Wed Jun 19, 2024
June 19, 2024

Venezuela: It is Workers and Poor People’s Time!

The massive demonstrations on April 19 and 20 and the brutal repression are announcing a new moment in the political crisis of the country. Even though the Caracas demonstration was smaller than the one held on September 1st of last year, this one reached the whole country. These demonstrations are called to demand elections and the “restoration of the constitutional order,” the acknowledgement of the National Assembly as a way of channeling the true motive of the demonstrations, which is the growing anger because of misery, lack of accessible products for the popular sectors, high inflation, lack of medicines and insecurity, among other things. The MUD takes advantage of this anger avoiding to put in the center of the debate what the vast majority of the popular sectors express: that this government cannot not go further; that it should leave.
By UST – Venezuela
The Pressure-cooker
Nicolás Maduro’s government is becoming more isolated and far from reality, despite his attempt of a “counter-march” on the same 19, in Caracas. However, even if he organized a large number of people taking advantage of the state apparatus, he failed to “recover the streets” as it was in the past. But, beyond numbers, his repeated speeches show him trying to “save his hard-core”, already quite demoralized. One speech after the another to announce plans and more plans that will stay as propaganda once again. Not even the alleged “3 million people” who went to his demonstration can cover up the misery and anger and activate the PSUV.
Meanwhile, the pot increases the pressure. Last year, due to direct imports from Brazil and Colombia, the government managed to divide and decompress the population. A sector of well-paid managers and public workers had access to rice, sugar, flour, pasta or coffee at “any price”. And workers and popular sectors had to settle for long lines to buy a few products at regulated prices, or adapt to buy from the “bachaqueros” (re-sellers).
As the crisis continues, inflation has put things back into place: each time fewer people have access to imported products. Maduro released the prices and there are no “regulated” products on the shelves. There are only the Claps, which come from time to time and are quickly used. The base of misery and poverty is widening and the privileged ones’ is reducing.
Sackings in the Valley area may be indicating an overflow and loss of control by the opposition. Certainly there were opportunists or felons taking advantage of the situation. There have been crossed accusations after these events.
But the fact that the government appeared two days later with Clap boxes in those regions is nothing more than the acknowledgement of hunger as the reason for looting.
Maduro Uses Repression as the Only Solution
The use of savage repression, and Maduro come out to denounce coups, invasions and foreign interference does not strengthen the government. On the contrary, it shows him more weakened each time. The bourgeois opposition is taking advantage of this to pressure for a negotiated electoral solution.
Since April demonstrations began, there are already 23 dead and, according to some human rights organizations, around 1,200 demonstrators have been arrested until now. This number is just for a month, and it is already much higher than during the events in 2014.
The government has not much to offer before the growing discomfort.
This is why Maduro tried to destroy the MUD demonstration on the 19th. First with a strong media campaign denouncing deputies and leaders; denouncing the U.S., Fascism and paramilitaries and the danger of a coup and invasion. And, on the same day of demonstrations, also with a very strong repression that left dead, wounded and detainees. A dynamic difficult to predict has opened. However, if the popular participation grows and workers come on scene with their organizations and the government’s response is only repression –as it seems it will be–, the MUD will have no margin for maneuvers. In that scenario, a situation like the Caracazo[1] is possible.
The Payment of the External Debt is Eating Our Food
The fact that there is not much room for maneuvers has to do with the worsening of the economic crisis. The external debt payments have suffocated the State finances. The commitments punctually payed by Maduro, which according to him they reach already $60 billions, leaves people without food and medical treatments. The businessmen complain because there are also no dollars for consumables (to be sent abroad). Additionally, the contacts with the international bank, vulture funds and the financing offer from the World Bank would expose an limit situation. There are no reserves or dollars in the Central Bank. This is how we have entered a vicious circle from where we cannot get out through the government’s and the PSUV’s policies.
