Venezuela: Imperialist manoeuvres continue

marcha antiimperialista
We are socialists! Anti-Imperialists!

Imperialist machinations against Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution have continued into Trump’s presidency. At the end of February a bill providing for stronger US action against Venezuela was unanimously passed by the US Senate and is now before Congress. The bill supports moves by the leader of the Organisation of American States (OAS) to invoke its so-called ‘democratic charter’ to suspend Venezuela’s membership and to justify further intervention, isolation and sanctions. Pushed by Senator Marco Rubio, a hard-line Cuban-American, the aim is to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) from office. Buoyed by US support, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro issued a further ultimatum, demanding Venezuela hold immediate presidential elections or face suspension from the OAS. Presidential elections are not due until 2018 and the opposition’s attempt to launch a recall referendum last year was stalled by delays and fraudulent signatures. According to Venezuela’s constitution, now that Maduro has served over half his term, a recall referendum would only allow for the Vice President to complete the four-year term.Sam Mcgill reports.

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Venezuela: the battles to come

Venezuela Rally

2016 was a challenging year for the Bolivarian revolution. Since winning a majority in 2015’s National Assembly elections, the Democratic Unity (MUD) opposition has launched multiple attempts to overthrow United Socialist Party (PSUV) President Nicolas Maduro. These include attempting to nullify his election by claiming he is really Colombian; launching a recall referendum; manoeuvring to impeach him, and calling violent street protests. This has been accompanied by a campaign to isolate Venezuela internationally. Obama renewed a 2015 decree declaring Venezuela an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States’, attempted to expel Venezuela from the Organisation of American States and attacked the country’s participation in the Mercosur trade bloc. The past year saw crippling inflation and the depreciation of the bolivar currency, a slump in oil prices and devastating drought. Despite this the PSUV government allocated 73% of its budget to social expenditure, guaranteeing free health care and education, launching a network of local committees for direct distribution of subsidised food and built over 370,000 units of social housing. Sam McGill reports.

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Negotiations give Maduro breathing space in the ongoing battle for Venezuela

Throughout November 2016, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held successful talks with the country’s opposition coalition, in an encouraging sign for the future of the Bolivarian Revolution after a year of constant challenges to the socialist government. That the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) agreed to negotiations at all is a triumph for President Maduro, who has for months called for a dialogue between the two sides, even accepting the opposition’s condition that the Vatican facilitate any such talks. Claire Wilkinson reports.

This dialogue comes after a period of intense political conflict between Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the opposition coalition MUD. The opposition has controlled Venezuela’s National Assembly since it won a majority in December 2015. Its main objective since taking up its seats has been to oust President Maduro by any means possible. This has included massive electoral fraud committed while collecting signatures for the recall referendum, as well as rejecting the authority of both Venezuela’s Electoral Authority (CNE) and its Supreme Court, who have annulled decisions made by the National Assembly since opposition politicians began to attempt to change Venezuelan law in defiance of its constitution.

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What's going on in Venezuela?

Article by PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela)

Venezuela Parlament

1. The right wing won a majority in the National Assembly in December 2015.

2. Its principal objective since taking its seats in Parliament has been to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.

3. To do this, the right wing took FOUR months debating what should be the method to remove the President, considering at the least, the following:

-       Demanding his resignation

-       Putting him on trial

-       Declaring him mentally incapable

-       Nullifying his election because he is Colombian

-       Adding to or changing the constitution to reduce his period in office

-       Applying social pressure from the streets

-       Calling a Referendum to revoke the Presidency

4. Recently, towards the end of April, they decided to open the process of demanding a revocation.

To activate the mechanism in April, and not in January which was when half of the Presidential period in office had been reached, the right-wing did not leave themselves the time to undertake the revocation process in 2016, given that the period established by the law for this procedure is more than 260 days.

Carrying out this referendum in 2017 implies that if successful, whoever completes the remaining period of office of the then ex-president will be his executive vice president, that is a 'Chavista', who will complete the period of office until the end of 2019.

5. In these months, the National Assembly decided to reject the decisions of the Supreme Court which had annulled its unconstitutional actions. To maintain its judgements, the Supreme Court decided to annul all the decisions of the National Assembly until it no longer attempts to amend the law and respects the Constitution.

6. Despite everything, President Maduro has always called upon the opposition to join a national dialogue to resolve conflicts politically and peacefully.

He called upon UNASUR to facilitate these exchanges with the participation of ex-presidents Rodríguez Zapatero, (ex-Spanish President), Martín Torrijos (ex-President of Panama) and Leonel Fernández (ex-President of the Dominican Republic).

The right-wing placed the condition of inviting the Vatican to this dialogue, which was immediately accepted by President Maduro.

