On May 20, 2017, Orlando José Figuera, a young Black Venezuelan man was lit on fire by a violent mob of over 100 right-wing "protestors" in Caracas, Venezuela. This atrocious hate crime left severe burns on 80% of Orlando’s body. He was brought to the edge of his life, just for declaring that he was a Chavista (a supporter of the Bolivarian revolution).
Despite her grief, Ines Esparragoza, his mother, still knew exactly who was responsible for this brutal racist attack. “Who am I going to blame?” she told the news outlet Telesur.“The opposition. Because they are the ones that threw gasoline on my son like an animal … if it wasn’t my son it would have been someone else.”
The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, also spoke about this racist and inhuman attack. “They doused him with gasoline, they burned him alive. What does [Organization of American States General Secretary] Luis Almagro say? What does [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos – who every day opines about Venezuela – have to say? What does Donald Trump say?”
Of course, the US government and their imperialist allies had nothing to say about this unthinkable act of violence, it was a crime carried out by their mercenaries.
Escalating Right-Wing Violence and Terrorism in Venezuela
Over the last two months, over 70 people have been killed, and over 1000 people injured in Venezuela as a result of increased counter-revolutionary right-wing violence and terrorism such as the horrific burning of Orlando José Figuera. These right-wing thugs have committed murder, torture, and arson, as well as committed targeted kidnappings and assassinations of leaders of the Bolivarian revolution and National Guard officers.
These paid mercenaries of Venezuela’s capitalist class have also carried out attacks on Venezuelan homes, private businesses, public transportation buses, and public institutions. This included a brutal 3-hour long assault on the Hugo Chavez Maternity Hospital in Caracas. As the director of the hospital, Rosalinda Prieto, described “We were attacked by violent groups who launched a rain of stones and blunt objects at us. Afterwards, they burned a great quantity of rubbish in front of the hospital and the smoke got inside the facility. There were recently born babies there in the emergency area, some in observation.”
It is clear that these right-wing thugs have no regard for human life, and know nothing of the “democracy” and “human rights,” that Venezuela’s criminal opposition claims to be defending. However, not only have Venezuela’s leading counter-revolutionary opposition figures not said a word about the terrorist acts carried out by these violent rioters, some of the people arrested have even admitted to being paid directly by opposition political parties themselves.
As President Maduro stated on his weekly television program, “The opposition, by silence, is complicit in criminal terrorism that murders innocent people in the streets,”… “The ultra-right is held hostage by terrorist groups that they themselves created.”
Extreme violence and terrorism have become the method of choice for the capitalist class and counter-revolutionary opposition in Venezuela to achieve their ultimate goal: the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro and the end to the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela.
Venezuela’s Counter-Revolutionary Opposition Calls for International Intervention
The unthinkable acts committed by the criminal thugs of Venezuela’s pro-US intervention right-wing are in sharp contrast to what mainstream media in the US and Canada is reporting about Venezuela. Turn on CNN or CBC and you will see masked youths holding fire bombs elevated to the status of “pro-democracy” and “human rights” protesters in need of international and US support.
Another distortion, also meant to popularize the idea that international intervention is necessary in Venezuela, is that Venezuela is today in a state of complete chaos.
In fact, the National Post printed an article on May 10, 2017 about Venezuela called, “A country on the brink.” The article goes on to claim, without any proof, that Venezuela is a country with “an economy in shambles, lethal street crime, dungeons packed with political prisoners and South America’s worst refugee crisis,” and to refer to the right-wing acts of terrorism as mere “street rebellions.”
Really, the title of the article should be “Venezuela: an opposition on the brink.” The escalating counter-revolutionary violence and terrorist attacks in Venezuela are a sign that the right-wing is actually becoming more and more desperate. They have not been successful through other means to overthrow President Maduro, so now they must turn to the most extreme actions in order to achieve the overthrow of President Maduro and to reverse the gains of the Bolivarian revolution.
In their desperation, the violent and criminal right-wing in Venezuela also increasingly reveals that they are not alone in their campaign of violence and destruction in Venezuela; they are the mercenaries not only of Venezuela’s capitalist class, but also of US imperialism.
On April 7, 2017, one leading opposition figure, David Smolansky, the Mayor of a Caracas municipality sent this Tweet: “Attention to the international community: @NicolasMaduro has started to use chemical weapons just like they did in Syria” (translated from the original Spanish). What is most alarming is that this Tweet was sent just one day after the US bombed a Syrian airbase under the pretext that the government of Syria was using chemical weapons. Would this right-wing Mayor like the US government to also bomb Venezuela?
It may seem unthinkable that any political so-called leader would call for the US to come and bomb their own country, but this gross appeal is not the only one that the counter-revolutionary opposition has made calling for war on their country.
An op-ed for the New York Times on May 30, 2017, by a US-based lawyer for Venezuela’s opposition also echoes this call for US intervention in Venezuela. The title of the op-ed gets right to the point, “Venezuela Needs International Intervention. Now.” In between calls for so-called “humanitarian assistance,” in Venezuela the op-ed directly calls on the United Nations to threaten Venezuela using the “responsibility to protect,” doctrine for “crimes against humanity under the category of “other inhumane acts” that intentionally cause great suffering or death,” that have supposedly been carried out by the government of President Maduro.
