The situation in Venezuela is reaching a critical point. The reactionary forces, backed by conservative big business and the US embassy, are mobilising all their forces to overthrow the legally elected government of Hugo Chavez by extra-parliamentary means.
The mass media have put in circulation the lie that this is a "general strike" supported by the workers of Venezuela against an unpopular government. There is absolutely no truth in this. In reality what we are seeing is a campaign of organised sabotage designed to destabilise the country and prepare the way for a right wing coup d'etat.
The bosses have organised what amounts to a lock-out with the support of certain right wing trade union leaders. This is already the fourth time this year that they have attempted to destabilise the country by these means. It is similar to the lorry drivers' "strike" that the CIA organised to bring down the legally elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile. These machinations led to the bloody dictatorship of Pinochet. Now the same people want to repeat the experience in Venezuela.
THEY MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SUCCEED!
The last time they moved in this way (last April) it led to a coup in which reactionary businessmen linked up with right wing army officers to arrest the President. They talked a lot about "democracy" but immediately came out in their true colours, with plans to suspend the Constitution and introduce a dictatorship of the rich.
The role of the USA in all this was quite clear. This great"democracy" - as always - refused to condemn the coup. The CIA has played, and is playing, an active role in this conspiracy, as it has in everyother coup in Latin America: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and so on.
The attempted coup last April was defeated by a spontaneous mass movement of millions of workers, unemployed, peasants, soldiers and poor people. Now once more the masses are confronting the counterrevolutionary forces in the streetsof Venezuela.
If the people of Venezuela were allowed to fight the counterrevolution on their own, they would easily defeat it. This was shown last April. But behind the counterrevolution stands the might of the USA and its allies in Latin America. These are intervening shamelessly in the internal affairs of Venezuela, encouraging and financing the counterrevolutionary forces.
The revolutionary process opened by the election of Hugo Chavez has aroused the workers, peasants and poor people of Venezuela and given them new hope for a better future. The government has carried through a series of progressive reforms to improve the conditions of the masses.
The people now understand that Venezuela is an immensely rich country with huge reserves of oil, but that the wealth of the nation is being plundered by foreign imperialists and a handful of wealthy local oligarchs who serve the interests of imperialism. They want to carry the revolution forward and put an end to this scandalous exploitation once and for all. This is the only"crime" of the people of Venezuela, for which the imperialists are determined to make them pay.
If the Venezuelan revolution goes down to defeat, it will be a severe blow against the cause of millions of poor people throughout Latin America who are fighting for their rights.
THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR MOVEMENT MUST BE MOBILIZED IN THEIR SUPPORT.
The aim of the counterrevolutionary "strike" is to strangle the economy, paralysing the vital oil industry and the movement of essential supplies. They have already succeeded in causing food and petrol shortages. The intention is to cause such chaos that it will bring about a split in the tops of the armed forces and a coup by right wing army officers - as in Chile.
Not satisfied with seizing the oil of Iraq, the USA also wants to get its hands on Venezuelan oil. There is constant pressure from Washington and its corrupt allies in the region to force a "regime change".
This shameless and insolent bullying must cease! Let the international labour movement take a firm stand against imperialism!
The people of Venezuela must not feel alone in their hour of need. Let the world working class raise its voice in their support!
We appeal to you to raise this matter urgently in your trade union and LabourParty branch. Send messages of support to Venezuela and protest to the US embassy about its continued interference in the internal political affairs of Venezuela. Send letters to the press and to the British government, demanding that it does not support US aggression against Venezuela.
The youth must add its voice to the protest. Every youth and student organisation must mobilise to denounce the aggression against the Venezuelan revolution.
DO NOT DELAY. ACT NOW!
HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!
December 19, 2002
Anyone who wishes to add their signature to this appeal can do so by writing to Jorge Martin at:
[We include model resolutions and letters of protest (see below), which should be sent immediately. Send emails to the relevant quarters. Phone up and demand answers. Contact your local member of parliament and demand to know where he or she stands on this issue. Better still organise pickets outside the US embassy to make them aware that we know what is going on.]
This appeal has been signed by the following members of Parliament, trade union leaders, shopstewards and activists and also left wing party activists from the following countries:
Members of Parliament:
Manzoor Ahmed, Member of Parliament for the Kasur II Constituency, Pakistan
Panagiotis Lafazanis, Member of the Greek Parliament for the Synaspismos party
Tony Benn, ex-Member of the British Parliament for the Labour Party
John McDonnell, Member of Parliament (Labour) for Hayes& Harlington, Britain
Ulla Jelpke, editor of left wing daily "JungeWelt", former Member of Parliament (PDS)
As the list has now become very long we have created a separate file, Signatures to "Hands off Venezuela!,
where you can find all the signatures as they are updated
To Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela,
C/O The Venezuelan embassy,
This [trade union/ Labour Party/ student union etc.] strongly condemns the attempt by right wing forces to destabilise Venezuela and overthrow the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez.
We express our fraternal solidarity with the workers, peasants and unemployed people who are fighting for their elementary rights to jobs, bread and land, and for a fundamental change in society.
We condemn the actions of the United States and other states to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela and urge the international labour movement to mobilise its forces to stop this monstrous aggression.
Brothers and sisters of the Venezuelan working people, you are not alone!
HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!
To the Ambassador,
The US embassy,
CC to President George W Bush
This [trade union/ Labour Party/ student union etc.] strongly condemns the attempt by right wing forces to destabilize Venezuela and overthrow the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez.
We are firmly convinced that this movement is being actively supported by your government, which has systematically backed, organised and financed everyright wing coup and conspiracy against progressive governments in the western hemisphere, while supporting every brutal right wing dictatorship.
You pretend to stand for democracy while trampling democracy underfoot everywhere. You pretend to stand for self-determination and national independence while staging acts of unprovoked aggression against sovereign states which do not agree to accept the dictates of Washington.
Do not imagine that your actions in Venezuela will pass unnoticed. You will not be allowed to enter like a thief in the night to plunder the oil of that country as you plan to do in Iraq. You will stand condemned in the eyes of the world.
We condemn the actions of the United States and other states to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Rest assured that the international labour movement will mobilise all its forces to stop this monstrous aggression.