Shelves bereft of food, hospitals short of medicine. Police brutality and state-sanctioned violence. Assassinations of United Socialist Party officials, government buildings set ablaze. Much of the blame for the inflation and recent economic mismanagement in Venezuela lies with President Nicolás Maduro and the ruling PSUV. But the United States’ brutal sanctions campaign and coup attempts have dramatically magnified Venezuela’s misery.
The Committee on United States-Latin American Relations, a Cornell-based organization focused on promoting social justice in the Americas, will commemorate its 50th anniversary this weekend with a variety of panels, discussions and lectures. Since its founding in 1965, CUSLAR has impacted a variety of communities, from teaching Spanish language classes to local Ithaca families to resettling political refugees from Chile to Ithaca. Bill Rogers, who was Cornell’s current University chaplain, founded CUSLAR with several Cornell students in 1965 against a backdrop of political unrest. At the time, the United States government often intervened in the politics of Latin American countries, involving itself in the CIA-backed coup in Brazil in 1964 and in the Dominican Republic’s stifled revolution in 1965, according to the committee. CUSLAR harnessed existing campus unrest to educate the community further on the relationship between the United States government and Latin American countries.