The imperialist government of Donald Trump and his Venezuelan puppet, the right-wing leader Juan Guaidó, have launched a new putschist offensive against the people of Venezuela in the early morning of April the 30th.
As in the previous attempts, this coup has the active collaboration of the reactionary governments of Latin America, the European bourgeoisies, the media at their service and a broad sector of international social democracy.
Capitalist public opinion presents Juan Guaidó as the "legitimate president" of Venezuela and Leopoldo López as "politically persecuted". What they don’t say is that both Guaidó and López are leaders of the right-wing party Voluntad Popular, which in 2014 called on its supporters to organize terrorist actions and fascist attacks against militants of the left and headquarters of the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV). In the "guarimbas" organized by these two reactionaries, attacks were committed with firearms and Molotov cocktails that caused half a hundred deaths.
Leopoldo López was tried and sentenced to 14 years in prison as the maximum responsible for these attacks. But all the contempt felt by the Venezuelan oligarchy for its own people has become evident again in the violent actions launched on April the 30th by these criminals.
Just a few weeks ago, Guaidó requested a US military intervention to guarantee his inauguration as president. No matter how many lives it costs, the only thing that matters to the Venezuelan capitalists and their imperialist masters is to come to power and take control of the immense wealth of Venezuela.
The new putschist offensive launched by Trump has been supported once again by the European Union (EU). While they cry crocodile tears for "the sufferings of the Venezuelan people", the sanctions approved by the US and the EU mean that millions of young people and workers, already stricken by the serious economic crisis in the country, are being condemned to a critical situation.
Amongst the more than 50 governments that recognize Guaidó as "legitimate president", support these criminal measures of economic blockade, and support the coup offensive, the presence of the Spanish and Portuguese governments stands out. The leaders of the PSOE, the Portuguese PS and other European socialist parties are accomplices in the criminal plans of imperialism.
The fact that a fascist like Leopoldo López has received shelter in the house of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas is conclusive evidence of this. While they imprison Catalan separatist leaders for organizing a democratic referendum, the Spanish government protects coup plotters who promote a military coup to massacre the people of Venezuela. Such are the double standards of capitalist democracy.
The coup attempt on April the 30th fails...
The new attempt to overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro began at dawn on April the 30th, with the joint pronouncement of Guaidó and Leopoldo López, released shortly before of his house arrest by a group of rebellious soldiers of the National Guard. The coup had the support of the chief responsible for military intelligence (SEBIN), Manuel Christopher Figuera, dismissed by the government that same day.
The international media reported that Guaidó had the support of the majority of the army, controlled one of the country's main air bases, La Carlota, and would soon take control of others. As the hours passed, the falsehood of these news became evident.
The "support of the majority of the army" announced by Guaidó and his US bosses, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, has so far materialized in the desertion and asylum application in the Brazilian embassy of 35 low-ranking soldiers, of the involvement in the coup of some isolated officers and the dissemination of videos in which soldiers, corporals and lieutenants denounce that they were taken to La Carlota by deception and that, once they saw that the objective was to use them for the coup, they decided to abandon their commanders.
The coup leaders did not fare any better with their call for "the people" to "massively take the streets". The announced march to the Miraflores Palace to support the "military uprising" and overthrow the government was never held before the evidence that the coup had not prospered in the barracks and lacked sufficient critical mass to undertake this action with possibilities of success. Lopez and Guaidó regrouped the few thousand supporters who had managed to mobilize and encouraged violent actions in Caracas and other cities.
... but the putschist plans of imperialism continue
The failure of the attempt on April the 30th reflects, as it did on February the 23rd, the enormous difficulties that US imperialism is currently encountering in the way to achieve its objectives, despite all the resources it has.
As we explained in previous statements, the goal of Trump’s administration is to take advantage of the serious economic situation in Venezuela (which its sanctions and blockade are aggravating dramatically) to regain control over a country that is key to its interests.
Venezuela has the largest confirmed oil reserves in the world. In the past few years it has become the main trading partner of China in Latin America and a fundamental ally of Russia in the continent. In the struggle between the Chinese and the US imperialists for every inch of the world market, which the prospects of a new world recession in 2019 or 2020 deepen, Venezuela has become a strategic piece for Trump and the US bourgeoisie.
Placing a puppet government in Caracas, Washington could strike a blow to China and Russia and would take a very important step in reaffirming its continental hegemony. In addition, a victory of the extreme right in Venezuela would be used to try to hit the masses throughout Latin America, in a context of social discontent and growing mobilizations against the adjustment policies and cuts of the reactionary governments of Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil.
But this scenario of instability, polarization and class struggle throughout the continent, including in the United States themselves, also rises as an objective obstacle to foreign military intervention. The deployment of the Marines in Venezuelan territory would explode all the accumulated rage and provoke mass mobilizations in one country after another.
The imperialist strategy, while trying to win a decisive sector of the leadership of the army, continues to rely on economic suffocation. After the setback suffered on April the 30th, Donald Trump announced, on May the 2nd, new blocking measures and “devastating” sanctions against Venezuela, and even the possibility of complementing them with a hardening of the blockade against Cuba. In parallel, they will continue to promote destabilization, expecting that the combination of hyperinflation, sanctions, sabotage, blackouts, etc., will provoke a social outbreak or a wave of looting and violent confrontations in the streets that changes the correlation of forces within the army leadership and enables a military coup in their favor.
The situation in the army
As part of this plan, the Trump administration is using a "stick and carrot" policy toward senior officers, combining threats (statements about possible military intervention, arrests, blocking of their accounts outside the country...) with promises of "amnesty" and attempts to bribe them.
