For a democratic, revolutionary and socialist solution to the Venezuelan crisis

This joint statement by revolutionary and socialist organizations in Latin America and elsewhere is motivated by the loss of referential principles that certain intellectuals and left parties have suffered with regards to the current crisis in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. An example of this type of one-sided analysis that ultimately ends up aiding the Venezuelan right-wing opposition and US imperialism is the statement by self-proclaimed “left” academics and intellectuals, “An urgent international appeal to halt the escalation of violence in Venezuela” (Aporrea 28/5/17). We, the organizations and activists who have signed onto this statement maintain that: 1. To have a thorough understanding of the political processes of the 21st century, we must start from the concrete reality of the international framework and, within that framework, the policy of the leading centers of imperialism, beginning with the Government of the United States. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels explained this in the 19th century. Vladimir I. Lenin’s writings on imperialism, which helped him mark out a principled stance in the midst of World War I and lead the Russian revolution, are well known among Marxist revolutionaries. Intellectuals, revolutionaries and Marxists of all types have used these methods throughout the last two centuries. 2. In order to analyze the current situation in Venezuela, we have to begin by asking: What is US imperialism’s policy towards the government of President Nicolás Maduro? To respect it or to propitiate a coup d'état? Can we ignore the fact that the US government has tried by every means to destroy the “Bolivarian Process” initiated by Hugo Chávez? Can we turn a blind eye to the 2002 coup against Chávez, in which the heads of the business chamber (who today hoard and sabotage the economy and the supply of basic goods) and the right-wing opposition (that today leads the violent protests against Maduro's government) participated in, with the complicity of the US embassy? Should we ignore the international campaign of lies and attacks led by the large media corporations owned by the world’s capitalists? Should we view as irrelevant the decree issued by the Obama administration in 2015, which declared Venezuela “a threat to US national security” and which continues in force? What is the significance of the maneuvers by the OAS, led by secretary general Luis Almagro, and illegitimate, putschist and right-wing governments such as Mexico, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia and Argentina, who are seeking to sanction Venezuela? 3. The answers to the previous questions provide us with an initial framework for understanding the concrete reality of the current crisis in Venezuela. We should take this as our starting point. And all the answers point to the same conclusion: the US imperialist government is attempting to carry out a coup, of any kind it can, against President Maduro in order to force him out of government before his term is over and impose early elections they believe the right-wing opposition will win. 4. How can we explain the visceral and putschist attitude against the Maduro government of US imperialism, the media it has at its service, and the legions of anti-democratic, oligarchic and sell-out politicians? Because Venezuela’s Bolivarian Process, despite its weaknesses, limitations and inconsistencies, is a genuinely popular, democratic, anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist revolution, that first emerged with the “Caracazo” of 1989, continued with the failed 1992 insurrection led by Hugo Chavez and was finally channeled into the electoral sphere in 1998. 5. This process led to the formation of a government that was independent of US imperialist tutelage, even if it has remained within the limits of capitalism, with a socialism discourse that is more rhetoric than reality. But US imperialism has never been willing to tolerate an independent government in a continent that it considers to be its “backyard”, as shown by the dozens of bloody and bloodless coups that have occurred across the region throughout history. 6. All those who, despite calling themselves “leftists”, start by ignoring the international framework in which the Venezuelan crisis is situated in order to exclusively and principally blame President Maduro and his government, are helping the putschist project of US imperialism and the Venezuelan right. Especially those who, with an inexcusable simplicity, allege that the “only way out is democratic” and therefore demand “elections now”, coinciding with the demand put forward by the right. 7. To define oneself as “leftist” and argue that the government of President Maduro is pursuing a “totalitarian” and “dictatorial” path, as the Inter-American Press Society (SIP) and Almagro do, is to miss the truth and provide ammunition for the rightist coup. On the contrary, what stands out is the complete liberty with which opposition leaders act, the proliferation of private and opposition media outlets, and the respect for the private property of big Venezuelan capitalists despite their permanent attitude of sabotaging the economy. 