In defence of democracy and sovereignty for Venezuela
A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network
September 14, 2008
On September 11, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez gave the United States ambassador in Caracas 72 hours to leave the country. The announcement was made in solidarity with Bolivia, after Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled US ambassador Phillip Goldberg for collaborating with the far-right opposition movement that has been organising violent protests for weeks to seize control of Bolivia's wealthy eastern provinces.
The United States responded by expelling Bolivian and Venezuelan envoys from its territories.
Venezuela and Bolivia’s actions were responses to a series of destabilising actions in Latin America “made in the USA”, Chavez said on September 11.
On September 10, a recording was broadcast on the television program The Razorblade in which a new coup and assassination plot against Chavez is discussed by former and active military officers. "We are going to take over Miraflores Palace, we are going to take over television plants", the recording said. Also outlined was a plan to take over control of the Army general command with "the troops inside", and possibly to strike while Chavez was on a plane, aiming to "blow him up or capturing him with planes while in the air”.
Venezuela’s National Assembly has announced a special commission to investigate the coup plot. National Assembly president Cilia Flores said the privately owned media and opposition political parties “are promoting war” in Venezuela, “openly urging people to rebel, generate violence and not recognise the democratic government".
In Bolivia, which with Venezuela is at the forefront of a Latin America-wide rebellion against neo-liberalism and US domination, a “civic coup” was unleashed by the right-wing opposition on September 9. The violent attacks on government supporters and infrastructure aims to destabilise the government and depose Indigenous president Evo Morales, aims publicly supported by the US ambassador to Bolivia.
The coup plot in Venezuela and the violence in Bolivia follow other attempts this year by the US administration and the Latin America governments it controls to intimidate and destabilise the Venezuelan revolution, and to create a pretext for military intervention against it.
On March 1, in violation of all international treaties regarding national sovereignty, the Colombian government of President Alvaro Uribe - which receives more US military funding than any other country in Latin America - bombed Ecuadorian territory to assassinate Colombian leftists waging an armed struggle against the Uribe government. Ecuador and Venezuela responded by mobilising troops to their respective borders with Colombia to defend their national sovereignty. Subsequently, the Colombian government tried to claim the existence of documents that link the Venezuelan government and Chavez to “terrorism” and “narco-trafficking”, which Venezuela denounced as absolute lies.
Then on July 1, after 58 years, the US Navy reactivated the Fourth Fleet, a high level command dedicated to supervising US warships and submarines in Latin American and Caribbean waters.
Meanwhile, the US continues to provide millions of dollars of military and financial aid to the Colombian government, and the opposition forces in Venezuela and Bolivia. It also maintains a constant media campaign that portrays Chavez as an insane dictator leading the Latin American people on a path to destruction.
In fact, the opposite is true. The pro-poor, pro-peace policies of Venezuela’s revolutionary government are inspiring millions more people into struggle against their exploitation and strengthening Latin American unity against imperialist plunder of their resources.
For centuries, the US has aided and abetted violence and conflict throughout Latin America, and trampled democratic and human rights. Every new step towards democracy, peace and stability in the region weakens imperialism’s ability to do this. As Chavez said on September 11, addressing the US administration: “Do not think … that you are going to do what you did to Chile 35 years ago on a day like today. Unfortunately, the Chilean revolutionary people were alone in South America; but today it is not like that.”
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN):
? Joins with all supporters of peace and democracy in Latin America to condemn the most recent plan to assassinate Chavez and undermine the elected government of Venezuela.
? Calls on the Australian government to respect and defend democratic principles by expressing its support for the elected government of Venezuela against any attempt to illegally overturn it.
? Notes that without peace and justice in Bolivia, and across Latin America, there can be no peace for revolutionary Venezuela, and calls on the current, and soon-to-be-elected US governments to immediately cease all interventions into the sovereign nations of Latin America. We extend our solidarity to President Evo Morales and the people of Bolivia who are struggling to defend their right to economic, social and political freedom.
? Congratulates all Venezuelans who have mobilised to defend their democracy and right to self-determination, and pledges to continue our efforts to strengthen international understanding of and solidarity with your struggles.