Sunday, May 20th 2018 was a landmark date for both Venezuela and the rest of the world. The people of that country stood up to the combined might of the G7 and its leader, the US, to overwhelmingly re-elect Nicolas Maduro. Such an act may seem simple to some of us who are unaware of the happenings in that nation, but the fact that it happened, coupled with the responses of those imperialist nations, both before and after, shows that this truly was a bold step taken, regardless of whether one agrees with the PSUV or not.
For those who are unaware, Venezuela, ever since the election of the late Hugo Chavez, has been in the cross-hairs of the U.S which, for the past two decades, has been systematically trying to undermine the ruling PSUV to the point of sponsoring a coup in 2002 even when they seemingly paid little attention to the other Latin American nations swept up in the ‘pink tide’.
This is so because Venezuela was the most successful in implementing socialist and nationalist policies (all through the ballot box) and the most extreme in both her rhetoric and action as it relates to creating a truly egalitarian society.
Successful policies at home have led to the mass reduction of the poverty rate in Venezuela, an increase in the literacy rates and access to cheap quality healthcare which has greatly reduced the infant mortality rate. The cornerstone policy, however, has to be that of political education and participation as the constitution (both the ones formulated under Chavez and Maduro) ensures that the public must have a say in the affairs of the nation in a way which is alien to most in the Latin American region.
The Venezuelan Government’s ventures abroad, while not as successful as those at home, have made serious headway to the point where there is now a functioning regional body without the US or Canada (a factor which can’t be overlooked for those who are nationalists). As a result of these measures and successful policies, her people have been forced to the brink of starvation as the US and her allies desperately aim to topple the Government through sanctions and mass funding of the Opposition to attempt to prove that socialism and regionalism, without them, can’t work.
In spite of all the foreign money and international spin, the citizens of Venezuela made a bold decision to continue along the lines of the socialist experiment. They must be commended for their bravery. However, simple commendations from supporters of both democracy and socialism are not enough, for the worst has yet to truly come as those who are old enough to remember the hectic period of the 60s-80s, the countless revolutions (most democratic) and counter-revolutions (mainly by the bullet) and as seen recently with the attempted assassination of Maduro.
The empire and her proxies are already out in full force condemning the legitimacy of this election. Macron of France is condemning this election as invalid, partially due to the low voter turnout and violence. Now, while it is true the turnout was low and there has been political violence (almost exclusively perpetrated by armed factions of the Opposition), if that was the standard by which political leaders became invalid then no French president (least of all Mr Macron who is facing his own violent turmoil after being elected with a turnout of less than 50 per cent) could ever lay claim to political legitimacy. The same could be said of any political leader in any of these ‘liberal democracies’.
Supporters of the Venezuelan project must stand with the people and that therefore means that we have to push our respective governments to lend support to the Venezuelan Government. We must ensure that our countries break the illegal blockade (masked as sanctions) imposed on Venezuela so that these people may (in spite of where we may personally lie on the political spectrum) see their experiment through to whatever end it may lead.
With Colombia now a member of NATO, added with the fact that she still has troops on the Venezuelan border, it is obvious that the powers that be are almost ready to act. With all NATO nations currently engaged in conflicts (some far afield as Afghanistan and some right on the border as in Syria) and with Colombian tacit complicity in undermining Venezuelan stability, it is not paranoia to wonder if they aim to violently overthrow the Government. Regardless of one’s stance on socialism, one must stand with the Venezuelan people and the Government they have duly elected as they face this onslaught. If Venezuela — the nation which has shown that change and independence can be won through the ballot box — falls, then that would surely be the death knell for independence and change in this region for quite some time as a key partner would be lost.