In this context, it is not surprising that Nicolás Maduro talks about “dialogue” and states that he “is already in contact” with the opposition to sit down and talk. It seems like a desperate attempt to avoid an uncontrollable situation. But the same thing happens to the opposition, which in this dynamic of growing participation can lose control of the streets (as it is being seen in some places), which would be the end of its project. The announcements, not yet materialized, of a call to a Constituent Assembly, seem like a maneuver to deviate the protests from its main goal.
Despite the roughness of each one’s speech, they may try to lower the pressure through some sort of electoral agreement or exit.
The MUD and its Parties are not a Solution for the People
We want to alert once again that the MUD hides its true ruling plans because it contains more adjustment and low salaries. The “reconciliation of prices” is nothing more than a free way for businessmen to increase them. They hide their proposal of privatization and layoffs to give “legal security to employers.” They will renegotiate the debt and continue to pay; they will indebt us even more. The crisis will continue to fall on the backs of workers. The MUD will still be hunger and misery for the people. And not democratically: their plans can only be achieved through a great repression.
Elections or any solution of this type, that can be arranged between the government, the Pope and the MUD, with the support of the OAS or not, will not be a solution to people’s problems.
It is Workers Time!
So far, workers and the most poor people have not come on scene yet. The struggles of ones and the others appear atomized; with struggles for wage by sector or for food, power cuts or lack of water and gas in the working and popular areas.
To these segments of the population, it is increasingly evident that as long as Maduro continues we will not stay afloat. Therefore, the slogan “The government has to leave!” becomes more and more stronger.
But how to get this government to leave if unionism and popular organizations are “kidnapped” by the government? The union leaders of the opposition are not even able to raise a program of struggle in their own organizations to unite workers with their demands. It is because they are pro-bosses: some of them defend the government and the B0li-bourgeoisie’s interests while the others defend the opposition bourgeoisie. They do not care about working people.
We must organize independently from the government, the PSUV and the MUD. We do not think that this struggle is easy. We have to recover our spaces for struggle, like rank and file unions, Communal Councils, Federations and centrals. We must hold meetings and organize from below.
A Program of Struggle to Confront the Government
The path is to face misery and hunger this government imposes. And, for this, we need to build a program to give a solution from workers and poor people: they pay the external debt, they indebt us more, and they renegotiate the illegitimate and corrupt debt, while there are no dollars to import food and medicines. We say: immediate suspension of payments; investigation and repatriation of the flight capital! With that money we can import food, medicines, and invest in food production and Venezuelan production of medicines. They say there is no money for salaries but they buy more and more weapons to repress people and they contribute with thousands of dollars to Donald Trump. We say that with that money and the suspension of debt payments we can increase salaries and pensions. They shout at imperialism while allowing mixed companies, such as Chevron, Total, Halliburton and so many others, to take our oil, as Barrick takes our gold and minerals. We say total nationalization of oil, gas and mineral resources and increase of production. The MUD says that militaries should not talk about politics; we say that we can all talk about politics, but not just the generals: extensive rights to soldiers and low officers to organize and express their political opinions and not to repress the people! Like the militias, which should be subordinated to unions and base organizations where they work instead of being used to repress the population. We must demand free access of workers and people to the places of food hoarding by businessmen and speculators.
We say to the workers that we must organize and mobilize independently, in our own organizations, and not to follow the MUD or the government’s proposals that are not a solution to us.
Thus, we propose:
Out with Maduro!
General Strike to face starvation and misery!
Neither the government nor the MUD are an alternative!
For the right to eat and to treat ourselves: free access of workers and people to food and medicine in the hands of hoarders!
We can defend this program through the construction of a workers’ political alternative. We propose to the Plataforma del Pueblo en Lucha, and to all those who see the need to build an independent political alternative, to promote from now on a program and an organization, coordination and activities that allow us to build that organization, so workers and people can rule.
Originally published @
Translation: Misty M.
[1] Rebellion of the Venezuelan people in 1989 against the former government of Carlos Andrés Pérez.

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