PSUV delegates condemn US-Exxon attacks on revolution
Caracas bloc of delegates to PSUV Founding Congress
Caracas, February 13, 2008 -- In the face of the [US] empire's counterrevolutionary campaign, and that of the anti-patriotic and lackey oligarchy, that threatens the Bolivarian socialist revolution and the Venezuelan people, the PSUV expresses its support for the Bolivarian government and Commandante Chavez.
The Bolivarian socialist revolution of the Venezuelan people finds itself faced with a new and strong attack by imperialism, led by the capitalist government of the United States. Some of the elements of the current campaign against the government of President Hugo Chavez and against the Venezuelan people include the attacks against PDVSA, the guarimbas [violent actions] of hoarding and sabotage that threaten food security and the supply of medicines, the distribution of gas and fuel, the media campaign of misinformation, fear and desperation.
They are truly tactics of a fourth generation war, with the evident aim of destabilising democracy and holding back the Bolivarian revolution, to install puppet governments that allow the few families that manage the war industry and grand transnationals, such as Exxon Mobil, gaining control of petroleum and Venezuela's wealth, in order to consolidate their anti-democratic and exploitative world hegemonic system.
All of this is part of a historic chain of imperial aggressions that have plagued a large part of Latin America and the world with interventions and invasions, which today manifests itself in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, US support for the genocidal actions of the state of Israel and the presence of U.S. troops in Haiti.
We also raise the alert and condemn the attacks of the puppet and fascist government of Alvaro Uribe Velez [in Colombia], [back]ed by the United States, against out president, [and Uribe's] permanent boycott of the humanitarian exchange [of prisoners from the Colombian guerilla war] and against Latin American integration, and the plan of paramilitary infiltration into Venezuelan territory.
We denounce and reject the perverse and cynical media campaign, at the national and international level, that aims to tie our Commandante and the Bolivarian government with narco-trafficking and the arms race, where just like CNN and the media channels of imperialism, the owners of the anti-patriotic television stations such as Globovision, offer themselves up to be spokespeople and instruments of imperialism against our people and against the Bolivarian homeland.
In the face of all this, the Caracas bloc of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela manifests its categorical support to the Bolivarian government and the leadership of Comandante Chavez, within the Bolivarian and socialist revolution, and its firm determination to defend our national sovereignty and the rights of our people in all spheres. We are disposed to mobilise actively and forcefully, with our battalions, with the workers, peasants, students and popular movements, with all political revolutionary forces and with the parties of the Patriotic Pole [parties that support the revolution], in support of the application of the revolutionary measures that are necessary to confront this new global escalation of the conspiracy.
We call on all these social and political forces of the revolution, in all of Venezuela, to remain alert and activated in the face of all acts of destabilisation, which are nothing more than the continuation of the coup on April 11, 2002 and the petroleum coup of 2002-2003. We issue the same call to all the social and political movements of Latin America and the world that sympathise and are in solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution. In view of all that has been said and considering other aspects of the national situation, we agree to:
1. Give our most determined support to President Chavez in his humanitarian work in regards to the armed conflict in Colombia and against the international imperialist offensive unleashed against Venezuela. Participate in the march against para-militarism that will be held on March 6, simultaneously in the city of Caracas and other countries.
2. Forcefully reject the attack by the transnational Exxon against PDVSA and the imperialist intentions to carry out a financial coup against our country. Initiate protest mobilisations with all political and social forces with a presence in Caracas. Support the energy and integration policies undertaken by President Chavez.
3. Initiate actions against the guarimbas of the hoarding of food, medicine and domestic gas, as well as against speculation. Support the adoption of forceful government measures against the capitalist sectors that have causes shortages and the speculation of prices, including the possible expropriation of companies and monopolies that sabotage. Support and participate in the PSUV in plans and days of action of social control with social organisations, and of popular power, with workers involved in production, distribution and commercialisation of food and with peasants, as well as with the institutions of the state. Confront in an articulated manner all the manifestations of sabotage, together with all the social organisations of the revolutionary process.
