Venezuelan President Vows ‘Door to Door’ Campaign Collecting Signatures Against Obama

AP Photo
AP Photo

Venezuelan Venezuelan President Vows ‘Door to Door’ Campaign Collecting Signatures Against Obamahas vowed to collect millions of signatures for a petition against American President Barack Obama, demanding that he repeal executive sanctions against high-ranking armed forces officials in the country over human rights abuses against anti-socialist protesters.

On his regular broadcast “In Contact with Maduro,” the Venezuelan President urged his viewers to sign a petition urging President Obama to repeal an executive order which declared Venezuela a “national security threat” and sanctioned seven high-ranking officials in the Maduro administration, most leaders of police or armed forces. Maduro claimed the petition, to be delivered to President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in April, already had three million signatures attached to it.

“We will go house by house knocking on doors, there in the bosom of the home of the Venezuelan family… every signature is a will, every signature is a message to one and all,” Maduro asserted in the broadcast.

He also made sure to disparage opposition party members who refused to sign the petition, those who have been protesting for months, calling on the United States to act in the face of the Maduro administration’s flagrant human right violations (according to an Amnesty International report out this week, protestors are routinely arbitrarily detained, “beaten, burned, and sexually assaulted”).

“I was very embarrassed– very embarrassed– to see the opposition legislators refusing to sign a letter that, all it says is that Venezuela must be respected. A letter that the National Assembly has signed by majority that asks President Obama to repeal the decree that threatens Venezuela,” he asserted.

Venezuelans living in political exile in the United States have already condemned the petition, arguing that the government is using the threat of government force to collect them. According to the group Politically Persecuted Venezuelans in Exile (Veppex), public officials, those working in government jobs, and students are being forced to write letters and sign the petition to put pressure on the United States. The petition itself, a statement from Veppex reads, “issues proof of the totalitarianism that exists in the country.”