Joe Lombardo is a prominent peace activist.
Leaders of the anti-war movement in the United States arrived in Caracas on March 9 and 10 to find out firsthand the truth of how the government and population are responding to the U.S.-led attacks on Venezuela. They will use this truth to build solidarity with the worldwide efforts to stop the covert U.S. war, economic sabotage and propaganda assault on Venezuela.
As they landed in Caracas, the delegates, like the Venezuelan people, were faced with a power outage caused by sabotage of the electrical grid. This interfered with transportation and communications for them, too, even though their hotel had its own power generator.
Everyone in the group had planned to arrive on March 9, but some airlines insisted that the travelers have visas just to fly to Venezuela. Since the break in U.S.-Venezuelan relations, no visas are being issued in the U.S., but most of the delegation members were able to fly anyway, based on letters from their Venezuelan hosts.
Saturday, March 9, sharing the same flight into Caracas were Bahman Azad, the organizational secretary of the U.S. Peace Council, the organization sponsoring the delegation; Gerry Condon, president of Veterans for Peace; Sara Flounders, co-coordinator of the International Action Center; Ajamu Baraka, national coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace; progressive journalist Eva Bartlett; and Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition.
Arriving later that day and Sunday to complete the delegation were Sarah Martin from Women Against Military Madness; Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers of Popular Resistance; Darien De Lu, president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-U.S.; Miguel Figueroa, president of the Canadian Peace Congress; and Daniel Shea, board of directors, Veterans For Peace.
The delegation met over the next few days with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who discussed with them the historic struggle between the U.S. and Venezuela over who will control the great oil and gold resources of this South American nation. The fact that Washington is now acting so openly against the Venezuelan government exposes to people all over the world the real face of U.S. imperialism.
Arreaza made it clear that the Bolivarian government attaches great importance to the potential response of the people in the U.S. He said you must be in the front lines, that you are the first victims of imperialism and that the most fundamental change will happen inside the United States.
This underscores the importance of the demonstration that the members of the delegation and their organizations are building for March 30 in Washington, D.C. UNAC originally called this event to protest the upcoming 70th anniversary of NATO, set to be celebrated there by the Western warmakers on April 4. But after the U.S. moves against the government in Caracas, the coalition refocused the March 30 action more urgently on opposing U.S. intervention in Venezuela. Many organizations now support this protest.
Solidarity groups in Venezuela are also paying attention to the U.S. movement. The Committee of International Solidarity (COSI) met the delegates as they arrived at the airport and have helped explain what is happening on the ground in their country.
In addition to our meetings with Arreaza, the North American delegates held discussions with organizers from COSI, including its president, Carolus Wimmer; Carlos Ron, the vice minister of foreign affairs for North America, who had been stationed in New York for some time; and Pasqualina Curcio, an economist at the Central University of Venezuela.
Curcio discussed the U.S. role in creating the “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela. These include shortages of basic necessities: toilet paper, corn, milk, coffee and vital medicines. To counter these shortages, the Bolivarian government established a distribution network to serve 6 million families by importing food, medicine and hygiene products.
The current U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, the blocking of its banking services and the edicts that prevent the government from using its gold reserves all restrict the ability of the Venezuelan government to satisfy basic needs.
On top of this, the U.S. has handed $11 billion worth of assets of Venezuela’s national oil company, CITGO, directly to Juan Guaidó, a virtually unknown right-wing politician until U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested on Jan. 23 that Guaidó nominate himself to be “interim president.”
Foreign Minister Arreaza was recently in negotiations with Elliott Abrams, who just this January was appointed Special Representative for Venezuela by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Abrams had organized bloody right-wing coups in Central America in the 1980s for the Reagan administration and was also a key architect of the Iraq War.
Arreaza characterized Abrams as “frank” when he told the Venezuelan that “all options are on the table” — a threat of military intervention aimed at splitting the Venezuelan military.
When Arreaza then reminded Abrams that “The coup has failed,” the U.S. organizer of counterrevolutions shrugged and said, “This is a long-term project.”
Arreaza explained to the anti-war delegation that in countering the shutdown of its electrical power, Venezuela had to deal with an attack on the brain of its electrical system. “The enemy knows the weakness of the system,” he said. “The U.S. knows what Venezuela could not buy or replace. Knows what we have. This is cyber terrorism!”
