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Socialism is the source of justice in this world

Report from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign AGM

THE barrage of propaganda directed by media outlets and Establishment politicians against Venezuela reached new heights this summer.

Misinformation about the real nature of the country’s opposition is standard. The fact that it has repeatedly tried to overthrow the elected presidency by force and that a majority of the over 120 people who died in violent clashes earlier this year were killed by opposition supporters is never mentioned in news reports; even the most dramatic incidents of armed rebellion, such as the paramilitary attack on Fort Paramacay in August (preceded by a video in which the perpetrators stated they were participating in a revolt against the government) or the grenade and gunfire assault on the Supreme Court from a helicopter in June, were not deemed significant enough to feature in the “debate” about the situation in the country held by MPs on September 5, which ludicrously sought to portray the government as solely responsible for violence in the country.

Solidarity Statement against Regime Change in Venezuela & US Sanctions

sign and shareWe are forwarding here a statement from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign with the request that you support it and circulate it further. After that we give you links to three articles which give up-to-date insights into the situation in Venezuela

We are writing to ask you to sign a solidarity statement/letter regarding the latest serious developments in Venezuela, where the Right-wing has declared a new campaign to 'oust' the constitutional, elected President Nicolas Maduro and U.S sanctions against the country have been renewed. The full text of the letter can be found below - please reply to this email asap ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to add your name.

Best wishes,

Tony Burke, Unite the Union,
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Venezuela Solidarity Campaig
Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Venezuela


We, the undersigned, note the growing concern across progressive movements and governments across Latin America that elements of the Right Wing within Venezuela have called again for the 'ousting' of the elected President Nicolas Maduro before the constitutional end of his term.

The success of such a campaign would mean the implementation of a hardline neo-liberal programme in Venezuela, which could only further exacerbate the country's economic problems and overturn the advances in social programmes and labour rights of recent years.

Announcements from the right-wing this week follow the decision of the US to renew sanctions against Venezuela, which have been condemned by the Union of South American nations.Agreeing with the Latin American community of nations, we call for respect for Venezuela's national sovereignty and ongoing solidarity with the social achievements Venezuela has made in recent years.


* Please reply to this email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to add your name.



1. Venezuela’s Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill -

2. Right Wing Majority in Venezuela’s National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes -

3. Fixing the Venezuelan Economy -

Venezuela's Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill

Dr Francisco Dominguez

Senior lecturer at Middlesex University, where he is Head of the Latin American Studies Research Group



"A confesion de parte, relevo de prueba"
(Spanish legal expression: "When there is confession, no evidence is required").

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes could not imagine how correct he was when he said that the challenge a Latin American writer faced was to produce fiction that was more extraordinary than reality itself.

Venezuela's Right Wing Opposition has just managed to perform an event that surpasses Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magic realism: On 18th February 2016, making use of their majority in the National Assembly, they have passed an Amnesty Bill that seeks to provide legal impunity to acts of political delinquency they and their supporters have perpetrated for 17 years. Venezuela's Right Wing majority in the National Assembly's 'amnesty' bill is not only an admission of guilt for, but also a well organised catalogue of, the political offences they and their supporters have perpetrated since 1999.

The Bill is upfront about what it seeks to amnesty: "acts defined as crimes, misdemeanours or infringements [...] and other acts provided for herein." (Art.1) This Bill is an Opposition's colossal Freudian slip since with it they, unwittingly, have admitted their guilt of more than a decade and a half of illegal, violent and undemocratic political felonies.

The Amnesty Bill is not yet law, since it needs to go through several constitutional procedures, including being vetoed by President Nicolas Maduro, who has condemned the Bill in the strongest terms. In the highly likely event of President Maduro vetoing it, the Bill will then be referred to the Supreme Court (TSJ) to get it to issue a ruling on its constitutionality. The TSJ can declare the Bill unconstitutional regardless of the size of the Right Wing majority in the National Assembly (for details of what the Opposition majority in the National Assembly can and cannot do read my article in the Huffington Post, Right Wing Majority in Venezuela's National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes).

