On Monday, March 11 at 5 p.m., a group of about twenty-five people in Palmer Square held up signs reading “No U.S. War on Venezuela” while passing drivers honked their support.
The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA), a Princeton-based grassroots organization whose goals are abolishing nuclear weapons, forming a peace economy, and stopping weapons trafficking, according to the CFPA website, held an hour-long protest against United States’ intervention in Venezuela, which the group referred to as a “vigil.”
Nicolás Maduro was re-elected as president of Venezuela in 2018, but these election results have widely been considered fraudulent. Opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, receiving support from the United States and many other countries against Maduro.
Monday evening, Secretary of Defense Mike Pompeo announced via Twitter that the U.S. “will withdraw all remaining personnel” from its embassy in Venezuela, noting that “the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.”
At the protest, CFPA Executive Director Reverend Robert Moore, a retired pastor, explained why he believes the United States should not use military force in Venezuela.
“The situation in Venezuela is getting worse and worse,” Moore said. “Even worse than that, among the fifty that are supporting Maduro’s opponent, we’re the only country saying we might intervene militarily, and that is outrageous. We need to take that off the table.”
Moore acknowledged the crisis facing Venezuela and advocated for non-military action.
“Millions of people have already fled the country. There’s no electricity in large parts of the country, not enough food,” Moore explained.
The country is currently undergoing a massive power outage that Maduro blamed on the United States.
“It’s a disaster and it needs to have a very rampant diplomatic and humanitarian intervention to avoid a catastrophe, but war would make things far, far worse,” Moore continued.
Several protesters echoed the sentiments against violence in Venezuela.
“I just wanted to bring awareness that our knee-jerk reaction is always with force,” said Jim Drumheller of Hamilton Township. “Diplomacy is always a better solution than violence.”
Princeton resident Ken Daly explained his views on US intervention.
“I think it’s not the business of the United States to tell other countries how to do their business,” Daly said.
Princeton resident Alma Concepión agreed with Daly.
“I’m here because I’m against all wars and because the United States has a long history of interventions that have made it much more difficult for Latino Americans to be self-sufficient,” she noted.
The protesters handed out flyers urging supporters to contact their members of Congress to advocate for the Prohibiting Military Action in Venezuela Act, which would block funds for American intervention and prevent the administration from taking military action without Congressional approval.