(reprinted from the September 2017 issue of The Organizer newspaper; for a sample copy of this issue, contact Theorganizer@earthlink.com)
A united call — and coordinated actions across the United States — to demand that the U.S. government keep its hands off Venezuela are more urgent than ever!
Donald Trump has repeated on numerous occasions that in relation to Venezuela “all options” are open. On August 11, Trump was more explicit: “We have many options for Venezuela, including a military option, if necessary. … I will not discard a military option.”
This is the language used by George W. Bush when considering the various “options” for Iraq, ultimately leading to a U.S. invasion and protracted war that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and left the region in chaos.
The threat of military intervention in Venezuela has become more imminent. A number of mainstream Brazilian media outlets are reporting that joint military maneuvers — “Operaçao Tabatinga” — are being planned this coming November in Brazil’s Amazon jungle. The U.S.-led operation — carried out “officially” at the request of the coup-installed government of Michel Temer in Brazil — is to include troops from Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, among other countries.
According to Venezuelan journalist Manuel José Montañez, the unprecedented involvement of 800 U.S. Navy Seals side by side with military personnel from Brazil (1053 elite troops) and from other South American countries is the result of pressures exerted by the U.S. administration on the Temer government.
The planned military maneuvers in the Amazon jungle have been reported widely in the Brazilian press. Former Brazilian foreign ministers, as well as Brazilian members of Congress, have spoken out against Brazil’s sponsorship and participation in these military maneuvers. Celso Amorim, foreign minister under Lula, warned of a “new Vietnam, this time on our continent.”
The Executive Board of the Workers Party (PT) in the city of Curitiba, at its meeting on August 30, went a step further, adopting a resolution calling for the “cancellation of the military maneuvers scheduled to take place in November.” The resolution went on to urge all PT deputies in Brazil’s Congress to call for cancelling the maneuvers. It also called for organizing a national march to Brasilia, the nation’s capital, to deliver the Manifesto for Peace in Venezuela endorsed by 28 mass labor and popular organizations in Brazil [see below] and for building “broad-based action committees in every city against military intervention in Venezuela and for the respect of Venezuela’s sovereignty.”
Operation Long in the Making
We in the belly of the beast have a major responsibility in staying the hand of the U.S. government. It is our own government that has been intervening in the internal affairs of Venezuela ever since the “Caracazo Uprising” in 1989 that sought to put an end to the IMF-imposed austerity plans. This revolutionary uprising of workers and poor people challenged the status quo; it threatened the Venezuelan right-wing oligarchy, which is closely linked to U.S. corporate interests.
It was our government that funded and helped orchestrate the failed coup d’état of 2002 against the democratically elected government of Hugo Chávez. It is our government that has been financing the right-wing opposition forces, which daily use terrorist tactics in their attempt to destabilize and overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro. In fact, the opposition forces are openly using the National Assembly with the stated intention of toppling the Maduro government.
Millions of our tax dollars have been diverted from socially useful and necessary programs here at home toward this shameful destabilization campaign of a democratically elected government. Were the opposition forces to take back the reins of power in Venezuela, their declared aim is to massively cut public spending, implement mass layoffs of the public sector, destroy the key social programs of the revolution (health care, education, pension, housing, etc.), and, most important, privatize all public services and enterprises, beginning with the PDVSA oil company, the nation’s crown jewel and symbol of national sovereignty.
U.S. Role Barely Veiled
The U.S. government’s role is barely veiled. Speaking at a panel discussion at a Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, this past July 20, CIA Director Mike Pompeo admitted that he had been meeting with heads of government in Mexico and Colombia to direct them toward plans to overthrow the Maduro government.
The situation is urgent. On August 25, Trump imposed new sanctions against the Venezuelan government with the goal of fueling increased hardships and anger against the government. The U.S.-backed opposition is stepping up its drive to sow dissent in the Venezuelan army in an attempt to promote a coup against Maduro and against the Constituent Assembly.
More than ever, it is necessary for U.S labor, antiwar, and democratic-rights organizations to join forces to organize mass demonstrations in the streets across the United States to demand: “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!”
— Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper
* * * * * * *
MANIFESTO FOR PEACE IN VENEZUELA
(Issued by Mass Labor and Popular Organizations in Brazil)
The Venezuelan people, free and sovereign, have taken back into their own hands the powers that belong to them, electing massively representatives to the National Constituent Assembly.
More than 8 million came to the polls, despite the boycott and the sabotage of undemocratic groups, in a process witnessed by international legal and political personalities who attested to fairness and transparency.
All cities, social classes and sectors are present, with their delegates, in the highest institution of Venezuelan democracy.
The Constituent Assembly is the way to peace and normalcy, to return to the path of development and prosperity, to overcome the institutional crisis and build a program that will reunite our neighboring homeland.
Peacefully and democratically, millions of citizens said no to terrorist gangs, petty elites, coup plotters, and the interference of other governments.
Well-meaning men and women throughout the world should celebrate this historical gesture of self-determination of Venezuela, repudiating the interventionist threats and joining a great chain of solidarity.
Also in Brazil voices will be heard rejecting the violence and sabotage against the legitimate government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
What moral ground does the usurper Michel Temer have to speak about democracy, when he has violated our own country’s Constitution, when he adopts positions that are an affront to Venezuelan independence?
Brazil cannot be part of the infamy of allying itself with governments that conspire against a free nation and associate with factions dedicated to taking power by assault, summoning chaos and coercion.
We call upon all Brazilians to defend democracy and self-determination for our Venezuelan brothers, in support of their right to live in peace and to chart their own destiny.
We repudiate the maneuvers of blockade and aggression that are being plotted in the shadows of the Organization of American States (OAS), under the baton of the White House and with the complicity of the coup government of our country.
We denounce the repulsive behavior of the media that manipulate information and trample upon the truth to serve a plan of destabilization and isolation.
We declare our solidarity with the brave people of Bolivar. His struggle for peace is ours too.
— BRAZILIAN COMMITTEE FOR PEACE IN VENEZUELA
São Paulo, August 1, 2017
* PARTIAL LIST OF 28 INITIAL SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS
• United Workers Central (CUT)
• Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST)
• Workers’ Party (PT)
• National Union of Students (UNE)
• Brazilian articulation of ALBA social movements