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Three of the five Colombian paramilitary fighters that were captured in Venezuela.
Credit: VTV

Sunday morning Venezuelan security forces captured five Colombians in Venezuela’s Amazon state, who presumably belong to the United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC). Commissar Victor Bolivar, of Venezuela’s national police, the DISIP, reported that the presumed paramilitary soldiers were apparently extorting local indigenous people of the Amazon, who they were forcing to mine for gold. The fighters were captured in a national forest preserve, where mining is prohibited.

The captured fighters were carrying seven AK-47s and over 2,400 rounds of ammunition, among other military equipment. They were detained without resistance.

“The first investigations and declarations of the captured indicate that these individuals were safe-guarding the area for the subsequent smuggling of drugs,” said Bolivar.

Minister of the Interior and Justice, Jesse Chacon, said today that Venezuelan police are now in the process of identifying the captured irregular fighters. Chacon explained that there is a growing problem of illegal mining in Amazonas state, which borders both Brazil and Colombia.

This incident coincided with separate incident, a day earlier, when eight soldiers of Colombia’s regular military force were captured, who were dressed in civilian clothes. According to Colombian officials, it is common that Colombian soldiers temporarily cross the border with Venezuela, only to take a shortcut to another location in Colombia. However, Colombia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Enrique Vargas Ramirez, said that these soldiers had no permission to enter into Venezuela. Venezuela's foreign minister Ali Rodriguez, said that the Colombian soldiers would probably be soon released to Colombia.

Border incursions of Colombian soldiers, paramilitary fighters, and rebels into Venezuela have been a relatively common occurrence over the years. On various occasions fights have broken out between Venezuelan military forces and armed fighters coming from Colombia. U.S. government officials have repeatedly claimed that Venezuela allows Colombian rebels to camp out on Venezuelan territory, but Venezuelan officials deny this.

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Venezuela formally asked U.S. authorities to extradite an escaped prisoner who was responsible for the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, in which 73 persons were killed. The former prisoner, Luis Posada Carriles, is a Cuban exile who had escaped a Venezuelan prison in 1985. For a while he lived in Panama, where he was also captured for planning an assassination of Cuba’s President Fidel Castro in 2000. He was then pardoned in Panama, though, and entered the U.S. about a month ago.

Venezuela’s Vice-President, José Vicente Rangel, said, “We going to step up our demands for extradition.” “I hope Mr. Bush will take note of his own anti-terrorism policies and hand over Posada Carriles,” added Rangel.

Posada Carriles’ attorney says that the U.S. should deny the extradition request because he was acquitted in Venezuela of the bombing of the Cuban airliner. Also, if deported to Cuba, he would face possible execution.

Rangel pointed out that it is no wonder that Posada Carriles is requesting asylum in the U.S., “because during all of the acts that he participated in he did so while he was an employee of the CIA.”

On Monday, Cuba’s Castro said that if the U.S. denies the extradition request, then it would effectively be backing international terrorism. He also noted that Bush once said that whoever harbors a terrorist is as guilty of terrorism as the terrorist himself.

According to Associated Press, an unidentified U.S. official said that Posada is “excludable” from the U.S. because of his involvement in the plane bombing.

Carriles Posada, who is 77 years old and dual Venezuelan-Cuban citizenship, is a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 and has also been connected to a string of bombings in Cuban tourist locations in 1997. He escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, disguised as a priest, while prosecutors appealed his acquittal.

The extradition request is one of several that Venezuela has pending in the U.S. Two other requests involve Venezuelan citizens who are wanted for the bombing of the Colombian and Spanish consulates in Venezuela in February 2003.

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Lawyer Venezuelan-American Eva Golinger spoke in an interview from New York about her controversial book "The Chavez Code: Deciphering the Intervention of the United States in Venezuela," before its publication in the United States and a few days before its official presentation in Venezuela.

Q. How conclusive are the documents you published in your book on Washington's harassment of President Hugo Chavez?

A. The important thing is that the information that I have been able to declassify and access, like internal documents unavailable to the public of the National Endowment for Democracy, or NED, and of the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID support for anti-Chavez groups that today in 2005 continue to be financed by the U.S. government, which has as its final mission the overthrow of the Venezuelan government. These documents are very important to let the world know what is happening and in order to possibly help prevent the U.S. government intervention against Venezuela's sovereignty from succeeding.

Q. Did the documentary proof of North American harassment helped Chavez win the recall referendum?

A. He already had substantial support, but after I concretely proved with documentary evidence covert U.S. financing of opposition groups like Sumate and Plan Consensus Country -- which represented the opposition in June 2004 with a political platform for a government after Chavez shortly before the referendum -- the president's popularity rose and the opposition's went down. There are a lot of people in Venezuela who are not on Chavez's side, but who do not like the idea of an opposition that receives financing and orders from a foreign government either. The top-secret CIA documents that I managed to get declassified demonstrate that the U.S. government had previous knowledge and even detailed plans of how the coup d'etat was going to be organized, from provoking violence during an opposition march in early April, two months before the referendum. I do not know the exact date because they are crossed out in the documents, but the plans included taking President Chavez prisoner.

Q. What prompted you to undertake this investigation?

A. I am American and Venezuelan. I have been a person who has spent many years from my youth in the fight for social justice, which is why I became a lawyer. Since 1998, I have been writing about Venezuela for the alternative media because I am not a well-known journalist. What interested me most about the government was Venezuela's new constitution -- which focused particularly in human rights, my area of specialization -- and when the coup happened, it touched me personally because I have family there. Being from the United States, I felt I had the duty to find out if the American government had participated in a coup d'etat to overthrow a democratic and legitimate government. Many can debate on whether Chavez is democratic or not, but it cannot be denied that he was elected in democratic and transparent elections. And it seemed to me unusual that the United States was again intervening as it had done during the 1970s and 1980s in Central and Latin America.

The American government had a major role in an illegal action, and as a lawyer it was my duty to unmask the injustice if a foreign government intervenes in the internal affairs of another country, much less when it tries to overthrow a democratic government. That is why I did it, but I did not think that it was going to have the repercussions that it has.

Q. It is true that you have received death threats?

A. Yes, it is true.

Q. From whom?

A. All the threats have been via e-mail. I don't know if the names I have are true because anyone can open an account in Yahoo and write whatever he wants. I believe they are Venezuelans or Cubans related to Venezuelans, but I do not know if they are in Venezuela or other parts of the world.

Q. You are being accused of being a Venezuelan spy in the United States and there are allegations that Chavez's government has paid you a large sum of dollars. What do you say to that?

A. I had not seen that (she laughs). The question of me being a spy is absurd speculation and it has no legal foundations. The information I am uncovering and making public is information that the U.S. government itself is giving me and it knows who I am because we have been corresponding. In order to be a spy, you have to obtain data and documents secretly and then present them to a foreign government. I do not have any secret links with the American government and the documents that I publish in my Web page (venezuelafoia.info) are available to anybody who visits the Web site, not only to Chavez. As far as the money goes, I have just paid my taxes and the U.S. government has that information, of how much I have made last year and what my sources of income are, who my clients are. I am a lawyer, I have my own office. I am not going to break laws to receive money illegally or hide my finances either. Chavez's government did not finance my investigation and paid me nothing for the book. I had great difficulty finding a publisher as happens to any author with his first book.

