Protests and demonstrations show the reality of Venezuela


It is a fact that the country goes through the worst crisis in recent history, with a hunger that terrifies the neighborhoods of all cities and towns, what forces thousands of families to dig into the garbage just to find something to eat; with thousands of Venezuelan directly asking for money on the streets to buy some food, and other thousands dying due to diseases that were already eradicated, like malaria and diphtheria.
By UST Venezuela
All of this is a direct consequence of the growing lack of food, medicines, and treatments in pharmacies and hospitals, and a major decline of the purchasing power, expressed in unaffordable prices as a result of the inflation, that closes 2017 above 1000%.
To this, we need to add the decline of health and other basic services to levels never seen before, and the increase of unemployment due to a growing wave of layoffs and suspensions, through the arbitrary closure of companies from both private and public sectors.
Despite the dramatic situation, Maduro’s government, through his officials spokespersons and also through his “left” journalists and intellectuals linked to the Chavista regime (the latest, for sure in exchange of perks and money,) tries to show us a country whose population massively voted for and supports the government – the ANC [Constituent National Assembly] in the election, as well as regionally (governors) and by municipality (majors). Electoral victories that, to his understanding, are the proof that most workers and the people support the “left” government of Maduro in its struggle against the alleged “economic war” – reason of the crisis according to them.
Nothing more distant from the truth. Unlike what the government affirms, these “electoral victories” were the product of a scandalous fraud, whose mechanisms and elements were discussed by us in previous articles. The truth is that a few days before the municipal elections, the country was crossed by a wave of protests that shook the neighborhoods of the main cities in every state of the country, as a response to hunger.
And so, over the last days we witnessed protests against hunger in popular neighborhoods in Caracas – like Catia, Petare, La Vega, Antímano, among others – just like in popular neighborhoods of cities like Cumaná (where the Avenue that leads to the hospital was blocked, as a protest against lack of medicines, the situation of the hospital, and the death of several patients due to lack of treatment). In this city, there were neighborhoods’ unified actions, with the population closing the Town Hall. There were also blockades and protests in towns in Ciudad Bolívar, San Félix, Puerto Ordaz, Upata (all the cities in the State of Bolívar), and sackings in El Tigre (Estate of Anzoátegui) and other states.
The non-compliance by the government of the promises made in December was an automatic trigger of the current mobilization wave, liberating the restrained outrage of workers’ and people’s in popular regions of Venezuela because of their living situation, in a process that threatens with spreading.
Let’s recall that, in midst November, in a national broadcast, Maduro promised the distribution (sell) through the CLAP’S of the traditional pork (at least 8 kg per family,) as well as kits to prepare hallacas (both traditional festive dishes in Venezuela, the latest of very special preparation). All of this was offered in addition to the Clap bonus for December (basic family help that, with many issues, is distributed to the poorest neighborhoods and families at lower prices than in regular stores), to “ensure a Merry Christmas”.
Also, the government offered food bonuses of 500 thousand bolívares to 4 million Venezuelans, what was used as a mechanism of political blackmailing and proselytism to guarantee their votes in the municipal election.
The truth is that, a few days before the end of the year, therefore during Christmas season, the pork and the hallacas kits shined for their absence in most neighborhoods, and where they were actually delivered, the amount was highly insufficient (1 kg per family in the best cases,) and to higher prices than those promised. There are countless denounces for corruption during the distribution process, as well as several testimonies of Chavista leaders and authorities stealing food bonuses.
Like in previous occasions, the government cynically qualified these protests as “destructive actions” by unreasonable individuals and right-wing saboteurs. This did not have much effect though, as it was actually the desperate action of the masses before the lack of food and the impossibility of purchasing the few products in the stores because of the high prices.
This is what motivates the population in the neighborhoods to block the streets and even sack stores. Demonstrations take place on a daily basis, despite the open threaten of repression by Majors, Governors (most of them Chavistas, of course) and other governmental authorities, supported by military commands.
All these demonstrations have a progressive element in common, which is to question the government directly, to whom they correctly point as responsible for the hunger and shortage affecting us. It is not that the working people do not repudiate speculation and private hoarding by unscrupulous businessmen, but it is common to hear expressions like “they are hoarding and speculating… but what does the government do?” or “businessmen are being abusive, and the government does not do anything;” “the government does not take actions against the bachaqueros [informal merchants] because the military is behind it;” “this government is starving us to death, we can’t take this anymore,” etc.
From the UST we express our full support to the mobilized neighborhoods, blockades, and other popular actions against hunger, shortage, and misery. We will make all our effort to participate in these actions, help to build them, and encourage the unitary mobilization while denouncing and rejecting the repression.
It is necessary to build a political alternative for the workers and poor people, to encourage unitary mobilization to defeat a bourgeois government that is, as such, an enemy of the workers and the humble people, and fully responsible for the crisis. The government is prioritizing the profits of oil and mining multinationals through agreements by mixed companies and the Mining Belt, to ensure them the appropriation of oil revenues and mineral resources to guarantee the profits of traditional businessmen and the hoarding, speculating Boli-bourgeoisie. The government does not care about the necessary food and medicines for the people to eat and heal; it just brags about paying over 73.000 million of foreign debt over the last three years. 
Unidad Socialista de los Trabajadores (UST)
Venezuelan Section of the International Workers’ League – Fourth International (IWL-FI)


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