The Amnesty Bill's Objectives and Scope

The Right Wing Opposition Amnesty and National Reconciliation Bill (Proyecto de Ley de Amnistía y Reconciliación Nacional, in Spanish) makes its stipulations retroactive to 1st January 1999, and in 45 articles, covers all manner of felonies and crimes committed up to the moment it becomes law (which, in the unlikely event of being approved, might be this year, 2016) when would be officially promulgated in the country's National Gazette (Art.2, p.6). As we shall see below, the political felonies and crimes it covers are comprehensive since the bill's scope ranges from misdemeanour at a public rally to terrorist acts involving explosives and firearms. The choice of period gives the game away since it includes ALL the illegal, criminal and law-breaking political acts perpetrated since 1999 by Opposition leaders and their supporters throughout the governments of both Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.

Right Wing Majority in Venezuela's National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes

Dr Francisco Dominguez writing for the Huffington Post

Senior lecturer at Middlesex University, where he is Head of the Latin American Studies Research Group

A powerful coalition of domestic forces in cahoots with Washington has unleashed an economic war against Venezuela's progressive government since 2012, which, intensified with the premature departure of the late Hugo Chavez in March 2013, and has, as in Allende's Chile, taken its toll on the electoral support for the government thus dealing a severe blow to Chavismo at the election to the National Assembly on 6th December 2015. The opposition won a two-thirds majority: 112 our of 167 MPs. (Due to allegations of vote-buying, the election of three opposition MPs from the state of Amazonas has been contested; the Supreme Court has upheld it and, pending investigation, suspended their swearing in as MPs, thus denying the Right a two-thirds majority; nevertheless this has marginal political and constitutional significance, thus this entire article is written as though Venezuela's Right does enjoy a two-thirds majority.)

Ever since there have been a number of rushed and misleading media reports wrongly suggesting that this two-thirds conservative majority can proceed to dismantle and bulldoze all the structures of the Bolivarian state, including the very government led by the elected President Nicolas Maduro. One publication nonchalantly asserted that a "supermajority" would allow the opposition to begin the process of appointing and dismissing Supreme Court judges and convene a convention to rewrite the constitution." ("The coming confrontation",The Economist, Jan 16th 2016.) These assertions may be true but only under very specific constitutional conditions which we seek to explain here, for as long as the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution remains Venezuela's key instrument that informs the legal and constitutional parameters within which any structural change must take place.

The recall referendum

The constitutional provision that may allow the Right to force the resignation of President Maduro is the recall referendum (Art.72). They already resorted to a recall referendum against Hugo Chavez in August 2004 the then President who won with 59%. The constitution stipulates that it can be forced only once during the term and when half the mandate of the elected official - the President of the Republic in this case - has elapsed. Anybody can force a recall referendum against the President of the Republic provided 20% of the registered voters (which at present is about 4 million) support it.

The elected official's mandate will be deemed to be revoked "when a number of voters equal to or greater than the number of those who elected the official vote in favour of revocation, provided that a number of voters equal to or greater than 25% of the total number of registered voters have voted in the revocation election, [...] and immediate action shall be taken to fill the permanent vacancy in accordance with the provided for in this Constitution and by law." (Art.72) . (The Constitution of Venezuela is the only one in the world with the constitutional right to recall any elected official once half their mandate has elapsed; it applies to Mayors, MPs, Governors, and the President of the Republic.) Half of President Maduro's mandate will elapse in April 2016, and thus a recall referendum, if it takes place, will be between April and June 2016.

Were the opposition to collect enough signatures a recall referendum can be successful only if the number of votes against President Maduro is identical to or higher than the number of votes he obtained when elected President in April 2013, that is, 7,587,579 votes. At the 6th December 2015 elections to the National Assembly the Right got 7,707,322 votes, which represents a small increase from their results at the April 2013 presidential election when their candidate, Henrique Capriles, got 7,363,980 votes, that is 343,342 more votes, barely an increase of 4.22%.

