The will of millions against coup
In Venezuela, the National Constituent Assembly began its work. The election of an authority to end the political crisis came up against the opposition’s aggressive sabotage. In attempts to carry out a coup d'état, she relies on US assistance trying to strangle Caracas with sanctions and threats.
For nearly twenty years, the mere mention of Venezuela has caused tooth gnash not only among the leaders of the USA and the right regimes of the continent, but also among large corporations. Such is the reaction of the capitalist world to the policies of Hugo Chávez and his followers, who proclaimed the return of national dignity to Venezuela. The impetus of the struggle begun by Chavez was so strong that it inspired the peoples of all Latin America to liberate Washington from the dictatorship and big business.
It is not surprising that all these years Venezuela was under the gun of the enemy. Attempts to strangle the Bolivarian Revolution intensified after the death of Chavez. Having managed to get the majority of seats in the National Assembly (Parliament), the opposition initiated an impeachment procedure against President Nicolas Maduro. This undertaking failed, and then another scenario was launched - a total offensive against the government, including through the use of blatantly illegal methods. The dividing line between the two stages can be seen so clearly that it is beyond doubt: the opposition received a go-ahead for the coup from its main ally and sponsor.
Since early April, protests have not ceased in Venezuela. Their participants are well prepared and equipped, including firearms. weapons. Against supporters of the government launched a real terror: they are killed on the streets and in their own homes. Thundering shops and warehouses with food, disabling substations, militants from right-wing groups try to completely paralyze the country's economic life. All this is accompanied by a propaganda campaign of unprecedented scale, which involves leading Western media. In their picture of events turned upside down, the opposition is shown by peaceful protesters, and the legitimate government by a terrorist regime, hungry for the blood of citizens.
The Mexican newspaper Hornada notes in this connection: “This is a new type of terrorism, which is trying to take on the image of civic mobilization through propaganda campaigns in the media. But civilians do not walk in arms, do not lynch and do not burn their victims alive, do not set fire to hospitals and kindergartens with babies in them, do not destroy tons of food and basic necessities intended for residents of poor areas. ” In other words, in Venezuela, after Ukraine, new technologies of “color revolutions” are being tested, more reminiscent of the Syrian and Libyan versions. Their authors do not stop before inciting civil war, even if thousands of lives are burned in its fire.
The special hatred of the opposition and its curators is caused by the resilience of the government, which does not surrender in the face of aggressive attacks. On May 1, during a festive rally in Caracas, Nicolas Maduro announced elections to the National Constituent Assembly (in Russian-speaking media, it is sometimes referred to as the Constitutional Assembly). According to the Constitution, a body elected by universal suffrage may amend the Basic Law and reform the system of state administration. At the same time, according to his authority, he is above both the president and the parliament, who are obliged to obey his decisions. Being a rare organ of direct democracy in the modern world, the constituent assembly is formed both by territorial (electoral districts) and by "sectoral" principle. Workers, peasants, pensioners, the disabled, students, etc. send their representatives to it. Constituent assemblies in Venezuela have already been convened in 1946, 1952 and 1999, so claims about the illegitimacy of this body are unfounded. It is noteworthy that several years ago the opposition itself demanded elections to this body, but now it turned to 180 degrees and called for their boycott. All proposals to engage in the preparation of its convening there were ignored.
The reason for this inconsistency lies on the surface. The convocation of a constituent assembly upset the opposition’s plans and created a threat to its main stronghold and trump card - the parliamentary majority. After that, the right forces forced subversive activities. On July 16, they conducted a “people's referendum”, which is worthy of including in political textbooks as an example of sophisticated manipulation of consciousness.
The opposition passed three points on its “referendum”, one more provocative of one another. The first was proposed to ban the convocation of the constituent assembly. The second urged the armed forces to submit to the leadership of the parliament, that is, the opposition. And finally, the third implied early elections and the creation of a “government of national unity”. The leadership of Venezuela did not interfere with the survey, but stressed that it would not have any legal force, since the National Electoral Council did not participate in its organization.
The very next day, the opposition hurried to announce the results of the “referendum”: 7,5 million participants and 99,9 percent of votes on each of the items! It is impossible to call it a farce. Exactly the same number - 7,5 million - the right called their goal long before 16 July. That’s how many votes Maduro won in the 2013 presidential election of the year, and the opposition had to reach this level. Or, more precisely, declare that she has reached it.
The system of organization of the "plebiscite" did not guarantee protection against multiple voting. But check it is already impossible. Immediately after the announcement of the results, all the ballots and lists of voters were ... burned. The opposition explained its deed with fears for the fate of its supporters, but much more it resembles the banal sweeping of traces. As stated by the former foreign minister of Venezuela, Delsy Rodriguez, “if you won such a brilliant victory, then why did you decide to burn all the lists and bulletins indicating“ success ”? What do you present as evidence of your victory? Ash?
