Venezuela: Down with the coup. Let’s reject any agreement with the right and imperialism.
LET’S TAKE OVER THE STREETS AGAINST CAPRILES’ COUP
No to the vote-by-vote recount. We have to demand Maduro to ensure respect to the popular will.
After Hugo Chavez’s death, Venezuela is currently shaken by a brutal political crisis that projects over Latin America: Capriles’ pro-imperialist right is leading a coup against the bourgeois nationalist government of Nicolás Maduro.
This coup attempt is gestated after the results were tighter than expected by all, even by his own opponent, Henrique Capriles Randonsky, MUD’s coalition leader. According to the results with 99.1% of the counts done, Maduro won with 50.66% of the votes against 49.07% obtained by Capriles. However, to attribute the coup attempt to the "little difference in votes" would be too innocent because for several weeks before the election it was known, due to statements by allies who decided to break with the MUD, that Capriles was planning to denounce an "electoral fraud". Not surprisingly, therefore, now he says that Maduro is an "illegitimate president". "Until every vote is counted, auditing all, there is an illegitimate president and that’s how we will denounce it to the world" Capriles said in his Twitter account.
The coup, in turn, has the direct support of the U.S. Ministry of Colonies (in the words of Che), since "the secretary general of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, expressed today his support for the petitions to do a full recount of votes cast in general elections in Venezuela, and offered the assistance of the agency continental to perform that" (www.milenio.com, 04.15.2013). Similarly, spoke the White House spokesman, Jay Carney: "Given the close result, about 1 percent of the votes separating the candidates, the opposition candidate and at least one member of the electoral council have asked for an audit of 100 percent of the result" (The Nation, 04.15.2013). The U.S. is one of the few governments that have not issued a congratulatory message to Maduro. It’s no coincidence.
After disowning the results that gave victory to the PSUV, Capriles gave a lecture on Monday at noon in which he convened a cacerolazo for that day at night and mobilizations to the National Electoral Council (CNE) on Tuesday and Wednesday. The result of this "civic call" was that, as stressed by the Buenos Aires University Federation (FUBA), "in the past two days the right has killed right 7 people and burned nearly 15 establishments belonging to ministries and local supporters". The actions of Capriles are quite cunning and conniving: created a coup climate against a democratically elected government without even bothering to submit the complaint to the CNE and even legal threats as he was placed as a virtual responsible for a future site on Caracas.
His goal, however, is more subtle: right now, the coup’s attempt would not be a forcible overthrow of the government but to force Maduro to make a compromise. As chavism itself declares: "to contest the presidential election results the CNE gives within 20 days of the completion of the elections in order to run this by legal proceedings. So far the only Venezuelan right denounced 'fraud' by the media but has not used legal means" (www.telesurtv.net, 04.16.2013). This 'omission' by the opposition coup can confirm that, as even Maduro stated, Capriles is seeking some kind of agreement. It is in this context that today Capriles gave a press conference where he suspended the siege over Caracas for Wednesday and pointed out that his intention is a "national unity government". Therefore, the hypocrisy of this putschist that talks about while sets Venezuela on fire, is in the service of using the blood of Venezuelans killed as a sample that, if he wants, he can go further.
Faced with such outrage by the right, Maduro first agreed to discuss the audit (or total recount) that Capriles proposed, but then Cabello stated: "'We are not going to count every vote, is a whim of the bourgeoisie', as ordered President of the Assembly and leader of the military wing of the PSUV, 'marking the ruling roadmap for officialism during the coming days and belying Maduro himself'" (La Opinion, 04.16.2013). Again, Cabello rejects Capriles coup attempt and aims to show himself as a radical wing before a weak Maduro willing to negotiate. Cabello’s aim is that the struggle against the coup culminates in a strengthening of the chavist military apparatus and not a qualitative development of labor and popular organization. "Quiet guys, stay at home, we'll handle the coup", that is the message that both pro-Cubans as domestic right are giving the Venezuelan people.
From the Tendencia Piquetera Revolucionaria (TPR), firstly we have to say that we declare our strong repudiation to the coup attempts and we put ourselves at the first line of solidarity to fight against the attempted coup of Capriles and the MUD. Faced to the coup we have to answer: we aren’t afraid, we will stop you with workers and popular struggle, we will never pact nor negotiate any power space with the right. From this perspective, we denounce as an unbearable betrayal any attempt of engagement with the putschist right by chavism. Moreover, we are firmly opposed to a recount or auditory and we call to defend popular will on streets, because people have already voted. When Capriles won Miranda State, he did it with a little difference too, and that fact didn’t involve a “unity” government with PSUV. So, we have to repel a coalition with MUD which can only swing Maduro’s government farther to the right, damaging directly Venezuelan workers. Any concession would only plunge chavism, and mainly people who follows it. From the TPR we say: we’re against any recount because popular will and sovereignty of Venezuelan State to do its own election must be respected against any foreign imperialist interference with internal issues.