Q. Then you financed it from your own pocket?

A. Yes. Chavez did not know of the book until somebody gave it to him; he then talked about it in his program 'Hello President.'"

Q. Chavez has referred to the book on numerous opportunities. Has anybody from the U.S. government, the CIA or the State Department contacted you?

A. No. Never.

Q. The fact that the first time the book was presented to the public was in Cuba has created much suspicion, taking into account the relations between Chavez and Fidel Castro. What about that?

A. Cuba has a vast and hungry readership. They are fanatical about books; the country has great publishing houses and the ability to satisfy public demand. In addition, they have some of the best translation teams in the world. I succeeded in getting them to help me translate the book into Spanish. Then they requested my permission to publish an edition for the book fair that took place in Santiago de Cuba last month on March 5.

Q. Cuba's Granma newspaper reported that this book is only your first step and says that you have more than 4,000 documents that show the participation of the United States not only in the coup d'etat, but also in the oil strike and the recall referendum.

A. That is true. Much of that information is in the book.

Q. What is going to be your next step?

A. After finishing the book, I received 50 percent of the document requests that I filed under the Freedom of Information Act, and I still need a lot of information. I have not yet reviewed at least 1,000 of the 4,000 documents I've received so far. They include State Department and Defense Department documents, and now with everything that is going on between Venezuela and the United States, and with the situation being so tense, these issues will continue to develop still further.

Q. But will we be getting continuing installments of your investigation?

A. Certainly, because the investigation continues.

Q. What is your true relationship with the Venezuelan government? Many have labeled you as being pro-Chavez.

A. I don't like political labeling of any type, but I share the desire for social reform, the social changes which are being implemented to achieve a fairer system, which would really take into account the majority of citizens. If to be pro-Chavez is to support a political system and a government that is looking for a way to meet the needs of its people, then yes, I share that political view.

Q. Do you admire Chavez as a leader?

A. Chavez is a person with an extraordinary manner of speaking and articulating his thoughts. It is very rare to see a person who spends so many hours speaking without losing the thread of the issue he is talking about. He is very charismatic; I have talked to him, and it seems to me, although many would say that it is not true, that he is a very sincere person, with the best intentions for the country, for Venezuela.

Q. Many people mentioned that after you published the declassified documents Chavez's verbal attacks on the United States increased.

A. They say that it was my fault?

Q. No, but that you indirectly helped to increase the number of Chavez's attacks.

A. If to know the truth somehow can help somebody to express himself better, in that sense they are right. But that argument is absurd because based on that logic then it would be better to leave everything hidden because otherwise people would know what is happening, and they are going to complain and to protest. To give somebody proof and the truth about a situation does not mean that one is increasing tensions. Sometimes, the truth hurts and the end result is not necessarily what everybody wants.

Q. Aside from these documents, do you think that there really is a plot to assassinate Chavez?

A. I do not rule it out. Very simply, it is necessary to look at history to see that that strategy has been implemented in other countries. Are Bush and his close officials are discussing Chavez's murder on a daily basis? I don't think so, and I hope that that is not the case. There are people who, of course, have publicly spoken publicly in favor of Chavez's assassination. For example, there are the declarations of Felix Rodriguez, a former CIA agent who was involved in killing Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Bolivia; he appeared on television in Miami speaking on the subject of assassinating Chavez. This is only circumstantial evidence; as lawyer I do not have solid proof.

(Pedro F. Frisneda is a writer with Tiempos del Mundo)

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Last weekend the Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) was held in snowy Scarborough, Britain. Hands Off Venezuela supporters had a busy weekend as there was a motion lined up for discussion on Venezuela as well as a debate against the privatisation of the BBC and the opposition to the war in Iraq. Saturday afternoon saw a discussion of a motion on Venezuela that criticised both the role of the Venezuelan media owners in the coup against Chavez in 2002, and the use of the British media in limiting and misrepresenting information on events in Venezuela. The resolution also recognised the support of working people and the poor for the Chavez government as expressed in the presidential recall referendum in August 2004 as well as how this support was the result of the progressive social programmes implemented by the government. The motion also agreed to further the issue of the Venezuelan revolution within the labour movement, to participate in a trade union delegation to Venezuela, to build links with Venezuelan trade unionists and to work for these aims with the Hands Off Venezuela campaign.

The motion was presented by a speaker from the National Executive Committee and had favourable amendments from the Book Branch and London Central that had speakers supporting it. After a very interesting debate, the ADM agreed to support the motion.

ADM also saw the biggest fringe meeting in the form of a joint meeting between Hands Off Venezuela, Justice for Colombia and Cuba Solidarity Campaign. More than 30 attended a meeting chaired by NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear and with 3 speakers: Jorge Martin, International Secretary of HOV, Carlos Cruz, Colombian Journalist and Jesus Gonzales, Economic counsellor of the Cuban Embassy.

Jorge Martin speaking

Jorge Martin outlined the necessity of supporting the Venezuelan Revolution by trade unionists internationally and explained the situation in Venezuela. Carlos Cruz, on the other hand explained the difficult conditions for trade unionists and journalists in neighbouring Colombia and the Cuban speaker gave a good account of the economic and social situation in the island. A couple of NUJ members who are supporters of the Colombian Solidarity Campaign reported on the incident in Bristol when the Colombian vice-president got red paint thrown at him in protest of the role of his government in the assassination of trade unionists in that country.

The weekend in Scarborough was a good opportunity for HOV supports to advertise the campaign, sell material and ensure that the NUJ is fully behind the inspiring Venezuelan Revolution. In the coming months we will have speakers in as many branches and chapels as possible to start a debate about the media in Venezuela and the need for international support for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

 

Full text of the motion passed:

ADM notes the results of the referendum last August in Venezuela which gives its president Hugo Chávez an overwhelming victory and a stronger mandate for his “revolution of the poor”.

 ADM further notes that these results confirm that Chávez’s social programmes on literacy, health care, job training, land reform and subsidised food is popular with the working people and the poor.

 ADM regrets that medias in Venezuela played a major role in attempting to unseat Chávez. The five private channels and the ten national newspapers used their near monopoly of the media to blast Chavez for destroying the economy, antagonising the US government and expropriating private property. This partisan approach of media owners has resulted in journalists’ and media workers’ lives being daily at risk with constant harassment, physical and verbal aggression.

 ADM also notes the use of British media in limiting the information on developments in Venezuela misrepresenting, for example, the land reforms.

ADM recalls that an IFJ mission to Venezuela in 2002 concluded by calling on the wider trade union movement to support media professionals striving to maintain journalistic integrity in the face of intolerable pressures. Both our sister union the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Prensa and the Colegio of Periodistas declared their strong opposition to the manipulation of the media by all sides and called for new initiatives to create editorial standards that will stand up to political and commercial pressure from owners and politicians alike.

