Working to Reverse Damage Done by Capitalist Patriarchy

by Maria Eugenia Acero and Rachel Boothroyd-Rojas

On International Working Women’s Day, Venezuelanalysis had the opportunity to put three questions to Maria Eugenia Acero Colomines, National Coordinator for Culture and Gender at the Venezuelan Ministry for Women and Gender Equality.

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In celebration of the historic date, the symbolic remains of three Afro-Venezuelan and indigenous women: Apacuana, Matea Bolivar and Hipolita Bolivar, were inducted into the National Pantheon of Heroes in Caracas. As an indigenous leader of the Quiriquire, Jefa Apacuana led a rebellion against Spanish occupying forces in the mid 1500s, while La Negra Hipolita, otherwise known as Hipolita Bolivar, and La Negra Matea or Matea Bolivar were born into slavery and assigned to care for legendary Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar as his wet nurse and nanny, respectively.

The move brings the total number of women included in the Pantheon to nine, a figure which has tripled since the Bolivarian Revolution came to power in 1999.

Why are you marching today?

I am here first of all because this is an historic act, that two Black enslaved women and an indigenous woman are receiving state recognition. Matea and Hipolita were slaves and Simon Bolivar liberated them, and despite that they were scorned until the end of their days. Hipolita Bolivar, who was practically Bolivar’s mother, was mocked until the end of her life, not just for being a woman and also Black, but because she was part of the Bolivar family. This was also the case for Matea. Apacuana was a shaman, a woman of medicine and knowledge, as well as a warrior. So that’s why I am here, because this is a symbolic tribute, because racism still exists and discrimination against women still exists and we continue to be undervalued. We are in a country where there is a Ministry for Women, that doesn’t exist in the rest of the world, and which is working to reverse all of the damage that the capitalist patriarchy has done to us, which treats us as if we were subhuman. So that is why I am here, and the significance of today.

What is the greatest challenge facing Venezuelan women at the present moment?

To value themselves. To value themselves above and beyond the stereotypes which the media impose on us. The beauty pageants, the soap operas, which attempt to trap women into an unreal aesthetic standard. The Bolivarian government has promoted laws which empower (women) which are delivering justice in cases of femicide and gender-based murders, something which does not exist in many other parts of the world. The challenge for women today is to be aware of these laws and rights and to educate and empower themselves, as well as to liberate themselves. To liberate themselves mentally from the mountain of chains that have entrapped us all, men as well as women. The other challenge for women is to educate men and to create new masculinities that do not repeat patterns of mistreatment, abuse and ridicule towards women. That is our challenge, for women as well as men, and also to recognize sexual diversity, to which we are giving increasing importance.

And this is the work that you are carrying out at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality? Can you give me a specific example?

Yes, of course. I belong to the Vice-Ministry for the Protection of Women, and there we are promoting a care programme aimed at building co-responsibility so that men and the wider community also care for children, the elderly and people with disabilities, not just women. Historically and socially it is believed that women are the ones who must carry out this kind of work, but social groups as a whole, the state and men must also assume the responsibility.

There is also the program which I am promoting which is a culture and gender program aimed at universalizing values, you could say feminist values, but they are values based on equality and respect towards women. Because we are bombarded by messages in the media which reinforce disturbing gender roles and which lead to dysfunctional intimate and family relations. And so this programme is aimed at building a cultural counter-hegemony (to that) and to visibilise another type of values to those found in fairytales, about princes and princesses, which show that children can have a happy ending which is different, that children can progress and create another reality, create community and a homeland. This is what we are doing.

How the Bolivarian revolution is being defended by the working class

Interview with Carlos López, Secretary General of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers’ Federation of Venezuela

by María Torrellas

Carlos López, current Secretary General of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers’ Central of Venezuela, visited Argentina in the framework of a tour with other union and social movement leaders of the region. In the talk he gave in the Venezuelan Embassy, López explained the situation of his country and how the Bolivarian revolution is being defended by the working class.

How is the Venezuelan working class defending itself from all the right-wing attacks, both on the economical and ideological levels?

