Points of Orientation on the Situation in Venezuela

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On April 30, reactionary forces, working hand-in-glove with U.S. imperialism, attempted to instigate a military coup against the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro. Juan Guaidó—a right-wing politician and head of the legislature (the National Assembly) who the U.S. has declared the “legitimate” president—appeared at La Carlota Air Base before dawn, amidst a knot of soldiers and called for a military revolt, as well as for massive street protests against Maduro.

As we post this, the coup attempt appears to have failed—so far, there have been no major defections from the military, nor massive outpourings of anti-government protest. And by nightfall on April 30, one of the key plotters had fled to the Spanish Embassy for refuge. At the moment the forces backing Guaidó are in some disarray.

But it is important to note that this is the third time in four months that these forces have tried to launch a coup, with enthusiastic backing from the U.S. And the U.S. is still determined to destabilize and overthrow Maduro, including by imposing brutal sanctions that are causing massive suffering, and which may have—according to Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs—caused the deaths of 40,000 people.

Moreover, the U.S. has become increasingly belligerent in response to this latest setback. Speaking of U.S. military intervention to overthrow Maduro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.” Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have blamed Russia and Cuba (which have given economic and military aid to Venezuela) for the coup’s failure and Bolton warned “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering,” while Trump threatened Cuba with “a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions.”

In other words, this remains an extremely dangerous and outrageous situation. In this light we are reposting the important “Points of Orientation” that we issued after Guaidó’s first coup attempt last January.

Points of Orientation on the Situation in Venezuela

1) As we go to press, the U.S. is working feverishly to oust the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The vast majority of Republicans AND Democrats are supporting Maduro’s ouster, with Trump threatening military force. For all the talk of “supporting democracy,” this is gangsterism pure and simple. The U.S. under both Obama and Trump has gone after the Maduro government in many ways, and for more than a year has been intentionally exacerbating the suffering of the Venezuelan people through what amounts to economic warfare against the people, while attempting to foment coup attempts among the military. This latest machination—recognizing the head of the National Assembly Juan Guaidó as the “legitimate president” and demanding that Maduro step down—is an aggressive escalation and provocation aimed at heightening U.S. domination of Venezuela and tightening its grip on the region as a whole. As Bob Avakian has said:

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.
BAsics 1:3

2) The Maduro regime, like that of Hugo Chávez whom Maduro succeeded, poses as socialist and anti-imperialist. In fact, it is not. Chávez and Maduro attempted to angle for a “better deal” within the overall imperialist economic system, including through supporting and forming blocs with like-minded reformist governments in Latin America. They used some oil wealth to fund social welfare programs and build political support among the poor, while leaving the actual relations with imperialism and many of the backward social relations within Venezuela intact. (See “Three Alternative Worlds” by Bob Avakian.) But the U.S. found even this level of assertion by Venezuela intolerable, and has worked to undermine and ultimately overthrow the regime since its inception.

3) We need a whole new world—beyond the division of the world into a handful of imperialist powers who exploit, dominate, and bludgeon the whole rest of humanity... a world moving to eliminate all forms of oppression and exploitation, and all the relations between people and the ideas that are founded on and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. And as part of fighting for that revolution, we need to oppose the current vicious—and highly risky—threats and actions being carried out by U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

We will have more coverage on the situation in Venezuela as the week progresses.

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