 ADM reaffirms its opposition to any attempt by US backed groups to destabilise Chavez and instructs the NEC to support the IFJ affiliate SNTP in defending its members against the intimidation they have endured during recent years, and carrying out the urgent dialogue between government, media and journalists needed to restore public confidence and maintain ethical and professional standards in their work.

 ADM agrees to support any wider trade union initiative to highlight the issue of Venezuela within the British labour movement, including the participation in a trade union delegation to meet and build links with Venezuelan trade unionists. Furthermore, this ADM pledges to work with trade union endorsed campaign such as “Hands Off Venezuela” to further the above aims.

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The decree of expropriation of Venepal in January this year was a major turning point in the Venezuelan revolution. When Chavez announced the decree, in the Ayacucho room of the presidential palace, the same place where the coup organisers swore in their “president” Pedro Carmona on April 12th, 2002, he made an appeal to "workers' leaders to follow this path". He added, “any factories closed or abandoned, we are going to take them over. All of them.”

cnv3.jpg
CNV workers in struggle, August 2003
Photo : Frédéric Lévêque

The decision to nationalise Venepal and put it under the administration of the workers, and the very high profile way in which the decision was taken, was bound to have an impact amongst other groups of workers in the same situation. As part of the relentless campaign of the Venezuelan capitalists against the Chavez government they became engaged in a campaign of economic sabotage. This campaign reached its peak during the bosses’ lockout in December 2002 and January 2003. Some factories were closed for up to two months. After the failure of the lockout, soundly defeated by the action of the workers and the massive Bolivarian demonstration on January 23, the bosses tried to make the workers pay the price for the lockout, by not paying their wages, delaying their payment, etc. Some factories were declared bankrupt. In some cases the bankruptcy was genuine (the companies having been ruined by the reckless two month long lockout), in some other cases it was a tool of the economic sabotage against the government.

This created a situation in the spring and summer of 2003 of heightened class struggle. In many factories workers organised democratic unions and fought for recognition. The bosses replied with repression, making union organisers redundant, etc. In a number of cases the bosses just declared bankruptcy and abandoned the premises, forcing the workers to occupy them and take them over in order to demand payment of their wages and to defend their jobs and livelihoods. Venepal was the highest profile case, where the workers were better organised. They occupied the factory in July 2003 and ran Venepal under workers’ control for 77 days. After an uneasy truce, the bosses abandoned production again in September 2004. The workers occupied again and after more than 4 months of struggle Chavez decreed the expropriation of Venepal under joint management of the workers' and the state (in which the workers' have a majority of representatives in the company's board).

But at the time of the occupation of Venepal in the summer of 2003 there were a number of other factories that were also occupied: Industrial de Perfumes, a perfume making company in Caracas; the textile plant Fenix in Guarico; and the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas in Los Teques, Miranda, a factory that used to produce valves for the state owned oil company PDVSA. There were other similar conflicts at the time, but the workers in these three, together with the Venepal workers, achieved a degree of unity. There were joint meetings and declarations, and two joint demonstrations in Caracas in October 1. Unfortunately, by the time a certain amount of coordination between these different struggles was reached, the conflict in Venepal, which had the largest number of workers, had already been settled. The movement, in some cases after 4 months of occupation, progressively fizzled out. Tiredness, the need to look for other sources of income, the lack of a clear perspective of a way out of the struggle – with all these factors combined, the number of workers effectively occupying these factories declined, and the struggle basically died out. The leadership of the newly created UNT trade union confederation never put forward a clear plan of struggle. Though solidarity was forthcoming from other unions to the strike fund, there was never a well-organised national campaign in support of the occupied factories.

The nationalisation of Venepal in January this year had the effect of reviving some of these struggles. The first group of workers to re-occupy their factories again was at the CNV in the working class city of Los Teques, in the state of Miranda, right next to Caracas. On February 17, a group of 63 CNV workers decided to take over the installation, and unlike in 2003, when they just set up a picket line outside the installation, this time they occupied the premises (against the advice of a representative of the Ministry of Labour present).

The Constructora Nacional de Valvulas has been producing high-pressure valves for the state owned oil company PDVSA for more than 30 years. The CNV had a monopoly in the sector and was selling overpriced valves to PDVSA, sometimes in unnecessary amounts. This was possible because of the close relationship between the owner of the CNV, Andres Sosa Pietri and the managers and directors in PDVSA. In fact the relationship was so close (and corrupt) that Sosa Pietri himself in the 1990s became a director of PDVSA. From his position he was awarding his company PDVSA exclusive contracts for the making and maintenance of the industry's high pressure valves.

cnv4.jpg
Photo : Frédéric Lévêque

Sosa Pietri belongs to one of the traditional families of the Venezuelan oligarchy, popularly known as "Los Amos del Valle" ("The Owners of the Valley"). His policy advice for the oil industry was clear. He advocated PDVSA to become a private company, to adopt a "market friendly strategy, withdraw from OPEC, and ally ourselves with our main commercial partners [i.e. the oil multinationals]". It is therefore no surprise that he actively campaigned against the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, because one of his main promises was to maintain the state owned character of the oil industry and to pursue a policy of strengthening of OPEC in order to achieve higher oil prices. At the head of his own right wing Liberal Party he joined the Democratic Coordinator, the umbrella group of the Venezuelan opposition which went on to organise the coup against Chavez in April 2002, which he wholeheartedly supported.

After the defeat of the coup, he formed yet another political party, called Alliance for Freedom. On December 9th, 2002, as part of the bosses’ lockout to overthrow Chavez, he closed down the installations of the CNV, leaving more than 100 working class families without any income. After the failure of the bosses’ lockout he refused to pay wages to the workers. After months of struggle and negotiations, in May 2003 a group of workers decided to occupy the entrance to the factory in order to prevent any finished products or machinery from being taken out of the premises. Sosa Pietri went to the tribunals which ruled in his favour. In August 2003 there was an attempt to remove the workers, but thanks to the solidarity of the labour movement and community organisations from the town this was prevented.

The workers have now set up a solidarity committee, and a meeting took place in Los Teques in order to organise solidarity with the struggle. The CNV workers are pointing out that CNV has a strategic importance from the point of view of the oil industry and that therefore it should be expropriated and put under workers' control and management, so that it can produce valves for PDVSA. The case is clear, the owner of the factory is a participant in the coup in 2002, he closed down the factory during the bosses lockout and has consistently refused to pay the workers the wages they are owed. As with many other workers' struggles taking place in Venezuela today, this is not only a matter of a fight between the workers and the bosses, but it has also a clear political character, of a struggle between the Bolivarian Revolution and the oligarchy, the owners of industry, the land and the banks, that use all possible means at their disposal to sabotage it.

Following the example of Venepal, the CNV should be expropriated under workers' control and management. This is the way forward towards the socialism of the 21st century of which Chavez has been talking about.

We appeal to the trade union movement of the world and all those who support the Bolivarian revolution to show their solidarity with the workers of the CNV (in struggle for nearly 2 years now), and to ask the Venezuelan authorities to act decisively to fulfil the just demands of the workers.