At the 6th December 2015 election, the government got 5,622,844 votes. This, when compared to the 2013 presidential election, shows that about 2 million Chavista voters, disgusted with the economic situation, punished the government by abstaining. The 6th December election results for the opposition can be accounted to a large extent by their political capitalization on the terrible economic situation Venezuelans have been facing since the unleashing of the economic war. The ousting of the Maduro government was not on their electoral manifesto, thus they may find it difficult to turn the totality of the 6th Dec. 7,707,322 voters into votes to recall President Maduro in a referendum.

Thus, a recall referendum may or may not be forced this year but if held, it is not a foregone conclusion that the opposition will win it. But if the opposition wins it, this will force presidential elections, which, if the opposition won them as well, the Right will launch a full-on assault on all the social gains made since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998.

A Blow for the Left - We must redouble our solidarity efforts

With the right wing now in control of the Venezuelan National Assembly, we must redouble our solidarity efforts, writes FRANCISCO DOMINGUEZ

IN VENEZUELA’s December 6 election, the right-wing opposition coalition MUD won two-thirds of the National Assembly. It got 112 MPs while pro-government candidates (PSUV) won 55 seats. For supporters of Chavismo (a left ideology associated with former president Hugo Chavez) this represents 33 per cent of National Assembly seats but 42 per cent of the popular vote. The opposition secured 56.2 per cent.

Despite the massive national and world campaign to malign the country’s electoral system as prone to fraud, and the national electoral authority, the CNE, as the key mechanism of the fraud, the CNE — as it has done on 19 previous occasions — conducted itself impeccably.
With its typical efficiency it gave a full report on time, reporting the victory of the opposition.

Furthermore, President Nicolas Maduro recognised the results without raising any doubts of objections as to their genuineness. Most important of all, he correctly declared that democracy and peace were victorious.

This came after so many catastrophic predictions by the world media and so many US government officials, including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, sowed doubts about the cleanliness of Bolivarian Venezuela’s election system but also, crucially, the democratic nature of Chavismo. Many a media commentator, writer and media hack knowingly told lies to demonise the Maduro’s government.

With its majority the right wing can now introduce gigantic constitutional changes that could substantially affect the composition of the CNE, Supreme Court, existing constitutional principles and laws and a great deal more. It could organise a recall referendum to oust President Maduro in 2016.

Already Fedecamaras, Venezuela’s CBI, has formally requested the MUD parliamentary majority leadership to repeal the highly progressive labour and fair pricing laws, both which benefit the poor. The latter protects the poorest against the ravages of the economic war the country has been subjected to for at least five years.
The size of the defeat is a reflection of the enormous discontent of ordinary Venezuelans with the deliberately created shortages of basic necessities, especially foodstuffs, the long queues they have had to endure for at least five years now, resulting from well-organised hoarding and massive contraband, massive currency speculation and exorbitant levels of inflation that bit into their standard of living.

They were also fed up with inefficiencies in the delivery of social programmes and the day-to-day running of the administration at all levels. An additional blow was the US development of fracking that led to a drastic plummeting of oil prices, thus denying the Maduro government the wherewithal to address the consequences of the economic war — of which fracking was one more component. On December 6 Venezuelans punished the Maduro government for all of these ills. Paid TV opposition propaganda stated: “The best electoral propaganda for the opposition are the existing queues.”

The opposition gained 343,000 votes last week. By contrast the government lost nearly two million votes. As Venezuelan pollster Oscar Schemel aptly put it: “It was a vote for punishment, not a vote in favour of the opposition.”

Paradoxically, these two million Venezuelans have given the MUD, the option they mostly refused to vote for, a huge constitutional power that the right will use to dismantle the social programmes they felt Maduro was unable to do something about.