Abrams also told Arreaza that to get peace, Venezuela must do as Nicaragua did in 1990, that is, hold a new election that the European Union would set up — and that would open the door to the right-wing.
Arreaza explained to the antiwar group that Venezuela has a broad system of social protection that began under Hugo Chavez and was even further expanded after Maduro became president. “That’s why,” he said, “four days without power in several major cities did not lead to chaos,” as it would have in most of the world. The imperialists wanted an image of people looting food markets, but that failed.
Russia, China and Turkey are helping Venezuela, said Arreaza. “We need the solidarity of the whole world, though. Terrorist brigades are being armed against us.”
The demonstration supporting Guaidó on the day the delegation arrived was smaller than its organizers had projected. While Maduro may have the support of half the population, his opposition is divided into many forces. And most of them oppose U.S. military intervention.
Eastern Caracas, an upper- and middle-class area, is a base of the opposition to the Maduro government. Western Caracas is working class and Black, with a lot of support for the government. Lombardo reports that the west side used to be a real shanty town, but the Bolivarian Revolution put resources into this community and now the people live in nice apartment buildings.
Guaidó’s forces, reports Flounders, were described as racist, sort of the KKK of Venezuela. Nine of the people burnt to death by the counterrevolutionary opposition in 2017 were Black Venezuelans.
Even by Sunday, March 10, the delegation already had a lot of media requests for interviews. They plan a press conference at the United Nations in New York City on Monday, March 18 at 11 a.m., as well as a public webinar reportback.
"Towards a Politics of Solidarity"
Left Forum 2011 took place March 18 - 20 at Pace University, New York City. The theme for the conference is "Towards a Politics of Solidarity".
Panels included "Resisting the War Abroad and the War at Home:"
Sponsored by: United National Antiwar Committee
- Alicia McWilliams, Jusice for Newburgh 4
- Joe Lombardo, United National Antiwar Committee
- Lamis Deek, Al-Awda
- Monami Maulik, Desis Rising Up & Moving
"New Cold War"
New York City: What’s driving the new ‘Cold War’? Will It escalate? Can we stop it?
Teach-In: Saturday, May 10 2014 Riverside Church, Tower Room.
- NATO expansion and encirclement of Russia & China
- Why the U.S. wants a confrontation over Ukraine
- ‘Asia Pivot,’ AFRICOM & the ‘War on Terror’
- How Washington uses NGOs, fascist movements, mercenaries & drones to promote its agenda
- Why our real enemy is Wall Street – not Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Korea …
- Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general, human rights lawyer
- Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
- Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, now antiwar activist
- Larry Holmes, People’s Power Assembly
- Sara Flounders, International Action Center
- Avin Dirki, Syrian American Forum
- Joe Lombardo, United National Antiwar Coalition
- Bill Dores, International League of People’s Struggle
- Bernard White, CPR Metro Radio
- Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN USA
- Dustin Ponder, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!
- William Camacaro, Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle
- Bahman Azad, U.S. Peace Council, Veterans for Peace
Long Island City, Queens, N.Y. — The stage banner in a school auditorium in Queens, N.Y., said it all: “Workers World Party stands in solidarity with Gaza, Ferguson and Ayotzi! Down with capitalism! Fight for socialism!”
This theme resonated on Nov. 15-16 2014, as the Workers World Party annual national conference highlighted major struggles here and worldwide, including resistance to U.S. police and military occupation — from Occupied Gaza to Ferguson, Mo.
Joe Lombardo was a guest at the 2014 Conference.
Maggie Vascassenno, from Los Angeles, chaired a panel on solidarity with Lucy Pagoada, a founder of Honduras USA Resistencia; Charles Jenkins, president, New York Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; Kazem Azim, SI-Solidarity with Iran; Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA; Mick Kelly, Freedom Road Socialist Organization; Victor Toro, a founder of Chile’s Movement of the Revolutionary Left, who won the right to live in the United States after facing the threat of deportation; and Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition.
Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multipolar World
A conference on the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multipolar World was held in Moscow on Dec. 13, 2014, hosted by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. The conference brought together activists from Novorossiya (Donetsk and Lugansk), TransDniester, Iran, Syria, the Serb Republic, Italy, the United States and several regions of the Russian Federation. The conference was opened by AGM President Alexander Ionov. Other speakers included Oleg Tsarev, the speaker of the Parliament of Novorossia, and Alexander Kofman, the minister of foreign affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
"As US/NATO aggression towards Russia increases", five leaders from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) attended an antiwarconference in Moscow, Right of Peoples to Self-Determination and Building a Multipolar World. We were invited by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. The five UNAC members who attended the conference were Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report and the UNAC Administrative Committee; Joe Iosbaker of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the Rasmea Odeh defense campaign and the UNAC Administrative Committee; Bill Dores of the International Action Center: women's rights activist, Mo Hannah; and UNAC Co-Coordinator, Joe Lombardo.
Major themes of the discussion were the U.S.-backed war against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine; the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet Union and economic war against Russia, Venezuela and Iran; and the ongoing uprising against racism and police brutality in the United States.Activists from Donetsk, Lugansk and Odessa eloquently described the atrocities and humanitarian catastrophe Washington’s proxy war is inflicting on the people of Novorossiya and the urgent attempts to bring medicine and food to that besieged region. The U.S. role in Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people was also on the agenda, including the case of U.S. Palestinian political prisoner Rasmea Odeh. Speakers also condemned the U.S.-NATO proxy war against Syria and U.S.-NATO crimes in Libya, Yugoslavia and the TransDniester Republic.
On December 16, the delegation of U.S. anti-war activists met with the Embassy of the State of Palestine Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Dr. Fa’ed Mustafa. Ambassador Mustafa agreed to the meeting after a request was made by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, the hosts of the international conference of anti-war forces.
The delegation that met with the ambassador included Joe Lombardo, co-chair of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Bill Dores of the International Action Center and UNAC and Mo Hannah, also a member of UNAC and Joe Iosbaker.
- Alexander Ionov is completely correct when he says that “Right now the West trains and arms not only Ukrainian army, but thugs and guerrillas.” The US and the Kiev coup government are supporting the same brand of Nazis that we fought together in World War II. The military exercises and training that the US and NATO are conducting are not only aimed to bring Ukraine further into their political orbit but to surround Russia and eventually topple the Russian government, which it sees as an obstacle to its continued economic and political expansion and control of the world.” Joe Lombardo, UNAC.
The names and organizations of the people on the United National Antiwar Coalition administrative committee are below:
- Marilyn Levin - Co-coordinator New England United
- Joe Lombardo - Co-coordinator Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
- Chris Gauvreau - Connecticut United for Peace
- Sara Flounders - International Action Center, Workers World Party
- Joe Iosbaker- Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!
- Margaret Kimberley - Black Agenda Report
- Judy Bello - Fellowship of Reconciliation, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
- Bernadette Ellorin - BAYAN, USA, Workers World Party affiliate
- Representative Muslim Peace Coalition, USA
- Abayomi Azikiwe- Pan African News Wire, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, Workers World Party
- Jeff Mackler San Francisco UNA
Coordinating Committee of Hands Off Syria Coalition
- Bahman Azad, Executive Board Member and Organizational Secretary, U.S. Peace Council
- Mark Burton, Board Member, Alliance for Global Justice; Member of International Committee, National Lawyers Guild
- Dr. Issa Chaer, Board of Syria Solidarity Movement and Syrian Social Club, UK
- Gerry Condon, National Board Vice President, Veterans for Peace
- Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center
- Margaret Kimberley, Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report
- Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator, United National Antiwar Coalition
- WW Home » Global » U.S. anti-war movement leaders report from embattled Venezuela U.S. anti-war movement leaders report from embattled Venezuela By John Catalinotto posted on March 12, 2019
- WW, WWP National Conference: ‘Down with capitalism!’By Monica Moorehead November 19, 2014
- [http://www.workers.org/2015/01/18/moscow-conference-stands-novorossiya-palestine-black-america/#.WGI8aPl97IV WW Moscow conference stands with Novorossiya, Palestine and Black America By Bill Dores posted on January 18, 2015]
- [ http://nepajac.org/rusrpt1.html, Report on UNAC's trip to Russia Joe Lombardo]
- [ http://nepajac.org/rusrpt1.html, Report on UNAC's trip to Russia Joe Lombardo]
- FightBack News U.S. anti-war activists in Moscow, meet with Palestinian ambassador to Russia By Joe Iosbaker | December 16, 2014
- STOP IMPERIALISM, Alexander Ionov on TV “Steel Air”
- [Chttps://www.unacpeace.org/about.html, UNAC administrative committee]
- Off Syria Coalition about, accessed December 15, 2016