AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, events in Venezuela are at a dangerous crossroads: following years of foreign interference and falling oil prices, deep division and the deterioration of democratic norms, rights and institutions, Venezuelan society is deeply polarized between president Nicolás Maduro and his supporters and an opposition headed by Juan Guaidó, leader of the National Assembly, with the country on the verge of open civil conflict; and

WHEREAS, while Mexico and Uruguay have called for negotiations between the two Venezuelan camps to peacefully resolve this crisis, other countries have fueled it, with the Trump administration and its allies in authoritarian governments of the right, such as Brazil recognizing Guaidó as president, and China, Russia and Cuba backing Maduro; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration’s reaction to this crisis has been one of provocation and saber rattling, with threats of the use of military force, recalling a century of U.S. imperial interventions in Latin America, including in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Haiti, Chile, Cuba and Honduras; and

WHEREAS, the roles of the Venezuelan military and security forces are key; Guaidó cannot take the reins of the government without their backing, but thus far it has been Maduro who has retained their support, in part because the status quo favors the military’s privileged financial ties to the country’s lucrative oil and gas sectors; and

WHEREAS, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is grave, worsened by hunger, shortages of medicines and clean water, and waves of refugees fleeing the country; aid has been used as a political weapon; and

WHEREAS, this current crisis is one that must be resolved by Venezuelans themselves; outside threats of military intervention will only bring more disorder to Venezuelan society and instability in the region:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers opposes any military intervention, or threats of military intervention, sanctions or interference in the economic and internal affairs of the Venezuelan people as contrary to the democratic principles of self-determination and national sovereignty, and as injurious to the peaceful resolution of the Venezuelan crisis and to peace and stability in the region; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT condemns the belligerent posture of the Trump administration toward Venezuela, with its threats of military intervention, and calls upon the administration to stand down from its campaign for regime change in Venezuela; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT supports the efforts of the international contact group, which includes the progressive Latin American governments in Mexico and Uruguay to begin negotiations among Venezuelans to arrive at a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, as a negotiated agreement is the only path forward to a democratic Venezuela where the rights of all, including the rights of labor to organize in free and independent unions, are respected; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT calls for the urgent humanitarian needs of Venezuelans to be met as quickly as possible, without regard to politics; we acknowledge the efforts of others, particularly the people of Colombia and Brazil, in helping to meet the immediate needs for healthcare, schooling, shelter and jobs for Venezuelan refugees; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will share this resolution with its regional sisters and brothers in Education International and Public Services International; with administration and congressional leadership; and through social media, with the AFT’s network of labor and human rights allies.