For Maduro and his government, it was the most difficult of predicaments. Yet the government was able to maintain 43 per cent of the popular vote. The opposition’s inability to offer an attractive alternative to fed-up Chavistas offers possibilities of recovery but it will also be necessasry to mount broad defence campaigns against the unavoidable attacks to people’s rights that will come from the National Assembly majority.

Those who planned and carried out the economic war aimed at exactly that. As in Allende’s Chile, they sought to erode popular support for the government so as to oust it. The PSUV has entered an intense period of reflection, discussion and repair with an upcoming emergency national conference to devise a strategy to face this dramatic challenge.

Chavismo has the government, the majority of governorships (20 out of 23), plus 76 per cent of the country’s mayoralties. This is not the end of Bolivarianism in Venezuela, even though it faces an externally funded and externally led offensive which represents a mortal threat.
We cannot allow the ghost of Chile 1973 and Nicaragua 1990 to fall on Bolivarian Venezuela. We must redouble our solidarity efforts.
Dr Francisco Dominguez is secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

Taken from the Morning Star daily socialist newspaper Tuesday 15 December

VENEZUELA defends human rights record at U.N.

paul dobson 450Paul Dobson, from Edinburgh, lives and writes in Venezuela

Taken from Correo del Orinoco August 1 2015 :: English Supplement

The issue of human rightsare frequently used in attemptsto delegitimize the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.This month, Caracas tackled the issue, speaking at the UN and inviting the entire country to contribute ideas to strengthening ongoing efforts at protecting human rights.

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz affirmed “in Venezuela the right to life is inviolable, it’s sacred”.

“There is very real freedom of expression, access to information, the right to peaceful protest, and the continual holding of elections”, she added.

Following last year’s violent uprising which looked to overthrow the democratically- elected government, Diaz explained that “it’s very serious that in the international arena people say that the 43 deaths from the violent deeds of 2014 were due to police actions. Only 6 of these 43 are due to this and there are 14 policemen behind bars for them”, she explained.

Diaz also explained that “the right to protest and meet is sacred in the judicial ordering of the country as long as it is pacific and unarmed… if these conditions are absent then, simply, it is no longer a right”. In relation to prisons, Diaz assured the UN Council that Venezuela has “eradicated torture” and has “special legislation which prohibits it”.

“If there were a policeman or military who incurred in this practice, we would process them immediately” she reassured. The state is also making advances in “attending to prisoners whilst guaranteeing their rights” such as recreation and education.

Finally, Diaz reiterated the political rights and freedom of expression in the country. “Since 1999, the people have participated in 19 electoral processes, demonstrating their democratic vocation and the reaffirmation of sovereignty and self-determination through secret, free, and universal voting”.

“This”, she explained, contrasts sharply with “our cruel past”, which the state is investigating “with the objective of sanctioning the human rights violations which happened between 1958 and 1998”. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez summarized that Venezuela is “writing a new history in human rights. The Bolivarian Revolution gave a constitutional dimension to them, guaranteeing, promoting and protecting them”.

Venezuelan Executive Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, presented a National Plan for Human Rights 2015-2019 to the nation this month, inviting civil society and social movements to participate in a consultative process to enrich it.

The proposed plan addresses five areas: the construction of a liberating culture; institutional strengthening; the leading participation of the people; relationships with international human rights organisms; and human rights focus in legislation, politics, and state actions.

The proposals include a series of measures in the commune movement, including creating “areas which promote human rights to the rest of the community”, and in the international arena they look to “take steps forward in the understanding, respect, and guaranteeing of Venezuela’s human rights which are often misunderstood”.

Also, the proposal suggests “the promoting of a human rights system within the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)”

Thousands March in Caracas to Commemorate Fall of Dictator & Support Maduro Government

By Lucas Koerner, for

2015 Jan Perez Jimenez 57 ousting Anniversarey Rally

On Friday, thousands took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the toppling of the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship as well as to voice their support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro in the face of economic war and political destabilization.

