Hands off Venezuela launched in Venezuela!

Also in Spanish: Con gran exito se lanzó la campaña Manos Fuera de Venezuela ¡En Venezuela!

The meeting began with the brief speeches of three comrades who promoted the founding of the campaign. Alessia Candito spoke briefly about the origins of the campaign around the coup d'état organised by the counter-revolution in 2002 as well as the campaign of attacks against Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution launched by the capitalists internationally. Since then the HOV campaign has continued to grow and today is present in more than 40 countries around the world. Elizabeth Alves and Francisco Rivero took the platform next. Finally, the founder of the International Hands off Venezuela Campaign, Alan Woods, spoke on the international situation, the struggle against imperialism and the necessity of taking the revolution to completion, to socialism. From that moment it was clear what had to be done to defend the revolution. It was decided to launch the International Hands off Venezuela Campaign. Alan explained that since those events it was possible to expropriate the oligarchy, which was defeated and divided, and to break with this unjust system forever. "They would not have been able to offer any resistance, and at the same time, it would have been possible to finish with capitalism without any bloodshed, without civil war."

The mood of the meeting was one of enthusiasm. Alan commented that since the beginning of the revolution, with the victory of Chavez in the presidential elections in 1998, he has closely followed developments in Venezuela. When speaking about the coup which took place on April 11, 2002, which was planned by US imperialism along with the local oligarchy, Alan asked, "Who saved the revolution?". The audience responded, "The people".

There are reformists who say that they see a low level of consciousness for the establishment of socialism. Alan countered this by saying "I see a high level of consciousness." The people, that is to say, the oppressed masses have demonstrated this high level of consciousness. "Where was this low level of consciousness during the coup, during the bosses lockout and during the referendum?" The people have saved the revolution in the most difficult moments and when it faces the greatest danger. The key is the rank and file. They must be organised. Alan again called on Heinz Dieterich to a public debate on the Bolivarian revolution and socialism. He criticised the ex-Marxists and ex-revolutionaries who say that the conditions do not exist for socialism. "They never run out of excuses for avoiding the socialist revolution."

Alan recalled the declarations of Chavez stating that the main enemy was within. This enemy is the cancer of the bureaucracy which weakens the process from within in order to smash it. Furthermore, repeating what the President had said, that much of this bureaucracy is old, from the Fourth Republic. However there is another new layers the "Bolivarian bureaucracy". This layer dresses itself in red but does not represent the people. Alan asked the audience: "How many bureaucrats are there?" The audience answered, "Very few". "There are more of us," Alan said, "and few of them". The key is from below, not from above.

There were many interesting interventions and questions to the speakers, such as a woman who asked whether Hands of Venezuela was a new party, as well as from a professor who insisted on the necessity of arming ourselves ideologically to take the revolution forward. Alan Woods closed the meeting by responding that Hands off Venezuela was a campaign open to debate. "Of course, we will not allow escualidos or counter-revolutionaries to join" (laughter) in reference to what the professor had said earlier, saying that it was necessary to have a debate to clarify things.

"As a Marxist I believe that the only ideology that can guarantee the victory of the revolution is Marxism. But there are some who ask, why defend something old? We must come up with something innovative, something new!" To this Alan replies "We defend old ideas, because we face the same old problems" (applause from the audience). Simon Bolivar's struggle took place 200 years ago. The oligarchy has had all this time to do something. But what have they done? They have betrayed Bolivar. They fractured and divided Latin America, to make it a slave in the service of North American imperialism. Bolivar's vision of uniting the people is still relevant today. But this can only be achieved from below, by expropriating the oligarchy, and through the construction of a Socialist Federation of Latin America and the World. The Venezuelan people can only rely on the workers, peasants, poor and youth of the world."

Alan ended with a call to continue the struggle: "Nobody should leave without joining HoV." All of those present expressed their commitment to building the campaign in Venezuela.

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