4. Solidarity with the victims of the coup and against the coup plotting impunity. No to the intentions of those found guilty of assassination during the days of 11, 12, 13 and 14 of April (police and commissionaires of the service of ex-mayor Alfredo Pena) to benefit from the amnesty decree or dropping of charges, that does not correspond to them given we are dealing with crimes against humanity and grave violations of human rights. Support for the victims during the days of the trial.
5. Retake up the struggle for the social and democratic conquests contained in the project of the constitutional reform, through social mobilisation and popular legislative initiative. Support and impulse in the same way the necessary changes to make possible the re-election of President Hugo Chavez, leader of the revolutionary process.
6. Solidarity with the struggle of the SIDOR workers, in line with the united mobilisation in which SIDOR workers and PSUV delegates participated in the framework of the 3rd Assembly of the Founding Congress held in Guayana, principal territory of the workers movement who work in basic industries and bastion of our working class.
7. Incorporation of the PSUV in the campaign of social movements and popular organisation of the revolution against the pro-imperialist, coup-plotting and anti-patriotic Globovision (alias "Globoterror"), the Political Command of the Coup Operation and the Right. Support to the appeal introduced by social organisations against the owners of Globovision and admitted to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (for violations of human rights). We pronounce ourselves in favour of the construction of a national public system of communication of transition to socialism, in the hands of the communities, the social organisations, workers, peasants, popular movements and the organisms of popular power.
8. Support and participate in the popular events to commemorate February 27 and 28, converting them into part of the revolutionary and popular response to the current counterrevolutionary offensive by imperialism and the guarimbas of the oligarchy (protest against hoarding and speculation, rejection of Exxon's demands, etc).
We announce that the 4th Assembly of the Founding Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will be held this weekend, with delegates from all the regions of the country, which will be preceded by mobilisations in defence of the revolution and national sovereignty.
We invite everyone to participate with all the delegates of the PSUV and the popular movement in the vigil that will be held this Thursday, starting from 6pm at PDVSA La Campiña in defence of our petroleum industry and the interests of our nation.
[Translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke for Links -- International Journal of Socialist Renewal (http://www.links.org.au).]
[Background articles are available at http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/739/38270 and http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/739/38264 and http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/738/38209 ]
Prominent British Figures Call on ExxonMobil to Respect Venezuelan Sovereignty
Over 50 prominent figures representing a wide section
of British society have signed a statement raising concern over legal action
taken by oil giant ExxonMobil to prevent the Venezuelan government from
exercising its right to control its natural resources. They have urged
ExxonMobil to work for "the amicable settlement" of its dispute with the
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA through international arbitration.
The statement is published as Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA goes to the High Court to appeal an English court's decision to freeze its assets in England and Wales.
The statement points out that "The action by ExxonMobil was in response to the policy of the Venezuelan government to take back majority control of their own oil resources. Unlike other international oil companies, where some 30 out of 32 contracts have been successfully renegotiated and amicable agreements and compensation terms reached with the Venezuelan government, ExxonMobil refused the terms offered."
The statement concludes "We further restate our support for Venezuela's national sovereignty, including the right to determine its own policy in relation to its oil and natural resources in favour of the people of that country, rather than in the interests of multinational companies."
Signatories to the letter included writer and film-maker John Pilger, veteran political activist Tony Benn, Bruce Kent, Vice President of CND, Ann Pettifor, founder of Jubilee 2000, Brian Wilson, Chair of the Scottish Venezuela Society, an MEP and many MPs from 5 parties, a number of leading writers, artists and academics and many senior national trade union leaders.
Colin Burgon MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Venezuela group of parliamentarians said: "Millions of Venezuelans are now benefiting from free healthcare and education thanks to the Chavez government's greater control over that country's oil resources. Government's must have the right to be able to put the interest of people ahead of company's profits".
UNISON Deputy General Secretary Keith Sonnet, added that, "This sends a clear message internationally, including to the Bush administration, that Venezuela's right to self-determination must be respected, rather than the wishes of multinational companies to make profits."