Not only is this statement a complete lie and fabrication, these are extremely dangerous words. “Responsibility to protect” has been used as a pretext by imperialist governments and organizations around the world to bring wars, occupations and devastation countries all over the Middle East and North Africa. It is the same justification given for the NATO/US/Canada/France bombing campaign against Libya in 2012 that has completely destroyed the country and devastated the lives of millions of people.
Imperialist Intervention in Venezuela Continues
Ever since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, the US government and their imperialist allies have been working hand-in-hand with Venezuela’s violent opposition to overthrow the revolutionary government.
Their efforts have included the backing of a short-lived and failed coup d’état against President Chavez in 2002, financial and political support for Venezuela’s violent opposition political parties, and a constant campaign of sanctions and military threats.
With the passing of Hugo Chavez in 2013, and the severe drop in oil-prices beginning in 2014, the US government saw an opportunity to increase their campaign of intervention in Venezuela. As Venezuela’s economy has suffered from the loss of oil revenue, they have re-doubled their campaign of sanctions, and their attempts to isolate Venezuela on the international market.
In 2015 US President Obama issued an executive order that declared Venezuela to be a “threat to the national security of the United States,” a ludicrous claim, later renewed in 2016, which has damaged the ability of Venezuela to secure international loans. This executive order has also enabled the US to enact sanctions against Venezuela. In May, US President Trump introduced yet another round of US sanctions against Venezuela.
The US has also continued to give financial and political support to the violent opposition that has began an escalated campaign of violence and terrorism on the streets of Venezuela. These same counter-revolutionaries are also waging an economic war against Venezuela. Venezuela’s capitalist class still controls the production and distribution of the vast majority of basic goods and food in Venezuela. This has allowed them to wage a campaign of sabotage that has included the hoarding, a slow-down in production of basic goods and food in Venezuela as well as the growth of massive smuggling operations that bring super-profits to criminals and Venezuela’s rich, and leave poor and marginalized people standing in long lines.
In May, a bill called the “Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act” was introduced into the US Senate. This bill would give $10milllion to ‘democracy promotion’ in Venezuela, a not-so-veiled code word for financial support for Venezuela’s violent opposition. Some of this money would also be directed at further US funding for targeting Venezuela within the Organization of American States (OAS).
This is by no means that first time that funding from the US government has gone to Venezuela’s counter-revolutionary opposition. In fact, this type of funding is typical of the congressional budget allotment to the US State Department. As reported by the Telsur Latin American news agency, “Since at least 2009 the U.S. Department of State has budgeted at least US$49 million in total to support right-wing opposition forces in Venezuela”
US and Canada Hands Off Venezuela!
On May 5, 2017, the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada printed an editorial from Lillian Tintori, the wife Leopaldo Lopez of a member of the opposition that is currently in prison in Venezuela for his criminal and violent actions during violent street riots in Venezuela in 2014. The editorial was called “Canada can help save Venezuela’s democracy.” Her message to people in Canada is clear – international intervention in Venezuela is what is needed.
Within the editorial, her praise for actions of the government of Canada so far is also clear. No wonder, considering that Canada has joined the US throughout their campaign of increasing imperialist intervention.
This can especially be seen in Canada’s recent disgraceful actions within the Organization of the American States (OAS), a regional diplomatic body. Over the last few months, the US and Canada have been working closely with the Secretary-General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, to try and invoke the so-called “inter-American Democratic Charter” against Venezuela. This would be tantamount to intervening in the internal affairs of a sovereign and independent country, a fact that a majority of member-states in the OAS have recognized during numerous illegitimate meetings and forced debates within the organization.
In the end, US-puppet Almagro was not successful in his maneuverings as Venezuela has announced that they will be leaving the OAS, an organization widely seen throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as being governed by US interests.
Venezuela’s violent opposition has also found support for their counter-revolutionary actions from the diplomatic mission of Canada in Venezuela, which regularly uses their Twitter account to promote their counter-revolutionary demands.
The interests of the counter-revolutionary violent opposition in Venezuela are the same as that of the governments of the United States and Canada: to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro and roll-back the gains of the Bolivarian revolution. The US government and their allies cannot afford to have the Bolivarian revolution continue in Venezuela, or for it to continue to inspire more revolutions for independence and self-determination throughout the world, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The US government is no stranger to fomenting chaos and destruction in the name of “democracy” and “human rights” – we need to look no further then the last 16 years of wars and occupations from Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya, Syria and Yemen to know that. For imperialist countries like the US and their allies, there is no crime that is too heinous.
In the face of increasingly violence, terrorism and a vicious economic war, the revolutionary people of Venezuela led by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) are continuing to mobilize on the streets of Venezuela in defense of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution.
We must not be intimidated by the counter-revolutionary pro-US thugs that have attacked supporters of the Bolivarian revolution in the US, Italy, Spain, Australia and here in Vancouver, Canada. We cannot allow the US government and their allies to continue to bring death, destruction and chaos to Venezuela. International solidarity with Venezuela is needed now more than ever before!
PRESIDENT TRUMP REPEAL THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AGAINST VENEZUELA NOW!
U.S. AND CANADA RESPECT THE SOVEREIGNTY & SELF-DETERMINATION OF THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE!
LONG LIVE THE VENEZUELAN BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION!
Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter: @Alisoncolette
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