Send messages of solidarity to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

and messages to the Venezuelan President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and the Ministry of Labour This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (you can use the model resolution proposed by the workers themselves: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/support_cnv_workers.htm )

If you can make a financial donation to the strike fund, please send it to the following account 0039-01-0100309746 Banco Industrial de Venezuela under the name of Jorge Paredes y Rosalio Castro for the Resistance Fund, or contact the Hands Off Venezuela campaign for more details.

 

Read more ...

The decree of expropriation of Venepal in January this year was a major turning point in the Venezuelan revolution. When Chavez announced the decree, in the Ayacucho room of the presidential palace, the same place where the coup organisers swore in their “president” Pedro Carmona on April 12th, 2002, he made an appeal to "workers' leaders to follow this path". He added, “any factories closed or abandoned, we are going to take them over. All of them.”

cnv3.jpg
CNV workers in struggle, August 2003
Photo : Frédéric Lévêque

The decision to nationalise Venepal and put it under the administration of the workers, and the very high profile way in which the decision was taken, was bound to have an impact amongst other groups of workers in the same situation. As part of the relentless campaign of the Venezuelan capitalists against the Chavez government they became engaged in a campaign of economic sabotage. This campaign reached its peak during the bosses’ lockout in December 2002 and January 2003. Some factories were closed for up to two months. After the failure of the lockout, soundly defeated by the action of the workers and the massive Bolivarian demonstration on January 23, the bosses tried to make the workers pay the price for the lockout, by not paying their wages, delaying their payment, etc. Some factories were declared bankrupt. In some cases the bankruptcy was genuine (the companies having been ruined by the reckless two month long lockout), in some other cases it was a tool of the economic sabotage against the government.

This created a situation in the spring and summer of 2003 of heightened class struggle. In many factories workers organised democratic unions and fought for recognition. The bosses replied with repression, making union organisers redundant, etc. In a number of cases the bosses just declared bankruptcy and abandoned the premises, forcing the workers to occupy them and take them over in order to demand payment of their wages and to defend their jobs and livelihoods. Venepal was the highest profile case, where the workers were better organised. They occupied the factory in July 2003 and ran Venepal under workers’ control for 77 days. After an uneasy truce, the bosses abandoned production again in September 2004. The workers occupied again and after more than 4 months of struggle Chavez decreed the expropriation of Venepal under joint management of the workers' and the state (in which the workers' have a majority of representatives in the company's board).

But at the time of the occupation of Venepal in the summer of 2003 there were a number of other factories that were also occupied: Industrial de Perfumes, a perfume making company in Caracas; the textile plant Fenix in Guarico; and the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas in Los Teques, Miranda, a factory that used to produce valves for the state owned oil company PDVSA. There were other similar conflicts at the time, but the workers in these three, together with the Venepal workers, achieved a degree of unity. There were joint meetings and declarations, and two joint demonstrations in Caracas in October 1. Unfortunately, by the time a certain amount of coordination between these different struggles was reached, the conflict in Venepal, which had the largest number of workers, had already been settled. The movement, in some cases after 4 months of occupation, progressively fizzled out. Tiredness, the need to look for other sources of income, the lack of a clear perspective of a way out of the struggle – with all these factors combined, the number of workers effectively occupying these factories declined, and the struggle basically died out. The leadership of the newly created UNT trade union confederation never put forward a clear plan of struggle. Though solidarity was forthcoming from other unions to the strike fund, there was never a well-organised national campaign in support of the occupied factories.

The nationalisation of Venepal in January this year had the effect of reviving some of these struggles. The first group of workers to re-occupy their factories again was at the CNV in the working class city of Los Teques, in the state of Miranda, right next to Caracas. On February 17, a group of 63 CNV workers decided to take over the installation, and unlike in 2003, when they just set up a picket line outside the installation, this time they occupied the premises (against the advice of a representative of the Ministry of Labour present).

The Constructora Nacional de Valvulas has been producing high-pressure valves for the state owned oil company PDVSA for more than 30 years. The CNV had a monopoly in the sector and was selling overpriced valves to PDVSA, sometimes in unnecessary amounts. This was possible because of the close relationship between the owner of the CNV, Andres Sosa Pietri and the managers and directors in PDVSA. In fact the relationship was so close (and corrupt) that Sosa Pietri himself in the 1990s became a director of PDVSA. From his position he was awarding his company PDVSA exclusive contracts for the making and maintenance of the industry's high pressure valves.

cnv4.jpg
Photo : Frédéric Lévêque

Sosa Pietri belongs to one of the traditional families of the Venezuelan oligarchy, popularly known as "Los Amos del Valle" ("The Owners of the Valley"). His policy advice for the oil industry was clear. He advocated PDVSA to become a private company, to adopt a "market friendly strategy, withdraw from OPEC, and ally ourselves with our main commercial partners [i.e. the oil multinationals]". It is therefore no surprise that he actively campaigned against the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, because one of his main promises was to maintain the state owned character of the oil industry and to pursue a policy of strengthening of OPEC in order to achieve higher oil prices. At the head of his own right wing Liberal Party he joined the Democratic Coordinator, the umbrella group of the Venezuelan opposition which went on to organise the coup against Chavez in April 2002, which he wholeheartedly supported.

After the defeat of the coup, he formed yet another political party, called Alliance for Freedom. On December 9th, 2002, as part of the bosses’ lockout to overthrow Chavez, he closed down the installations of the CNV, leaving more than 100 working class families without any income. After the failure of the bosses’ lockout he refused to pay wages to the workers. After months of struggle and negotiations, in May 2003 a group of workers decided to occupy the entrance to the factory in order to prevent any finished products or machinery from being taken out of the premises. Sosa Pietri went to the tribunals which ruled in his favour. In August 2003 there was an attempt to remove the workers, but thanks to the solidarity of the labour movement and community organisations from the town this was prevented.

The workers have now set up a solidarity committee, and a meeting took place in Los Teques in order to organise solidarity with the struggle. The CNV workers are pointing out that CNV has a strategic importance from the point of view of the oil industry and that therefore it should be expropriated and put under workers' control and management, so that it can produce valves for PDVSA. The case is clear, the owner of the factory is a participant in the coup in 2002, he closed down the factory during the bosses lockout and has consistently refused to pay the workers the wages they are owed. As with many other workers' struggles taking place in Venezuela today, this is not only a matter of a fight between the workers and the bosses, but it has also a clear political character, of a struggle between the Bolivarian Revolution and the oligarchy, the owners of industry, the land and the banks, that use all possible means at their disposal to sabotage it.

Following the example of Venepal, the CNV should be expropriated under workers' control and management. This is the way forward towards the socialism of the 21st century of which Chavez has been talking about.

We appeal to the trade union movement of the world and all those who support the Bolivarian revolution to show their solidarity with the workers of the CNV (in struggle for nearly 2 years now), and to ask the Venezuelan authorities to act decisively to fulfil the just demands of the workers.

