Venezuela

Venezuela in the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic is compounding what was already a social, political, and economic catastrophe in Venezuela. As of 22 May, the country has 944 reported cases, though I suspect the actual number is much higher. Collective quarantine measures are strengthening the authoritarian grip of President Nicolás Maduro. Ecologically destructive mining in the “Arco Minero” of the Venezuela’s Amazonian region has left residents of the nearby settlements in sanitary conditions that exacerbate the spread of disease. So remote are these settlements that it is difficult to purchase adequate cleaning...

Venezuelan workers’ coalition continues fight against Maduro and Guaidó

As previously reported, Workers in Struggle (“Trabajadores en Lucha”) is a recently formed coalition of Venezuelan socialists and trade unionists that aims “to confront the brutal anti-worker policies of the Maduro Government and to repudiate imperialist interference”. Since its creation, the coalition has made its presence known through worker mobilisations against the US-backed Venezuelan right on the one hand, and the Government’s attacks upon civil liberties and hard-won collective bargaining agreements on the other. One such mobilisation occurred in Caracas at the start of this month...

Venezuela: new workers’ grouping forms against Guaidó and Maduro

In the midst of the Venezuelan Presidential crisis, a new coalition of Venezuelan socialists and trade unionists has formed in opposition to both the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and his National Assembly-backed challenger Juan Guaidó. The Presidential crisis began on 10 January 2019 when the National Assembly, held by the right-wing coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), disputed the process and results of the May 2018 Presidential election, which saw Maduro re-elected. Guaidó declared himself interim President of Venezuela on 23 January 2019, setting off the fiercest challenges...

From St George to Xi Jinping

The Times (18 May) has splashed our denunciation of the wearing of the old Russian imperial emblem, the St George Ribbon, by some members of Lewisham Momentum. The incident is only a specially gaudy display of the general political trend of the section of the Labour supposed-left which gravitates around the Morning Star. The Morning Star is the continuation of the Daily Worker, which for decades from 1930 was a mouthpiece for the regimes of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. It saw the old USSR as “socialist”. It based that claim largely on the fact that all sizeable industry in that regime was...

Guaidó’s big push fails

Nearly four months into the Venezuelan Presidential crisis, it has come the closest so far to a literal coup dynamic. On the morning of Tuesday 30 April, Juan Guaidó, the self-declared interim President of Venezuela, appeared in a video near a Caracas air base with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who had previously been kept under house arrest. Accompanied by men in military uniforms, Guaidó announced the “final phase of Operation Liberty”, calling on troops and civilians to make a last push against the incumbent President Nicolas Maduro. Protests erupted in the streets. This time, several...

Venezuela: tension mounts

On 2 April, the government-held Constituent Assembly in Venezuela, the parallel legislature created in 2017, stripped National-Assembly-backed, self-declared interim President Juan Guaidó of his parliamentary immunity. The Supreme Court, whose judges are loyal to the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro, had asked the Constituent Assembly to lift Guaidó’s immunity following his defiance of a travel ban upon him. Reportedly, Constituent Assembly members responded to the question “What do you do with traitors?" with shouts of “¡Al paredón!” (“To the execution wall!”). On the streets, opposition...

Russian troops come to Venezuela

Over nine weeks have passed since Juan Guaidó, backed by the National Assembly, declared himself interim President of Venezuela on 24 January 2019, challenging the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó continues to enjoy support from the US, Colombia, Brazil, and other states, but admits that a change in government cannot occur without the backing of the Venezuelan armed forces. In his own corner, Maduro continues to be backed by Russia and China. On 29 March, Russian military personnel and matériel arrived by plane in Venezuela. The Kremlin claims that this deployment is legal and that...

Venezuela: still in the balance

Caption: people collect water from a leaking pipeline Nearly two months after Juan Guaidó, with the support of the National Assembly, declared himself an alternative president of Venezuela on 23 January, incumbent Nicolas Maduro has declared victory over his US-backed challenger. Maduro praised the armed forces for remaining loyal to him and defeating the “coup”. But the claim came amidst mass blackouts that began on Thursday 7 March, affecting at least 18 of the country’s 23 states. The blackouts have badly impacted hospitals and other vital services, leading to a reported 26 deaths,...

Venezuela: four dead in border clashes

Juan Guaidó declared himself president of Venezuela on 23 January, disputing the position with the incumbent president Nicolas Maduro. A month later, Guaidó continues to ask other states to consider “all options” for removing Maduro. Events on 23 February ramped up the risk of invasion, by the USA or a consortium of states. On the 23rd, eight lorries carrying aid attempted to cross the border from Colombia. Three lorries reportedly made it into Venezuela, only for two to catch fire. Colombian officials say this was deliberate incineration. Venezuelan troops have blockaded the borders with...

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