In the name of the People of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, I want to thank the organizers of the 8th International Conference of Che Guevara for inviting us to participate in this very important activity, whose central theme is: "Socialism yesterday, today, and tomorrow: The Cuban socialist project.
Today, I will refer to the Bolivarian Revolution, to its short but pedagogical history and where are we today. A revolution which we call Bolivarian because it expresses the will to return to the conception of “La Patria Grande de Bolívar”, to the Latin American and Caribbean integration, to the constitution of a great country, of a territory for America that encompasses all the Caribbean and extends from the south of the Rio Grande to Patagonia, a united and strong America.
To honor the central theme of this event, I quote Commander Fidel Castro when he says: “Revolution is a sense of historical moment; it is to change everything that must be changed; it is full equality and freedom; it is to be treated and treat others as human beings; it is to emancipate ourselves and with our own efforts; it is to challenge powerful dominant forces inside and outside the social and national sphere; it is to defend the values in which one believes at the price of any sacrifice; it is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism; is to fight with boldness, intelligence and realism; it is never to lie or violate ethical principles; it is a deep conviction that there is no force in the world capable of crushing the force of truth and ideas ... "
Venezuela Bolivarian Revolutionary Process
I formally want to begin my words by saying that the genesis of the Bolivarian Revolution could be fixed in December 1998, when Hugo Chávez Frías, winner of the constitutional elections of that year, came to power. Eight years earlier, in 1992, this young military man had led a failed armed rebellion against the government in turn, a fact that he paid with dispossession of his military and prison status, but a rebellion that sowed him in the soul of the great majority of the People of Venezuela.
Upon his release from prison, in 1994, Hugo Chávez planned his access to political power in Venezuela and began a face-to-face talk with the people around the country. He did it with a speech where he mixed his intense charisma with his will to to promote a profound change in the political structure of the Nation, to produce a departure of Venezuela from its dependence on the United States and to return to the ideas of Liberator Simón Bolívar.
The young military achieved popular support and won the elections in December 1998.
Hugo Chávez began his term with important changes, the most relevant of them, a call to a National Constituent Assembly, to elaborate a new Constitution, one that allows him to revolutionize the country's legal architecture, to modify the laws that made us dependent for so long.
With the support of a popular referendum, in December 1999, a new Constitution was approved and Venezuela becames the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”, in honor to Simón Bolívar, El Libertador, the greatest American man, the one who freed America from the Spanish yoke, the one who brought independence to Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, the territory that today constitutes Panama and the one of the Upper Peru, where it creates and founded Bolivia.
The Magna Carta approved in 1999 is the first block stone for the relations between Venezuela and the United States. The fight begins.
The new constitution of 1999 came loaded with equality and full freedoms for everyone: for women, indigenous and Afro-descendants. It was born impregnated with humanity; with provisions that opened the certain possibility of transforming the role of the national armed force and consolidating the civic-military union. It allowed enacting laws with which to challenge the powerful oligarchies, those that had dominated the economy, controlled the use and possession of the land, dominated the administration of justice for two hundred years of republican life. A Constitution open to a more social conception of the economy, with a humanist and solidary vision of education and health, politically aimed at Latin American integration and a multipolar world.
The 1999 Constitution, for example, materialized the Moral Power proposed by Simón Bolívar, Power that as a branch joined the existing and traditional Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the government in the countries around the world.
Likewise, the constitution established full recognition of Indigenous Peoples and their social and political rights, but above all, it introduced the transcendental article 2 which defines Venezuelan as a “democratic and social State of Law and Justice”. It is the “Rule of Justice”.
The 1999 Constitution was the first front that the Bolivarian Revolution exhibited against the imperialist policy of the United States. Based on this constitution, in the first half of 2001, 21 laws were enacted, including the emblematic Hydrocarbons Law and Land Law, which unleashed the wrath of North America, which resulted in the conspiracy and the counterrevolutionary coup d'etat of April 2002, with the corresponding overthrow of President Hugo Chávez. That was the way how the war that has been going on for 20 years began, and whose results you know, the war that you kindly and revolutionarily help us to fight.
U.S. Intervention in Venezuela
I must inform you that the April 2002 coup d´etat against President Chávez had full support from the United States.
But this coup d’état was defeated by the Venezuelan People, who rescued Hugo Chavez from the island where he was kidnapped. The people returned him to the presidency in 47 hours.
Simón Bolívar knew more than 200 years ago that the United States would be the ruin of the Latin American countries and this is stated on August 5, 1829, when he states: "The United States seems destined by the Providence to plague America of Misery on behalf of the freedom."