Gordon Hutchison, Secretary of the Venezuela Information Centre, said "There are many voices in Britain who strongly oppose ExxonMobil's attempts to undermine the right of Venezuela's democratically elected government to control its own resources."
The full text of the statement and full list of signatures is as follows:
STATEMENT RE EXONNMOBIL AND PDVSA
We note with deep concern that on 7 February an English court granted an injunction to US multinational oil company ExxonMobil freezing the assets of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA in England and Wales. The order covered assets to the value of US$12 billion.
The Venezuelan Government was given no notice of the case and was not afforded any opportunity to be represented at the hearing.
This week PDVSA will appeal the decision in the High Court and seek to revoke the injunction.
The action by ExxonMobil was in response to the policy of the Venezuelan government to take back majority control of their own oil resources. Unlike other international oil companies, where some 30 out of 32 contracts have been successfully renegotiated and amicable agreements and compensation terms reached with the Venezuelan government, ExxonMobil refused the terms offered.
We believe that the action by ExxonMobil, and the ruling by the court, contravenes the right of the democratically elected government of Venezuela to exercise sovereignty over its natural resources. The nationalisation of Venezuela's state oil company, holder of some of the world's largest oil reserves, under the government of President Hugo Chavez has allowed Venezuela to tackle a range of social inequalities, by taking back the oil wealth and redistributing it to benefit the Venezuelan people.
We urge the amicable settlement of this dispute through arbitration under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a body of the World Bank, as sought by the Venezuelan government in compliance with the terms of the contract signed between PDVSA and ExxonMobil in 1995.
We further restate our support for Venezuela's national sovereignty, including the right to determine its own policy in relation to its oil and natural resources in favour of the people of that country, rather than in the interests of multinational companies.
Diane Abbott M.P (Labour)
Caroline Lucas MEP
Gordon Hutchison, Secretary, Venezuela Information Centre (VIC)
Brian Wilson, Chair, Scottish Venezuela Society
Ann Pettifor, Fellow, New Economics Foundation
Neal Lawson, Compass
Graeme Smith, General Secretary. STUC
Keith Sonnet, Deputy General Secretary, UNISON
Colin Burgon M.P (Chair, Labour Friends of Venezuela)
Jon Cruddas M.P (Treasurer, Labour Friends of Venezuela)
Mike Hancock M.P (Liberal Democrat)
Adam Price M.P. (Plaid Cymru)
Angus MacNeil M.P. (Scottish National Party)
Jon Trickett M.P (Secretary, Labour Friends of Venezuela)
Jeremy Corbyn M.P
Graham Goddard, Deputy General Secretary, UNITE
Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU
Owen Tudor, Head of European Union and International Relations, TUC
Sue Branford, Chair, War on Want
Doug Nicholls, National Secretary CYWU/UNITE
Derek Wall, Green Party
Cllr. Salma Yaqoob
Hazel Marsh, University of East Anglia
Andy Bain, President TSSA
Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation
Ruqayyah Collector, Black Students Officer, NUS
Marie Daley, UCU National Executive Committee
Michael Derham, Northumbria University
Bill Greenshields, Vice-President NUT
Chris Kitchen, General Secretary NUM
Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU
Dr Mandy Turner, University of Bradford
Dr Kaveh Moussavi, University of Oxford
Gerry Doherty, General Secretary TSSA
Baljeet Ghale, President NUT (personal capacity)
Joe Marino, General Secretary, BFAWU
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, University of Middlesex
Doreen Massey, Open University
Martin McIvor, Editor, Renewal
Gerry Morrissey, General Secreary, BECTU
Linda Newman, President UCU
Diana Raby, University of Liverpool
Mick Shaw, President, FBU
Notes to Editors: 1) In the past, ExxonMobil has received criticism from NGOs such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth for its poor record in terms of corporate and environmental responsibility. Examples can be found at www.exxonsecrets.org <http://www.exxonsecrets.org/> and www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/exxons_climate_footprint.pdf <http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/exxons_climate_footprint.pdf>
2) For more information or media comment from signatory's to the letter, please contact Gordon Hutchison, Secretary, Venezuela Information Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org, 0207 272 2654 or 077 109 56332.
