internationally monitored elections. As they should have done in Haiti!

OH, my gosh, I do hope and pray that in a few years time we will not be sitting in a WCFF theatre room watching a film about the rape of Venezuela by the US and its gang of thugs. There is a Canadian election coming and it is apparently going to be closer than it was once thought to be. Maybe we can’t change the world, but we beat Harper and his gang of economic and environmental pillagers.  We can beat Trudeau and Freeland. Si Se Puede!

US/Canada – Hands Off Venezuela!

Public Meeting

Saturday, February 23, 1 -3 pm

Courtenay Public Library,


Canada’s Role in Haiti

—The Coup that Removed Aristide and what has happened since

Saturday, March 23,

1:00 — 3 pm

Courtenay Public Library

Join in a discussion with filmmaker Elaine Briere whose film HAITI BETRAYED was shown a the 2019 World Community Film Festival.


Comox Valley Peace Group. for more information: 250-338-4067


Norm Reynolds