The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th August 2017

Venezuelans defy US imperialism

by our Latin America correspondent

MILLIONS of Venezuelans took to the streets across the country on Monday to demonstrate their support for President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution that US imperialism is determined to crush. Tens of thousands of red-shirted supporters poured into the capital, Caracas, to close ranks with the revolutionary government and denounce US imperialism’s local lackeys, who were decisively defeated in the elections in July for a constituent assembly.

Maduro told the people to support the army and civil defence and prepare for imperialist invasion, whilst stressing that he was still ready for talks with the US president, Donald Trump.

The Venezuelan leader told the masses on the streets of Caracas: “Venezuelan soil is sacred and it should never be touched by an imperialist Yankee boot.” He also announced that Venezuela’s armed forces, together with civil defence forces, would hold large-scale exercises on 26th and 27th August. “Everyone has to join the defence plan, millions of men and women, let’s see how the American imperialists like it,” Maduro declared, urging everyone to join in the defence efforts at the end of the month.

Earlier, Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez had appeared on television, flanked by battle-ready soldiers at an army base, to warn that now that the US had exhausted every covert measure to destabilise the Venezuelan government, it has taken the next step, opting for military aggression under the guise of assisting the Venezuelan people. US hostility was because the Americans want to steal the country’s vast oil reserves. “This is a time for reflection, you are either a Venezuelan patriot, or pro-Yankee,” he said.

Last week Donald Trump told the media that he would not “rule out military options” for dealing with what he called the “Maduro dictatorship” in Venezuela. The billionaire property speculator has not backed down from his threats, which were repeated in more diplomatic terms by his chief minion, Vice-President Mike Pence, who is currently trying to drum up support for US aggression amongst the reactionary ruling cliques in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama.

During his first stop on his tour of Latin America, Vice President Pence told an audience in Colombia that Washington was “absolutely determined to bring the full measure of American economic and diplomatic power to bear until we see democracy restored in Venezuela.”

“A failed state in Venezuela threatens the security and prosperity of our entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America,” Pence said.

Last month Venezuela elected a constituent assembly with sweeping powers, including the capacity to rewrite the constitution. The reactionary opposition bloc, which is openly supported in every way by US imperialism, unsuccessfully tried to boycott and sabotage the poll. But over eight million people voted in the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) election — a turnout of over 41 per cent, according to electoral authorities — to choose from 6,120 candidates for the 545-member ANC in a vote that has been described as transparent, with international electoral experts and observers calling for respect for the results.

The government of Nicolas Maduro has long made calls for peace, dialogue and negotiated solutions to resolve an ongoing crisis stemming from right-wing opposition protests that have frozen the many of the country’s institutions and claimed over 100 lives since April.

Hardliners in the opposition, led by the United Democratic Roundtable (MUD), have spurned these appeals and have instead opted for violent protests that have led to over 120 deaths in their attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian government.

The constitutional measure aims to foster a national dialogue to help quell four months of political unrest and to modify the constitution with input from broad sectors of society.