The mockery of objectivity was the invitation of foreign "observers". Their role was played by a number of extremely right-wing retired Latin American leaders, including the former Mexican President Vicente Fox, the former head of Colombia, Andres Pastrano, etc. Two years ago, they all joined the notorious "Democratic Initiative of Spain and America." The organization, which has its headquarters in the USA, from the very beginning stated its main goal: “establishing democracy where there is none”.
But, apparently, the right and did not try to give their "referendum" a believable image. They, as well as their patrons abroad, needed only a pretext for attacking the government. As stated by US President Donald Trump, residents of Venezuela voted "for freedom and the rule of law." “Nevertheless, their strong and courageous actions are still ignored by a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator,” he added.
Double standards inherent in the capitalist world, manifested in all its glory. A similar survey conducted in 2015 by supporters of the independence of Catalonia from Spain was not recognized by any Western state. Now, “to respect the will of the people” and refuse to convene a constituent assembly demanded from Caracas the US, the European Union and the pro-Washington regimes of Latin America: Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and a number of others. Otherwise, they threatened, new sanctions are waiting for Venezuela.
Courage of the masses
Encouraged by such support, the opponents of the government tried to create parallel authorities and thereby deprive legitimate government of legitimacy. On July 17, the opposition coalition of the parliament announced that it was taking on the functions of the Cabinet of Ministers, and 21 had sworn in the “members” of the parallel Supreme Court. But, except for the propaganda effect, these steps had no consequences. After Maduro promised to arrest all usurpers to a single, "shadow" authorities chose to take a break.
Nevertheless, the opposition made every effort to disrupt the vote. Government supporters were threatened and attacked. 39-year-old lawyer and candidate for the constituent assembly Jose Velix Pineda was killed in his house. In the capital, a bomb was thrown at a police convoy, 8 people were injured. Across the country, right-wing activists attacked polling stations and destroyed voting machines, and in Caracas they blocked the highway. Francisco Fajardo. Despite this, citizens showed real courage. On July 27, thousands of people took to the streets in support of the convocation of a constituent assembly, and on election day, there were long queues at the polling stations willing to vote. In general, despite the intimidation and terror, more than 8 million people, or 41,5 percent of voters, took part in the elections.
Not wanting to admit defeat, the opposition immediately announced fraud. True, without having agreed in advance, each of its leaders called a different number of “really voted” - who is 3, who is 2, and who is 1 million at all. The same baseless accusations fell from the capitals of the capitalist powers. Washington imposed personal sanctions against Nicolas Maduro. As stated by US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, "punishing Maduro, the United States makes it clear that they are opposed to the policies of its regime and express support for the people of Venezuela, who are seeking to return to a full and prosperous democracy." The sanctions provide for freezing the President’s accounts under American jurisdiction and prohibiting US citizens to conduct any business relationship with Maduro. True, the State Department immediately clarified that they do not know whether the head of Venezuela has assets in the United States at all. Washington does not rule out further tightening of sanctions that could affect the supply of Venezuelan oil to the country. On the possible introduction of restrictions said the leadership of the European Union.
In Caracas, sanctions reacted calmly. The president said he was proud of this, since sanctions are imposed on those who do not wag their tail like a dog. The government was supported by the allies of Venezuela. The Cuban Foreign Ministry called the actions of Western countries a well-coordinated international operation. Its goal is to silence the Venezuelan people. “Only Venezuelans have the right to decide how to overcome their problems and determine their future,” the statement says. Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the United States, in its quest to seize the natural riches of Venezuela, is ready to turn it into Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in turn, called upon the countries exerting pressure on Caracas to show restraint and give up "their destructive plans that could deepen polarization in society."
The plan of the coup d'etat, seemingly impeccably prepared, failed.
4 August National Constituent Assembly held its first meeting. Delsy Rodriguez was elected chairman of the body. According to her, “we did not come here to destroy the Constitution, we came to remove all dictatorial obstacles from the bourgeoisie from its path ... we came to protect, deepen, renew and strengthen the Constitution.” She also appealed to the international community: “We, the Venezuelans, will resolve our crisis ourselves without foreign intervention.” One of the first decisions of the constituent assembly was the dismissal of Attorney General Luis Ortega, who went over to the opposition, and the appointment of ex-ombudsman for human rights, well-known lawyer and writer Tarek Saab.
The fiasco suffered an attempt to organize a mutiny in the army. 6 August a group of armed men attacked a military base in the city of Valencia, but was neutralized. Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino supported the constituent assembly, stating that citizens thereby exercised their constitutional right.
But attempts to destabilize the situation in Venezuela will definitely not end there. Opponents of the country's independent course will continue to sabotage and violence. In this regard, the constituent assembly bears enormous responsibility for the future of the state and for solving the problems it faces. Hopefully, the organ of people's democracy will cope with this task.
- Sergey Kozhemyakin
- Photos used: