Working Masses in Venezuela Resist U.S. Imperialism's "Color Revolution"

August 8, 2017

For the last 3 and 1/2 years the capitalist newspapers have been filled with horror stories about Venezuela.

Spouting nothing but the chauvinism of the capitalist class by way of slogans which assert the "moral superiority" of U.S. capitalist "values," the Democratic and Republican party machines have repeatedly declared that weakening Venezuela and restricting Venezuelan international influence would solidify U.S. interests in Latin America by "safeguarding democratic institutions" and "free-market economies." According to the Democratic Party platform, "In Venezuela, we will push the government to respect human rights and respond to the will of its people." And according to the Republican Party platform, "The current chief executive [Maduro] has allowed that country to become a narcoterrorist state, an Iranian outpost threatening Central America, and a safe haven for the agents of Hezbollah. Now, with their country ruined by socialism and on the verge of chaos, the Venezuelan people are fighting to restore their democracy and regain their rights. When they triumph, as they surely will, the United States will stand ready to help them restore their country to the family of the Americas."

As a means of protecting internal allies of imperialism and punishing its enemies, the U.S. began imposing so-called "humanitarian sanctions" on Venezuela in 2015. The first of these sanctions began shortly after then-president Obama signed the "Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act" into U.S. law on December 18, 2014. The stated aim of the law was to undermine institutions judged by the U.S. president as contravening the "human rights of anti-government protesters" and to expand distribution of U.S. government approved information to be broadcast throughout Venezuela. On July 15, 2016 the Congressional authorization to impose "humanitarian sanctions" on Venezuela was extended to 2019. Sanctions focused on blocking the personal property of almost 30 people – including the country's president – have been imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department in violation of Venezuela's sovereignty, the individual rights of the victims, and all accepted norms and standards of international law.

Although the U.S. monopoly capitalist class disingenuously presents itself as philanthropic and advertises its approval as the necessary prerequisite for the political and economic independence of any and every country, the facts show that today, imperialism's favored tactic in Venezuela is the destabilization campaign by agents which have been trained, financed and commanded by U.S. imperialism itself. Once again, in the name of "promoting democracy" U.S. imperialism has organized "clandestine" operations to undermine the unity of the people. As it has done in El Salvador, Nicaragua and elsewhere, imperialism combines massive external pressure – potential military intervention, economic blockade, etc., with internal subversion. The combination of repression and political deception is aimed to split and liquidate the revolutionary struggle.

As in the past, financing for destabilization campaigns and terrorism within Venezuela has come from several North American and European sources, including especially the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED is a "non-governmental organization" funded by the U.S. Congress and often used as a complement to the CIA. Reliance on the NED for destabilization in Venezuela is based on its value to imperialism as an agency with less accountability and limitations than those traditionally imposed on diplomatic institutions. In April 2002, groups financed and organized through the NED attempted a military coup, arresting the president and issuing a number of "decrees" nullifying many of the economic and political reforms being implemented. The coup, although immediately recognized by the U.S. government, was defeated by the Venezuelan people who came out in their millions to rally around the elected government. Since 2002, the NED has spent approximately $20 million on their destabilization campaign and additional financing of terrorism against the Bolivarian revolution.

Today, the working masses in Venezuela are persisting in many ways in standing up against the attempts of U.S. imperialism to suppress their revolution. In addition to defeating the 2002 coup, the working masses, through a constituent assembly, have been able to institute a new constitution which banned the privatization of the oil industry and other state sectors. In 2001, a new law was passed mandating that the Venezuelan government maintain at least 51% ownership in all new oil exploration and production enterprises. The Venezuelan masses have worked to create rural and urban land reform which has already given title to land and housing to hundreds of thousands of peasants and urban poor. They have worked to create a community health care program which is establishing clinics in poor neighborhoods. They have successfully created a nationwide network for distributing food at below market rates. They have worked to create extended access to higher education for tens of thousands of students from impoverished backgrounds. With the help of Cuban experts, they have also undertaken an extensive adult literacy program. They have organized to double the government's annual expenditures on public education and already built 3,200 new "Bolivarian Schools." These schools help the most downtrodden because they are day-long schools, thus enabling parents to work. The Bolivarian schools also provide free breakfast, lunch and a late afternoon snack for all children. The schools are also closely integrated with the community and serve as community centers. In addition, "Plan Simoncito" has greatly expanded infant and child care for ages 0 to 6.

They organized in their millions to oppose and played a decisive role in defeating the Free Trade Area of the Americas. They have organized to put in place a government which has repeatedly spoken out against U.S. aggression and interference in Latin America and throughout the world, including against the war in Iraq and the blockade of Cuba. They have successfully concluded a barter-exchange agreement with Cuba, providing that country with 534,000 barrels of oil/day in exchange for Cuban assistance in developing the health and education sectors of Venezuela. They also initiated the establishment of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), with the participation of Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Granada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, aimed at promoting fair trade throughout the region in opposition to the free trade agenda of Washington. Additional programs have been taken up to strengthen the political independence of the country, including by building up the country's deterrent force in case of invasion, and organizing broad participation for a new constituent assembly this summer.

The working masses in Venezuela are sure to unfold new and more powerful struggles for the defense of the sovereignty of Venezuela as well as all of Latin America and the Caribbean. The friendship and solidarity amongst the peoples will not be undermined or defeated by U.S. imperialism. In order to strengthen the movement of the American people against imperialism's stepped-up attacks against Venezuela and Latin America, we must organize our struggle independent of and in opposition to both of the parties of war and imperialism – the Democrats and the Republicans. We must work to make sure that the slogan: "U.S., Hands Off Latin America!" is a central part of the peace movement and the political agenda of the American people.