The truth about what is going on in Venezuela

Photo by Ariana Cubillo/AP: Nicolas Maduro greets supporters at a rally on 2 February 2019

Contributed by Joe Montero

Support for Juan Guaido’s attempted coup in Venezuela has not materialised quite in the way that its orchestrators had intended.

Only a handful of countries have backed the made in the USA self-proclamation as president of the current opposition leader. They are a few of Latin American countries under Washington’s orbit, Israel, Canada and the obedient puppy down south, Australia’s Scott Morrison government.

Much of the media has shamefully regurgitated the line that paints Maduro as a monster, without any support from the people of his country. Its behaviour is a repeat of the of the unquestioning weapons of the false mass destruction story that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq. It seems that history is repeating. This is another lie.

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In Europe, Britain, Germany France and Spain are for now sitting on thefence and have given Maduro some time to call a new Presidential election.

Russia, China and Turkey are supporting Nicolas Maduro. They are not the only ones. Much of Latin America opposes the Guaido move and is against foreign interference in Venezuela.

The Bolivaran Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) has put its support and recognition behind Maduro as the legitimate President of Venezuela,

Rally in support of Nicolas Marudo in Caracas and other cities on 2 February 2019

Video by Ruptly

The wish for the United Nations to underwrite the coup has not materialised.  This is not only because members of the Security Council have the power of veto. The bulk of nations in the General Assembly do not want to go along with it.

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The present tage in the crisis was sparked by the refusal of the opposition and the countries openly supporting it not recognising the result of last year’s presidential election. A section of the opposition boycotted it, waged a street campaign to pressure people into not voting, and in some cases, reportedly, blockaded and even attacked polling booths. According to reports from the scene, which were ignored by much of the media, their was a coordinated attempt to frighten people way from voting.

Were the elections in Venezuela fair?

Video from goingundergroundRT

A big section of the opposition did vote. It was still called fraudulent by those who did not like the result.

Opponents claim that half of the population did not cast a ballot. This may be so. But aside from those were prevented from voting, those who took up the opposition’s call to not vote made their decision. They were not barred from voting.

All this aside. The proportion who voted for Maduro was greater than is the case for many of the heads of state now siding with Guaido. Maduro got 68 percent of the vote and the main opposition rival, Henri Falcon, got roughly a third of this. A second opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci got the rest.

International observers who witnessed the lead up and the election process itself, did not only report that there were no irregularities. They declared the election result to be fair.

In this light, even with the boycott, the proportion of the of the electorate that went out and voted for Maduro was still higher than is the case for most of the political leaders. Donald Trump for instance, took the presidency with 63 million votes, when the Democrats took almost 66 million, when the appointed Electoral College overturned the popular vote in Florida, Iowa and Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The proportion of electors who cast a vote in this US presidential election was 58 percent.

It translates into Donald Trump winning with the support of only about a quarter of the potential electors. Maduro got much more support then this.

When Australia wet to the polls in 2016, there was the lowest voter turnout since compulsory voting began in 1925. The Coalition won government with 42 percent of the primary vote. Most people voted against them.  

Elections in both the United States and Australia throw some doubt into the democratic credentials of the political system in both countries.

There is a clear case of double standards here.

Intervention in Venezuela is not about getting rid of a dictator and supporting democracy. It is about restoration of the power of the most privileged over that society. By its actions, the opposition shows that it has no respect for the people’s will and is no different from how it behaved when it was in control – before the Bolivaran revolution.

Economic and political control has long been in the hands of a small group of super rich, who had emerged from the tobacco landowners, who turned their fortunes to oil and an alliance with the American oil companies.

The most important political party is Democratic Action. It calls itself social democratic and has its own and foreign funded trade union movement. Party and union leaders have been especially close to these companies and have received financial support and benefits for it. Members in the industry were paid much more than other wage earners in the country, creating a stake in maintaining the status quo.

Democratic Action backed the Jimenez military coup (1948), one of the most brutal in the continent at the time, and directed against workers and poor Venezuelans.

After the fall of the coup in 1958, the Pacto Punto Fijo, ensured that a bipartisan stand between Democratic Action and the opposition conservative Social Christian Party, plus the smaller right wing Democratic Republican Union was maintained on major issues.

The Pact worked to consolidate the power the petro-cartel, weaken the capacity of the state and spread corruption like a contagion – on a scale t oeven raise eyebrows in corruption riddled Latin America. The cartel achieved control over the major political parties

The cartel made fortunes from the nation’s Venezuelan oil , owned by the American oil companies, which didn’t hold back in handing out fistfuls of dollars to those who would maintain the gravy train for them.

Today, the cartel owned Democratic Action and the Social Christian Party form the backbone of the opposition collected in the Democratic Unity Roundtable.

The rise of Chavez and nationalisation of the oil industry weakened them. But it did not defeat them. Maduro’s inability to defeat the cartel has been his major failure to date. Consequently, it is well placed to use the network built in the past, nd strengthen it by becoming involved in smuggling huge volumes of oil out of the country, and reportedly, engaging in the cocaine trafficking trade.  Its presence is so strong, that it has even been able to some extent, penetrate the Chavista state.

Oil smuggling on a huge scale and ongoing economic sanctions by the United States have been key to the resent economic crisis. This has been made worse by a campaign of economic sabotage and street violence, backed by the Democratic Unity Roundtable.

The strategy of destabilisation and Maduro’s inability to remove the cartel has resulted in dividing the people of Venezuela, and created an opportunity for the cartel to exploit.

Chavez won an election in 1998 on the promise to put an end to poverty and social exclusion, eliminate rampant corruption and bring about a new constitution.

Recognising the need to move faster after two decades, Maduro moved to improve the efficiency, supervision and transparency of the state, and to put in place a new constitution through social dialogue.

It is highly likely that these changes, together with the emerging new geopolitical strategy of the United States, lie behind the refusal to recognise the Maduro election and the gamble on the Guaido’s self-proclamation.

As the Roundtable steps up its street demonstrations, supporters of Maduro are also on the move.

Thousands rallied in support of Maduro on 2 February. A global movement calling on the United states to keep out of Venezuela is beginning. This includes Australia.

Economic refugees connected with the old elite, who have left Venezuela in recent times, are also gathering behind Gauido and calling for American military intervention.

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