In Venezuela there’s an economic war being waged against the Bolivarian Revolution. It goes beyond what can be seen in the media, which are the queues to buy food. On one hand, the U.S. empire influenced a drop in the prices of oil worldwide, which was a severe blow to several world economies such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The drop in the price of oil created a very difficult situation for our country, because we strongly depend on oil trade. But Venezuela is a country with many resources and many capabilities, and this economic war has led us to strengthen the struggles of the working class.

Our working class has awakened in the last three and a half years since our Workers’ Federation was created. The union has taken a huge step to give priority to the political struggle and the struggle for productive economy. That is the basis for the stability of all the social benefits we have secured with the Bolivarian Revolution.

The great challenge before the working class is to take that productive leaps and guarantee that workers aren’t used by the counter-revolutionary opposition. Throughout the three years of Nicolás Maduro’s government, the working class has remained united and stood by the Bolivarian Revolution. We have followed the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez, and shared his conviction that the revolution must continue to be socialist.

The Bolivarian Revolution granted rights to all workers through the Organic Law of Labour and Workers. This law protects workers in ways that are enviable by workers in many countries in the world. Workers in Venezuela enjoy full job stability, protection of the unions, protection to working mothers and fathers, and lactating women. These benefits are part of the Constitution and the Law. Our working class is aware of that, and that’s why they haven’t fallen into the traps nor the provocations of the right wing.

There have been attempts to recover factories so that workers can manage them, and there has even been talk about nationalizing companies that speculate with food supply. What’s the status of these initiatives?

There are companies under control of workers that are currently productive and prosperous. Some companies of the bourgeoisie left their factories as practically rubbish when they abandoned them. When workers seized control of them to keep their jobs, they had great difficulties in running them. The right-wing propaganda began immediately to say that factories run by the working class aren’t productive.

True, they aren’t productive yet — they abandoned them with old machinery, in a state of unproductivity, and nevertheless we have been rebuilding them and putting them in shape to produce. Now there’s a great opportunity to occupy, if necessary, private companies that lower or cease their production, or that lay off workers, or that hide their production. Expropriation is an extreme measure that will be applied only if needed. But it’s simply to occupy them to guarantee that they continue to be productive and that workers can keep their jobs and that goods reach the entire population.

Are you also working with the Communes?

Of course. In Venezuela there’s a new type of economy, which is still small but with a huge potential to break with productive monopolies — it’s the communal economy. We have a Commune Ministry and an Urban Agriculture Ministry, for family agriculture. So we have two ministries dedicated to small and middle-sized production and that’s a huge step because big transnational and national companies that monopolize food production are dropping their productiion and hiding the goods. So, the people will be in charge of producing and distributing what they need.

Do women in Venezuela earn as much as men?

Of course. There’s no discrimination, salary is the same for women and men, and working conditions are equal. We know that some private companies try to break the law, but the Ministry of Work is ruthless in guaranteeing women’s right to work. Besides, workers that are lactating have two hours to breastfeed at work or to go home earlier, and a 26-week maternity leave, to be granted before and after the birth.

What’s the working class willing to do in order to defend the revolutionary process?

The working class is being tested by this difficult time of economic war and shortages, but the response has been positive — it has strengthened the process of politicization. We have even said that, if what happened in Brazil with president Dilma Rousseff had happened in Venezuela, the entire country would be up in flames. We won’t allow an overthrowing of Nicolás Maduro.

Our main goal is to organize workers, and for that, union leaders have to be directing companies to guarantee that rights are fulfilled and each person must be familiar with all aspects of the functioning of factories so that they can’t be stopped by boycotts or attempts to destabilize them. If Nicolás Maduro were to be deposed, the working class will immediately declare an indefinite general strike throughout the entire country. We won’t wait a month or two. That very day, the entire economy would be stopped until the President returned.

Has the union grown? Because it wasn’t majoritary at first.

The Bolivarian Central is the largest union. It organizes over 60 percent of the unionized workers. It has the most important federations of the economy: oil, electricity, telecommunications, steel and aluminum, railways. In the public sector (higher education and health) we compete with an opposing federation. Thirty percent of workers in Venezuela are not members of any union. We must still reach out to them, but we’re in the majority. In an extreme situation, we’d be able to stop production.

Last Workers’ Day, Nicolás Maduro raised the wages once again. Tell us about the conquests that the working class has had in the Bolivarian Revolution. Despite the economic crisis, the wage increases have not ceased.