This first conspiracy charge was followed by a stoppage of the business oligarchy and immediately after a mixture of stoppage with sabotage in the Venezuelan oil industry, PDVSA, the economic heart of the country. At the end of 2002 the oil industry was completely paralyzed, which reduced the country's income to zero. Sabotage cost Venezuela billions of dollars in losses and repair costs.
But again, the United States and the oligarchies were defeated by the people of Venezuela. The United States retreated to rethink the way how to start its new offensives against the Bolivarian Revolution and how to attack again to try to take control of the precious booties that they had always used for years and that refuses to lose. Namely:
-Venezuelan oil, the largest hydrocarbon reserve in the world, capable of being transported to the United States in four days by freighters which transit in calm waters, unlike Middle Eastern oil, which requires 45 days of travel of freighters transiting in waters under permanent conflict.
-Gold, the greatest mining resources in the world.
-The geopolitical position: the dominance of the Caribbean and traffic across the Atlantic.
The Revolutionary Alliance
The alliance of the Bolivarian Revolution with the Cuban Revolution allows Venezuela to achieve important political and social conquests for its people and for the rest of Latin America. Meanwhile, the United States arms its strategies for the future.
As an example of progress, Venezuela, leveraged in the Cuban method, makes significant investments, works hard, creates the Robinson Mission as a mass literacy program and on October 28, 2005, Unesco declares Venezuela as “Free Territory of Illiteracy".
The Cuban-Venezuelan alliance brought the method and instruments to Bolivia and many other rural areas of Latin American border countries where illiteracy was the first cause of poverty. Thus, the Latin American peoples advance socially.
Defeated illiteracy, Venezuela advances in basic education and secondary education with the creation of thousands of public schools, with free meals for children and adolescents.
By 2006 the University education ceases to be a privilege of a few to become a right of all Venezuelans. With the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution Venezuela was ranked as the fifth country in the world and the
second in Latin America with the highest university enrollment, according to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). More than two million students enrolled.
In terms of health, the important investments in equipment and infrastructure of Venezuela, and the solidarity support of over 30 thousand Cuban doctors, brought free health to Venezuelan and to other habitants of Latin American and African brother countries.
President Hugo Chávez created in 2004 the Miracle Mission and the Smile Mission, which, with the solidary and mutual collaboration between Venezuela and Cuba, restored sight and gave oral health to hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans, all for free.
Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez signed in 2007 the Sandino's Commitment aimed to form and train, between Cuba and Venezuela, of 200,000 doctors for America and Africa. That is the way the Venezuelan Latin American School of Medicine is born in Caracas, daughter of the prestigious institution already existing in Cuba.
Our Revolutionary Achievements
The Bolivarian Revolution significantly reduced Venezuela's poverty rates, all done by driven policies of providing the population with access to food, free health and free education, promoting employment sources and extension of social security.
In 2012, Venezuela ranked third in the countries with the lowest percentage of poverty in Latin America, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) granted in 2012 recognition to Venezuela for reducing hunger and extreme poverty by more than 50 percent.
The Bolivarian Revolution always gave priority to culture as a social and political right of the Venezuelan people. Of the hundreds of examples, I just want to cite the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, led by maestro José Antonio Abreu, known for systematizing collective instruction and practice in
individualized music, which is currently a model that is replicated worldwide.
Key was also, and keep being, the support for the Afro-descendant community that has always been an integral part of Venezuelan society.
Since 1999, Comandante Chávez focused his efforts on the good living of the Venezuelan people. Under the premise that "The drama of housing has no solution in capitalism" and that in Venezuela "we will solve the drama of housing with socialism and more socialism", the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution launched in 2011 the Great Housing Mission Venezuela.
In just one year, at the end of 2012, 556 thousand homes had already been delivered to Venezuelans of all socioeconomic levels at very low costs. Today, October 2019, three million homes have been delivered to the same number of families, to Venezuelans who never dreamed a benefit of such magnitude.
In the area of telecommunications also there were great progresses. With the support of China two satellite were launched into space, in 2006 the Simón Bolivar telecommunication one, and in 2012 the remote territorial and environmental observation satellite Francisco de Miranda.
Also, the Alba-1 fiber optic submarine cable, which connects Venezuela with Cuba and Jamaica, boosted access to the Internet and telephone networks in those nations.
