Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move



Translated by Clara Baeder

MES (Movimento Esquerda Socialista/Socialist Left Movement) statement on the crisis in Venezuela (01/25)



Stop the tragedy that is now getting worse!



The Venezuelan situation already had traces of humanitarian tragedy; in Brazil, those who live close to the border of Roraima already lived this with the constant flow of immigrants. After Juan Guaidó declared himself president, the Venezuelan situation has been getting worse. Following this path, it is likely that the humanitarian catastrophe and the political stalemate will worsen and end in military confrontation and more direct interference under the pretext of humanitarian aid. 

Guaidó’s coup was orchestrated by the Trump government, which quickly supported its self-proclamation along with the countries that make up the “Lima Group”. Trump had said several times that “even a military intervention” in Venezuela could occur. There is no doubt that the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil encouraged Guaidó to go ahead with his plan. Bolsonaro’s meeting with John Bolton (Trump National Security Adviser) last November, his threatening statements and the active participation of his advisors in the Lima Group clearly demonstrate that the Brazilian government follows the interventionist and adventurous line dictated by Washington, breaking the most cautious tradition of Brazilian diplomacy.

But it would be a great analytical error not to recognize that the maneuver operated by Guaidó also feeds on the great social discontent with the totalitarian government of Maduro. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets, not because they trust the National Assembly and its parties (some of which were even surprised by the Guaidó-Trump policy), but because they no longer abide the social crisis. And this time it was not just middle-class or bourgeois neighborhoods; there were mobilizations in Petare, once a Chavista bastion, and in many popular neighborhoods of Caracas, where some of the dozens of deaths occurred in clashes between demonstrators and repressive forces. This is the Venezuelan tragedy. If 16 years ago a huge popular mobilization had barred a coup attempt from the military leadership along with the US and brought Chávez back to power, now a large part of the same people who supported anti-imperialism mobilize against Maduro.


The government of Maduro led the country to the crisis

Taking over the positive legacy left by Chávez, Maduro proved to be a gravedigger of the Bolivarian Revolution, as he emptied the popular organizations, suppressed the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution, stifled dissenting voices on the left, applied neoliberal policies packaged in a pseudorevolutionary palaver, downplayed the growing violation of the human rights of the Venezuelan State, delivered part of the country’s natural resources to the Chinese and Russian imperialisms, was colluding with the various embezzlement mechanisms of oil revenue, etc. All this series of conducts, combined with the devaluation of the oil barrel, transformed the dynamism of the Bolivarian Revolution into a grotesque caricature that serves as an easy target for the continent’s rights to attack its internal opponents.

Therefore, the government’s constant loss of popular support is not surprising. A real humanitarian crisis affects the Venezuelans, immersed in the disaster of hyper-inflation and shortages. It is estimated that from 2013 to 2017, GDP dropped by no less than 40%, thanks mainly to the successive failed plans that the PSUV technicians sponsored. If the Maduro regime has not yet come down, it is due, in large measure, to the support of the high ranking officers of the Armed Forces, which divides among themselves the control of various sectors of the troubled oil-dependent economy.

The tragedy of the Bolivarian Revolution and the situation in South America

With the Duke government in Colombia and Bolsonaro in Brazil, a new situation has opened up in the southern part of the continent that has meant a change in the correlation of forces between workers/peoples and the great bourgeoisie of the United States. Right-wing governments emerged with traits similar to those of Trump. The degenerative process of Venezuela is part of this process. The degeneration of the Bolivarian Revolution is a huge defeat for the working class, the anti-imperialist struggle and the left as a whole. The exhaustion of the Bolivarian process brings serious consequences for the relations of objective forces. Since the death of Chavez in 2013, we have determined that the achievements of the previous period would be at risk, with the setbacks of the theses called the “helm coup” and the development of more bureaucratic tendencies of sectors such as Diosdado and even Maduro.

