March 8, 2004

Ten Things You Can Do Today for Democracy in Venezuela

To the point: Opposition supporters march in New York.

Foreign readers often write in to say they wish there was more they could do about the situation in Venezuela. Here are ten things you could do today to make a difference:

1. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper decrying its lack of Venezuela coverage and explaining briefly what is at stake with the Recall Referendum.

2. Bring up the Venezuelan crisis in casual conversation to with 3 people who you wouldn't normally talk about it with. Point them to independent sources of information like, Devil's Exrement, and this blog.

3. Write a letter to your President/Prime Minister expressing your concern with the human rights and democracy situation in Venezuela and urge him to back the OAS/Carter Center mission.

4. Explain the way Chavez has embraced and praised Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro, and point out that he is now copying some of their tactics (arrest-torture-and-release, purge-and-pack-the-courts, bait-the-US.)

5. Look for an internet chat-room where Venezuela is being discussed. Put in your two cents and guide other readers to independent sources of news and analysis about Venezuela.

6. Get into an argument with a philochavista in your neighborhood. Listen respectfully, and argue back in a calm and reasonable way. If you find yourself getting angry, excuse yourself, walk outside, count to twenty and return.

7. Learn the stories and memorize the names of two or three torture or murder victims from the last week. Use those specific names in your letters and arguments.

8. Write to Amesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, or ISHR, to congratulate them for staying on top of the Human Rights situation in Venezuela and to ask them to keep up the pressure.

9. Write to the Coordinadora Democratica in Venezuela and insist that all anti-Chavez protests be kept peaceful, explaining the damage the opposition does to its international position when it embraces even minor violence.

10. Email this list to every contact in your address book you think might be interested in helping out.