Send messages of solidarity to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

and messages to the Venezuelan President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and the Ministry of Labour This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (you can use the model resolution proposed by the workers themselves: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/support_cnv_workers.htm )

If you can make a financial donation to the strike fund, please send it to the following account 0039-01-0100309746 Banco Industrial de Venezuela under the name of Jorge Paredes y Rosalio Castro for the Resistance Fund, or contact the Hands Off Venezuela campaign for more details.

 

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In February, the Hands off Venezuela website published a letter issued by the UNT referring to an attack by FEDECAMARAS, the employers’ association of Venezuela, which had presented a complaint to the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association alleging that the Venezuelan government has violated Trade Union freedoms and the right to strike. We urged our readers to send messages of support to the UNT and to add their signatures to their letter of complaint (see also Urgent: support needed for the Venezuelan UNT!) . Below you find some of the messages of support coming from students, trade unionsts and labour activists all over the world. 

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From Britain:

Dear Comrades,

I wish to convey solidarity greetings from Brighton & Hove Unemployed Workers Centre to your union and wish you well in your struggles.

People in this country are well aware of the attacks on Venezuela by US Imperialism, aided by the FEDECAMARAS and CTV.

In Solidarity,

Tony Greenstein

 

“It has been drawn to my attention by the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign that the CTV and the Venezuelan employers’ organisation are demanding an ILO enquiry into so-called anti-union activity in Venezuela. This is an outrage and I wish to express my solidarity with the UNT and its appeal to the ILO’s Workers Group to reject this underhand attack.”

A través de la Campaña Manos Fuera de Venezuela, hemos tenido conocimiento de que la CTV y FEDECAMARAS están pidiendo a la OIT una investigación sobre las supuestas activitivades anti-sindicales en Venezuela. Esto es un escándalo y en consecuencia nos gustaría reafirmar nuestra solidaridad con la UNT y a su llamamiento al Grupo de Trabajadores de la OIT para que rechace este ataque injustificado.

Steve Jones

Treasurer, London Central branch National Union Of journalists.

Romford Labour Party

From Canada:

Dear Comrades of the UNT,

It is with great pride that I am able to pledge my support, as a youth representative of the New Democratic Party, for your appeal to the ILO in response to the disgraceful actions of FEDECAMARAS and the treachery of the CTV. I became aware of this effort through the Hands Off Venezuela campaign that continues to be at the forefront of Intentional solidarity work around the world. The work of the UNT to move the Bolivarian Revolution forward is crucial in the struggle for socialism, democracy and prosperity.

For a United Socialist Latin America!

In Solidarity and Strength,

Julian Benson

Youth Representative to Provincial Council
New Democratic Party Of Canada
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

 

To our Venezuelan comrades of the UNT,

I am writing to send my solidarity with you in your struggle against the FEDECAMARAS enemies of the Bolivarian revolution. I am in complete support of the UNT national coordinators’ Open Letter to the Workers’ Group of the ILO (pasted below). In Canada, we have been made aware of your struggle by the Hands off Venezuela campaign.

In Solidarity,

Mike Palecek

Executive member, Vancouver-Langara Constituency
New Democratic Party of British Columbia

 

To our Venezuelan comrades of the UNT,

We have learned of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and we are writing from Canada to express our solidarity in your struggle against the FEDECAMARAS enemies of the Bolivarian revolution. We are in complete support of the UNT national coordinators’ Open Letter to the Workers’ Group of the ILO (pasted below).

In Solidarity,

Miriam Martin

Member, BC Young New Democrats
Vancouver CANADA

From Denmark:

Dear comrades

I learned about your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela campaign, and want to express my warmest solidarity. The right to freely unionize is an essential right all over the world.

Yours in solidarity,

Marie Frederiksen,
Denmark, member of the social workers union, and public sector union (LFS and FOA)

From Italy:

Dear comrades

We have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and we would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT against the attacks by FEDECAMARAS and the bureaucratic and corrupt CTV. It is time to unmask these mafia leaders to all workers of the world. We will do our part of the job here in Italy and we add our signature at your appeal

Yours fraternally,

Claudio Bellotti, national executive committee, Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
Alessandro Giardiello and Simona Bolelli, national political committee, Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
Jacopo Renda,
Elisabetta Rossi,
Dario Salvetti, national coordinating committee, Young Communists – Partito della Rifondazione Comunista
Paolo Brini, central committee Fiom Cgil (metal workers union)
Orlando Maviglia, regional committee Fiom Cgil, Emilia Romagna
Davide Bacchelli, provincial committee Fiom Cgil, Bologna
Giampiero Montanari, metal shop steward Fiom Cgil
Ivan Serra, metal shop steward Fiom Cgil, Bologna
Domenico Minadeo, chemical shop steward, Filcea Cgil Imola
Fabrizio Parlagreco, metal shop steward Fiom Cgil Milano
Nunzio Vurchio, metal shop steward Fiom Cgil Milano
Massimo Cavallotti, services shop steward Filmcams Cgil Milano
Samira Giulitti, insurance shop steward Fisac Cigil Milano
Sara Cimarelli, insurance shop steward Fisac Cigil Milano
Laura Parozzi, transport shop steward Filt Cgil Milano
Antonio Forlano, transport shop steward Filt Cgil Milano
Pino Marazzi, transport shop steward Filt Cgil Milano
Laura Bassanetti, transport shop steward Filt Cgil Milano
Silvia Ruggieri call center shop steward Nidil Cgil Roma
Stefano Pol, national committee, Nidil Cgil
Paolo Grassi, provincial committee, Nidil Cgil, Milano

From Iran:

Dear comrades,

I have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and would like to express my complete solidarity with the UNT. I believe that the CTV is one of the most rotten and class-collaborationist union bureaucracies in the world. It is therefore not a big surprise to see them join forces with FEDECAMARAS to present a Complaint to the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association alleging that the Venezuelan government has violated trade Union freedoms and the right to strike. These are the same people who took part in the April 2002 coup and the bosses’ lockout in December 2002-January 2003.

I know that by relying on the strength of the Venezuelan workers and the international solidarity of the working class you will be able to defeat this ‘democratic’ move that is aimed at limiting trade union rights.

Yours comradely

Amin Kazemi (member of Iranian Revolutionary Socialists’ League)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.http://www.kargar.org – BM KARGAR, LONDON WC1N 3XX, United Kingdom.

 

We have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and we would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT

Roza Javaan

Iranian Youth Revolutionary League

Javan Socialist http://www.javaan.net

 

We have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and we would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT

Sara Ghazi

Iranian Women Socialists

 

I have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and I would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT

M. Razi

Iranian Revolutionary Socialist League

From Nigeria:

Dear Brothers And Sisters,

Through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign we discovered that this campaign is going on and we would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT. The intention and plot of the FEDECAMARAS is very clear and obvious. The case is the same all over the globe. The interests of the employer always run counter to the goal of the genuine working class. We produce the wealth and are marginalised in its consumption. We workers of Nigeria are in complete solidarity with you and we strongly believe that success is yours in this struggle, because it is the struggle between light and darkness.

