Maduro’s government signed a decree on May 1st calling for a National Constituent Assembly, for citizens and broad popular participation. The world newspapers have entitled the news as “Maduro radicalizes,” “Maduro changes the Constitution,” etc. We have to say: Maduro is radicalizing but to the right, by attacking the mobilized people.
A Maneuver to Stay in Power
This call comes in the middle of a brutal economic, political and social crisis, causing starvation, misery and insecurity. Regional elections of last year were suspended. In midst of a wild, indiscriminate repression to popular sectors currently mobilized, this is not a “radical turn towards socialism” but the exact opposite: this is a maneuver, a reactionary and anti-democratic turn, to avoid elections and stay in power. It is clear that, if Maduro did not want to make part of a Revocatory Referendum and postposed the regional elections, shamelessly violating every legal and constitutional disposition to it, then he will have no shame in twisting or “interpreting” laws and rules to build a majority in his favor in the Constituent Assembly. Beyond words, this Constituent Assembly will only serve his own plans of eternalizing the PSUV and the leadership of the FANB [Venezuelan Armed Forces] mandates under the euphemism of a civil-military union.
We Can See the Stitches of the Maneuver
The announcement that the Constituent will be “proletarian, civilian, of women and indigenous peoples,” etc., does not change its cynical nature. On the contrary, it shows how far it goes the crisis of the regime and government that during 18 guaranteed governability and bourgeois businesses, which promised the rise of a new bourgeois sector, the Boli-bourgeoisie, and today appeals to the most vile anti-democratic maneuvers with Maduro as Chief of State.
The way the Constituent Assembly was announced makes clear that it is a trap. Who decided there would be “500 constituents”? What kind of proletarian Constituent can exist when workers of Sidor cannot even chose the leaders of their own category because the SJC [TSJ] forbade it? How can oil workers call for a democratic Constituent when their Federation has been intervened and runs under the expired mandate of Wills Rangel, also leader of the Bolivarian Central, pro-government who does not even demand wage increase for workers according to reality?
Will women choose their representatives in the National Women’s Movement, organization, which is completely co-opted by the government and does not even complaint about the law on violence against women, and just mobilizes to support the government? This organization, which does not demand anything from the government when dozens of women are being murdered?
How will the peasants and indigenous people vote their representatives “democratically” when the government signed the agreement of Arco Minero and did not even consult them, and now their territory is being handed-over to Miner multinationals under risk of contamination and destruction of the environment?
How will oil “rentierism” end when multinational “mixed” companies are taking oil out at their whim?
Can a government that hides the real numbers of inflation and poverty call for a transparent Constituent? Can we accept a government like this – that kills its own people by starvation, and leaves elder and children without medicines, to instead pay thousands of millions of dollars of the fraudulent external debt, and that does not even comply with the Constitution it says to defend – to call for a “popular” Constituent now? With what authority does this government make this call? The NCA, under these terms, is a farce!
The Hypocrisy of the MUD
The MUD has rejected the call and led the demonstrations of the opposition. They show themselves as the advocates of democracy, defenders of human rights, and as the only ones turned to resolve the colossal economic crisis that is suffocating us. But just like the mayor of Baruta admitted he had no necessity to make lines to buy anything, this segment of the bourgeoisie that the MUD is part of is not interested in poor and working people but in the businesses they are loosing or the ones they cannot make for not having control of the State. This is why they are not interested in explaining to the country nor the youth that takes the streets everyday what is their economic, political and social proposal to get us out of this crisis. The truth is that they hide it because their solution is also to make workers pay for it.
To Win Time to Continue Adjusting
This anti-democratic, fraudulent maneuver cannot be accepted by workers, peasants, Communal Councils nor any other popular sector. This is a move of Chavism in crisis to win some time to remain in power; to take the movement off the streets, and drive it into the death end of elections (and not even legitimate, universal elections but rigged), to implement the anti-workers, anti-popular adjustment. Thus, we affirm we need to reject it.
No, we are not against workers, peasants, women and other sectors to participate in a National Constituent Assembly to choose their own representatives: it is that, under the current situation of total bureaucratic, police and military control, there is no chance of electing any representative democratically, as the government, the CNE [National Electoral Council] and the TSJ [SJC] are avoiding it. This is why there are no elections in unions or communal councils unless they are pro-government. Thus, we reject their hypocrisy defending human rights while crimes and offenses by the common underground –more aggressive each time-, by the repressive forces of the State, with murders and political disappearances of union, community and indigenous leaders remain unpunished. Basically, the double morals to judge who opposes to them and protect who supports them. All of this makes us think the entire process of election, debate and implementation of the Constituent Assembly will be to serve them. They have what is vital to it: the leadership of the National Armed Force.
This is not the Constituent workers and people need.
A Call to Workers’, Peasant’s and Popular Organizations
We call to reject any call to a Constituent Assembly by this government who will not even consult the people if we want to change the Constitution or not.
The UST calls political, democratic and socialist organizations, independent from the government, the MUD and any other bourgeois sector; and social, communitarian, peasants’ and, specially, workers’ organizations to present a united front to reject Maduro’s and the PSUV pretension to perpetuate in power, and to replace the fraudulent leadership of the MUD. Only the democratic, independent, combative and determined mobilization and organization of workers and the poor people, without chieftainship or deceit, can implement a definite solution to the current economic, social and political crisis in Venezuela.
We will continue defending that workers and the people should go out to the streets with our own flags, with no bourgeois “mentorship”; rejecting all anti-democratic maneuvers; with our wage, food and medication demands; for the suspension of payment of the external debt; in defense of our democratic rights and to choose our own representatives in Federations, Centrals and Unions. We will continue to raise the necessity of a General Strike to confront Maduro’s adjustment, to kick this government out and let the workers and people rule.
Translation: Sofia Ballack.
 “To see the stitches” of something means to see its fragility, as well as the true intention of the maker. In this case, it refers to the true intentions and lack of solid base of Maduro by calling for a Constituent Assembly. [T.N]