Setting out in the morning from Plaza Fabricio Ojeda in the historic 23 de Enero neighborhood, a combative barrio itself named after the date of Pérez Jiménez’s ousting, the march concluded in the Plaza O’Leary in El Calvario, where the President spoke and led a spirited rally, amidst a sea of red banners.

Shortages and the “Economic War”

Friday’s march comes in the midst of severe inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods, which President Maduro has termed an “economic war” that is reportedly being waged against the Bolivarian government by elements of the opposition. The President accused distributors of hoarding everyday products and presented them with an ultimatum to cooperate or face “tough measures.”

In the face of this economic war, to which many attribute the reported drop in President Maduro’s approval ratings to 22%, Yulixa Jiménez, like thousands of others at Friday’s march, remains defiant.

“We as a revolutionary people are conscious of what the Right is doing to us, because it’s part of their fascist plan,” says the 20-year old student at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela. “We have to be conscious of what is happening, and we have to advance in the struggle to produce our own products and not depend so much on income from oil.”

Carlos Martínez, 30, of La Parroquía Sucre, similarly notes the gravity of the current political and economic situation: “The economic war is affecting us. This is a small group of bourgeois who control the economic market of the country. It’s a real monster we’re fighting. we want to make it so the people can produce our own resources and we don’t depend on the monopolies.”

Despite these immense challenges, many like Francine Montorola are nevertheless optimistic: “We are conscious that we are at war, but we’re going to come out victorious,” she said. “We know who our enemies are, and we are organizing ourselves and struggling to come out of this. These are difficult moments, but no one said people’s struggle was easy.”

These responses to the economic war are met by freshly uncovered evidence of its depth and scope. While thousands marched through the streets on Friday, Caracas police discovered in Catia a cache of 33 tons of household products, including rice, diapers, dishwash soap, mayonnaise, tooth paste, deodorant, among other everyday items.

Commemorating the Fall of the Dictatorship and the Martyrs of Democracy

The 23rd of January is an historic date in which Venezuelans annually take to the streets to honor those fallen in the struggle against the Péres Jiménez dictatorship. However, for the thousands assembled in El Calvario on Friday, the 23rd of January is also a date which commemorates the  more than 5000 revolutionaries assassinated by the governments that succeeded Pérez Jiménez during Venezuela’s 40-year long era of “pacted democracy,” known as the Fourth Republic, which only came to a close with Hugo Chávez’s election in 1998. A significant proportion of these political killings occurred during the 1989 rebellion by the popular classes against neoliberal austerity measures, known as the Caracazo, in which as many as 3,000 people were gunned down by the Venezuelan army.

 Nonetheless, for those attending Friday’s march, this commemoration is anything but merely historical, but, on the contrary, has real implications for the present conjuncture. For Antonia Díaz, 40, the stakes are high: “If we allow this revolution to be lost, the same people [in power] during those years [of dictatorship] will come after us, the people, of Chávez…We will defend this process to the death.”

According to PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) youth leader Brian Mirandés, 21, the danger of returning to this not-so-distant past of brutal state repression is hardly abstract:

“In the past, many comrades died as a consequence of the repression of the Fourth Republic, comrades disappeared, one of the closest [fallen comrades], that we have now is Robert Serra, with whom I had the opportunity to work alongside, who was assassinated by the Right, by Imperialism.”

In the eyes of the thousands attending Friday’s rally, Robert Serra, the youngest ever National Assembly deputy who was assassinated by Colombian paramilitaries in October at the age of 27, is a symbol both of hope and of what is at stake in the Bolivarian Revolution. President Maduro himself underscored Serra’s inspirational legacy when he proposed that the slain deputy’s mother, Zulay Aguirre, run for her son’s National Assembly seat in the elections this coming December.

Maduro Denounces Visit by Rightwing Ex-Presidents

In his speech at Friday’s rally, President Nicolás Maduro denounced the visit by Sebastián Piñera, Andrés Pastrana, and Felipe Calderón, the ex-presidents of Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, respectively, who will be attending a forum organized by the Venezuelan opposition on Monday. The Venezuelan leader stated that these ex-presidents’ hands would be “forever stained in blood” in the event of a coup d’état in Venezuela.