If I remember correctly, there has been a 25% increase in wages in these last 17 years of revolution. But we don’t have to be blinded by this, because there is much speculation and one of the ways to confront speculation and the drop in the real value of salary is the increase of minimum wages. What we need is to end speculation and inflation. This is the great challenge we are facing right now, and for that we need to increase productivity.

For every dollar that comes into the country thanks to our exports, there are four possible destinations: to keep jobs, to increase wages, to fund the Social Missions (housing, health, education, food, etc) and productive investments. We’re very interested in investing in other areas so as to avoid depending so much on oil.

What message would you give to the Argentine working class and social movements?

To the Latin American working class as a whole, I would say that the only way to confront and defeat the new neoliberal offensive of the right, which originates in the empire, is struggle, protest and taking to the streets. We believe that Brazil has to take to the streets to bring Dilma Rousseff back. We in Venezuela are out on the streets night and day since President Maduro began to be threatened by the national and international right.

We hope there’s a massive response in the continent to stop and defeat the onslaught of the right.

Venezuelan Reflections on Peace in Colombia

Venezuela takes steps to make peace a reality

by Jeanette Charles

Oct 6 - Entire peoples and movements committed to peace, regional integration and solidarity across the Americas undeniably anticipated that Sunday’s plebiscite would reinforce the Peace Accords marking a new era for Colombia and the hemisphere.

However, the 37.28 percent of Colombians who participated in Sunday’s elections decided against the recently signed Peace Accords between the Santos government and the FARC with less than one percent margin of difference, approximately 70,000 votes. The decision ultimately halted what was days before a celebratory result of carefully facilitated negotiations over four years.

Venezuela's Historic Role to Consolidate a Path Toward Peace

Venezuela has served as one of the main promoters and active facilitators in the Colombian peace process. Venezuelan and Colombian history is as inseparable and interwoven as their future. Former President Hugo Chávez tirelessly advocated for peace in Colombia and by extension, the Americas.
As the peace accords were signed on September 27 in Cartagena, President Nicolás Maduro emphasized that Chavez “managed to build the confidence necessary to start negotiations which culminated in the signing of the peace agreement in Cartagena.” Likewise, the FARC’s top negotiator Timochenko as well as Colombian Senator Iván Cepeda for the Democratic Pole have both acknowledged and expressed gratitude for Venezuela’s role in the Colombian peace process.

Why is Venezuela so committed to peace in Colombia? Arguably, following Colombians themselves, Venezuelans have witnessed firsthand the brutal reality of their bordering nation’s civil war. Five decades of right wing sponsored violence has relentlessly responded to and served US anti-communist campaigns as well as US economic and political interests.

People paint murals in Columbia expressing desire for peace

Greater militarization by both state and non-state actors as well as neoliberal privatization are direct manifestations of the War on Drugs and Plan Colombia. As a direct result, Venezuela is home to more than five million displaced Colombians and countless more descendants.

Peace for Colombia and for Latin America as a whole remains an unfulfilled promise to the millions displaced disappeared and assassinated over five decades of violence. However, grassroots movements of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), an integrationist platform born of former Venezuelan President Chávez’s legacy, have expressed time and time again an unwavering commitment to peace for Colombians and by extension Latin America and the Caribbean.

As such, Venezuelans understand more than anyone else that while Sunday’s elections were presented to a certain extent by the Colombian government and certainly by the Colombian elite as the people’s “final” say on peace, the elections actually imply and serve greater political as well as economic interests than those presented publicly at the negotiation table.

Additionally, as President Maduro emphasized, “War or peace in Colombia directly affects the life of our people.”

Venezuelan Grassroots Reactions to Sunday's Results

Venezuelans felt the emotional ripple effect of Colombia's electoral outcome and drew uncertainty from its political implications. From informal conversations with friends and colleagues to reading immediate reactions on social media, it became increasingly apparent how many Venezuelans considered the Colombian peace process an integral part of their own revolutionary process.

Venezuelans expressed their rage as well as disappointment with an electoral process seemingly set up to unfavor the Colombian people. Moreover, they voiced their doubts regarding Colombian politicians' real or absent intentions to work toward peace.

