Class struggle alive in Venezuela

Since the Bolivarian Revolution started in Venezuela 17 years ago, U.S. imperialism and its oligarchical allies in that country have not stopped plotting to overthrow it.

There have been several attempts, the most important being the failed coup that involved the kidnapping of then President Hugo Chávez in 2002 and the oil sabotage of 2003. Popular mobilizations defeated both. There were also the “guarimbas” or violent street blockades and the deaths caused by the right-wing forces.

Now, the arrival in office of the political right through parliamentary maneuvers in Paraguay and more recently in Brazil, or by a plain coup as in Honduras, and the election of Mauricio Macri to the presidency of Argentina have given new energy to this imperialism whose very existence is threatened. Now it has several puppets in Latin America, including also the newly elected president of Peru. These events encourage imperialism to try to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution.

The imperialist media, especially in the U.S., reflect this attitude. On Oct. 28, the influential New York Times published a hostile editorial benefitting the opposition right wing and against the Bolivarian government. Among other falsehoods and ignominies, it said, “This should persuade leaders in the region to denounce Mr. [Nicolás] Maduro in stronger terms than they have in the past and call on Venezuelan jurists and bureaucrats to stop being accomplices of a dictatorship in the making.”

Right-wing maneuvers

The Venezuelan right has resorted to a new campaign of protests and challenges to the government, including demanding a recall referendum. The referendum had to be postponed due to the hundreds of thousands of illegal signatures gathered on the petition, including those of dead people. Because of this postponement, the right-wing deputies of the MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable) convened an Oct. 23 National Assembly meeting to present their plan of action.

At that meeting, they presented their document, which, among other things, called for ignoring the government of President Maduro. It demanded that the National Armed Forces disobey Maduro’s government, replace the leadership of the National Electoral Council and Supreme Court, and called on the people to demonstrate in the streets.

Their plan also included a rally called the “Taking of Venezuela” on Oct. 26, a 12-hour strike on Oct. 28 and a march to Miraflores [the presidential palace] on Nov. 3. They also want to “prosecute” President Maduro supposedly for “abandoning his post” because he went on a five-day visit to oil-exporting countries.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, with his Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, left, with his Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino.

Rightwing plan did not hold

But that same Oct. 23, the people who support the government did not remain muted or passive. Hundreds of people gathered outside the National Assembly and a group stormed angrily into the hemicycle [the legislature’s meeting hall]. RT reported that day: “Mrs. Nancy Villegas was one of the Bolivarian women who entered the special session: ‘Now as the President is traveling defending oil prices they want to remove him? We will not allow it. Do they (the opposition) believe this is Paraguay or Brazil? They are wrong. Here we will lose neither our country, nor the revolution.’”

Additionally, Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino and other members of the military high command publicly declared the armed forces’ loyalty to the constitution and the government on Oct. 25. Padrino ended his speech with an emphatic, “Chávez lives!”

Also on Oct. 25, when President Maduro returned from a trip to four oil-exporting countries who are trying to stabilize the price for this commodity by reducing its production, a huge red sea of people received him, showing their determination to defend the Bolivarian Revolution. They were the Chavista people, the poor, the ones who have won the most with the Revolution and who are clear on who their class enemy is: the oligarchy and its followers who live in Altamira and in the rich neighborhoods, where the poor are only servants.

The class divisions in Venezuela are clearer than ever. Despite the long lines for shopping, the result of the product shortages purposely caused by the product owners and the importing oligarchy, the pro-Chavista forces continue to defend the remaining achievements.

That is why the rightwing demonstration, the “Taking of Venezuela” scheduled for Oct. 26, while having a considerable attendance, was unable to “take” Venezuela. In some places they provoked confrontations and in one, the death of a policeman. That was a march of the rich, the white and the privileged, which was joined by that part of the poor who have been manipulated by the media because of their desire to change the difficult economic situation.

The poor Chavista people however, remain alert and permanently mobilized against the coup attempt by the right wing.

And the strike announced for Friday, Oct. 28? Even the imperialist media had to admit its failure. There was no stoppage: The people went to work and the vast majority of establishments were open as usual. For its plan, the right wing depends on the people — all the people — and the armed forces. But neither the people nor the armed forces was willing to defend the privileges of the bourgeoisie.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 30, a discussion began between the opposition and the Bolivarian government. Numerous prior attempts at dialogue in that country have all failed. The right wing talks only when they expect concessions. Fifteen organizations from the MUD signed a letter saying they will not participate in the talks because “conditions are not ripe.”

The dialogues are supported by international representatives: UNASUR [an intergovernmental regional organization comprising 12 South American countries], the Vatican, the ex-presidents Martín Torrijos of Panama and Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic, and former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain. Four discussion groups were formed: peace and justice; reparations for victims and reconciliation; economic and social issues, and the pre-election atmosphere.

The main general issues that led to the search for a dialogue are the economic situation, an end to the political violence and the rejection of foreign intervention.

In a special address to the world, President Maduro called for global solidarity with Venezuela to defeat the coup in progress and to consolidate the ­revolution.