MORE than 200 participants from 60 countries representing five continents, including India, gathered at an International Solidarity Summit held in Caracas from September 16-19, 2017 in defense of the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian revolution, and to denounce the attempts of the US administration to stifle the country by imposing financial sanctions, as also Trump’s direct threat of war against Venezuela just a few weeks back.
The Venezuelan people have been bravely resisting attacks on their sovereignty by US imperialism, and the reactionary oligarchy in the country that has been openly working in tandem with the Trump administration as well as with European and Latin American reactionary forces to destabilise the Bolivarian government. In the face of all odds, the Venezuelan people have been consolidating the Bolivarian revolution, and their participatory democracy whose recent expression was the election of a National Constituent Assembly on July 30, 2017. The Summit, "All of us are Venezuela: Dialogue for Peace, Sovereignty and Bolivarian Democracy," saw peace activists, representatives of political formations, grassroots organisers, social movements, artists and intellectuals, and religious leaders from around the world coming together in Caracas to say that all peace loving people are rallied in support of the Bolivarian revolution against imperialist economic and military aggression.
HYBRID WAR AGAINST THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION
Even as the participants of the Summit were deliberating for building a broad-based world-wide solidarity to defend the Bolivarian revolution which today symbolises hope for the future of entire humanity, Trump delivered his openly imperialist and belligerent speech at the United Nations General Assembly’s 72nd session. Echoing his predecessor George W. Bush’s rant of the “axis of evil”, Trump singled out three nations: North Korea, Iran and substituted Venezuela for Iraq.
Venezuela has been facing a non-conventional and asymmetric war, which has particularly escalated since the last four years following the demise of Comandante Hugo Chavez. In its most recent phase, this has become a hybrid war combining strategies of state of art information technology and globalised communications with aggressive use of organised crime agents. President Nicolás Maduro's constitutional and legitimate government has been facing the biggest media attack through planned use of propaganda and psychological action aimed at creating a virtual reality of a failed state “on the brink of collapse”, with a “humanitarian crisis” needing to be rescued by the United States through its divine right of executing a regime change through the overthrow of the “dictator” Maduro.
The other element of this hybrid war is the relentless economic war. The economic downturn and fall in oil prices have particularly impacted Venezuela. Venezuela is highly dependent on imports rather than productive industry, and this has allowed the oligarchy to wage an economic war by hoarding and creating artificial shortages of food supplies and other essential products, including medicines. This economic offensive intensified to the extreme by the latest sanctions announced by Trump.
In the midst of this offensive, the Bolivarian Revolution resisted stoically 120 days of fascist violence between April and July 2017, in which more than a hundred lives were lost at the hands of organised armed “guarimbas” or paid right wing armed groups portrayed by the Western corporate media as “peaceful protestors.”
The Venezuelan people replied to this offensive with remarkable courage as more than eight million Venezuelans voted in a National Constituent Assembly, which has 545 members representing different social sectors like workers, fishermen, youth, women, the disabled, the indigenous. President Maduro had called for elections to a National Constituent Assembly as a democratic exit from the impasse between the government and the opposition, but the opposition, whose only aim is to bring down the democratically elected president, refused to participate in the elections and took to violence.
Contrary to what the opposition expected, Chavismo was strengthened by this merciless attack, since many Venezuelans were indignant to see that it is from the opposition’s side that the violence, economic punishment and the danger of foreign intervention really comes. This resulted in a massive support for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), elections for which were held in accordance with the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999, drafted under the visionary leadership of Comandante Hugo Chávez who was convinced that the social agenda of the Bolivarian Revolution could only move forward if it turned in a more radical direction on the basis of popular participation.
The ANC, since its installation on August 1, 2017, has gained more and more prestige while the opposition received a disastrous defeat that has demoralised, divided and discredited it even more in the eyes of its own followers, who feel cheated after their leaders have now decided to participate in the regional elections scheduled for October 15, 2017 after having sworn that they would not leave the streets until “getting rid of the dictatorship". These regional elections will be followed by municipal and presidential elections that will take place in 2018, as also a referendum that will confirm or not the new constitutional text being elaborated by the National Constituent Assembly.
President Maduro has once again accepted to restart dialogue with the opposition through the mediation of some Latin American countries and former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. A meeting was to be held in the Dominican Republic under the auspices of Dominican President Danilo Medina and ex-prime minister Zapatero on September 26, 2017, but the opposition did not attend the meeting, clearly showing that they are not, in fact, interested in establishing peace in the country.
VENEZUELA IS NOT ALONE
The participants of the Global Solidarity Meet in Caracas said an emphatic no to foreign intervention in Venezuela’s internal affairs and came out in defense of the Venezuelan people to say that Venezuela is not alone. In order to affirm this, the Solidarity Meet released the Caracas Proclamation which says: “The defense of the Bolivarian Revolution is an inescapable duty of the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world, conscious that in Venezuela we are defending the right to sovereignty, independence, self-determination and integration of all our peoples.” The Proclamation condemns the aggression of US imperialism, the financial blockade the Trump administration has been carrying out with the expressed aim “to suffocate the Venezuelan economy”, and the diplomatic siege maneuvered by the US through the Organization of American States (OAS) with the participation of some Latin American governments, with the sole purpose of undermining the strength of the Bolivarian democracy. The Caracas Proclamation also condemns the despicable lies, false news and distortions of the Venezuelan reality, as a strategy for discrediting the Bolivarian Revolution and President Nicolás Maduro’s legitimate government.
The Caracas Proclamation was accompanied with an “Action Plan for Strengthening Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and Fostering Peoples’ Emancipatory Struggles,” with a chronogram of solidarity actions for enlisting support for the Bolivarian revolution in trade unions, women’s organisations, cooperatives, community organisations and religious organisations around the world. It was decided to launch and coordinate an international campaign on “Truth about Venezuela” to highlight the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution, the history of US interventions in Latin America and Caribbean and in the world, the threat of war in the Latin American region, and to deconstruct the falsehoods spread about Venezuela by the transnational right wing. One important point in the Action Plan was the suggestion of President Maduro himself who stressed on the need to create and activate a big digital campaign on social media, and launch a coordinated and collective offensive with the help of technology experts.
The Global Meet included a “Conversation” with President Nicolas Maduro and President Evo Morales of Bolivia, where both Latin American leaders shared their views on the present historical conjuncture with the participants. President Maduro said that his government has responded to the US sanctions by announcing that every business signing contracts with the Venezuelan State should do so in a foreign currency other than the US dollar. The new basket of foreign currencies includes the yuan, the rouble, and even the Indian rupee.
The Solidarity Meet was followed by a massive anti-imperialist rally which filled the streets of Caracas on September 20, 2017 in which the participants of the Solidarity Meet also took part.
In the mean time, as part of the UN’s 72nd General Debate of the General Assembly, 120 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have signed a six-page document entitled the "New York Political Declaration" against unilateral sanctions and “coercive measures”, during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 26, 2017. Also, a couple of days later, a bloc of 57 countries, including India, signed a declaration presented by Cuba’s ambassador to the body, Pedro Luis Pedroso, in support of Venezuelan sovereignty at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on September 28, 2017.
message is loud and clear: Venezuela is not alone!