In solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and against Imperialism

International Peoples’ Assembly inaugurated in Caracas

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Asamblea Internacional de los Pueblos - Caracas, febrero 2019
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With the participation of over 400 delegates from 85 countries, this Sunday (24) the International Peoples’ Assembly was inaugurated (IPA) which will take place until Wednesday (27) in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.


The opening panel included the participation of João Pedro Stedile, representative of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST – Brazil) and the International Via Campesina, of the Mayoress of Caracas, Erika Farias, in addition to the director of the Tricontinental Institute, Vijay Prashad, and the representative of the Project of Popular Education of the United States, Claudia de la Cruz.


Erika Farias was the first to speak and recalled that the attacks of the internal and external right against the Venezuelan revolutionary process began in the early years of the Democratic Governments of President Hugo Chávez. “We are a people that in 20 years have learned much. And because of this we are a people conscious of our past, our present, and our future that wants to work”, she said.


“Since the year 1999 until today – she continued – this is a people that struggles and keeps on conquering and conquering. And that was what happened these past days, with the pantomime that they wanted to mount on our border. Yesterday a journalist asked us ¿And so, what will happen tomorrow, the 24th? Well, tomorrow, the 24th, the International Peoples’ Assembly will begin, Nicolás continues to be the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the people of Venezuela carry on struggling, building, working”.


João Pedro Stedile clarified the principal objectives of the articulation around the IPA, involving organizations from over 130 countries from the whole world. “We have learned in our interchange that in order to build this international process, we have our dreams, that is the dream of all those who are accompanying us here. We must build unity through a programmatic platform and this is advancing well. All the forms in which a people is organized are important forms, be they associations, movements, parties, unions, Churches, whatever.”


The representative of the United States, Claudia de la Cruz, underlined the reversed priorities of the government of the United States that in 2018, according to her, has invested nearly 600 billion dollars in military defence, while it has destined only 190 billion to programmes of poverty reduction and to guarantee rights such as education, work and housing”.


Vijay Prashad closed the opening panel, outlining the role of the media and social networks and the need for a counterhegemonic offensive on the part of people’s movements around the world. “We are in a war of ideas. And the forces of capitalism control the media that produce these ideas”, he warned. “We are here in Caracas to say: keep your hands off Venezuela”, he concluded.


The International Peoples’ Assembly is taking place at a moment when the Venezuelan Government, presided by Nicolás Maduro, has suffered pressure from countries governed by the right, such as Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and the United States. These governments demand the removal of Maduro, re- elected in May of 2018 for a new mandate of six years.


This Saturday (23) Juan Guaidó, Venezuelan deputy opposed to the government of Nicolás Maduro, who has self-proclaimed himself President in charge of the country, accompanied these countries in an action on the borders with Colombia and Brazil in order to force the entrance of supposed “humanitarian aid” to the country. The Venezuelan Government refused the supposed aid, considering it an excuse for bringing in arms and war equipment for groups opposed to the Government.


Chronology of the Coup


The debates of the International Peoples’ Assembly focused on the advance of governments of the right and extreme right in the world and, fundamentally, on the imperialist offensive against the people of Venezuela and their revolution.


A panel will be dedicated to discusing the present situation in the South American country and the resistance to the offensive that began in 2015, when there were parliamentary elections for the 167 members of the Venezuelan National Assembly. On that occasion, the opposition to the revolutionary government achieved an ample majority of seats, but by four deputies they failed to reach the qualified majority of two thirds of the seats, necessary for changing constitutional dispositions, among other measures. Even so, with the Assembly under the control of the opposition parties, four unelected deputies took possession, which generated an immediate reaction from the Judicial power, that suspended the attributions of the national legislative body, now in judicial contempt.


Due to the judicial decision, in 2017, groups in opposition took to the streets of the country and promoted diverse violent attacks against individuals and public infrastructure. In the face of this situation, the Venezuelan Government called for a dialogue roundtable, which took place in the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo.


Although the Venezuelan Government had attended nearly all of the demands of the opposition groups, their leaders decided to abandon the dialogue roundtable, under protest of the mediators, among them the former Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodrigues Zapatero. In this way, Nicolás Maduro decided to call for the election of a National Constituent Assembly, with the objective of renewing the powers of the country and putting a stop to the wave of violence.


The election of the National Constituent Assembly took place on July 30, 2017. On May 20 of the following year, there was an election for the President of the Republic. Although many sectors of the opposition had voluntarily decided not to participate in the contest and called for abstention, the election had the participation of 46% of the electors, and gave President Nicolás Maduro the victory with 67,84% of the votes, renewing his mandate for six more years.


Not happy with the results, countries governed by the right, principally the regime of Donald Trump in the United States, decided to intensify pressure on the country through the blocking of Venezuelan goods and foreign currency in the exterior, provoking a harsh economic crisis in the country. On January 10 2019, the deputy of the National Assembly in contempt, Juan Guaidó, proclaimed himself the president in charge of the country, denying recognition of the electoral process that elected Nicolás Maduro.


Guaidó was recognized by rightwing governments in a coordinated action, even though he has no power over Venezuelan institutions. The Armed Forces, as well as the chief representatives of the Judicial Power of the country recognize the authority of Nicolás Maduro as the legitimate President of Venezuela, elected by the popular vote of Venezuelans.


(Translation: Jordan Bishop and ALAI)
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