Yours fraternally,

Ola Kazeem

for Campaign for Workers and Youth Alternative, Nigeria

From Pakistan:

We the Pakistan section of Youth for International Socialism (YFIS) respond to the appeal by the National Union of Workers of Venezuela (UNT) and express solidarity with their rights. We condemn the conspiracies of imperialist powers against Chavez who is leading the masses and workers of Venezuela in the form of Bolivarian Revolution. We are against any oppression and tyranny of employers against the workers although they have bought a small section of trade union leadership.

We condemn the dirty politics of FEDECAMARAS and the confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV) and appeal to ILO’s committee on Freedom of Association to reject their request.

We will do we could in supporting the cause of Workers of Venezuela.

In solidarity,

Youth for International Socialism (YFIS)

Pakistan Section

 

We the Trade Unionists of Pakistan respond to the appeal by the National Union of Workers of Venezuela (UNT) and express solidarity with their rights. We condemn the conspiracies of imperialist powers against Chavez who is leading the masses and workers of Venezuela in the form of Bolivarian Revolution.

We are against any oppression and tyranny of employers against the workers although they have bought a small section of trade union leadership. We condemn the dirty politics of FEDECAMARAS and the confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV) and appeal to ILO’s committee on Freedom of Association to reject their request.

We will do we could in supporting the cause of Workers of Venezuela.

In solidarity,

Signed by President of Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign (PTUDC)

Ch. Manzoor Ahmad

 

We the Members of National Assembly of Pakistan respond to the appeal by the National Union of Workers of Venezuela (UNT) and express solidarity with their rights.

We condemn the conspiracies of imperialist powers against Chavez who is leading the masses and workers of Venezuela in the form of Bolivarian Revolution. We condemn the dirty politics of FEDECAMARAS and the confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV) and appeal to ILO’s committee on Freedom of Association to reject their request.

We will support the cause of UNT in any possible way.

In solidarity,

Signed by following Members of National Assembly of Pakistan

NAMES CONSTITUENCIES

1. Ch. Manzoor Ahmed NA-139
2. Qamar Zaman Kaira NA-106
3. Zulfiqar Gondal NA-69
4. Fozia Wahab NA-311
5. Zamurd Khan NA-54
6. Anwar Bhutto NA-204
7. Rauf Mengal NA-269
8. Naheed Khan NA-292
9. Dr. Fehmida Mirza NA-225
10. Syed Nayyar Hussain NA-49
11. Sherry Rehman NA-309
12. Qurban Ali Shah NA-225

From Russia:

Fraternal greetings to the comrades of the UNT!

I have learnt through the Hands off Venezuela campaign about the joint complaint of Fedecamaras and the CTV alleging that the Venezuelan government has violated Trade Union Freedoms and the Right to Strike. This is a monstrous lie on the part of the bosses and it is a scandal that they are being supported by the CTV, which claims to represent workers’ interests.

Through the Hands off Venezuela campaign workers in many countries know that Chavez is serious about democracy for the Venezuelan people, which he has demonstrated with the passing of the new Venzuelan constitution, and we know that Chavez in deeds as well as words supports workers in struggle, as the recent nationalisation of the Venepal factory shows. The workers campaigned for months for this victory and the government took their side against the bosses. It is for this reason that the bosses in Fedecamaras are so hostile to the government.

In building solidarity with the UNT in Venezuela the Hands off Venezuela campaign is rallying trade unionists internationally as well as in Venezuela.

Comradely,

Tom Rollings, Moscow.

From Sweden:

Through the Hands off Venezuela campaign site have I received this information.

I sign the Open Letter to the Workers’ Group of the ILO written by the leaders of UNT. I am a member of Left Party (in Sweden) and Young Left (the youth organisation). There I have campaigned for the support of the UNT and the Venezuelan revolution.

The following resolution was passed unanimously at the regional congress of the Young Left, Gothenburg and Bohuslän, on the 6th of february 2005:

“During the last years an intense struggle has been taking place in Venezuela for a more just and more democratic society. Through a struggle against the local bourgeoisie and imperialism great reforms have been won. This has resulted in more schools, more doctors, more jobs and more houses. A big land reform has been initiated. Recently an important step forward was taken when the paper mill Venepal was expropriated. But all this is threatened by the enemies of the revolution are prepared to use any methods what so ever to stop the movement; the coup d’etat in 2002 is an obvious example. The world labour movement has a duty to defend the Venezuelan revolution. The Young Left in Gothenburg and Bohuslän declare its support for the gains of the Venezuelan revolution and support the new trade union UNT”

Comradely

Martin Lööf

Left Party/Young Left (Sweden)

 

I strongly want to express my solidarity with the UNT of Venezuela. The UNT is the legitimate trade union confederation of Venezuela and has the support of the workers in the country. The old corrupt CTV-leaders have joined forces with the employers-oganiztions to oust the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez to try and stop the positive development for the majority of the population that has started with the bolivarian revolution. They have been part of organizing a military coup among other things and no longer have the support of the working class. Now they have joined forces with the employers once again and has presented a Complaint to the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association alleging that the Venezuelan government has violated Trade Union freedoms and the right to strike. This complaint has no basis what so ever. The only ones violating trade-union rights is the right-wing paramilitary groups who harres and even kill worker’s and peasent leaders who support the bolivarian revolution. These groups are on the same side as the employers organizations and, regrettably, as the CTV in the hard conflict evolving in Venezuela.

Henrik Wolgast,

member of the Swedish Social Democratic Workers Party

Falun, Sweden.

From the United States:

Dear Members of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association,

I am a former union carpenter/cabinet maker from Toledo, Ohio. I am familiar with rifts between unions. Yet the instance cited above is perplexing, in that an employer group is concerned about workers’ rights. I have watched with hope over the last few years, the events which have taken shape in Venezuela. I have noted that the forces behind the coup attempt of this democratically elected government, were largely the work of the very wealthy.

It is clear in the United States, irrespective of our own government’s suppression, that the people of Venezuela turned the coup back. Even so, a second democratic election took place and again reaffirmed President Chavez as the leader elect. Please consider very carefully the source of the complaint filed by FEDECAMARAS and the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers.

I cannot think of any employer group in the United States that grieves for a workers trade union or their freedoms and the right to strike. The FEDECAMARAS/CVW complaint should be found without merit. Any reasonable observer could not be persuaded that the interests of the working people of Venezuela are being served by this partnership. I must ask the question why has CVW not made attempts to rectify the rift in the union split. The CVW now in partnership with the original antagonist, the employer, is I believe, a fatal flaw.

I urge you to allow the unions to find their own solution to the so called “complaint” and not add fire to the trouble that the US has already caused the people of Venezuela.

Respectfully,

Robert Masters II

Paralegal, Workers’ Compensation Specialist

 

I have learnt of your appeal through the Hands off Venezuela Campaign and we would like to express our complete solidarity with the UNT

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

We in Venezuela have been part of the effort by the working class to create a trade union federation that is built from the bottom up by the rank and file and that is rooted in the principles of class independence, trade union democracy and full autonomy in relation to the State and all political parties. This effort – which in April 2003 brought unionists from different sectors and trade union currents together to create the UNT – is part and parcel of the struggle of our people in defense of their national sovereignty.