President Mauduro and President Santos talk peace

"What were their [the government's] real motives?" "was this all just a show meant to disarm the guerrillas?" "why were the elections necessary in the first place?" were among some of the questions spoken by Venezuelans following the elections. Never once, did I find someone who blamed the Colombian people despite an easy and simple way to assess the situation given how contemporary indicators to validate a democracy almost exlusively rest on elections regardless of historical participation or outcome.

Ahead of Sunday’s elections María Gabriela Del Pilar Blanco, a Venezuelan organizer from Higuerote, Miranda expressed her enthusiastic support for Colombia’s peace accords. “There are millions of Colombians in Venezuela. My organization works closely with many Colombians. We wholeheartedly support peace in Colombia, we ourselves are a peaceful people and promote peace internationally,” she said Sunday to a group of Central American immigrants in Los Angeles, California largely aligned with Salvadoran, Nicaraguan and Honduran resistance movements.

Once Blanco heard Sunday’s results, she pointedly questioned the disparity in voter turnout and questioned international oversight of “democracy” in Colombia. “I wonder about the international electoral observation that happened during Colombia’s elections on Sunday. When we have elections in Venezuela, hundreds of people come to observe from the U.N. to Unasur to solidarity groups. What have they said? What did they observe on Sunday’s elections?”

Hurricane Matthew prevented significant voting

According to Colombia Reports, more than 2000 electoral observers were dispatched to cover and document Sunday’s elections. The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) reported that: “the rains caused by Hurricane Matthew prevented the potential votes of four million Colombians”, “only 61 percent of the tables had the polling jury assigned to them at the time of the opening of polling centers”, “five complaints of alleged fraud or corruption were received” and “one citizen carrying 17 voting cards for the plebiscite” among other observations.

Undoubtedly, had these observations been made during any election in Venezuela not to mention during any stage of the controversial recall referendum, corporate media and international powers at be would have immediately called for intervention and “justice”.

Pres. Raul Castro seals hand shaker between with Santos and FARC

Katherine Castrillo, Venezuela of Colombian descent and writer with grassroots Venezuelan publication Cultura Nuestra (Our Culture) expressed in her article, “Why Did NO Win in Colombia?” that we must scratch beyond the surface of Sunday’s decision. “It is useless and superficial to think that the Colombian people have only suffered from a war between the army, guerrillas and paramilitaries over the last 50 years,” she wrote.

Rather, Castrillo continued, “land theft, bipartisan hegemony, oligopolies, media monopoly, social control, criminalization of popular movements, U.S. military bases, the largest drug export industry, the majority rejection of state policies such as daily bread tainted the credibility of a bilateral ceasefire."

Yet, in regions such as Chocó, Cauca, Putumayo, Nariño and others most afflicted by the conflict, Colombians resoundingly supported YES. In these corners of Colombia, people were not fooled or dissuaded by any of the peace opposing forces Castrillo highlighted. With these communities, there is most certainly a chance to build peace with or without a legally binding document.

Colombians, perhaps discouraged by Sunday’s vote, should find solace and solidarity with the Venezuelan people resolved to end not just five decades but five centuries of colonially driven strife in the Americas.

Bolivarian Process Looks Ahead

Despite a crushing sense of defeat, the Bolivarian government and President Maduro have publicly voiced their support to uphold the accords and to accompany the Colombian people.

“We have been great accompaniers and promoters of the Peace Accords in Colombia,” conveyed President Maduro. “I am ready, President Santos, [and] to all the Colombian guerrilla forces, to continue supporting peace in Colombia with humility, perseverance and love,” he continued.

Maduro’s stressed the ways in which an electoral outcome does not represent a definitive NO. If anything, Venezuelans can understand the deep sense of disappointment after an unexpected electoral defeat especially following the opposition’s National Assembly win which was similarly a result of great abstention and right-wing propaganda.

“Colombia had an electoral slip-up, just as we did on December 6th, but just like this electoral hiccup, peace is irreversible,” Maduro framed. Similarly, he outed the position of Venezuela’s right-wing elite class for supporting war in Colombia, “we cannot understand those that want more war in Colombia.”

