Venezuelan Revolution

Just before dawn on 30 April, the Venezuelan opposition launched yet another attempt at a military coup. By the end of the day, the botched coup attempt seemed to have failed, with one of its leaders seeking refuge in the Spanish embassy, 25 of the soldiers involved requesting asylum at the Brazilian embassy and Juan Guaidó in hiding or on the run.

There is a certain trend of opinion amongst the liberal left, particularly in the US, which never felt very comfortable with the Bolivarian revolution. Now, in the midst of a serious and well-organised attempt by Washington to remove Maduro’s government, they insist on equally blaming both sides for the crisis, one which in their view can be resolved through “negotiations between the government and the opposition”. A chief representative of this point of view is Gabriel Hetland, who has written several articles on Venezuela for The Nation, Jacobinand other left-wing publications.

The failure of the 23 February “humanitarian aid” provocation on the Venezuelan border was a serious blow for Trump’s ongoing coup attempt. There were mutual recriminations between self-appointed Guaidó, Colombian president Duque and US Vice-President Pence. The US could not get a consensus from its own Lima Cartel allies in favour of military intervention.

Militias marching

So, 23 February came and went. This was the day that had been billed by the US and its local puppets as D-Day, when "humanitarian aid" was supposed to enter the country against the will of the evil Maduro, something which, as even the BBC correspondent admitted, had little to do with aid and everything to do with defying the authority of President Maduro.

“You are risking your future and your lives,” said Trump to Venezuelan military officers in a war-mongering speech in Miami on 18 February. “You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You’ll lose everything,” he added, perhaps frustrated that there have been so far no significant cracks in the Venezuelan armed forces, a month after the beginning of the ongoing US coup attempt. 

The International Marxist Tendency rejects the current attempt by US imperialism to carry out a coup in Venezuela. What we are witnessing is a blatant attempt to remove the Venezuelan government of president Maduro by a coalition of countries, led by Trump. This is the latest episode in a 20-year campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution, a campaign that has involved military coups, paramilitary infiltrations, sanctions, diplomatic pressure, violent rioting and assassination attempts.

Even though the ongoing imperialist coup in Venezuela has not yet succeeded, the impression one gets is that there is an inexorable march forward in its implementation, which is pushed mainly from forces abroad rather than from within Venezuela itself. The next step in the plan is the use of “humanitarian aid” as a provocation on the border with Colombia.

Washington's efforts to remove the Venezuelan government, an imperialist coup attempt, proceed apace. On 26 January, the US announced sanctions on PDVSA and seized assets from the Venezuelan oil company. This is a very serious blow to the Venezuelan economy and government. It is clear that the Trump administration thinks it has a window of opportunity and it is going in for the kill.

As we have reported previously, a coup d'état is underway in Venezuela, promoted by imperialism and its lackeys of the Lima cartel; and executed by its puppets in the opposition. On 23 January, the coup entered into a higher phase of its execution when deputy Guaido took an oath as “president in charge of the republic”.

The ongoing attempt by Washington and the reactionary Venezuelan opposition to remove President Maduro will reach a key stage today. The opposition have called for mass protests and Mike Pence issued a public statement giving the green light for “regime change”. As we have explained before, in Venezuela, there is an ongoing attempt to remove president Maduro through a military coup instigated by Trump, Bolsonaro, Macri and Almagro.

An imperialist coup d'état attempt is underway in Venezuela. On 10 January, President Maduro was sworn in for a new term of office. He had won the election on May 20. At that time, one section of the opposition decided to participate and another to boycott the elections. On 11 January, Juan Guaidó, the president of the opposition National Assembly (in contempt since 2015), refused to recognise President Maduro and declared himself willing to assume the presidency “with the support of the armed forces, the people and the international community.”

At 5.41pm, 4 August, a powerful explosion was heard near the rostrum from which Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro was addressing a parade at Bolivar Avenue in Caracas to mark the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard. President Maduro was unharmed, but seven members of the National Guard were injured.

The aggravation of the economic crisis is making life unbearable for working people in Venezuela. The destruction of the purchasing power of wages has been combined with the collapse of all basic infrastructure (water, electricity and public transport). Workers in different sectors have started to organise and protest, demanding higher wages; while peasants in the countryside are fighting attempts to destroy Chavez's agrarian revolution.

The Venezuelan elections on 20 May were merely an episode in a long saga of imperialist aggression, economic crisis and the deterioration of living conditions for the working class and poor. The reelected Maduro government has continued its policy of making concessions and appeals to the capitalists. If it wasn’t for the escape valves provided by subsidised food parcels, migration and the dollar-based economy, the situation would have led to a social explosion already. The mood of the chavista rank-and-file is increasingly angry and critical of the leadership.

Nicolas Maduro was re-elected for another term of office in the Venezuelan presidential election on Sunday 20 May. The majority of the reactionary opposition, with full support from Washington and Brussels, had called for a boycott, which led to a very low turnout in the middle-and-upper-class areas of the main cities. Their demand that the elections be cancelled was echoed by right-wing governments in the region. This meant that many in the working-class and poor areas turned out to vote as a way of rejecting brazen imperialist meddling. However, even here turnout was visibly lower than in previous elections. The deep economic crisis is the major issue in people’s minds and many are

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As the Venezuelan presidential election on 20 May draws closer, the campaign of imperialist aggression by the US and its allies intensifies. The aim is clear: to implement regime change. At the same time, the economic crisis gripping the country has reached intolerable levels for the workers and the poor, and the government’s policies are impotent to resolve the situation. A revolutionary alternative is required, one capable of fighting the right wing andshowing a real way out of hyperinflation, scarcity and economic depression.

Today marks the anniversary of the defeat of the coup that attempted to remove President Hugo Chavez from power in 2002. Within 48 hours, reaction was defeated by a magnificent movemenet of the Venezuelan masses. Here we reproduce the analysis of those events written by Ted Grant and Alan Woods, originally published on 14 April 2002.

Five years have passed since the death of Hugo Chávez. I had known him for almost ten years and had an enormous respect for his courage, honesty and dedication to the fight against oppression and exploitation. For this he earned the hatred of all the forces of the old society: the bankers, capitalists and landowners, the imperialists, the CIA and of course the so-called ‘free press’ that is merely the slavish mouthpiece of the old order.