From the TUC

USA & right-wingers: looking for regime change in Venezuela?

14 Mar 2016, By Guest

Last week, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition launched a new campaign to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power, including by calling for his immediate resignation. The last campaign to oust the elected, constitutional President led to a wave of violence in 2014.

“We call on the entire Venezuelan people in order to force Maduro to resign as the President of the country,” the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Unity coalition Jesus Torrealba told reporters as the right-wing opposition confirmed their perspective.

Torrealba also called on Venezuelans to take to the streets to demand Maduro’s resignation.

Responding to the Right-wing, the Socialist Party’s Diosdado Cabello (former National Assembly head) said: “They want to organise street rallies to generate violence and bring about a coup, supported by the] U.S.”

His latter point was given more credence – when just days before the Venezuelan Right-Wing confirmed their ousting campaign – President Barack Obama renewed an executive order issued last March that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The order allows the U.S. government to impose sanctions on Venezuela. Its renewal was announced by the President in a letter to congressional leaders, which claimed that alleged conditions that first prompted the order had “not improved.”

When the executive order was first issued by Obama in March 2015, leaders from throughout the region condemned the decree and massive mobilisations took place in Venezuela against the U.S intervention. Obama eventually responded to this by seemingly admitting that Venezuela “does not pose a threat” to the United States in an interview with the EFE press agency, but his actions this week would suggest that the US is still strongly backing ‘regime change’ in Venezuela.

Already, this time around, the nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and UNASUR (United Nations of South America) have again strongly criticized Obama’s move to renew the Executive Order.

It is true that Venezuela faces many problems, not least in terms of its economic difficulties – which are being exacerbated both by a conscious economic war – with echoes of the situation in Chile prior to the 1973 coup that brought General Pinochet to power, and the plunge in world oil prices.

But the Right-wing’s programme of vicious neo-liberalism (as illustrated by their proposals for the mass sell-off of housing in the country) will only make these worse, whist reversing the gains represented by reducing poverty and inequality, plus increased labour rights, in recent years.

Throughout the labour and trade union movement, there is a collective memory of the awful developments that followed the overthrow of both Allende in Chile in the 1970s and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s – we need to remain vigilant and echo the views of Latin America in opposing external intervention in Venezuela and the regime change it aims for.

Tony Burke is Vice Chair of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign