The Hands Off Venezuela Campaign was established in December 2002. At that time the Venezuelan reactionary opposition had launched another attempt to overthrow the government of Hugo Chávez and put an end to the Bolivarian revolution. A group of reactionary military officers had gathered in the Altamira Square, in the rich and middle class areas of the East of Caracas and made an appeal for "disobedience". At the same time, on December 3rd, the opposition had called for an "indefinite national strike". In fact this was nothing else but a bosses’ lock out (see Venezuela: Opposition "strike" or bosses lock out?). The highly paid managers and directors of the state owned company PDVSA simultaneously organised the sabotage of the industry with the aim of paralysing the country.
All this was accompanied by a campaign in the Venezuelan and international media of lies and misinformation. The idea was being broadcast that in Venezuela there was an authoritarian "regime" which had become increasingly unpopular and was being opposed by a general strike and a mass movement on the part of a “democratic” opposition.
For this reason, Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, made an appeal to defend the Bolivarian revolution, to oppose US intervention in Venezuela and to ensure that truthful information about what was really happening in Venezuela would reach the trade union and labour movement outside (see HANDS OFF VENEZUELA! An appeal to the international Labour Movement)
The appeal was quickly picked up by Jeremy Dear (general secretary of the British National Union of Journalists) and a number of other important trade union leaders in Britain. The campaign rapidly spread to other countries in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia and Africa (see the signatures page). Now the campaign has supporters in more than 30 countries around the world.
We have tirelessly organised solidarity activities with Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution through public meetings, video screenings, raising the issue within the trade union movement in different countries, organising speaking tours, moving motions in Parliaments, and sending solidarity delegations to Venezuela.
The work of the Campaign has been recognised by president Chávez himself (Chavez backs Hands off Venezuela campaign), and Hands Off Venezuela representatives featured prominently in the 2nd World Gathering in Solidarity with the Revolution in April 2004.
The basic principles of the Campaign are:
If you agree with these basic ideas get involved!
See also the HoV Consitution