[Solidarity Statement] Hands Off Venezuela!
In the 2000s and even up to the early 2010s, progressives, leftists, and all those yearning for a better world looked upon Venezuela with hope and admiration. A government, elected into power, was using its wealth to educate, treat, and dignify people through social missions. It struggled to shed off the corruption, clientelism, and dependency of over a century. In its stead, it was implementing participatory democracy. Communities met in (workers, students, community) councils to determine their futures. Elections (at times more than once a year) harnessed people’s support to transform society. It even inspired others in the region to stand up against US imperialism and fight for people’s sovereignty.
Since the mid-2010s, Venezuela has been plagued with overwhelming difficulties and challenges: shedding off the old while facing low petroleum prices, isolation from global finance (led by the US), economic sabotage from the economic elite, constant siege from foreign governments and the global mainstream media. Confused and dispirited — many of us abandoned Venezuela and its fight to break free of a global and social order destroying our planet, nations, and people. Yet, despite the overwhelming odds and challenges, the revolution continues, for late President Hugo Chavez’s greatest contribution and gift to the poor and dispossessed was empowering them as society’s protagonists.
Recently, US President Donald Trump criticized Venezuela’s democracy and recognized, as interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, the president of the suspended[i] National Assembly. This runs contrary to President Nicolas Maduro being democratically elected in 2018 with 68% of the vote.[ii]
While the current situation in Venezuela might be confusing and our attitudes towards the Maduro government even conflicting, let’s be clear about a few incontrovertible facts:
Trump, New York Times, Washington Post, and much of the global mainstream media is supporting a little known politician’s claim to the presidency despite never having been elected or even run for that office.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2018 with 68% of the vote in one of the most effective and proven electoral systems in the world.
US intervention, like the current one, is nothing new. The US has maintained Banana Republics by propping up dictators while training and arming their militaries (School of the Americas, Plan Colombia) all the while siphoning off their natural resources. It has perpetuated civil wars between a small minority backed by US wealth and military against the dispossessed many.
Since April 2002, the US government has conspired with the opposition to overthrow the rightfully elected Bolivarian governments of first Chavez and now Maduro.
US intervention has improved no country no where in the world. Rather, it’s left behind a trail of dead bodies, dictatorships, and social ruin: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and if we go further back Nicaragua and Chile.
As Koreans, we know how foreign intervention can destroy and divide countries. Venezuela’s challenges and struggles must be understood within a revolutionary process dismantling the power of the economic elite and challenging US imperialism. The revolution continues! Hands off Venezuela! No to US intervention in Venezuela, the region, and the world.
The International Strategy Center
Republic of Korea
January 29, 2019
[i] The National Assembly was denounced and suspended in July, 2016 by the Venezuelan Supreme Court for constitutional contempt, and its legislative power was, according to the organic law, stripped and handed over to the newly elected constituent assembly in August, 2017.
[ii] Voter turnout was 46%. This means that Maduro secured 31% of support from all voters. This still puts him ahead of recently elected right-wing American presidents Duque from Colombia (28%), Piñera from Chile (26%), and Trump from the US (25% + he lost the popular vote).