Today, the UNT represents the majority of the organized workforce in Venezuela. Its creation in 2003 has given a huge impetus to the drive to organize trade unions across our country. The rate of trade union affiliation has increased from 11% in 2001 to 23% in 2004. The UNT also has been present in the last two International Labor Conferences of the ILO in June 2003 and June 2004.

But these recent years also have seen FEDECAMARAS, the employers’ association of Venezuela, join forces with the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV) to present a Complaint to the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association alleging that the Venezuelan government has violated Trade Union Freedoms and the Right to Strike.

The joint Complaint by FEDECAMARAS and the CTV is highly unusual, as trade unions are generally the ones filing ILO Complaints against the employers and seeking support from the ILO Workers’ Group against all violations of trade union rights, including the right to strike. It is unprecedented, as well, on account of the convergence of interests between FEDECAMARAS and the CTV.

Such a Complaint can be understood only in the context of the unfolding political situation in Venezuela, in which FEDECAMARAS and the top leadership of the CTV participated directly in the attempted military coup of April 2002, together with the opposition political parties and with the encouragement of the U.S. Embassy. The coup – which established a government” headed by Pedro Carmona, then president of FEDECAMARAS – was foiled after just two days by the mass mobilizations of the Venezuelan workers and people.

Later, in December 2002 and January 2003, FEDECAMARAS – together with the same leaders of the CTV – organized an employer lockout/work stoppage that was political in nature and that sought to bring down the government through the sabotage of the country’s main source of income: the oil industry. In both the attempted coup and the bosses’ lockout/work stoppage, the CTV leadership took actions that were repudiated by the overwhelming majority of the workers of Venezuela.

At no time, in fact, were the workers consulted by the CTV leadership about the work stoppage in the oil industry. Quite the contrary, upon learning of this action by the CTV leadership, the workers mobilized massively to occupy the oil rigs and refineries to ensure the resumption of oil production.

These undeniable facts were reported in detail by 35 leaders of the UNT to the Contact Mission of the ILO that traveled to Venezuela in October 2004.

It is not new, nor is it unexpected, that employers should resort to lockouts against the workers to promote their interests. Many of you undoubtedly have witnessed such bosses’ lockouts in your countries. It is less frequent for the employers to resort to military coups, but, alas, such actions are not unprecedented. But isn’t it an insult to our intelligence to try to have us believe that employer lockouts and military coups can somehow be aimed at defending democracy and trade union rights? Do they think we’re fools who cannot see through their hypocrisy?

In June 2004, FEDECAMARAS – with the full support of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and representatives from bosses’ organizations in 22 countries, including the United States, all of them notorious for their anti-union activities – invoked Article 26 of the ILO Constitution and proposed that a Commission of Inquiry be established in relation to alleged violations of Trade Union Freedoms in Venezuela.

The March 8-24, 2005 meeting of the Governing Body of the ILO is scheduled to take a vote on this request by FEDECAMARAS. It is worth noting that while this baseless Complaint against the Venezuelan government moves through the ILO system, the government of Colombia has not been subjected to any sanctions or pressures by the ILO – even when the ILO itself registered at the beginning of 2004 that 186 trade unionists had been assassinated for their union activity in that country, a number that now surpasses the 200 mark.

Abdul-Rahim Borges

Workers International League, USA

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Workers International League in the United States sends its fraternal greetings of solidarity and denounces the transparent provocation of FEDECAMARAS and the CTV in their effort to strangle the UNT, the true trade union federation of the Venezuelan working class. The example of the UNT workers is an inspiration to the American trade union movement which currently finds itself in a situation similar to the one Venezuelan trade unionists were in just a few years ago.

Enough of class collaboration between the trade union “leaders” and their friends in big business!
For democratic trade unions run by and for working people!
No to foreign intervention in Venezuela!
Forward with the Bolivarian Revolution!

In solidarity,

John Peterson

National Secretary of the Workers International League

www.socialistappeal.org

In Spanish, from Mexico:

A LA COORDINACION NACIONAL DE UNT VENEZOLANA

AL MOVIMIENTO OBRERO Y JUVENIL MEXICANOS

Estimados compañeros

Enterados de la protesta de FEDECARAMAS ante la OIT

Sectores de trabajadores y estudiantes agrupados en el periídoco obrero MILITANTE www.militante.org :

- El Comité de Trabajadores en Defensa de los Sindicatos (COTDESI),
- El Comité Estudiantil en Defensa de la Educación Pública (CEDEP),
- Las Juventudes Socialistas del PRD (JSPRD) y,
- La expresión mexicana de MANOS FUERA DE VENEZUELA (que desarrolló un acto masivo el 15 de agosto de 2004 frente a la embajada estadounidense en defensa del régimen de Chávez frente a los ataques de la contrarrevolución),

nos manifestamos plenamente a favor de la postura expresada por la UNT.

¡Por la unidad internacional del movimiento obrero!

¡Viva el la revolución socialista en Venezuela!

Saludos revolucionarios

--

Jonathan López

Por el Comité Ejecutivo de MILITANTE México

www.marxist.com

www.militante.org

jota_o [at] militante.org

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Workers of the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas (National Manufacturer of Valves) Los Teques, Miranda State, in Venezuela, have not received their salaries for two years and three months. After having come into conflict with Andrés Sosa Pietri (the owner of the factory), one of the industrialists that was involved in the April 2002 coup, the factory was closed. After the nationalisation of Venepal, these workers, who had already occupied the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas for several months a year ago, have occupied it again and are demanding that it also be nationalised.

A Support Committee for the workers of the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas has been set up in Los Teques and we are calling upon all unions nationally and internationally to send economic aid to the following account 0039-01-0100309746 Banco Industrial de Venezuela under the name of Jorge Paredes y Rosalio Castro for the Resistance Fund, and solidarity resolutions to their email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to the President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and the Ministry of Labour This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Model resolution

Given the situation faced by the workers of the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas (CNV) in Los Teques (Miranda State), who have not received their salaries for two years and three months after having confronted the coup-involved industrialist Andrés Sosa Pietri, and considering that they are now occupying the factory and demanding its reopening under workers’ control, we assert the following:

1. We entirely support the struggle of the workers of the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas and put ourselves at the disposal of the Action Committee to organize solidarity with their struggle in our workplaces, neighborhoods, etc

2. We call upon the Bolivarian Government to act on this as soon as possible and, as was done in the case of Venepal – which was also abandoned by its owner – to nationalise the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas.

3. We believe that the nationalisation under workers’ control of the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas will not only allow to defend jobs but will also generate more employment in the area and ensure the production of valves for the State Oil Company PDVSA, given that the Constructora Nacional de Valvulas is the only enterprise that manufactures such valves in Venezuela.

