HOV Conference 2013 resolutions

These are the resolutions passed at the 2013 Hands Off Venezuela Conference

On the April 14 presidential election

Defend the Bolivarian revolution – respect the democratic will of the people

On April 14, the Bolivarian candidate Nicolás Maduro won the presidential elections with 7,586,251 votes (50.61%) against the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles who received 7,361,512 votes (49.12%), with a turnout of 79.69%.

The opposition refused to recognise the results of the election and has launched a campaign of violence. On the night of April 15 several CDI health clinics were attacked across the country, as well as alternative and state media outlet buildings and journalists, offices of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, etc. As a result of this politically motivated violence 9 people were killed, all of them in the Bolivarian camp.

The noisy campaign of the opposition was combined with a national and international media campaign, international interference and pressure (from the United States, Spain and OAS), etc. In effect, the aim was to create a situation of chaos, challenge all of the democratic institutions and prepare the way for a coup, just as in April 2002.

Faced with this campaign, described by president Maduro as a “developing coup d’Etat” we note the following:

  • the Venezuelan presidential election was conducted on the basis of the same electoral register, voting system and machines as the October 7 presidential election, the results of which the opposition did recognise
  • the voting machines and systems were audited prior to the elections, on election day and the day after, with the presence of opposition technicians and no complaint was registered
  • on election night 54% of polling booths, chosen randomly, were publicly audited with the presence of opposition and Bolivarian observers. The voting results recorded by the voting machines were checked against the paper receipts in the boxes. No complaints were registered.
  • the elections were observed by over 170 international observers from many countries including India, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, South Korea, Spain and France. Among the observers were two former presidents (of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic), judges, lawyers and high-ranking officials of national electoral councils. All of them stated that the elections had been free and fair and the system transparent, reliable, well-run and thoroughly audited.
  • all governments around the world have now recognised the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, with the exception of the United States.
  • instead of following the legal procedures for challenging the result or lodging specific complaints, the opposition incited violence. No complaints were lodged with the National Electoral Council until four days later, when 9 people had already been killed.
  • at the demand of the opposition, the National Electoral Council decided to audit the remaining 46% polling booths. The opposition then said it would not participate in this audit and would not recognise its results and will challenge the election results in front of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Hands Off Venezuela conference therefore resolves to:

  • recognise the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro
  • explain the real issues involved and counter the lies, manipulation and half-truths of the mass media regarding the Bolivarian revolution and particularly the election process
  • campaign to defend the democratically expressed will of the Venezuelan people and the election of President Maduro against any attempts to remove him by means of a coup reject the hypocrisy of the so-called “democratic” opposition which is the same one which organised the coup in 2002 and has constantly attempted to remove the democratically elected government of Venezuela and destroy its Bolivarian revolution
  • demand that those responsible for the violence and the killings of the days after the elections should be brought to justice and punished, both those who committed those acts as well as those who are responsible for incitement - enough impunity
  • redouble our efforts to defend the Bolivarian revolution and organise solidarity with it in the British trade union and labour movement and amongst the population in general


Solidarity with the women workers of GOTCHA - for nationalisation under workers control

This Hands Off Venezuela conference notes the courageous struggle of the women workers of Gotcha, the textile factory in Aragua.

We note that:

  • the workers of Gotcha attempted to form a union in order to address the problems of health and safety, working conditions, legal rights and others there were facing in the period of 2006-08.
  • the owner of the factory responded by making all of them redundant and abandoning production
  • the workers of Gotcha decided to take over the installations, occupy them and start to produce under workers control from 2008.
  • since the beginning of the occupation the workers have had to face many attempts by the former owner and also bureaucrats in state institutions (like electricity company Corpoelec) to sabotage their production.
  • the workers at Gotcha also face problems derived from their lack of any legal status.
  • the workers of Gotcha have been struggling for the expropriation of the factory under workers control, as has been done previously by the Bolivarian government in the cases of Venepal, CNV, INAF and others.
  • the workers of Gotcha have played an active role in the national movement for workers control
  • the women workers of Gotcha are an inspiring example of how workers can produce without bosses, but bosses cannot produce without workers.

We therefore resolve to:

  • organise solidarity with the struggling women workers of Gotcha within the British trade union movement.
  • to request from the Bolivarian government of Nicolas Maduro the expropriation of the factory, so that the company can be nationalised under the democratic control of the workers themselves.


On the struggle against cuts in Britain and the struggle of Latin American workers in London

The Hands off Venezuela conference is outraged by the vicious cuts being implemented by the ConDem government. This is the worst attack on the working class in living memory, decimating jobs and services. We note that this is in complete contrast with the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, where increased investment in health, education, housing, and much more has transformed the lives of the country’s poor.

We pledge to fight against these cuts and continue working within the Latin American community and its organisation. We note that whilst in Venezuela the most vulnerable in society have been empowered by the Bolivarian revolution, in Britain these cuts will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest - women, the disabled, children, the elderly and immigrants. The effect on immigrants is likely to be compounded as they become victims of scape goating. We believe that we must avoid all attempts to divide us and that the British and immigrant working class must unite and fight these cuts.

We note that the cuts and privatisations being forced upon us in Britain are part of a “neoliberal” agenda that was first tested on Latin America to disastrous consequences, creating extreme poverty and oppression for millions. We have seen in Latin America the affects of austerity, capitalism, privatisation, exploitation and enforced poverty, but we have also seen how popular uprising can bring down governments, defeat corporations and restore power to the people. Those who refuse to forget are compelled to support the new revolutionary governments in Latin America and to fight the destructive policies of the current British government

This is only the beginning. We will continue to mobilise against the cuts, alongside the other organisations of the Latin American community, by building a movement that not only challenges the cuts but defeats them.

Hands off Venezuela also agrees to work with the groups of Latin American workers in London to defend and enhance the wages, standards of living and conditions of these workers, starting with the fight for a living wage.


We must organize, resist, unite, and fight. We have to throw everything we have at this government of the rich, including a general strike. We will fight hasta la victoria siempre!


Hands Off Venezuela Steering Committee

Katerina Annis, Amancay Colque, Darrall Cozens, Jorge Martin, Rodrigo Trompiz, Rob Sewell, Julian Sharpe, Matt Stevenson, Ronnie Turus, Rob Walsh – honorary president: John McDonnell

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