AGAINST PARAMILITARY, CHAVIST MILITANTS’ ASSASSINATIONS AND CAPRILIST ATTACKS TO PSUV’S BRANCHES, LET’S ORGANIZE WORKERS’ AND POPULAR SELF DEFENSE
Capriles, who now poses as a pacifist, is really the responsible for an enormous wave of violence in Venezuela. 4 chavist militants are dead, in addition to the burning of PSUV branches, petrohouses and medical centers, is the result of the fascist attacks linked to the defeated candidate during last elections. That’s why, as we stated before, going to an agreement is a sign of weakness and digging the own grave. We have to crush the right.
According to Aporrea: “In Táchira, Henry Rangel Aroza, a chavist activist, was murdered, as revealed by governor Vielma Mora. In Miranda, opposition hordes killed the chavist militant Luis Ponce. In La Limonera, Baruta municipality, another revolutionary militant died as a result of the attacks developed by pro-Capriles hordes. In Palo Verde, at the east of Caracas, other CDI turned out to be set on fire. In the sectors Oropeza and Trapichito from Guareas, oppositionists attacked a CDI and Cuban medics on guard. The order to attack CDIs came from the oppositionist journalist Nelson Bocaranda, who said that Cuban medics hide boxes with ballot votes. According to neighbors’ denounces, Baruta’s police is using red t-shirts to kill people and accuse chavism. Fascist hordes leaded by Richard Mardo are also burning petrohouses in Flor Amarillo, Maracay, CDIs, Mercal branches, as denounced by Mario Silva. In Trigaleña, more than 150 people entered the CDI, denounced the governor Ameliach, who has displayed an anti-coup operative. In San Cristóbal, PSUV branch was burned down, several communitarian stations were attacked and provoked a death in Santa Ana, of PSUV militant, Henry Rangel” (04.15.2013).
It’s worst: all this is being prepared previously, and with imperialism’s help. This is stated by Gerardo Szalkowicz, correspondent from the chavist media www.marcha.org: “The putschist maneuver also includes actions that have been developed repeatedly as the incursion of Colombian and Central American paramilitary groups (at least six operatives were deactivated during the last weeks), the shortage of basic goods and sabotages to electrical service” (04.16.2013).
As Latin-American revolutionaries, we see with extreme concern the development of this situation. It’s not a lightning in a serene sky: after having to face situations as in Ecuador, Honduras or Paraguay, it’s clear that were still the “backyard” for the United States and that Obama’s government is warmonger and putschist.
TPR’s Trotskyists, who aren’t chavists and that in the last elections called to a null vote because we consider chavism is developing and anti-national and anti-proletarian turn, say: we don’t want chavism to pact with the right and end up in the same ignominious way as sandinism or Lugo’s government in Paraguay. This would be unworthy for chavism because it implies to deny its own origins: the chavist coup attempt of 1992. Accepting a co-government based on a putschist and electoral pressure would demonstrate chavism’s domestication by the right, USA and its diplomatic world-wide apparatus. That would be a democratizing and pro-imperialist position. It would be the shameful confession that there’s never been “XXI century socialism” nor “revolutionary process” but, at most, a sort of leftist management of capitalism. We must remember that according with the right and accepting the coup was the way Lugo selected, and now his coalition, Guasú Front, measures less than 3% for next elections. Polarization remained in the hands of “colorados” and liberals, a sort of competition between Videla and Macri through the polls. Therefore, the conclusion is clear: what isn’t defended in the streets, afterwards cannot be recovered in the polls.
To defeat a coup, the only thing useful is workers’ and popular mobilization. That was demonstrated in 2002, facing the surrender submitted by Chávez, only the workers’ and popular mobilization could prevent squalids’ victory. We need, against the paramilitary, hitmen and caprilist mobs, to organize workers’ and popular self defense. Comrades: revolutions, when true, are not delivered in the polls but are defended with the weapons in hand.
THE CLASSIST LEFT HAS TO BE AN ALTERNATIVE: LET’S MOBILIZE AGAINST THE COUP AND FOR ALL POPULAR CLAIMS. LET’S SUPPORT OPCION OBRERA’S REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE.
Coups d’etat are the mother of all political crises and test the programs, the capacity, the legitimacy and the true nature of the different political parties. This is valid not only for nationalism but, specially, for the left that claims itself as revolutionary.
