Hands off Venezuela!

The US will stop at nothing to get its hands on Venezuela’s oil. British workers must stop our own government from supporting this drive towards another criminal war.

President Nicolás Maduro waves the national flag after speaking to thousands of supporters outside the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, 23 January 2019.

“Today, I [Donald Trump] am officially recognising the president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president of Venezuela. In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the national assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolás Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant.” (23 January 2019)

Who the hell gave the US president the power to appoint the president of any country in the world? He does not have that power even if every single lie and slander that is thrown against President Nicolás Maduro and his government had any grain of truth – which they don’t. No foreign country has the power to appoint the president of another country.

The recent escalation of US aggression against Venezuela has been dressed up in the language of ‘human rights’, ignoring, as ever, the fact that human rights abuses by or on behalf of the government are as imaginary as were the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq.

The real nature of US imperialism’s concept of human rights was demonstrated by the country’s psychopathic national security adviser, John Bolton who, “Perhaps most brazenly … appeared in an interview on Fox Business and disclosed that the US government was in talks with American corporations on how to capitalise on Venezuela’s oil reserves, which are proven to be the world’s largest.

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he said. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here … 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.” (Inside John Bolton’s month-long PR campaign against Venezuela’s government by WJ Hennigan, Time magazine, 31 January 2019)

Venezuela has foolproof election arrangements that cannot be manipulated in any way (in contrast to what those of the United States!) Yet all elections in Venezuela since the government of Hugo Chávez and his successors (aka the ‘Chavistas’) took over the government and started to use the profits of Venezuela’s oil to improve the lives of ordinary people (rather than to enrich US multinational oil companies), have been pronounced ‘fraudulent’ by the US – except the one parliamentary election that opponents of the government happened to win!

In attempting to remove Nicolás Maduro and his government, US imperialism wants new elections to be called – but only ones that it is able to manipulate to produce the results it wants.

For the last two decades, the US government and its various agencies have spent huge amounts of money trying to bolster the election prospects of Venezuela’s anti-government minority, all to no avail (which, incidentally, does not prevent it moaning on about totally fictitious Russian meddling in US elections).

They have for years, as much under Barack Obama’s presidency as under Trump’s, been viciously using the sanctions tool, and taken advantage of the fall in the world price of oil to sabotage the Venezuelan economy, hoping to foster discontent among the vast masses of the government’s enthusiastic supporters.

In this they have been helped by the Venezuelan fat cats, whose comfortable existence is financed to a considerable extent by the importing of goods largely supplied by imperialist multinationals. They use their wealth: a. to support violent anti-government protests, and b. to create artificial shortages of the basic necessities of life. The US-backed pretender Juan Guaidó is totally their man.

It has to be said, to the honour of the Venezuelan masses, that these tactics have almost completely failed, which is what has led to the present absurdity of the US president taking upon himself the power effectively to appoint Venezuela’s president.

Preposterous though this action is, all the right-wing Latin-American governments that US imperialism has managed to get installed recently (eg, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, etc., through economic pressures, the financing of massive media campaigns and the manipulation of bourgeois courts) have jumped on the bandwagon.

Independent governments such as those of Mexico and Uruguay have refused to follow suit and called for dialogue. Almost incredibly, with the slap in the face delivered by Trump to the European Union still stinging their cheeks (over the plan to withdraw troops from Syria without consulting the US’s fellow aggressors in Europe), most of the countries of the union have followed suit – except Greece and Italy.

Happily, some very powerful countries in the world quite rightly support Venezuela, including Russia, China and Turkey – the Turkish president no doubt remembering the attempt made by US imperialism only a couple of years ago to have him ousted in a coup, as well as recent sanctions and attempts to pull down the Turkish currency and economy.

So too do those countries in the region that value their freedom and independence from imperialist control: Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, St Vincent and the Grenadines are all standing resolutely with Venezuela.

Crucially, despite titanic efforts by imperialism to win over the Venezuelan army to the side of reaction, their efforts have fallen completely flat. The overwhelming majority of the soldiery of all ranks are standing firm to defend their homeland and to defeat all attempts by foreign interests to take over control.

The current US agenda is in all probability to try to mobilise those governments in the region that it has bought and paid for – in particular Colombia and Brazil – to invade Venezuela to try to provide the fat-cat minority with the military might to confront the Venezuelan army and armed masses organised in colectivos, backing them up with a US bombing campaign against Venezuelan civilians and the infrastructure on which they depend – the tactic used in the failed US adventures in the middle east.

Of course, if they do launch such a war, they will fail again, but at what cost to the Venezuelan people?

Can we, the British people, proud of our sense of fair play, really stand by and do nothing to try to prevent all this happening? Although the chief aggressor is US imperialism, the British government is right up there with the cheerleaders egging them on.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England is holding $1.3bn worth of Venezuelan gold (31 tonnes) and refusing to give it back.

We must use all our ingenuity and creativity, of which we have no shortage, to pull Britain out of this atrocious and criminal war game.

Long live President Maduro!
Victory to the Venezuelan people!