Venezuela

Amidst the global turmoil unleashed by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has decided to ramp up its imperialist aggression and interference in the Venezuelan government. On Friday, 27 March, the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges of drug trafficking, corruption and the promotion of terrorism against Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and 13 high-ranking state officials, all in an attempt to legitimise any future acts of intervention and insurgency in Venezuela. On 25 March, Jorge Rodriguez, Minister of Communication, also presented the country with evidence of a new conspiracy, organised in Colombia, to traffic arms into Venezuela,

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Venezuela has entered another week under preventive social quarantine, following the government’s announcement on Friday 13 March that the country’s first cases of coronavirus had been detected. A terrible burden is being borne by the working-class and poor, who were already facing a dire economic crisis before the sanction-strangled healthcare system faced the prospect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers from the Alimentos Salva Foods Company – located in the port of La Guaira – which packages food products coming from abroad that are later distributed by the Local Committees of Supply and Production (CLAP), have sent an denunciation to the editorial board of Lucha de Clases about the unsafe and unhealthy conditions in which they have been forced to work.

On Friday 28 February, comrades Alfredo Chirinos, PDVSA’s Special Operations Manager, and his wife, Aryenis Torrealba, PDVSA’s Crude Operations Manager, were arrested in the company’s administrative headquarters in Caracas by the intelligence corps of the state. Up until now, their whereabouts remain unknown. At the time of writing this article, they haven’t been allowed to communicate with a family member, nor to see a lawyer.

Members of the Sutrabfogade union (including the general secretary) are facing dismissal from the state company Fogade, following a slew of false allegations from the management. These attacks on unionists are evidence of the anti-labour drift of the Maduro government. The IMT sends its solidarity to the comrades affected by the case.

On 5 February, two trade union leaders at the Bank Deposit Social Protection Fund - FOGADE, a state institution, received a notification of prohibition of entry into their workplace, a request for qualification of dismissal and a summons before the Labour Inspectorate for today, 7 February. This is a clear case of trade union repression that affects the general secretary of the Sutrabfogade union, William Prieto, and the health and safety delegate William Guzmán. We appeal to all our readers and supporters to send protest messages.

On 5 August, the Trump administration took yet another step in escalating imperialist aggression against Venezuela by imposing an economic embargo. The current regime change offensive against President Maduro has so far failed miserably. Incapable of using direct military means to remove the Venezuelan government and impose one of its liking, Washington has decided to further tighten the economic screws on a nation already suffering a catastrophic economic crisis, which previous sanctions have only aggravated. We fully reject this new act of outrageous imperialist meddling.

On 6 August, several leftist organisations gathered in Plaza Morelos in Caracas, Venezuela to support the peasants’ claim for land that is rightly theirs. More than 300 people, many from the interior of the country, gathered together to march to Miraflores Palace and demand the fulfilment of the agreements signed with the president a year ago.

In recent months, we have witnessed a noticeable deceleration of inflation. In February and March, we saw the prices of many goods and services remaining relatively stagnant, or even falling briefly. The behaviour of prices in June has been similar, coinciding with a seasonal period where several items (such as cheese, various vegetables, and some fruits) tend to be produced in greater quantity than during the rest of the year.

Recently, a debate has opened up regarding the denunciation by the former Minister Elías Jaua of the arrest of 10 communards, who had occupied and reclaimed the social ownership of the state company, Arroz del Alba, in the Portuguesa state in west Venezuela. Arroz del Alba's assets had been turned over to be managed by the private company Agroinlaca.

Just before dawn on 30 April, the Venezuelan opposition launched yet another attempt at a military coup. By the end of the day, the botched coup attempt seemed to have failed, with one of its leaders seeking refuge in the Spanish embassy, 25 of the soldiers involved requesting asylum at the Brazilian embassy and Juan Guaidó in hiding or on the run.

The self-proclaimed “Interim President” of Venezuela Juan Guaido is attempting to carry out a military coup, “Operation Freedom”, as he has named the “final phase” of his attempt to remove Maduro. He is joined by Leopoldo Lopez, who was freed by a handful of police and armed forces from house arrest early this morning. It is “an all-or-nothing move”, as some have described it.

There is a certain trend of opinion amongst the liberal left, particularly in the US, which never felt very comfortable with the Bolivarian revolution. Now, in the midst of a serious and well-organised attempt by Washington to remove Maduro’s government, they insist on equally blaming both sides for the crisis, one which in their view can be resolved through “negotiations between the government and the opposition”. A chief representative of this point of view is Gabriel Hetland, who has written several articles on Venezuela for The Nation, Jacobinand other left-wing publications.