Rightfully so, the Colombian and Venezuelan right-wing elite have shamelessly benefitted from wreaking havoc and sponsoring war. For instance, Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian government alike have publicly denounced former President Alvaro Uribe for his ties to funding and training paramilitaries in Venezuela.

Peace talks negotiated in Cuba

Before Sunday's elections, Maduro expressed his expectations for what peace could mean for improved relations between Colombia and Venezuela. "I am sure that peace will bring to Colombia a new era of happiness and brotherly relations with Venezuela," he stated.

It is undeniable that the Colombian people have been tasked with inflating their tested morale and defining peace on their own terms.

Venezuelans, like other Latin American and Caribbean nations, will inevitably accompany whatever process will continue following this week’s decision. History has proven as much.

The majority poor, Black, Indigenous, women and youth in Colombia and Our America face an onslaught waged by an oligarchy resolved to dismantle the last two decades of integrationist efforts in order to reinstate U.S. dominance in the region. The stakes run high.

And while Colombia continues to forge a path toward peace, Venezuelans nearby take steps to accompany this purposeful journey to make peace a reality.

International solidarity needed for defence of Bolivarian revolution

Is Venezuela on the Verge of a Another Coup?
by Jeanetter Charles

Current events in Venezuela and the political opposition’s call for global protests against President Maduro conjure memories of the 2002 coup d’état - a moment marked by violence all too familiar for most Venezuelans. The opposition’s public call for national and international protests slated for September 1st accompanied by transportation strikes in some of the nation’s opposition strongholds along with rising inaccessibility to most basic staples also indicate strong possibilities for rampant guarimba violence reminiscent of the 2014 opposition demonstrations. So it would seem, a potential coup d’état is in progress.

Yet, what are the real possibilities? What are grassroots movements and others aligned with the Bolivarian process saying about the opposition’s upcoming demonstrations? What are the strategies in place? And, more importantly, how are the grassroots preparing to respond come September 1st?

2016 Opposition Protests and their Political Backdrop

This week’s protests center on the Venezuelan opposition’s insistent demand for a recall referendum to occur this year. This is not the first time Venezuela has faced a potential presidential impeachment. As teleSUR English’s Iain Bruce reports, “On August 15, 2004, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, faced his opponents in the first and only recall referendum against a sitting president in modern world history. The opposition parties were confident they would win. They assumed they would naturally recover the positions of power they had lost.” However, Venezuelan history proved otherwise and Chávez remained in office, securing a majority.

Since the people’s election of Chávez in 1998, the Bolivarian Revolution has marked a distinct transition away from an oligarchy that has historically siphoned oil and resources from the people devastating Venezuela’s majority poor nation. Over the last 17 years, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Process has made major strides in inclusionary rights, economic access and political consciousness raising domestically and on an international scale.
However, the opposition, actively supported by the United States, continues to strategize against the Bolivarian process which has radically transformed people’s material conditions and improved the majority poor’s livelihood.

On repeated occasions, the opposition has illegitimately pushed for the recall referendum to happen this year. Yet, National Electoral Council (CNE) President Tibisay Lucena publicly announced earlier this month that according to constitutionally established timelines, the recall referendum will not happenbefore January 2017. This is due to the opposition consciously beginning the process too late for all the steps to be completed this year.
Nonetheless, the opposition has found support of right-wing factions throughout the region such was the case earlier this month when 15 out of 35 OAS membersreleased a joint statement calling for the Venezuelan government to carry out what would be an unconstitutional referendum process before January 2017.

We’ve witnessed this same tactic over and over again. The battle to deligitimize Venezuela, allege that the country is breaching its constitution and highlight its challenges both economic and political are seemingly never-ending in the political arena and in corporate media. To a certain extent, the opposition has also successfully confused millions internationally about the diverse realities facing most Venezuelans.

The economic lead-up to this 2016 call for protests parallels the April 2002 coup. Just last week opposition legislator Freddy Guevara admitted that the opposition had used an "economic boycott" to force the government out. Moreover, he vowed that opposition would reach "Miraflores Palace" on September 1st, just as they did in 2002 when the opposition suddenly diverged from its pre-determined route and decided to march to Miraflores resulting in a direct confrontation between the right-wing opposition and Venezuelan popular forces.

