On Friday 4th January 2019, the Lima Group of nations, at a conference in which Trump’s Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made an appearance by video-link, have issued a declaration that the Venezuelan government is illegitimate, denounced it for human rights violations, questioned its territorial legitimacy, and imposed sanctions on Venezuela.
President Nicolas Maduro has characterised this move as an imperialist-sponsored attack on the constitutional and democratic order of Venezuela, and a move towards Coup d’état and direct military intervention, with the aim of gaining control of the natural resources of the Venezuelan people.
***Support the Venezuelan people: attend the Venezuelan Embassy tomorrow, 10th January, 11am – 3pm, to show your support for the inauguration of President Nicholas Maduro! 1 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2HW***
Who are the Lima Group of nations?
In 2017 The US cobbled together the ‘alliance’ (Maduro refers to them as a cartel) of 11 of the most reactionary, neo-liberal, pro-imperialist governments in the American continent – from Canada and Mexico to Columbia and Chile, supplemented by newly formed right-wing governments in Brazil and Argentina.
These deeply unpopular governments (many, like Honduran and Brazilian governments installed illegally by the US itself) were brought together specifically to attack and isolate the progressive government of Venezuela, and cover the colonial policy of the Monroe Doctrine in apparently indigenous Latin-American form. The Lima group was formed because the official regional body, the Organisation of American States (OAS) no longer follows Washington’s diktat.
To demonstrate that this offensive is all about oil, Venezuela’s eastern neighbour, Guyana, has attempted to encroach on the territorial rights of Venezuela – allowing Exxon Mobil to conduct oil exploration in waters of the Orinoco Delta that are an integral part of Venezuelan territorial waters. Guyana’s president David Granger, we note, is himself barely clinging to power in the face of his own parliament’s vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he is seeking to flout unconstitutionally! It is a move reminiscent of Kuwait’s infringement of Iraq’s sovereignty prior to the Gulf War.
Chavez nationalised the Orinoco reserves 10 years ago and the oligarchs of the US oil industry have been plotting their re-conquest ever since. Maduro and the PSUV are continuing and deepening Chavez’s legacy, and the Lima declaration is simply the USA’s latest offensive. As Trump pulls out of Syria, the US military-industrial complex is stepping up its campaign against the Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuela and Cuba are the key links in the chain of the popular democratic resistance to the Hegemonic interests of US finance capital.
Venezuela has chosen its path!
On Thursday 10 January 2019, President Nicholas Maduro Moro, leader of the United Socialist party of Venezuela (PSUV) will be sworn in for his second term as the President of Venezuela, having been duly re-elected by an overwhelming majority in elections held in May 2018, polling more than two thirds of the votes cast.
It is usual diplomatic etiquette to send congratulations on the constitutional inauguration of a nation’s president, but the US is hell-bent on using the occasion to raise diplomatic pressure on Venezuela, with a view to furthering its long-established program of destabilisation and economic attack, thus creating the conditions for military intervention, direct or proxy.
Maduro’s landslide victory was remarkable given the severity of the US and EU blockade, trade and financial sanctions, which prevent Venezuela from entering into equal trade relations, or even dealing with many companies, who face financial penalties for dealing with the Venezuelan government.
Both Obama (in 2014) and Trump (in 2017) declared a “national emergency” in Venezuela, sighting the destabilisation they themselves have maliciously instigated and maintained, as infringing the human rights of Venezuelans – and, perversely, blaming this on the Venezuelan government.
The latest round of sanctions alone have cost Venezuela an estimated $6 billion/year, and prevented Venezuelan citizens buying basic medical supplies including insulin and anti-cancer medication. It is international banking quarantine and industrial sabotage that has caused hyper-inflation in Venezuela, to the huge detriment of the population, not Venezuelan ‘mismanagement’. The truth is that the US channels 100s of millions of dollars to far right groups seeking to overturn Venezuela’s democracy. All of these constitute illegal acts of aggression, and are crimes of mass violence and intimidation directed against the Venezuelan people.
Democracy only ‘valid’ if the US-sponsored candidate wins!
The US-sponsored opposition, staring defeat in the face, despite its year-long campaign of violence and intimidation of the Venezuelan people, attempted to stage a ‘boycott’ of the 2018 presidential elections. Ultimately two opposition candidates did stand, but were roundly defeated. The US and EU have repeatedly stated that the election was invalid – without sighting any evidence, and despite the strong presence of impartial international observers who verified the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.
Why does the US care about Venezuela – and why should you?
- Venezuela’s proven oil reserves are recognised as the largest in the world, totalling 297 billion barrels.
- In the Orinoco Arc, Venezuela has the 2nd highest gold reserves in the world.
- Venezuela is a major producer and exporter of bauxite, coal and iron ore. In 2003 estimated reserves of bauxite totalled 5.2 million tons.
- Since Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999, the Bolivarian republic has implemented huge programs of nationalisation of the country’s mineral, agricultural and industrial wealth.
- In 2007, Chavez’s government took a majority stake in four oil projects in the vast Orinoco heavy crude belt worth an estimated $30 billion in total.
- In 2008, Chavez’s administration implemented a windfall tax of 50 percent for prices over $70 per barrel, and 60 percent on oil over $100.
- Venezuela holds huge foreign currency reserves, and is seeking to repatriate $550 million of its own gold currently held in the Bank of England. Declaring the government illegitimate would serve as a pretext for seizing her assets – as they robbed Libya in 2011.
Achievements of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
- The Venezuelan state, on behalf of the Venezuelan masses, now controls most of the country’s vast mineral reserves.
- Nationalisation of much of nation’s wealth has allowed funding of great social projects.
- 2 million homes were built for the poorest working-class Venezuelans between 2011-2017 and another 2 million homes will be built by 2019.
- Venezuela eliminated illiteracy in just 2 years.
- Social equality: advances eliminating racism and promoting women’s rights.
- Further plans are in place to nationalise factories and industrial units that attempt to sabotage production of essential goods.
- Health Programs: Universal medical care has been established, in cooperation with doctors from Cuba.
The US & EU imperialists are hell-bent on sabotaging the right of the Venezuelan masses to enjoy the fruits of their own labour, and the natural resources of their own country.
We realise that freedom is indivisible. When one nation is enslaved, we are all enslaved. When one nation breaks the bonds of slavery and asserts its independence we are all closer to our own freedom of action.
What is at stake are the rights of the billionaire oligarchy of the US and other imperialist nations to impose its will over and above the economic needs and desires, and the political rights of the masses and their chosen leaders – President Maduro, in the case of Venezuela.
The people of Britain, in the process of throwing off the EU bankers, and moving towards asserting our own rights over British city financiers are clear that we stand with the people of Venezuela.
What can we do?
Spread this message to your friends on social media
Show your support at the Venezuelan Embassy today!
Log on here to find out more: http://www.cpgb-ml.org
Demand lifting of sanctions by Britain, EU and the USA!
Demand the dissolution of the illegitimate US-proxy “Lima group”
Insist on respecting the right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination!
Demand non-intervention in the internal affairs of the Venezuelan people!
No war for oil!