The defeat of the Venezuelan process should also be discussed through the lenses of the role of the PT and its leadership. As the main South American country, it bet on the strategy of exporting corruption via the big construction companies, instead of socializing the immense wealth of the experience of the working class. It bet on the interests of the Brazilian bourgeoisie to guarantee the entry of Brazilian capital into Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador.

The responsibility of the so-called progressisms (the Kirchners in Argentina, Lula and Dilma in Brazil) in strengthening liberalism and authoritarian protofascist governments has been great. With the uprisings and revolutions in Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia – or even the popular mobilization against the coup in Venezuela in 2003, an important episode in this process – the independent and anti-imperialist governments of Chávez, Evo and Correa emerged. The Bush-led FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) was buried and, from Venezuela, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) was launched as a Latin American integration project. MES played an active role in this process. In January 2003, for example, the federal deputy Luciana Genro (then in PT-RS) invited Hugo Chavez to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. In Brazil, once in government, PT followed another direction, even with Lula counting on a massive popular support. His option was to govern with the banks and with agribusiness, while seeking to be a buffer against the anti-imperialist advances of the Bolivarian process.

The bitter disappointment of the people with these “progressive” governments confused the workers and led to the growth of the right. This balance is indispensable to understand the current situation and to intervene as an anti-capitalist left in the necessary resistance struggle that is already developing against the neoliberal and submissive plans of right-wing governments.

The dangers increase

The episodes of the last days increase the dangers and the catastrophic situation of Venezuela. The military leadership (of which Guaidó expected a division) closed ranks with Maduro, which means that this government is increasingly dependent on the military apparatus itself. On the other hand, the US does not give up its policy and play its chips in the installation of a government subordinated to its interests. Under the cover of “humanitarian aid” they can rehearse a greater interference in order to support Guaidó. Venezuela can suffer long agonies, being a hostage to both US imperialist policy and the military bureaucracy backed by Russia and China that run after their own economic and geopolitical interests. While Russia has substantially armed the Venezuelan Army, China has made its known extractive investments and granted large loans with interest charged by the world financial market. If the left aligns to any of these two “fields,” it will make a serious mistake that would cost a lot to the process of building an independent alternative.

Support all the forces that fight for the self-determination of the Venezuelan people

In light of the above, we stress once again our support for sovereignty and self-determination of the Venezuelan people. Between a hypocritical pro-US opposition and a corrupt and incompetent authoritarian government that is increasingly hostage to Chinese and Russian interests, we support the independent mobilization of Venezuelan workers and the building of organisms that will bring Venezuela back to the path of an authentic and popular revolution. The Socialist Tide/Marea Socialista comrades, supported in sectors such as the platform of critical Chavismo, are part of this struggle, even if by now still a minority, to defend a democratic flag of the self-determination of the mass movement. As they expressed well in a recent note, “we demand general elections of all powers and one way is to use the article 71 of the Constitution, which establishes that matters of special national transcendence can be consulted in a referendum of binding character”.

It is of the utmost urgency that the Latin American leftists vehemently reject any interventionist pretension of the United States and its allies in Venezuela! That is why, whatever the rhetorical subterfuge that right-wing propaganda has come to grips with, the sovereignty of every Latin American people needs to be reaffirmed loud and clear.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay and Mexico, for example, seek a negotiated way to call for new elections, coming out of the impasse to avoid the worst of the worlds: a bloodbath or a civil war. Venezuela needs items necessary for survival (food, medicine, etc), not more violence and military clashes that only benefit imperialist interests alien to our populations.

Our country should not interfere in the direction of Venezuela. And, as a matter of urgency, we must direct much of our internationalist efforts to cover Venezuelan migrants in a network of solidarity and welcome. It is worth remembering that Bolsonaro decided to leave the UN Migration Pact. Democratic and left-wing organizations need to avoid the danger of border closures.

It is of the utmost urgency that the Latin American leftists vehemently reject any interventionist pretension of the United States and its allies in Venezuela! That is why, whatever the rhetorical subterfuge that right-wing propaganda has come to grips with, the sovereignty of every Latin American people needs to be reaffirmed loud and clear.


No to interventionism!

May the Venezuelan people decide!

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