Venezuela: the spectre of Big Oil"Never again will they rob us – the ExxonMobil bandits. They are imperial, American bandits, white-collared thieves. They turn governments corrupt, they oust governments. They supported the invasion of Iraq." This was the response from Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to the successful lawsuit by the world's biggest corporation (ExxonMobil), freezing $12 billion in assets of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA – a serious escalation in Big Oil's long running dispute with Chávez and the movement he represents.
ExxonMobil isn't suing PDVSA because it needs the money. The world's largest publicly traded corporation recorded profits of $40.6-billion (U.S.) in 2007, up three per cent from 2006's record of $39.6-billion. "If Exxon were a country, its 2007 profit would exceed output of two-thirds of the world's nations. Its 2007 revenue of $404-billion (U.S.) would place it among the 30 largest countries, ahead of such middle powers as Sweden and Venezuela."
ExxonMobil claims it is suing PDVSA because of a June 2007 deadline given by Chávez to Exxon and other Big Oil corporations operating in Venezuela, demanding they cede majority control in their heavy-crude upgrading projects in the country. ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips filed arbitration requests with the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, and ExxonMobil simultaneously took legal action in courts in the U.S. and Britain, which on February 7 agreed with their claim, and ordered the freeze of PDVSA assets.
But there is much more at stake than a simple legal disagreement. First – many other Big Oil companies have agreed to Chávez' terms and not gone to court – among them, Chevron Corp., Norway's Statoil ASA, Britain's BP PLC and France's Total SA. Second, Venezuela is not the only country to confront Big Oil and demand that old contracts be renegotiated. Here in Canada, Newfoundland's Danny Williams demanded and won an ownership share in the multi-billion-dollar Hebron offshore oil deal. Even the Tories in Alberta are forcing Big Oil to pay higher royalties. And in Russia, "both BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have ceded control in big, lucrative Siberian projects to Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom."
The truth is, ExxonMobil's ultimatum has more to do with politics than economics. Russia's ruler Vladimir Putin holds office because of his ties to the secret service, his crackdown on public debate, and his commitment to pushing Russia back into the world of Big Power politics. That world of corruption and repression is comforting and familiar to the owners of ExxonMobil. Chávez, by contrast, holds office because millions have again and again been willing to put their bodies on the line against multinational corporations and their local allies. That revolutionary movement is terrifying to ExxonMobil.
So – working with courts in the U.S. and Britain (the two biggest western imperialist powers) – ExxonMobil is testing the water, seeing just how strong the revolutionary movement in Venezuela is. This is especially critical, given the setback faced by Chávez in the recent constitutional referendum.
And we shouldn't doubt the capacity of multinational corporations to use a legal fig leaf to pursue their "right" to pull exorbitant profits out of the Global South. "BP won an arbitration case against Libya in the 1970s ... and chased tankers of Libyan crude around the world to seize them as payment." In 2006 and 2007, "Western companies that purchased debt for unpaid construction work in the Congo have tried to seize tankers of Congolese oil to satisfy arbitration awards."
The ExxonMobil attacks have been met with defiance in Venezuela. PDVSA denies that any significant assets have been affected by the court action. "PDVSA is operating at 100 percent and is exporting oil all over the world," said Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez. February 11, Chávez said that if ExxonMobil does succeed in freezing PDVSA assets, he would halt oil exports to the United States. This is a threat the U.S. has to take seriously. As well as being the fourth largest exporter of oil to the U.S., if Venezuela succeeds in certifying an additional 200 billion barrels of oil reserves to the 100 billion already certified, it will officially have the most proved reserves of oil, in the world.