4. While this is in process, we ask the authorities of the Work Ministry of Labour and the Presidency to subsidise the workers. At the same time we call upon all unions belonging to the UNT (National Union of Workers) and all social organizations that support the Bolivarian revolutionary process to organize active financial solidarity with this struggle and collect funds to help the brave resistance of these workers.

Signed..........................

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In historical retrospective, very often it is sane and healing for us revolutionaries to recollect, to re-assess, to deepen that what we have done, what we have said, and to see whether our actions and thoughts were within the main stream of human emancipation.

In many commentaries, over the past six years, we have followed the revolutionary sparks and trails of the Bolivarian Revolution toward a still possible Socialism, towards real Human Emancipation.

In fact, since 25 years already, here in Venezuela, as university professor of political science and philosophy, having taught numerous active Bolivarians today in key positions, I am doing precisely this in revolutionary deed and emancipatory word. Already in 1986, at the University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela, in my text-book, Teoría-Práxis de la Revolución-Emancipación, I taught my students about the socialist basics of the coming Bolivarian Revolution.  (See: http://www.geocities.com/juschmi/teopind.html )

To demonstrate how near we are to the audacious drums of the Bolivarian Revolution, allow me just to quote some encouraging thoughts that already haunted many a counter-revolutionary in Venezuela, on Internet and elsewhere. On August 15, 2003, I explained:

"Exactly because of the desperation of the national 'golpistas', of the urgency for the USA to have "regime change" here, and officially trying to connect Chávez to 'terrorists', to the guerrilla forces in Colombia, and even to 'Arab terrorists', and probably having supplied the golpistas with all the necessary funds, arms and technological equipment, this time, the correlation of forces spells a fierce, violent confrontation, that will verge on civil war, exactly what the USA and the 'opposition' need for foreign military intervention."

Already then sensing the historic current of the Bolivarian Revolution, I continued:

"Until now, the government intelligently has evaded this scenario, this trap, however, when full spectrum dominance is hell bent on annihilating a most dangerous opponent, a paradigm for the oppressed world, then, the enemy himself chooses the weapons of "peace", the forms of violence, and the only thing left for Venezuela is full spectrum self-defense, with its democratic constitution in the hands of millions of people. Thus, friends, beware, we are entering a decisive era of Venezuelan and Latin American history. Jacta alea est, the fascist dice are cast. " ( http://www.aporrea.org/dameletra.php?docid=4277)

Already a few months before, on Labor Day, May 1, 2003, in "A specter is haunting the Fourth Reich -- the specter of Chávez!", I urged that we should "learn to act and think the revolution", in other words that we should develop our own revolutionary praxis and theory:

"Creatively, the Bolivarian Revolution has to be acted, be thought, be formulated transhistorically, it needs a Práxis-Theory, that considers political economy, social class differences, the labor struggle, its internal, intensive "class struggle", a philosophy that surpasses all forms of global lies, ideology and mind control". http://www.trinicenter.com/selfnews/arc4-2003.html

That the USA has planned long ago to intervene in Venezuela and Latin America, with military power, should it be necessary for its own economic, imperialist survival and struggle to retain world hegemony, is scientifically sure, there should not be any doubts about this issue. Within the very Bolivarian movement, it is counter-revolutionary to use this threat as an instrument to brake the deepening of the revolutionary process.

As Simon Bolivar had warned already, this Yankee plague is simply there, it is our daily bread; as long as the Bolivarian Revolution exists, and is advancing towards global emancipation, so long the Damocles Sword of North American Fascism will hover over our revolutionary heads.

On August 8, 2004, in a VHeadline commentary, I explained this reality, that is, "The Emancipatory Quintessence of the Bolivarian Revolution", as follows:

"In the short term, before the total world economic collapse, the brutal conquest of the remaining reserves of oil, water, oxygen and biodiversity is a top priority for the well-being of the Super Power, for the USA; also this is relevant with reference to its possible competitors for world hegemony, Europe, China, India, etc."

We explained that all these, reflected in Bush's current global economic and military "new wars", directly accelerate the Bolivarian Revolution toward higher dimensions of armed self-defense and popular resistance:

"All these affect the Bolivarian Revolution, are globalizing its revolutionary efforts, make it an emancipatory paradigm for the world. Its praxis becomes the totality of global workers' resistance, its theory is permanent revolution.

This can be verified in its educational, political, economical and social projects, can be seen in the ferocious attacks of the global mass media, in the conspiracies, in the danger of violent US intervention."

Logically, I concluded:

"However, global fascism will have to annihilate the whole iceberg, in order to stop its "NO" on August 15, 2004 .... and all that what will follow thereafter: the still possible Emancipation of Humanity." (http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=22333)

In his new book, "The Venezuelan Revolution: A Marxist Perspective". Alan Woods, introduced by Rob Sewell, confirms the above analyses, indicating that currently the Bolivarian Revolution finds itself at the crossroads.

He writes: “Right from the beginning we have pointed out that the Venezuelan revolution has begun, but it is not finished, and it cannot be finished until the power of the Venezuelan oligarchy is broken”, states Alan Woods. “This means the expropriation of the land, banks and big industry under workers’ control and management. It means the arming of the people. It means the setting up of action committees linked up on a local, regional and national basis. It means that the working class must organize independently and strive to place itself at the head of the nation. And it means that the Marxist tendency must strive to win over the majority of the revolutionary movement.” (See: http://www.marxist.com/Latinam/venezuela_revolution_book.htm )

Rob Sewell describes that what we have called the Bolivarian tip of the global ice-berg of permanent revolution, as follows:

"However, without doubt Latin America is currently in the vanguard of world revolution, and within the Latin American continent, Venezuela stands out sharply as the country most affected by this process. It would be no exaggeration to say that Venezuela is now the key to the international situation and the developing world revolution."

Yes, indeed, in agreement with Woods and Sewell, we are crossing the bourgeois, national, democratic revolutionary Rubicon, as vanguard of the exodus out of capitalism and imperialism, via our own socialism, toward global, human emancipation.

However, this path does not exist as yet, as we near our emancipatory goal, the path is being created, gradually our socialism comes into being and existence.

This President Hugo Chavez Frias formulated as follows: “I am convinced, and I think that this conviction will be for the rest of my life, that the path to a new, better and possible world, is not capitalism, the path is socialism, that is the path: socialism, socialism.” (Also see:
http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/german_easter_marches_venezuela.htm )

However, there is no easy walk to freedom, the serpentine path toward Socialism, how to make and think the revolution, how to get rid of private property of the means of production and of communication, how to realize world socialism, Marx and Engels already have explained to us in 1850:

“... it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until all more or less possessing classes have been forced out of their position of dominance, until the proletariat has conquered state power, and the association of proletarians, not only in one country but in all the dominant countries of the world, has advanced so far that competition among the proletarians of these countries has ceased and that at least the decisive productive forces are concentrated in the hands of the proletarians. For us the issue cannot be the alteration of private property but only its annihilation, not the smoothing over of class antagonisms but the abolition of classes, not the improvement of existing society but the foundation of a new one.”
(Address to the Central Committee to the Communist League, March 1850).

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