Jan. 25 — In Venezuela, Jan. 23 has been a historically significant date ever since 1958 when military dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez was deposed, restoring an elected government. Now it may take on another meaning: the day that Chavismo faced off against a U.S.-orchestrated coup attempt in the streets.
The National Assembly (AN) of Venezuela has been legally null and void for two years. Its existence is itself in contempt of the two-year-old ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice over repeated violations of the Venezuelan Constitution. Recently, the AN declared the opposition leader Juan Guaidó president of the country. This illegal move followed Guaidó’s own self-appointment as “president.”
This usurper, who is an unknown even in Venezuela, immediately got support from the White House. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke for him, and Donald Trump tweeted his approval. In Venezuela, opposition forces took to the streets hoping to intimidate the elected government into resigning.
The intimidation failed. The Venezuelan masses gave a clear and powerful response: The streets of Caracas and other major cities were flooded with marches and demonstrations in support of President Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela’s president spoke to tens of thousands of demonstrators in Caracas, thanking them from the balcony of Palacio de Miraflores, the seat of the Venezuelan government.
President Maduro also called on the masses to continue demonstrating in the coming days in order to ensure peace in the country despite the destabilizing pressure from U.S. imperialism.
The first few days since the self-appointment by Guaidó — who has been sequestered in the Colombian Embassy — have shown that the main threat to Maduro and the Venezuelan people comes from the U.S. military and its allies in right-wing Colombia and Brazil, not from the Venezuelan people.
Rejected by the popular masses of the country, the opposition seems to have returned to its old tactics: Opposition demonstrators began to clash with security forces in several working-class neighborhoods. There have also been reports of attacks against public institutions and Chavistas (the common term for government supporters) in the wake of opposition protests. (tinyurl.com/yar83kbz)
National and international victories for Bolivarian Revolution
Soon after declaring himself president, Guaidó called on officers of the Venezuelan armed forces to carry out the practical side of his coup. The group of 27 junior officers who responded on Jan. 21 were overwhelmed and captured within hours.
Since then, the highest levels of leadership of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) have issued statements of loyalty and “complete subordination” to the government of Nicolás Maduro. Among the officers issuing statements of support were all eight regional commanders of the Armed Forces. Regional governors and other civil authorities also made similar statements of support.
On an international level, the Bolivarian Revolution also won an important victory on Jan. 24. The Organization of American States (OAS), which has been one of the main vehicles of U.S. control in Latin America, voted on whether or not to accept the special ambassador sent by Guaidó’s coup government. Despite U.S. influence in the body, and its recent role alongside the Lima Group in attacking Venezuelan sovereignty, the OAS voted against recognizing the ambassador.
This means that the U.S. was unable to gather the 19 votes they had gathered in previous votes against the legitimate Venezuelan government; Paraguay defected from the imperialist agenda.
In response to U.S. public support for the coup government, Venezuela has broken off diplomatic and political ties with the U.S. and is withdrawing its representatives from embassies and consulates in the coming days. The governments of Mexico and Uruguay have called for dialogue between the government and the opposition, which Maduro endorsed during a ceremony opening the Supreme Court of Justice for the year.
As of noon on Jan. 25, the U.S. puppet Guaidó has made no public statement regarding this call for dialogue.