The government and the leaders of the PSUV insist that the army is with Maduro and without fissures, hoping that the coup plotters are exhausted by their own mistakes or by their incapacity to get enough support in the streets, and trusting that they the government will continue to maintain the support of the military leadership indefinitely.
But this policy is a recipe for disaster. In the first place, it leaves the initiative in the hands of reaction and imperialism, and shows that from the government there is no strategy other than a hypothetical negotiation with the right-wing opposition. A complete utopia that won’t solve anything. If anything, the fact Guaidó freely returned to Venezuela after the violent actions he promoted on the 23rd February, that he continues to act with impunity after the failed coup on the 30th April, or that Leopoldo López enjoys the hospitality of the Spanish ambassador while launching press conferences in favor of the coup, only proves that within the State apparatus there are important divisions and contradictions.
The implication of Figuera, the head of military intelligence, in this coup is a very serious warning. The same polarization that occurs in society occurs within the army and the state apparatus. In the officiality there are corrupt and pro-capitalist sectors that, although they do not say it openly, sympathize with the right and the extreme right and will not hesitate to collaborate with them and imperialism in repressing the people if they feel they can win.
The only way to defeat the coup offensive is with a revolutionary policy that has an enthusiastic effect on the masses. But far from presenting a socialist alternative, the PSUV bureaucracy and the Maduro government have broken with the past revolutionary experience, undermining all the progressive reforms that the people started under the Chávez governments, have tried to reach agreements over and over again with the parasitic bourgeoisie fomenting corruption, have managed a bankrupt capitalism repressing the most combative and conscious sectors of the workers movement and the left, and have thrown themselves into the arms of the Chinese and Russian imperialists to ensure their privileges and control of state power .
Correlation of forces
Venezuela faces one of the most brutal imperialist offensives of the last two decades. Nonetheless, the mobilizations organized by the government, such as this May Day, are still far below the gigantic demonstrations of force that succeeded in deactivating previous coup attempts against the Chávez government.
The cause of this paradox is that Chávez implemented left policies, trying to respond to the demands of the masses, and faced the oligarchy. On the contrary, Maduro and the current leaders of the PSUV have chosen to abandon any socialist perspective and opt for a model of state capitalism, applying cuts in salaries and rights, destroying thousands of jobs in public and private companies, making constant concessions to businessmen, and all this without being able to avoid the collapse of the productive apparatus, hyperinflation and the imperialist sabotage. The social and economic catastrophe of Venezuela will not be solved by maintaining this dynamic.
With an genuine socialist and revolutionary policy, the coup would have been defeated definitively. Guaidó and the fascists of Voluntad Popular, as well as other oligarchic parties, would be completely isolated and discredited, their leaders arrested to answer for their crimes with no chance of acting ever again.
But Guaidó remains free and tries to win back initiative. The first available data indicate that the "gradual strike towards a general strike", called for May Day, has not been followed up. That day’s opposition demonstration, more crowded than expected after the failure of their attempt in the previous day, did not have the massive assistance necessary to carry forward the coup plans. In any case, Guaido relies on disgruntled union bureaucrats to maintain his strategy and hopes that social discontent will allow him to change the correlation of forces.
Independent mobilization of the working class against the coup. All power to the workers and the people to sweep the reaction!
In Izquierda Revolucionaria we are totally opposed to the workers' strike called by Guaidó. This strike has nothing to do with defending workers' rights, it is about an escalation in imperialist strategy. On the contrary, we call on all workers, peasants and young people to mobilize massively to defeat this new coup attempt in a crushing and definitive way.
The first task of all worker activists, working class unions, popular movements and the left, is to denounce the objectives and the criminal nature of Guaidó and the Venezuelan pro-imperialist opposition, but without trusting the government or the military leadership to defeat Trump and the Venezuelan bourgeoisie. The government’s policies are what allowed the right to manipulate the desperation of sectors of the population and to advance. A new example of this is the promise of Maduro in his May Day speech to convene a congress of social organizations to gather their opinions and proposals. But this exercise of legitimizing the bureaucracy with propaganda actions is not new, in the past we already had the workers' congress, congress of the peoples, communal parliament... and, when the revolutionary sectors tried to raise their criticisms of the bureaucracy and the need to expropriate banks and large companies owned by the oligarchy, they were excluded or attacked.
The reserves of support for the legacy of the revolution, the memory, the instinct and consciousness that exist among the masses, are far superior to what the demonstrations organized by the government show. With a revolutionary leadership and a program of struggle for socialism capable of connecting with the immediate aspirations and needs of the population, it would be possible to reverse the apathy shown by millions of oppressed who don’t support Guaidó or the coup plans but don’t see Maduro as an alternative either.
All this force must be set in motion and the attempt by Guaidó to obtain support among the workers and the people must be nipped in the bud. But this will not be achieved with words. It is imperative that we, the revolutionaries, put ourselves at the forefront of the mobilization against anti-worker policies of the bureaucracy in companies and public institutions. We must encourage and support action committees against the coup that are independent of the state and union bureaucracy in each factory, study center and neighborhood. These committees must organize concrete actions (assemblies, marches, rallies...) and coordinate locally, regionally and nationally to unify the demands of all workers, peasants and popular masses to defeat the coup and build a true socialist economy and state, without bureaucracy or corruption.
This program must include the expropriation of banks, land and large companies, and of all imperialist capital, and put the vast resources of Venezuela under the direct administration of the workers. By democratically planning the economy for the benefit of the people we could put an end to the economic catastrophe. Such a movement would not only respond overwhelmingly to Trump and his allies, it would achieve the enthusiastic support of millions in Latin America and around the world, erasing the threat of a coup and opening the way for the socialist transformation of society.
To defeat the coup, we must wrest the economic and political power from the hands of businessmen and bureaucrats and put it in the hands of the workers and the people!
Versión en castellano