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Issue #1902      February 10, 2020

Venezuela: We are ready!

From 22-24 January, I had the honour of being part of a delegation of six people who travelled from Australia to Caracas, Venezuela where the World Encounter Against Imperialism under the banner “For life, sovereignty, and peace” took place.

CPA Party President Vinnie Molina with Venezuelan foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Our delegation was made up of social, union, and political party activists. Representatives from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth witnessed a totally different reality from that presented by the mass media. The reality of the right-wing press controlled by US monopolies that misinforms using lies about Venezuela.

We found instead a people that have successfully faced up to economic sanctions imposed under the blockade of the United States. This has been done with support from allies such as Australia and other countries that bend to imperial control. In our few days in Caracas we visited several places; I even had the opportunity to travel on the Caracas subway and talk to people in the streets.

What was evident was that the sanctions are directly impacting on the population through the prevention of the Bolivia and revolutionary Venezuela government buying medicines, food, and other consumer goods needed by the population. The main objective of the sanctions is to create a climate of tension and discontent between the people and government support bases.

However, people are organising locally inventing ways to deal with the crisis. The government does everything it can to try to do the impossible and overcome the sanctions so they can meet the needs of the population.

Visiting people in Caracas we saw first-hand that the great Housing Mission continues to build homes delivering three million houses to the needy. We visited friends living in a complex that used to be an army camp. Commander Chávez turned these lands into communal space and many apartment buildings are still being built on that site to provide a decent roof. People live happily there and organise around neighbourhood committees to care for and improve their homes. When I compare the delivery of three million homes for a disadvantaged population with the target of building five million in the next few years, I think about so many people living homeless without a decent roof in a wealthy developed country like Australia.

The revolutionary government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela delivers to the people housing in the same way it delivers to the health and education sector. The possibilities of access for all have been opened up by the revolution and the people are willing and prepared to defend those gains.

The meeting was opened by Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly and vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who invited us to such an important event. The event was attended by more than 1500 national delegates and 403 international delegates from five continents representing more than 70 countries.

Unfortunately, there were many other international delegates who became victims of the imposed blockade and were unable to get their tickets. This was the case for the New Zealand unionist Mike Treen who was hindered in getting a ticket on time by the airline boycott and difficulty of making payments on reservation platforms controlled by large multinationals. Some delegates managed to reach the event at the end or after so they could join some of the special visits that were organised.

During the meeting we learned that the governments of Colombia and the United States were carrying out military exercises against terrorism to coincide with the anti-imperialist meeting. All the difficulties and military exercises were due to the fear that the imperialists and the ruling class feel when the people unite to discuss their problems in order to find a popular solution to the crises that we currently have in the world.

The meeting provided many opportunities for delegates to share their views on the national and international situation. The Australian delegation expressed its condemnation against the financial and commercial blockade, as well as condemning the coercive measures. The delegates made a pledge to write to the government and take other actions requesting that the Australian government rectify its erroneous position on Venezuela and call on the government to recognise the legitimate government presided over by the constitutional president Nicolás Maduro Moros.

23rd January marked one year since Juan Guaido proclaimed himself president of Venezuela and it was a highlight of the trip to experience the passion and witness the great demonstrations of the population’s support for President Nicolás Maduro and his government. We witnessed a monumental popular parade where thousands of people took to the streets to listen to President Maduro make a forty-five minute speech from the presidential balcony. In that speech he denounced the blockade, the coercive measures and called on the people to resume the National Assembly in the next parliamentary elections this year as mandated by the Bolivarian Constitution. The people’s response was swift and the shout of “We Are Ready” sealed their commitment to continue defending the right to peace, sovereignty and life.

In addition, we had the opportunity of meeting with foreign minister Jorge Arreaza who gave a master class on anti-imperialism highlighting how the people must know their enemies to be able to overthrow them. He emphasized Lenin’s legacy of imperialism as the upper phase of capitalism. He highlighted the importance of taking up again the reading of Lenin’s thesis to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth saying that it is more relevant now than ever. At that meeting, the Australian delegation took the floor to express our solidarity with the Bolivarian people but also with the families of the three American firefighters who lost their lives fighting forest fires in New South Wales. We condemned the inaction of the Australian government in relation to climate change.

At the end of the meeting that exceeded our expectations of meeting ministers including the foreign affairs minister and meetings with workers and the people in general we had the honour of being at the closing ceremony with the workers’ president, Nicolás Maduro, who closed the event shouting we are ready and here there are not two presidents and not three parliamentary assemblies. Something that was very clear is that the impostor Guaido is now a relic of the past and a year after his imperial adventure the circus has fallen off and soon the clown will be looking for some other job perhaps with his friends from the north. However, with the more than 600 million dollars stolen from the town that have been given to the Venezuelan opposition, many of them can retire early and move to Miami or another place willing to claim them. A year on the Bolivarian government is stronger than ever next to the people in their civic-military union.

The anti-imperialist meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss fundamental problems such as employment, workers’ rights, women, youth, native peoples, and the environment and the pressing need for a large global anti-imperialist platform.

The decisions adopted by the Meeting contained in the Final Declaration agreed:

1) To hold an international mobilisation day in support of the Bolivarian Revolution and against neoliberalism on 27th February of the current year. This will be in commemoration of the thirty-one years of the first insurrection in Caracas against neoliberalism.

2) Convene a worldwide mobilisation for peace in Venezuela, in Our America and against the war plans of the United States government in April 2020.

3) Develop an international day of repudiation of the Monroe Doctrine, against the Blockade and other Unilateral Coercive Measures by 28th June 2020.

4) Create before the next Meeting a Coordinating Commission of the delegations present in the “First World Meeting Against Imperialism” in order to comply with this plan.

The fundamental thing now is that delegates who have returned to their respective countries give or write reports, as well as to begin to organise anti-imperialist platforms in the most unitary way without sectarianism. Australia must be an example of unity in demand of opportunities for all. We must demand sovereignty over Australian soil without US military bases. We must expect that our government will direct its efforts to fight climate change and to build a more just and sustainable society that allows us to save life on the planet. The main thing is to be united to overcome all obstacles.

* National president of the Communist Party of Australia, who lead the Australian delegation during the Anti Imperialist Meeting, Caracas, January 22-24, 2020.

Next article – Editorial: The Bicentenary

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