The President underscored that the guests of the forum revealed the extreme rightwing character of the Venezuelan opposition, referencing Piñera’s role in the privatization of Chilean education and repression of the struggles by the indigenous Mapuche people as well as Calderón’s responsibility for the disastrous Mexican drug war and links to the drug cartels.

Venezuelan Right-Wing Wants to "Make the Economy Scream"

As Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warns that the opposition’s economic war is part of the overall attempt to oust his government, teleSUR English interviews Dr Franciso Dominguez to look at the how this strategy has been previously used against progressive governments in Latin Ameirca in the past.

Show: From The South!en/video/venezuelan-right-wing-wants-to-make-the-economy-scream

Venezuelan Right-Wing Leader Calls for Change of Government

Published 14 January 2015

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on Venezuelans to protest, as President Nicolas Maduro warns the right-wing is organizing a coup attempt

Venezuelan right-wing opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles went on national television Wednesday calling on the population to take to the streets to demand a change of government.

Capriles, in an incendiary tone, claimed Venezuela had reached a moment “in which we have to change the government, the perfect moment to change the government, the perfect storm. That is the reality we are facing today.”

Capriles' remarks came after President Nicolas Maduro went on a tour to oil-producing countries last week in a bid to raise global oil prices which have fallen below US$40 per barrel. In Algeria, Maduro warned the opposition was planning a coup.

“The strategy that they are carrying out aims to disrupt civilians and cause extreme situations, that is the key part of their efforts to destabilize the country … an economic coup is also underway in Venezuela,” he told reporters. 

“The strategy that they are carrying out aims to disrupt civilians and cause extreme situations, that is the key part of their efforts to destabilize the country … an economic coup is also underway in Venezuela,”

Capriles called for people to protest in the streets earlier this week, and several incidents of violence have already been reported throughout the country.

In his closing statements, Capriles again called on the ousting of President Maduro.

“The ideal scenario would be to change the government, that would be the ideal situation,” he said.

​President Maduro warned Tuesday from Algeria that the opposition was organizing an economic coup.

“This is designed to unsettle the people and take them to extreme situations, that's the main aim to destabilize the country,” he warned.

Right-wing opposition sectors are intentionally creating shortages in certain consumer products.

Right-wing opposition sectors are intentionally creating shortages in certain consumer products. Recent raids on distributing companies have confirmed that many of them are hoarding products. Their motives seems to be political and with the intention of destabilizing the government, as many of the owners of the companies are linked to, or active members of, opposition parties

Capriles insisted at the end of the press conference that the only way to change the situation was through organized action. 

“This model is unsustainable, it's over. It's time to take action,” he added. 

The right-wing former presidential candidate announced he was going to regroup the main opposition alliance, which recently called off a national strike due to miniscule support.

“The Unity (referring to Democratic Unity Table, the main right-wing opposition alliance) will renovate, it will be re-organized … I have a series of actions planned that I will propose to all the parties and leaderships in the next hours … here, whoever plays alone is ruined,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jorge Arreaza explained that the new economic coup attempt would be an alternative to the violent opposition events launched in February 2014.

“What we are seeing coming from the right during the beginning of this year is an economic coup which we will defeat"

“What we are seeing coming from the right during the beginning of this year is an economic coup which we will defeat, just as we defeated the violent coup attempt the beginning of last year,” said Arreaza, speaking on public television.

He was referring to a wave of right-wing political violence in 2014 that left 43 people dead. The overwhelming majority were killed by clashes at deliberately-deadly opposition barricades, and as a result of opposition violence.

Capriles told supporters “to vent your anger” 

Capriles himself faced accusations of links to a separate wave of violence in 2013 after his unsuccessful presidential bid. That violence left 13 government supporters dead after Capriles told supporters “to vent your anger” at his loss.

Taken from