Until today, Tuesday 16th, April, PSL (“Partido Socialismo y Libertad”) from Orlando Chirino hasn’t established a position facing the coup. What it has done is taking the time to publish a disastrous article from Freddy Argimiro Gutiérrez, writer from Aporrea.org, which has this title: “There’s no good or bad fascism”. Its conclusion is: “Venezuelan people must reject and combat all sorts of fascism, all sorts of sectarianism, all sorts of opportunism, etc…” because “today I would protest equally against official chavism and the MUD”. That is, a nefarious position of “nor nor” that, far away from being the distorted reflection of political independence, expresses a democratizing orientation absolutely functional to the pro-imperialist coup.
This “no-position” from PSL, pure abstentionism that leaves room for the irresponsible publication of positions functional to the coup, isn’t a coincidence: after asking for support for Chirino all over the world for being an independent workers’ candidature (candidature that we, as TPR, supported), in the last elections Chirino decided not to stand. Chirino and PSL’s capitulation ended up forcing the workers that support neither the right-wing nor Maduro’s devaluation to vote null. It constitutes a clear backward for the classist left in Venezuela. It’s demonstrated, therefore, that it’s necessary to build up a consequent left that doesn’t step aside in the decisive moments and stand for a revolutionary program in order to guide workers’ intervention.
That was exactly what Opcion Obrera did – Venezuelan section of the Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International (CRFI). Against the liquidationism of a left that decided to wash its hands during the elections, that doesn’t take position against the coup and that vindicates the agreements with the syndical right-wing in the FADESS; Opcion Obrera states the need to struggle to defeat the coup and put up a Left and Workers’ Front. As TPR from Argentina, we fully support their political fight. Today, that fight consists on standing firmly on the left of the political field of the struggle against the pro-imperialist coup and dispute with nationalism in that same ground. In this sense, we participate in the mobilizations against the coup in Argentina and we call all workers’ and the left from Latin-America and the world to put up uncountable tribunes against the pro-imperialist putsch in Venezuela. We must adopt this international solidarity method given the fact that the caprilist right and center-left (PRO, FAP and UCR) is convoking in Argentina to a reactionary mobilization on April 18, which will rebound world-wide. If they hit in several countries, we must hit in all Latin-America and with an outstanding demonstration of internationalist solidarity.
After more than one decade of chavism, Venezuelan left and workers arrive to Capriles’ coup under the leadership of Maduro and PSUV’s apparatus. This is a reality. The challenge is that, through its own political experience, they understand that today we have a common enemy in Capriles but that we arrive to the fight against the coup from two very different positions: chavism from the defense of its monopoly of the State apparatus to apply devaluation, disown labor contracts and apply adjustment measures in order to “save the revolutionary process”; the left and the workers, on the contrary, enter that fight as part of the struggle to defend their conquests and advance in their claims. That is, as part of the fight for a workers’ government that can overcome decomposed bourgeois nationalism’s limits. It’s about, therefore, not staying paralyzed delivering Venezuela’s future to the decision of the chavist military apparatus, but that the left and the workers crush the coup through their own proletarian and popular mobilization. That way, we will defeat the coup developing a consequent anti-imperialist struggle and placing in the centre of Venezuelan political situation a worker’s way out to the capital’s bankruptcy.
As the comrades from Opcion Obrera state, let’s go for:
- For a minimum salary equal to the basic family basket indexed to the value of monthly inflation
- For a general rise of salaries, and salaries equal to the value previous to the devaluation of the past February 8
- For the immediate suspension of any payment related to the external debt
- For the expropriation without payment of all enterprise that causes speculation and shortage of basic goods. Workers’ control.
- For the unrestricted application of the regulated prizes that traders and peddlers don’t respect. Jail to all traders that doesn’t comply.
- For direct workers and people control over INDEPABIS
- For the publication of the lists of beneficiaries of the SITME and the amounts received. Jail and punishment for those who stole those currencies and those who authorized that from the BCV.
- For the judgment and punishment of all material and intellectual authors of the murders of working class leaders and social and peasant fighters, especially for those who assassinated Sabino Romero. Out with landowners and employers of the gold and carbon mining.
- For the immediate stop to any measure that criminalizes workers and social protest. For the immediate and definitive closure of all precautionary measures that restrict freedom to more than 2.400 workers and social leaders.
- Guarantee the right to strike and immediate discussions over all expired collective contracts in the public and private sectors
- For the free election of workers’ representatives in their unions, federations and syndical centrals without the direct intervention of the CNE
- For the immediate liberation of Julián Conrado and his asylum guaranteed in the country
April 16, 2013
Tendencia Piquetera Revolucionaria
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