Venezuela: one year after the peasants' march – the fight for the land continues

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.

The route of the march included a stop at the prosecutor's office, the delivery of a protest document to Diosdado Cabello (president of the National Constituent Assembly, ANC) and a final stop in Miraflores, the presidential palace, where they expected to be received by President Maduro. In front of the State Prosecutor, the ineffectiveness of the body and its responsibility for peasant deaths was denounced.

Read the original in Spanish at Lucha de Clases |

It has been one year since two peasants, who had marched to Caracas, made known to the prosecution threats they faced from the landowners and requested protection. They were denied this protection and instructed to return to their homes. As a consequence, these comrades were killed by hired hitmen of the landowners.

In total, the comrades denounced 19 cases of killings by paramilitary gangs, paid by the landowners, to which we now have to add six militants of the Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current killed in Ticoporo last week. In total, there have been more than 300 cases of murdered peasants since the Land Law was passed in 2001.

Peasants march again

It should be noted that, while these allegations were made in front of an official of the State Prosecutor, a group of policemen tried to arrest young people accompanying the march and who painted graffiti reading "no más sicariatos" [“no more contract killings”]. This would cause a brief but intense confrontation between the protesters and the police.

When the mobilisation started again, the police tried to stop it, blocking its passage. This first attempt to prevent the mobilisation was faced with great courage by the chavistas, who managed to break the police line. As a result, a more chaotic situation was created in which the protestors were exposed to further violence.

Here, we can see the extent to which the government's leadership has degenerated. While sitting in Barbados to negotiate with the puppets of imperialism, it sends the ‘security’ forces of the state to prevent the popular movement from claiming their rights and honouring their dead.

The confrontation with the police, and this first victory by the protesters, drew attention to the contradictions that exist between the government's words and its actions – not just for the peasants, but also for the people of Caracas, who have now learned a new method of struggle.

The march continued along University Avenue to the corner of the National Assembly, this time with slogans such as "With repression, there is no revolution." Upon arrival, the protesters met a double line formed by police and national guards. Osorio, one of the main peasant leaders, urged the police to let the people through, even pointing out that if the police considered them enemies, then act accordingly, but the march would continue.

At this time, it was announced that the ANC deputy Gladys Requena would receive a commission of peasants, which the comrades rejected, demanding instead that she come down to the march, which she was compelled to do. There, the Land Law protest document was read again, and she was required to comply with the orders of the true and legitimate constituent power – the people on the street – and order the police to open the way to Miraflores.

In her speech, Deputy Requena offered all the platitudes she could, noting that the government was "on the side of the people" and that it would focus on solving their problems. At the end of the speech, and at the signal that she had to leave, one of the protesters rebuked her as to why she did not accompany the march to Miraflores. Her response was that "that had not been the instruction", and that she should retire.

No more murders! Down with the landlords!

Again, we see the true colours of the National Constituent Assembly, whose power seems to be placed solely at the service of multinational interests – remember the infamous constitutional law, approved for the promotion and protection of foreign investment. Meanwhile, it was apparently unable to order the police to cease repression against the popular movement and open the way for the march. The degeneration of these politicians, their total disengagement with the popular movement and their servitude to foreign capital make quite clear the direction the government has taken.

Once the true objective of the member of the Constituent Assembly had been fulfilled (appeasing the protesters), she withdrew and left the resolution of the conflict to the police. The protest ended after new negotiations with the representatives of the security forces, after which the peasants vowed to return to the streets with more force.

With these new actions of the executive, the bonapartist turn of the Maduro government, and the ANC as an instrument of this Bonapartism, is accentuated. Thus, we see that, in the midst of the crisis, the attempt to mediate between social classes only serves the interests of the capitalists and landowners, while the weight of the crisis is carried on the shoulders of the workers and peasants.

However, the class struggle in the countryside is far from resolved. Aside from the 125 cases that the peasants have denounced, we are witnessing a government policy (as part of a "strategic" alliance with the landowners and the "revolutionary" bourgeoisie) that is only exacerbating the situation. The priority is to prepare for what is coming – to join forces with the labour movement in the cities and build a revolutionary alternative, and we will build that alternative by fighting.

Against landlordism, fight for socialism!

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