Offensive against Bolivarian democracy

This offensive seeks to create a parallel government and mobilize in the streets against the government of President Nicolás Maduro in order to justify an international intervention.

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On January 23, the scarcely known member of parliament Juan Guidó, from a platform during a demonstration, proclaimed himself acting president of Venezuela. A proclamation that normally would be deemed ridiculous, something from a satirical novel or provoked by the Caribbean sun. Yet it is dangerous because it is part of a new offensive against Bolivarian democracy. An offensive directed from the outside and contrary to the self-determination of peoples. An offensive that seeks to create a parallel government and mobilize in the streets against the government of President Nicolás Maduro in order to justify an international intervention.


An offensive of the Latin American right?


There is consensus that Washington and their allies in the region are behind this offensive. The right-wing governments have made the Bolivarian revolution their favorite demon and its overthrow would be a great victory for the Latin American right.


However, unlike actions that have left traces, such as the regional framework created with Unasur and other bodies of regional integration promoted by Venezuela, right-wing governments have not achieved significant victories against Venezuela.


Despite the anti-Venezuelan fanaticism of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, right wing governments have not obtained sufficient votes to condemn Venezuela in the Organization of American States. In order to coordinate their campaign against the Bolivarian Republic, they had to create the Lima Group. They have also lost allies. Mexico, a pillar of the Lima Group under Enrique Peña Nieto, is now led by Andres Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”), who recognizes Nicolás Maduro as the sole president of Venezuela. Bolivia and Cuba add to this majority of Latin American governments that respect the right to self-determination and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States.


Washington and other governments of the Lima group have not recognized the second government of Nicolás Maduro. The US Vice-President Mike Pence established January 23 as the key day for mobilization. The self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó followed a prepared scenario. Trump immediately recognized the legitimacy of the unknown Guaidó. He was followed closely by the right wing Colombian President Iván Duque, that of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro and Macri in Argentina. Sebastian Piñera also recognized him as “the acting president" in charge of leading a transition government.


The offensive was preceded by the rebellion of some 27 members of the military on Monday 21. Their call for a popular uprising went unheeded. Washington and their allies are calling for an insurrectional uprising that they would condemn if it were to happen within their own borders.


The Venezuelan right-wing in tow


However, it is unlikely that Juan Guaidó will be anything more than a scarecrow and that he could carry out the transition presidency. Guaidó is 35 years old and belongs to the right-wing Voluntad Popular party, founded in 2009 by Leopoldo López, of the radical current of MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática – an opposition platform). Guaidó ascended to the presidency of the National Assembly due to the rotation among parties. He is the president of a National Assembly operating in contempt of the Supreme Court, and whose declarations and laws are not materialized in public policies, they are merely symbolic.


In the past, the Venezuelan right scrapped the negotiations conducted by José L. Rodríguez Zapatero, in Santo Domingo. They preferred to overthrow the Bolivarian revolution with guarimbas (violent demonstrations), as a prelude to the Coup. It did not work out. Since 2017, they have not succeeded in bringing about social mobilizations. Their divisions and caudillismo prevented them from translating their support into majorities at the ballot box, thus marginalizing themselves from democratic electoral contests that, according to international observers, were correctly organized. We should recall that their majority in parliament was slim. It depended on recognizing 3 parliamentarians whose election was dubious. The fact is that the opposition did not succeed in establishing itself as a democratic alternative, expecting that, as normally happens, the wear and tear of the government would open the doors of the Miraflores Palace to them.


Therefore, say what one may, the second mandate of Nicolás Maduro is legal and legitimate. It was an error of the radical right to refuse to take part in the presidential election. This left them out of the democratic scenario. The institutions established by the Bolivarian Constitution are functioning. The armed forces have reiterated their support for the government. All this, in the midst of enormous economic difficulties engendered by the ups-and-downs of the world economy and their impact on a country with a single export: oil. To this is added a boycott reminiscent of the one applied previously against another progressive government, that of Salvador Allende in Chile.


Defending Venezuela against Donald Trump's war


Trump was the first to recognize the legitimacy of the unheard of Juan Guaidó as acting President. Donald Trump did not rule out military intervention to support him. Many fear that Washington's new offensive will increase the violence in Venezuela, closing off the prospects for dialogue.


On the one hand, the danger of an invasion cannot be ruled out. US President Donald Trump has been threatening for months to invade Venezuela. This, in spite of the fact that he has received recommendations not to follow this dangerous path. That Venezuela's problems are internal. Sending in troops would be highly unpopular and it is not evident that Colombia and Brazil would intervene militarily.


On the other hand, no one believes that Nicolás Maduro's government will surrender without a fight. In spite of the economic difficulties, he can count on the support of the institutions of the Bolivarian Revolution, including the Supreme Court, the Constituent Assembly and the Armed Forces. In addition, some fear that Trump may resort to an international crisis to impose himself on the House of Representatives dominated by the Democrats. In addition, he has pointed out that he is seeking to re-establish the position of the United States in the region in the face of the offensive of China, Russia or Turkey, which have diplomatic, economic and military relations with Venezuela.


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reacted by breaking off relations with Washington and demanding the withdrawal of that country’s diplomatic personnel within 72 hours. Trump does not recognize his authority. It is a stalemate.


The failure to recognize the second government of President Nicolás Maduro makes many analysts fear that the aggressions against the Bolivarian Revolution may increase in 2019. The situation today is clear. Independently of the difficulties in which the Bolivarian Revolution is progressing, the forces of reaction are not assured of a victory. International solidarity, revealing the contradictions and double standards of democratic governments, such as Canada, is essential.





(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)
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