Seeking support of a U.S. bipartisan measure to prevent unauthorized war with Venezuela
Two nongovernmental organizations (Demand Progress and Just Foreign Policy) are seeking organizational co-signers on a letter to leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to urge support of Rep. Cicilline’s HR1004, the Prohibiting Unauthorized Military action in Venezuela Act. The letter addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed their request of support for the bipartisan measure, H.R.1004 – Prohibiting Unauthorized Military Action in Venezuela Act, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island. They asked that any floor consideration of legislation addressing the crisis in Venezuela include H.R. 1004, a critical safeguard against unconstitutional U.S. military action. They expressed the need to make it explicit in the first step of developing and adopting legislation on Venezuela that Congress will serve as an effective counterweight to the militaristic and anti-refugee policies of the Trump Administration.
There is plenty to support the prevention of this militaristic policy. U.S. officials in charge of policy toward Venezuela, like Elliott Abrams, have pursued a strategy of provocation and confrontation. President Trump has publicly declared that all options, including U.S. military force, are on the table. Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe recounted that in 2017, President Trump argued that Venezuela is the “country we should be going to war with. They have all that oil, and they’re right on our back door.” National Security Adviser John Bolton has publicly stated, “In this administration, we’re not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine.” Bolton has held documents referring to a proposal to deploy “5,000 troops to Colombia,” and has argued that “it will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” Secretary Pompeo explicitly endorsed regime change in a recent statement stating, “No food. No medicine. Now, no power. Next, no Maduro.” In the past few weeks, Senator Marco Rubio has been promoting open efforts to stoke conflict and to participate in creating an internal crisis in Venezuela to justify the military intervention in that country.
It is crucial, as those NGO’s expressed to House leadership, that Congress affirms its sole authority over war and peace under Article I of the Constitution to ensure that Congressional war powers be unequivocally exercised, without delay or hesitation, in the case of Venezuela through House adoption of H.R. 1004. Administration officials and members of Congress who seek to involve the United States in any military action need to be accountable for such actions through the people’s duly-elected representatives.
Global Ministries and its two denominations in common witness, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S.A. and Canada, and the United Church of Christ in the U.S.A., have advocated for a peaceful resolution to the actual conflict in Venezuela. They are opposed to any military intervention or undue policy that could undermine the right of self-determination of the people of Venezuela, directly or through alliances with other countries at the border of the South American nation.