Among the opposition's other tactics have included a campaign to prevent the country from assuming Mercosur’s pro tempore presidency. Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodríguez along with grassroots movements aligned with the Mercosur process have denounced the continued refusal to transfer power over to Venezuela without grounds.

While international reports may seemingly paint a picture of disaster across the Latin American left and especially of more progressive governments, the continued efforts to destabilize Venezuela indicate that US imperialism is re-positioning itself in the region and returning to relationships with historic right-wing allies.

With this said, the direct hand of the US government in these destabilization attempts against Venezuela remains evermore present. One can look to the sanctions that were renewed in April this year as a prime example.

Furthermore, Venezuelan Foreign Ministry’s North American agency released a statement this Monday that renounced the US State Department spokesperson John Kirby’s call to release former mayor of San Criśtobal, Táchira state, Daniel Ceballos from prisoner.

Ceballos was transferred to prison after spending time under house arrest for his role in the 2014 guarimbas. The Ministry of Justice asserted that this week's transfer was made after recent information surfaced of Ceballos’ potential escape plans to “coordinate acts of violence” this week.

"The brand and authorship of the coup being planned for September 1, 2016, in Venezuela, in collusion with the anti-democratic opposition and international right, has become clear...," read the statement. It continued, "[President Barack Obama's government] is seeking to destabilize Venezuela and the region in its final days to legitimize its imperial plans against peace and the development of the people."

Likewise, US prize winning opposition spokesperson Yon Goicoecha was also arrested this week for the alleged possession of explosives equipment.

Voices from the Bolivarian Process

While there is more than enough evidence to suggest a coup may indeed already be in the works for Venezuela in the near future, a wide range of opinions and actions characterize Venezuelan public opinion regarding the opposition’s latest call for protests.

For example, the government has taken steps to prevent violence such as prohibiting drones from entering into Venezuelan airspace for the next 120 days unless sanctioned by the Defense Ministry. Many private businesses are also closing their doors amidst security concerns.

Meanwhile, grassroots spaces such as community councils and local media outlets have called for marches in support of the Bolivarian Process starting Tuesday August 30th as well as reminding people to have non-confrontational behavior on September 1st to avoid any possible bloodshed.

For example, the Bicentennial Women’s Front convened “a great mobilization in defense of the revolution...we will demonstrate that we are the guardians of Chavez and the Revolution.”

In an exclusive with Venezuelanalysis, María Helena Ramírez, student organizer and resident of San Crístobal, Táchira state, stressed that during the September 1st demonstrations despite the opposition’s alleged call for “peace”, “some right wing spokespeople have remarked that ‘there will be deaths’ and ‘blood will run’ in public interviews.”

Ramírez also commented on the opposition’s strategic use of transportation highlighting that, “there will be buses leaving many regions of the country toward Caracas. This is a very interesting strategy given that Chavista social movements have mobilized across the country to march in the capital for years and the opposition historically has not.” The opposition most certainly counts on selling the impression internationally that their political position has a consolidated and unified base.

Likewise, in Táchira, Ramírez confirmed reports that there has been a transportation strike announced for nine days meant to interrupt and complicate citizens’ daily lives contributing to heightened levels of frustration and concern. Similarly, this last weekend when current opposition National Assembly leader Ramos Allup visited Táchira, people found tire road blocks in the same places that were strongholds for the 2014 guarimbas.

Ramírez suspects that, “what we are seeing is the beginning of an attack against Venezuela meant to push the people to the limit and carry out a coup.” However, Ramírez emphasized that the grassroots along with the Bolivarian government have committed to “protecting the people of Venezuela, especially in Caracas, and the Bolviarian Revolution.”

José Vicente Rangel, long time comrade of former President Hugo Chávez who also served as Minister during his administration, publicly expressed similar concerns over the September 1st marches in Venezuelan media - distinctively drawing parallels to the prelude of the 2002 coup. “In the time of a tense climate, this march could have very grave consequences. Any detail can be explosive and although the same promoters [of this march] insist that it will be civil in character, [our] experience proves otherwise,” Rangel suggests.

“As the march can occur in all normalcy, it can also repeat the brutal experience of April 11, 2002 march and other episodes of violence like the guarimbas, we must put forth with urgency: dialogue,” he continued, of which he stated 80 percent of Venezuela’s population favors.

