Venezuela - Faced with the threat of a coup: mobilisation of the people to defend and deepen the revolution!

This is a joint statement of El Militante and El Topo Obrero (The Workers’ Mole) from Venezuela regarding the rumours of a new coup attempt on the part of the reactionary opposition.

El Militante and El Topo Obrero (The Workers’ Mole) from Venezuela regarding the rumours of a new coup attempt on the part of the reactionary opposition. See the original in Spanish


In the last few days we have been seen an increase in the news regarding the possibility of a new coup organised by the counterrevolutionary forces with the excuse of the "firmazo" (The campaign by the opposition to collect signatures to force a recall referendum against Chavez, which will take place at the end of November).

Further to the tapes presented by the MP’s of the Fifth Republic Movement, showing CIA agents planning possible sabotage actions, the telephone conversations between mafia type trade unionists and coup organisers Cova and Ortega demanding a dictatorship for the country, as well as other tapes showing leading members of the opposition planning a possible new coup, arms caches have been discovered in Maracay and other areas.

The political offensive of imperialism, with threatening statements by Colin Powell, and the slanders against the Venezuelan process by well-known imperialist agents, seem to confirm that the counterrevolutionary forces are preparing the terrain, nationally and internationally, to launch new attacks against the Bolivarian revolution.

Sooner or later they will try to smash the revolution and we must mobilise because the so-called "firmazo" of November 28 might be the occasion they use to attempt another coup. In reality for the opposition, from the beginning, the "firmazo" was just an excuse to try to keep their social base, the middle class, rallying them through lies and deceit about the revolution. As Cova and Ortega have been saying, the opposition wants to impose a military dictatorship.

They know that if there was a referendum they would lose it, but it is possible that they might not even get the necessary signatures to trigger the calling of a referendum. They are not prepared to accept that they are the minority. This might push them, even though today they are weaker than on previous occasions, to organise a new offensive to get out of the blind alley they find themselves in. The fascists from Bloque Democrático have already made a call to take to the streets regardless of whether they get the necessary signatures or not. If they do not get all the signatures they need, they will make them up. If the government then refuses to call the referendum they will denounce it as a violation of their democratic rights and will launch an attack. If they achieve the signatures - highly improbable - they will proclaim the immediate recall of Chavez, ignoring the legal procedures laid down in the Constitution and the National Electoral Committee.

The fact that these plans have been revealed and the weakness in which the opposition finds itself might force them to postpone their plans but in any case we must be prepared. The success or failure of a counterrevolutionary attempt does not only depend on the balance of forces but also on whether our stronger forces are prepared and mobilised in an organised way so we can pre-empt any possible counterrevolutionary attempt.

In Chile, before Pinochet’s coup, the balance of forces in society was favourable to the popular movement. Precisely the excess of self-confidence and the mistakes of the leadership in trusting the "democratic" character of the army, allowed the movement to be taken by surprise. The putchists were able to massacre most of the revolutionary vanguard and finally succeed in the coup.

The fact that we are strong means that if we organise and mobilise we can take the revolution forward. We have to put pressure on the Government in order to deepen the revolution. But this does not mean that Reaction, precisely to escape from this unfavourable balance of forces that now exists, will not try a strategy of sabotage and attacks combined with movements amongst a section of the Army that at the moment is keeping its head down, so they can topple the revolutionary process.

For a mass response of the entire People: Assemblies and Popular committees to Defend the Revolution

The attempt of a coup and conspiracies is one side of the coin, only a part of the strategy of the counterrevolution. This is combined with a sustained tactic of economic sabotage. Imperialism and the local capitalists long ago declared war on this revolutionary process and they attack us every day sabotaging the economy, shutting down companies, firing workers, hoarding and hiding products from the markets. They try to demoralize the masses and undermine their confidence, paving the way to taking power through a military coup.

The answer both to the daily war of Capital against the people in the form of sabotage and the economic crisis, as well as the coup attempt disguised around the collection of the signatures, cannot be limited to public denunciation and the continuation of the policies applied so far.

We, as revolutionary Marxists firmly committed to the Venezuelan revolutionary process, think that the best way the stop the counterrevolutionary plans of the leaders of the opposition is by preparing to defeat them and through mobilisation, taking to the streets and the neighbourhoods and showing once again who is the strongest.

We cannot allow ourselves to be caught off guard like on April 11 or in December. Then, it was the mass mobilisation of the whole of the people that defeated them. If the Venezuelan people- with the support and solidarity of the workers and peasants from the whole of Latin America and the workers and popular fighters from around the world- starts to organise right now, it will undermine these plans, and will weaken even more the social base of the reaction and make it more difficult for them to succeed in any reactionary plan.

Together with the technical and military aspect – contingency plans, etc (that obviously are key) there should be an economic plan to face sabotage and solve the main social problems in the lines previously explained, and also a plan of action that will guarantee the permanent mobilization of the revolutionary people during the days of the "firmazo" and whenever necessary to demonstrate in the streets the support to the revolutionary process. If the opposition does not backtrack faced with such a movement and tries to implement their plans, we will defeat them.

For this reason we propose to the Government, to the leaders of the parties that currently are leading this process, to the leadership of the UNT and in general to all revolutionary organisations and the people, to open a debate about an economic, politic and military contingency plan to confront in the best conditions possible any counterrevolutionary offensive.

