On May 22, with cries of “That, that, that’s the way to govern” and “They shall not return” (referring to the right-wing oligarchy’s lust for power), the first graduating class of the Jesus Rivero Bolivarian Workers University heard Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s proposal to create a Workers’ Militia in workplaces around the country.
Before concluding his speech, President Maduro said: “First, it is very important to strengthen the alliance between the organized working class, which is getting more and more organized as a class against fascism and the bourgeoisie, and to strengthen the worker-soldier alliance of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces with all the workers in the country.” Giving orders to the senior leadership of the armed forces, he said that they must “move as quickly as possible to establish and organize the Bolivarian Workers’ Militia as part of the Bolivarian National Militia.”
In Venezuela, the idea of having the people armed is nothing new. Right from the beginning of the revolutionary process, the late President Hugo Chávez said that the Bolivarian Revolution was “peaceful but not disarmed.” However, it is the first time that President Nicolás Maduro ordered the creation of militias in workplaces with firm military training guidelines, along with the military forces of the nation, in what he called “civilian-military unity” for the defense of the country.
Bolivarian University to train worker leaders
We should learn more about this university, given the importance of this announcement. As described on its website, “This institution was created by the National Executive as a tool for collective, comprehensive and permanent self-education of the working class. It will have academic and administrative offices in the production centers of the country where workers organize as a training center of that university, according to policies set by the Ministry of Popular Power for Higher Education.” (loeu.opsu.gob.ve)
However, an employee of Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA) in Monagas, Jose Bello, who is a graduate of its mechanical engineering program, brought out the living reality of the university, which was initiated following the 2003 oil strike. During the graduation ceremony, Bello said: “The Jesus Rivero Bolivarian University of Workers is not going to repeat old educational models, but to develop a new strategy that responds to our historic goal, which is to build a just and peace-loving society: the socialist society.” (revolucionomuerte.org)
Another graduate, Jesús Martínez, was more specific, saying, “The integral development of the nation is only possible if the working class becomes class conscious, acquires social consciousness, takes over the means of production, manages them directly and democratically in order to meet the needs of the people, in order to solve the needs of Venezuelan society.”
President Maduro reinforced this goal by saying, “I came here, and I want to make sure that you know that I came to make the socialist revolution. I did not come here for reformism nor for projects with false demands’ (reivindicadores). We came here, and Chávez left us here to make Venezuela’s socialist revolution of the 21st century.”
Venezuelan right–wing destabilizing campaigns
Why is it urgent to form workers’ militias? It has been analyzed by revolutionaries and intellectuals worldwide, particularly Venezuela’s revolutionary process, which seeks to build socialism without going through a violent revolution that will obliterate the bourgeois forces. And above all, it is known that there are important internal and external sectors of the opposition working incessantly to destroy the Bolivarian process.
After the victory of Nicolás Maduro in April’s presidential elections, the right wing, led by losing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, developed a violent destabilization campaign that called out fascist mobs who killed more than a dozen pro-Chávez people and caused the destruction and damage of government buildings and public services, such as electricity. They created food shortages in order to cause unrest and division in the population and a furious media campaign to discredit the legitimate Bolivarian government.
International destabilization campaigns
To this they have added international campaigns where both Capriles and other representatives of the Venezuelan right wing have toured various countries to defame the revolutionary government and to give the impression that there is no democracy and there is instability in Venezuela. They themselves are trying to create the instability.
One such visit was to Colombia, where Capriles was received officially by President Juan Manuel Santos, which caused a crisis in Venezuela-Colombia relations. President Maduro will meet with his cabinet this week to develop the definitive answer to this serious diplomatic offense.
Remember that Santos was defense minister under paramilitary President Álvaro Uribe. He was in charge of the invasion of Ecuador, where he bombed the camp of FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia-People’s Army) leader Raúl Reyes, who was preparing for the peace process. Capriles’ close relationship with Uribe is also widely known.
Colombia is the centerpiece of aggression against the Bolivarian Republic. From that country, paramilitaries have made several attempts to infiltrate Venezuela and murder Bolivarian leaders. Still fresh in the minds of the Chavistas is that in 2004 more than 100 Colombian paramilitaries were arrested attempting to kill President Chávez. And a few days ago, two armed Colombian paramilitary groups were arrested in different parts in the west of the country. They were planning to go to Caracas to assassinate President Maduro.
U.S. imperialism’s siege
But more than the paramilitaries and their conspiracies against Venezuela are involved. This aggression is directed at stopping the progressive developments in Latin America and the Caribbean that have received a massive boost from the Cuban and Bolivarian Revolutions. The imperialists think that by stopping Venezuela, U.S. imperialism will regain its hegemonic position in the region.
When Senator John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which was evaluating him for the position of Secretary of State, Kerry said that Venezuela is in a good position for a transition. And now, after the death of President Chávez, the imperialists think that it is the right time to step up this campaign.
No one can forget for a moment that the U.S. government is behind Colombia’s actions. It is no accident that Colombia is known as the “Israel” of Latin America.
It is no coincidence that the U.S. is now pressing for a Pacific Alliance, composed of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru, countries closely aligned to U.S. imperialism, with the purpose of breaking the progressive alliances of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and destroying the dream of Bolívar of a united Latin America.
Neither is the sequence of events in Colombia strange. On May 26, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Colombia. Three days later, on May 29, Santos met with Capriles and then on June 1, Santos said he wants Colombia to be part of NATO, a relationship that the U.S. wholeheartedly backs. Telesur reported that Deputy Secretary of State for Latin America Roberta Jacobson announced in a press conference, “Our goal is certainly to support Colombia as a strong and capable member of many multilateral organizations and that can include NATO.”
It is clear that the violence will increase. On June 9, on Telesur’s Sunday program “José Vicente Hoy,” Venezuela’s former Vice President José Vicente Rangel reported that supporters of the Venezuelan right wing bought 18 warplanes in the city of San Antonio, Texas, and that they would be brought to a U.S. military base in Colombia.
At the same time, the U.S. continues to refuse to recognize the legitimate victory of President Maduro, thus legitimizing the aspirations of the criminal Venezuelan opposition.
Coincidence? Certainly not. It is clear that the imperialist hand guides the actions of the Colombian president.
And if you have any doubts, you have to read the latest news about Capriles’ planned trip to Peru. There, the “Friends of Venezuela,” an organization close to the pro-imperialist U.S. organization, the National Democratic Institute, were preparing to welcome Capriles and were mobilizing right-wing Peruvian youth to collect signatures against the Bolivarian Revolution. In his planned visit, which incidentally was postponed, Capriles was to meet with politicians, intellectuals and right-wing activists, including former President Alan Garcia, in an effort to obtain international assistance to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution.
Now more than ever, progressive people of the world, and especially in the United States, should actively express their solidarity and support for the Bolivarian Revolution and its President Nicolás Maduro.