Sunday, August 6, 2017

Message to friends in Venezuela on the latest unfolding events

My prayers and thoughts are with the Venezuelan people in their struggle for freedom.

Yesterday at the Torch of Friendship on August 5, 2017
 As an outsider I do not pretend to know the intricacies of what is taking place on the ground in Venezuela but there are patterns and historical trends with regards to conflicts with parallels to what is taking place in your country today that alarm me.

Voices now gaining traction in Venezuela make the argument that violent resistance is now necessary to deal with the new political reality. Century of data and recent example of Syria shows belief that abandoning nonviolence for violence will speed up change is mistaken.

Non-violent expert Gene Sharp offers the following advice to a non-violent movement when military units start to defect or mutiny. Maintain non-violence, do not organize soldiers to use violence against the remaining army. That is suicidal.  Use the mutinous soldiers to persuade the rest of the soldiers also to mutiny - take the army away then the regime will come tumbling down.

Furthermore, among some Venezuelans, there is the mistaken idea that Cubans did not fight against the imposition of communist rule in Cuba. Cuban author and artist Juan Abreu who advocates violent resistance in Venezuela also does not sugarcoat the difficulty nor the fact that Cubans failed to overthrow the Castros despite a formidable armed resistance that lasted six years (1960-66) because the communists are experts in violence, torture and rewriting history.

Dear friends in Venezuela I offer this testimony with humility and ask you to take it into consideration.


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