Cuba and Venezuela Revolutionary Unity
This is how the leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, and the leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, joined efforts for the construction of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of America, ALBA, and accompanied by others leaders of America like Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, brought an awakening of the people and strengthening of leaders like Evo Morales in Bolivia, Ignacio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Nestor and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina , Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Pepe Mujica in Uruguay, Tabare Vasquez in Paraguay and many others in the Caribbean. The progress was overwhelming and in a 2008 is created the Union of South American Countries UNASUR, in 2010 the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, structures that should replace the OAS, without the United States and without Canada.
In June 2005, the PETROCARIBE Energy and Solidarity Cooperation Agreement was created to address the asymmetries in access to energy resources by the Caribbean countries, our brothers who live in the Caribbean start feeling the solidarity from the Bolivarian Revolution and from their brothers in Americas.
Also, in 2005, Comandante Chávez proposed and created TELESUR, an information medium that allowed breaking the monopolies of the great transnationals of North American communication. Also, in that year the Bank of the South is created
Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro, A Revolutionary Continuity
Immediately after the death of Hugo Chavez, the leader of Bolivarian Revolution, ran and in April of 2013 he is elected President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Five years later, in May 2018 he is reelected for a second term 2019-2025.
From the very beginning of his mandate, Nicolás Maduro has faced a brutal campaign against him by the United States, an Empire that in 2015 declared Venezuela “An extraordinary threat to the security of the United States”, and attacked with an escalation of asphyxiating sanctions, the financing of the opposition, the promotion and support of violent riots in 2014 and 2017 and an economic war aimed at destroying the currency and to make food and medicine inaccessible to Venezuelans.
In 2017, in an extraordinary democratic political move, Nicolas Maduro called the National Constituent Assembly, which was elected withy in with a Bolivarian majority which stopped the escalation of violence that had encouraged the US-funded opposition.
Given the impossibility of obtaining a majority vote in the OAS to condemn and to apply to Venezuela the Democratic Chart, the United States convinced Latin American right-wing countries to create the Lima Group, which, led by Canada, became an anti-Bolivarian front. In turn, and by force of blackmail, the United States convinced the European Union and other countries to promote the creation of a parallel government and the recognition of a parallel President.
In January 2019, the United States, the Lima Group and other countries recognized as Interim President of Venezuela to a
person who proclaimed himself president in a public square and give diplomatic recognition to representatives appointed by this imposter. It is the madness of the century in the diplomatic world.
I must make it clear that in all this time President Nicolás Maduro has made great efforts to guarantee the food and health of Venezuelans. He created the Local Supply and Production Committees, CLAP, which receive inputs and food to be distributed at solidary prices to more than six million families. These Committees every day make efforts in their eagerness to reach the category of communes, they have defeated the capitalist, speculative and hunger market.
President Maduro has also made more than 300 calls for dialogue and peace to sectors of the Venezuelan opposition, but the order of the United States Government is to overthrow Maduro, nothing to do with conversations.
Venezuela requested in 2017 its withdrawal from the Organization of American States (OAS), an instance that from its General Secretariat, guided by the foreign policy of the United States, has assumed a direct interference policy in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
I want to conclude saying that Donald Trump´s arrival to the Presidency gave continuity to the hostile US policies against Venezuela, following Obamas footsteps. President Trump has been pressuring international banks to prevent any operation related to the Venezuelan State.
The United States has applied a group of unilateral an illegal coercive measure, wrongly labeled sanctions against the main enterprise in the country PDVSA, directly affecting 95% of the Nation´s income. By suffocating PDVSA, the blockade seeks to collapse the social protection system founded by Hugo Chávez in 1998 which I showed you how many benefits brought to our people.
According to some experts, this policy is equal to committing crimes against humanity with serious damages directly affecting the lives of over 30 million Venezuelans.
Besides the economic pressure, the United States has also been boycotting the main navigation routes destined to Venezuelan ports which has complicated the arrival of food, medicine, parts and raw materials. This criminal boycott is aimed directly at collapsing the food distribution program promoted by CLAP that until now guarantees services to 6 million families.
Our people continue developing sources of production and distribution of food that had previously been imported. The blockade imposed by the United States is the toughest challenge that Venezuelan society has had undergo because it dared to create a sovereign, participatory and protagonist model.
Today we are stalked, with barricades on all the roads that lead to progress but working to opening up and go through the tremendous difficulties we are facing, backed by peoples of the world like you, who give us their solidarity. We are moving forward with the Diplomacy of Peace on one hand and in the other hand with men and women committed to freedom, with people like you who will never give up no matter how strong the enemy might be.
We say with pride:
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