All of these efforts have so far failed as a result of internal conflicts within the opposition

7. To convoke a referendum, the right-wing has, in the first place, to obtain the signatures of 1% of those listed in the electoral register, in order to legitimise the political organisations promoting the referendum. To launch the referendum 20% of the signatures in the electoral roll have to be collected according to the Constitution.

8. The right-wing had to collect only 195,000 signatures to meet the required 1%, however it then sent the National Electoral Council (CNE) 1,957,779 signatures, of which, in the auditorium where the right-wing and the Revolution were represented, no fewer than 605,727 signatures were fraudulent, amongst which were found:

- 10,995 dead people

- 53,658 unregistered persons

- 3,003 persons younger than 18

- 1,335 persons disqualified for committing serious crimes.

 - And more than 9,000 cases of stolen identities across all the states.

9. Despite the fact than the CNE discovered these irregularities, the commission announced that the right-wing had reached the required number and it proceeded to announce the 26, 27 and 28 October for the collection of the 20% signatures, taking the precaution of submitting the previous fraudulent signatures to an investigation.

10. On Thursday 20 October, seven national courts from different Venezuelan states, examining the denunciations of affected citizens, ordered precautionary steps to be taken by the National Electoral Council to suspend all the processes which had been started after the collection of the initial 1% of signatures, having been presented with evidence of the massive theft of identities.
In complying with these instructions, the CNE suspended the collection of the 20% of signatures now required to proceed further.

11. The Right reacted by accusing President Maduro's government of carrying out a coup d'etat, but evaded taking responsibility for leading the fraud surrounding the collection of 1% of the electoral signatures.

12. On Sunday 23 October the National Assembly, in an extraordinary session, openly declared itself to be in 'rebellion' and agreed the following points:

-       It declared that the President Nicolás Maduro had undertaken a coup d'etat and broken the constitutional order.

-       It asked all international organisations to apply sanctions against Venezuela

-       In the International Criminal Court it denounced the members of the CNE and the Judges which had suspended the revocation process.

-       It sacked the members of the CNE and the Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice.

-       It opened an enquiry into the supposed dual nationality of President Maduro with the aim of removing him.

-       It will decide whether President Maduro has abandoned his office with the aim of removing him.

13.  Question to reflect upon:

-       Who is attempting a coup against whom?

-       Is the government responsible for the fraud committed by the right-wing in collecting 1% of the electorates signatures?

-       Is the right-wing looking for a large scale foreign intervention with the excise of the suspension of the revocation process and a supposed humanitarian crisis?

-       Can a Parliament, in contempt of the law, sack the governing council of the CNE or Judges of the highest court in the land, simply because they follow the Constitution and protect the nation from a fraud committed against popular sovereignty?

-       Is it not a coup d'etat when Parliament seeks to ignore all the rights and decisions of the other Public Authorities, as well as looking for their removal by unconstitutional means?

The Foreign Ministry of Colombia sent an official note to the President of the National Assembly informing him that there was no office in its government that had any registration of Colombian nationality held by President Nicolás Maduro.

During the meeting of the National Assembly in question, President Maduro was visiting the OPEC states and others, coordinating an agreement to stabilise international oil prices, the fundamental base of the Venezuelan economy. Is this not a coup-like action in seeking to remove a President for abandoning his office when it is publicly well known that he is exercising fully his functions as Head of State?

The people in the street will defend its Constitution, its revolution and its legitimate president

Fact and fiction in Venezuela’s recall election

Venezuela Fiction

The Non Aligned Movement (NAM), whose presidency Venezuela has just assumed, has rallied to defend the country against US-backed counter-revolution. With its 120 member states and commitment to self-determination, NAM exists as a counter to the imperialist-dominated United Nations, and is the world’s second largest international body. At its most recent summit in September, held on the Venezuelan island of Margarita, NAM rejected all imperialist intervention in Venezuela. It made it clear that, despite a crushing economic crisis and never-ending attempts to topple the country’s socialist PSUV government, the Bolivarian revolution continues to defend massive social gains in health, education, and housing whilst upholding the rights of oppressed people the world over. Sam Mcgill reports.

September saw Caracas thronged with opposing white and red banners as the neo-liberal Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition pledged to ‘take the capital’, whilst Chavista socialists mobilised to oppose the threat of a coup. The protests have focused on the opposition’s efforts to hold a recall referendum to oust PSUV President Nicolas Maduro and force fresh presidential elections. The day before the largest demonstration, on 1 September, the authorities seized guns and explosives from opposition forces, dismantling a ‘paramilitary camp’ near the presidential palace of Miraflores. Some opposition protesters have since resorted to violence, burning cars, hurling Molotov cocktails and attacking police. Further protests are scheduled throughout October.

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