With so much at stake, U.S. imperialism and its corporate allies are not at the moment in a position to launch a sequel to the failed coup of 2002. Venezuela's movement is too big, and Venezuela's oil is too important for that to happen – for now. But we know from the bitter history of Big Oil and the Global South that this is not the last confrontation between corporate and popular power in Venezuela.
© 2008 Paul Kellogg
 Cited in Saul Hudson, "Chávez warns he'll stop oil shipments to U.S.," The Globe and Mail, Feb. 11, 2008, p. B.3
 Shawn McCarthy, "Exxon profit hits $40.6-billion," The Globe and Mail, Feb. 2, 2008, p. B.7
 Peter Wilson, "Big Oil's Victory in Venezuela," BusinessWeek, Feb. 7, 2008, www.businessweek.com
 Brian Ellsworth, "Exxon, ConocoPhillips won't bow to Chávez," The Globe and Mail, June 26, 2007, p. B.12
 Colin Campbell, "How to win, in a fight with Big Oil," Maclean's, September 10, 2007, p. 62
 Guy Chazan, "Oil Sands Are Shifting in Alberta," Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2008, p. A8
 Russell Gold, "Big Oil looks for Plan B after Venezuela," The Globe and Mail, June 27, 2007, p. B.13
 Russell Gold, "Big Oil," p. B.13
 "Venezuela denies PDVSA asset freeze," www.chinaview.cn, February 9, 2008
 Simon Romero, "Chávez threatens to end oil exports to U.S.," International Herald Tribune, February 11, 2008, www.iht.com
 Steven Bodzin, "Exxon Gives Chávez Biggest Fight Over Nationalization," Bloomberg.com, February 13, 2008
Londoners Protest Exxon's Bid to Grab Venezuelan ResourcesSolidarity campaigners rallied on Tuesday March 4th to defend Venezuela's oil resources from greedy transnational ExxonMobil at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.
Scores of protesters waved placards and chanted slogans behind barriers decorated with the Venezuelan flag at the demonstration, which was organised by the Venezuela Information Centre (VIC). Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA is fighting a court order to freeze its assets in England and Wales at the behest of ExxonMobil.
The rapacious oil giant has waged a worldwide campaign against Venezuela since the nation's socialist government took a majority stake in its massive oil reserves last year in order to fund extensive social welfare and development programmes.
PDVSA successfully negotiated new contracts and compensation deals with 30 of the 32 transnationals extracting oil from Venezuela.
Venezuela has proposed arbitration of the row with ExxonMobil by the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
But the petroleum giant chose legal channels over diplomacy in seeking to maintain its grip on the South American nation's natural wealth.
A delegation of MPs and trade unionists led by Labour Friends of Venezuela chairman Colin Burgon and secretary Jon Cruddas presented a statement in support of PDVSA and the Venezuelan government to Venezuelan diplomat Felix Plasencia.
VIC secretary Gordon Hutchinson said: "This event indicates the strong feeling in many different sections of British society that ExxonMobil's hostile action must be opposed."
Protesters were puzzled as to why Exxon would attempt to seize the limited PDVSA assets in Britain. But UNISON national chairman Keith Sonnet pointed out: "Other companies have reached an amicable settlement. ExxonMobil have a political motivation in this. "It's disgraceful that PDVSA's assets are being frozen on behalf of a global corporation like ExxonMobil, trying to prevent Venezuela using its resources for the benefit of its people."
Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price said: "This is a very provocative move by ExxonMobil. It strikes me as ironic that the neocons who claimed they were bringing democracy to the Middle East are undermining it in Latin America. The common thread here is oil."
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn stressed: "Venezuela has an elected government and a chosen path of public ownership of its oil and extractive industries. It's not up to the British courts to take money from the Venezuelan people and hand it to ExxonMobil."
TSSA president Andy Bain said: "This is an example of one of the world's largest transnational companies holding to ransom a democratically elected government acting on the wishes of its people."
Green Party international co-ordinator Dr Joseph Healy added: "I'm here to see that Venezuela's resources remain in the hands of the Venezuelan people and are not exploited by international corporations."