Our proposal for that debate is that the contingency plan has to contain the following aspects:

1. - Permanent mobilisation of the people and in particular the working class against the coup. In order to do this is essential to call mass meetings in all neighbourhoods, factories and towns to rally in them the organisations and collectives (Bolivarian circles, land committees, militant unions, cooperatives, parties and groups supporting the process, etc) to discuss the situation and unify the fight back. Every group and every citizen has to have the right to put forward all their proposals and these should be discussed.

2. - These assemblies should elect Committees in Defence of the Revolution that will take charge of the contingency plans in close contact with the revolutionary elements of the army and with the Government. These Committees should be formed by delegates elected and recallable at every assembly and coordinated at a national, regional and local level.

3. - One of the first tasks of the committees, jointly with the Government, should be to organise meetings and rallies to ensure that the revolutionary forces are present in the streets at all times to, finally, in an unified manner organise a big national march in defence of the revolutionary process, against the plans of the opposition and the interference of the imperialists in the internal matters of the country (Out with [US ambassador] Shapiro, Out with the CIA). If the opposition attempted a coup, these committees and assemblies would take responsibility of the security of the neighbourhoods, organising self-defence, taking over the distribution of basic goods and the organisation of social life.

4. - This march should, in our opinion, take place before November 28 to show the strength of the people, discourage the wavering sectors of the middle class that on previous occasions were mobilised by reaction, in order to isolate the fascists. Also the mobilisation and training of reservists should be organised in the neighbourhoods and factories. Also the task of disarming fascist gangs or thugs paid by the reaction to attack the revolutionaries should be organised. In that sense we call for participation in the march organised for November 26 and to transform it in a big march to support the revolutionary process and against a possible coup.

5. - At the same time mass meetings to debate the situation should be organised. These assemblies should build Committees in Defence of the Revolution with elected representatives recallable at any time within the ranks of the army to keep watch over the revolutionary process and avoid another attempt at a coup. In April we saw sectors that were trusted by the Government, like Vasquez Velasco or Rosendo, swap sides in the decisive moment. Despite the fact that patriotic and revolutionary sectors do exist amongst the officialdom, even at the top of the army, and that many of the counterrevolutionaries have been unmasked, both the army and the police are machines created by the capitalists and they have built careful links with them for decades. Surely, in the next crucial moment new "traitors" will appear. We only can trust in our own forces, the workers, and the soldiers, who at the end of the day are workers in uniform.

6. - We must put an end to impunity. Those who were involved in the coups of April and December that provoked a bloodbath of our compatriots and ordered the police to shoot against the people, are the same ones that are preparing another coup with the excuse of recalling Chavez. They are the same ones who tried to economically asphyxiate the country with a bosses lock-out, the price of which we are still paying. No to impunity! There can be no recall process while these murderers are free and do not pay for their crimes and are happily leading the opposition. Punishment for all those responsible, as well as for all murderers of peasant activists and the authors of the crimes and repression during the IV Republic. Many times these are the same people and they must pay for their crimes.

7. - Against economic sabotage the Government has to act once and for all in a decisive way. In the first place we must guarantee the control of the principal economic activity of the country, the oil production in PDVSA, by the people and the workers. In this way the coup organisers will not use it again for their purposes and it will be used as a means of solving the deep social and economic problems that the nation is suffering due to the crisis of the capitalist system and the sabotage of the bosses. The way to do that is democratise the oil company with the active participation of the workers and the communities in the process of decision-making. This was what saved the industry in December but has not been kept and deepened; on the contrary, we have gone backwards to a capitalist control structure and even some coup supporters have been allowed to return.

8. - It is necessary to nationalise under workers control all companies which are already being run by the workers, and those under threat of being shut down or in crisis, to ensure jobs and production are saved. The National Assembly should pass in the shortest time possible an Expropriation Law to guarantee that if a boss tries to stop production to support a coup, shutting down the factory and firing the workers or blackmailing them to renounce their rights and salaries, the Government can nationalise it and put it under workers control.

9. - Is also essential to nationalise the Banks under workers and people’s control, to prevent the resources that we produce with our labour, including the resources of the state, from coming under the control of those supporting the coup and linked to international financial capital. In this way we will prevent capital flight out of the country meant to undermine the national economy.

10. Another measure is to refuse to pay the foreign debt and use these resources to invest in national industry and agriculture. The debt is a product of the corrupt leaders of the IV Republic, and has also been paid already with the interest payments that the country has already made, not to mention all the money that the multinationals have taken out of the country. We must put an end to the autonomy of the Central Bank as well as putting its resources under the control of the entire population. It is not acceptable that the President of a democratic country has to beg the President of the Central Bank to hand over a billion dollars in order to revive agriculture and then wait to see what the president of the Central Bank decides.

11. - If the Government, as the expression of the popular will, do not call assemblies to organise the mobilisation of the people and do not take measures, the revolutionary groups must demand them. And where possible take the initiative to call these assemblies to debate the situation and start to organise the defence and deepening of the Revolution. In particular the leaders of the UNT have a key duty. In the Congress of this new trade union confederation it was agreed to declare a permanent mobilisation against the coup and push the struggle of the workers to deepen the revolution. The trade unions affiliated to the UNT must call assemblies in all factories to discuss a plan of action, propose the creation of committees in defence of the revolution and demand the government implement these urgent measures to deepen and defend the revolutionary process. The left-wing sectors of the UNT should launch this proposal.

If you agree with these ideas join us to defend them and fight for them!