8. To exclusive blame the government for the repression, as some intellectuals in Venezuela have done when signing the “An urgent international appeal to halt the escalation of violence in Venezuela” and calling for protests against repression by the Bolivarian National Guard, means ignoring the fact that the Venezuelan ultra-right has created fascist gangs that carry out excesses, lynchings, and the decapitation and burning alive of people they believe to be chavista because of their appearance or clothing, along with burning and destroying public buildings and property. 9. Accusing the government of ignoring the Constitution, and of being a dictatorship or of attempting to carry out a self-coup, means ignoring the fact that the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition won a majority in the National Assembly in the 2015 elections, only to use this majority to block the functioning of the state, to the point where in January 2017 they attempted a parliamentary coup and declared Maduro had been removed from his post. To call for a “dialogue” as a way out, but ignore the fact that the opposition withdrew from the talks in which three ex-presidents from other countries were participating, and rejected a call to convene a Constituent Assembly as a appropriate mechanism for finding a way out, is to feed into the position of the right that, as former opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has publicly said, is calling on the military to carry out a coup, and that for the last 60 days has carried out an armed, civilian and urban campaign of subversion, disguising its criminal actions as peaceful protests and roadblocks. 10. Those of us who sign this declaration are not giving a blank check to President Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leaders, as we believe they have committed many errors and omissions, and in some cases have drifted from the declared objectives of the Bolivarian Process. But our criticisms are not, nor can they be, the same as those of US imperialism, the OAS and the MUD. Our organizations believe that the only way out of the current crisis in Venezuela is by deepening the revolutionary process towards socialism, because the policy of class collaboration sustained by the government so far has proven to be a hindrance that weakens the Bolivarian Revolution and strengthens their enemies of the bourgeoisie. The call for a Constituent Assembly is an opportunity to correct the course by fighting for: a genuine mobilization of workers and all popular sectors and their social movements free from bureaucratic manipulation; with the creation of popular self-defense committees; with the workers' control of the production of state companies and those of the private sector that produce food, medicines, personal hygiene items; with real socialist measures such as the nationalization of banking and foreign trade to stop the flow of preferential dollars out of the country by those who promote capital flight and hoarding; with halting or a moratorium on foreign debt repayment; with the disarticulation and punishment of the business groups that rob the people whether they belong to the opposition or are part of the so-called "bolibourgeoisie"; with jail terms for military and police functionaries involved in acts of corruption and complicity with unscrupulous traders who hoard and mark up prices of products they sell; with the revision of agreements such as the Orinoco Mining Arc. Today, we stand for a genuinely peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis that has as its foundation a Constituent Assembly. June 2017 Signatures Guillermo Almeyra
Stalin Pérez Borges, Nieves Tamaroni and Ismael Hernández, por la Liga Unitaria Chavista Socialista - LUCHAS
Berna Menezes- Membro da Direção Nacional do PSOL-BR
Mário Azeredo- Membro da Executiva Estadual do PSOL-RS
Neiva Lazzarotto- Membro da Direção Nacional da Intersindical-Central da Classe Trabalhadora.
Rejane Aretz- Membro da Setorial de Mulheres do PSOL-BR
Mario Hernández. Periodista y escritor. Miembro de la Comisión Directiva de la Coordinadora de Medios de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (COMECI) y del Comité por el retiro de las tropas de ocupación argentinas de Haití.
Edgard Sánchez, Luis Rangel, Josefina Chávez y Andrés Lund por el Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores – PRT de México.
Briseida Barrantes, Abdiel Rodríguez, Félix Villarreal, Euclides Buitrago, Salomón Samudio y Olmedo Beluche por el Polo Ciudadano de Panamá.
Eduardo Lucita -Economistas de Izquierda (EDI) – Argentina.
Aldo Casas, Revista Herramienta y colaborador de FPDSCN
Nora Ciapponi, militante socialista de Argentina.
Alex Bainbridge y Susan Price, co-coordinardores nacionales, Socialist Alliance (Alianza Socialista)
Federico Fuentes, editor, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (Enlaces, Revista Internacional de la Renovacion Socialista)
Foro Social Latinoamericano (Sydney)
Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (Red de Solidaridad Australia Venezuela)
Martín Mosquera, Democracia Socialista de Argentina.