Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is participating in the international fact-finding mission in Venezuela launched by the International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism: Sanctions, Blockades, Coercive Economic Measures, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild (U.S.) on the impact of U.S. sanctions and coercive economic measures targeting the people and nation of Venezuela. The fact-finding mission is composed of delegates representing a range of international organizations, including distinguished lawyers, jurists, academics and activists. The mission will conclude on Friday, July 28 with a day-long public hearing on the impact of sanctions across a broad range of social, economic, political and cultural factors.
Samidoun international coordinator Charlotte Kates, also a steering committee member of the Tribunal, is participating in the fact-finding mission. Samidoun is a co-sponsor of the Tribunal’s ongoing work to challenge U.S. imperialism and its economic assault on the peoples and nations of the world, including the Palestinian people and the ongoing siege on Gaza.
The fact-finding mission will conduct a series of meetings, site visits and forums with Venezuelan government officials, anti-sanctions activists, women’s, health and agricultural organizations, communes, and a variety of people who have been impacted by the U.S. imperialist policy of sanctions and coercive economic measures. It comes as part of the ongoing International People’s Tribunal, which has already conducted hearings about U.S. imperialist sanctions in Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, Palestine; Eritrea, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Libya, with upcoming hearings on Hawai’i and Puerto Rico.
Participants in the fact-finding mission include:
- Helyeh Doutaghi, co-chair, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Suzanne Adely, president, National Lawyers Guild; Steering Committee, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Max Ajl, Senior Fellow at in the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University; Steering Committee, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Corinna Mullin, anti-imperialist and anti-colonial academic based in New York; Steering Committee, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Charlotte Kates, international coordinator, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Steering Committee, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Edre Olalia, transitional president, International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Jurist, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Mohammed Tay, Professor emeritus of constitutional law, labor law and private administrative law at the Lebanese University; Jurist, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Jaribu Hill, civil and human rights attorney, ED of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights; Jurist, International People’s Tribunal on U.S. Imperialism
- Booker Omole, national vice-chair and Central Committee member, Communist Party of Kenya
- Brahim Rouabah, Teaching Fellow in Political Science at Brooklyn College
- Margaret Kimberly, Black Alliance for Peace; Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report
- Mohammed Zidan, long-time activist in the Canadian student movement
- David Paul, member of Sanctions Kill Campaign and Venezuela Embassy Protection Collective
- Adrienne Pine, anthropologst active with the US Peace Council and Sanctions Kill campaign
The fact-finding mission began its meetings on Tuesday, July 25, when its members met with Vice Minister of Anti-Blockade Policies, William Castillo, and Vice Minister for North America, Carlos Ron, at the Venezuelan Anti-Blockade Observatory, which provides detailed statistics and resources on the impact of coercive economic measures not only in Venezuela but globally. This was followed by a visit to Comuna Socialista El Panal 2021, where fact-finding mission members learned about the effects of sanctions policies on popular initiatives as well as the resistance actions and development organizing being done to confront the “economic war” targeting Venezuela.
The fact-finding mission will be holding meetings between July 24 and 28, 2023, including with an array of non-governmental organizations, popular movements, officials and health workers.