“There are factions intent on creating a chaotic situation and provoking the rupture of constitutional and democratic order, as well as foreign interventionist adventures that would severely affect our national sovereignty. The opposition that exists in this country seems bent on disaster and total institutional rupture to facilitate [their] access to power; apparently all other options, except violence, are blocked,” Rangel stressed.
It is not without saying that President Maduro also conveyed similar concerns at a rally this weekend and denounced what he called a “an imperialist attack on all.” Maduro cited ongoing US interference and right-wing assaults against the governments of Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador among other examples.

However, there are dissenting opinions. These reflections rest on the unforgotten ingenuity of the Venezuelan people to defy all odds and prevail against an avalanche of uncertainty.

In his recent publication “The Takeover of the Cities and Power (and the Desire to Take-Over)”, Venezuelan public intellectual and historian José Roberto Duque explains why he believes September 1st will be another unsuccessful opposition attempt to destabilize the nation.

Principally, Duque suggests that very few historical cases exist that show “rebellions” have led to drastic societal shifts and that these oppositions marches will not be among these examples.

“The only mobilizations of this historical time that have toppled governments or at the very least have shaken [them] include: 1) sudden and spontaneous [rebellions] (Venezuela, 1989); 2) [rebellions] directed, defined and inspired by genuine leaders (Venezuela, 1998); or 3) [rebellions] headed or financed by the international war machine (Libya, 2011),” he attests.

Additionally, Duque outlines that due to the opposition’s absent effort to build a consolidated base, combined with the Venezuelan Chavista population’s will to rectify the errors of the revolutionary process, while there may be a series of violent episodes across the country - nothing will mark a definitive “exit” to Maduro’s administration.

“Maybe blood will be spilt in some places, maybe they try and prolong for a few days the media sensation of a rebellion (the cameras and audiovisual production are ready, count on that),” Duque writes. However, he continues, “And perhaps from our side, from the side building this country, we will probably forget the arguments and demobilizing divides, and maybe we will remember in unison that the Revolution charges us with an important task, parallel or previous to all the others: avoid at all costs that the transnational corporation’s racist plague take ahold of the institutional management of the State.”

He concludes, “If this is the result, we will have obtained another political victory as others walk around announcing our decisive defeat.”
What about international solidarity?

While we’ve assessed an array of hypothesis regarding Venezuela’s future, time is the truest test. While one may argue that it would be foolish for the opposition to carry through a coup at this time, when they are relatively close to securing a recall referendum for early next year, we have seen how often the opposition is prone to bouts of sabotage and violence at the expense of people’s stability and lives.

However, in the process of writing this piece, what remains blaringly clear is the incredible need for international grassroots movements to re-engage with Venezuela and develop a renewed sense of commitment with the Bolivarian Process. Hypothesizing serves us little in the larger scheme of Venezuela’s future.

The growing divide between the Venezuelan grassroots and global left is not only discouraging but systematically intentional.

The international media barrage with all its exaggerations, misleading headlines and largely unfounded coverage has been critical to building one of the greatest imperialist and interventionist offensives in Latin America and the Caribbean. A similar case in this hemisphere may only be said for the historically racist isolation of Haiti and the distance between the global left and the popular movements carrying on more than 200 years of revolutionary process on the island.

As the impeachment process in Brazil against Dilma Rousseff is underway, it’s necessary to redraw our shared political lines to defend Venezuelan, Latin American and ultimately oppressed nations’ sovereignty and defeat capitalism’s steadfast determination to persevere no matter what.

What the world needs is for Venezuelans to face this trying time head on and win. A coup for Venezuela would mark what promises to be an already challenging era for our political generation as this chapter of great revolutionary fiesta winds down and we are charged with the real task of building other worlds different than our present.

Venezuelans already embarked on a path to achieve the nearly impossible. Seventeen years is not nearly enough to identify, create and consolidate viable economic alternatives as well as cultural and structural shifts in society. Seventeen years is not nearly enough to decolonize and undo over 500 years of imperialism, colonization and devastation.

International solidarity needs to be ready on September 1st to accompany the Venezuelan people and defend their revolutionary process.
Reprinted from