July 2017        

A crucial moment for Venezuela

Robert Navan

The extreme violence being perpetrated by groups connected to the right-wing opposition in Venezuela has now seen the death toll rise to over eighty. Public and community property, particularly projects associated with gains made by the revolution, has borne the brunt of the assaults, and millions of dollars of damage has been done. Today (1 July) brings news of fifty tons of food destined for poor families being torched by these hooligans.
     Comrade Seán Edwards, who is in Caracas for the congress of the Communist Party of Venezuela, found himself caught up in one of these violent incidents. Here is his description of what happened (30 June) and some of his views:
I was a witness just now to one of the guarimbista [barricader] escapades. I went on a day trip from Merida this morning. There was a lovely group on the bus, all Venezuelan, apart from one Colombian and myself. We went far up the mountains to see a very picturesque lake. With all the stops it was about 8:15 p.m. as we approached Merida, a few kilometres away.
     The road in front was on fire with burning tyres. By 10:30 p.m. the flames had died down, leaving a space on the right for our bus, and the driver went for it. Something was thrown at the bus, but we got through and drove into town without further incident.
     The first sign of a policeman I saw was when we were leaving the scene—typical of the very inadequate response of the government. Yes, Maduro bears a lot of responsibility: he announces stronger action but doesn’t actually do it. The group who carried out this act of vandalism was not large: a couple of stout policemen and a platoon of soldiers could have dealt with them very quickly. If anyone tried that kind of thing in England or France, for example, they would most likely be shot.
     I think Maduro is worried about the campaign in the corporate media, that he does not take on these groups. The gangs are growing in their effrontery. I’m sure you know about the death of Orlando Figuera: he was burnt alive, and the perpetrators have not been caught.
     Two more young men were set alight with petrol as they were returning home from a party. Their home was in a new block of housing built by the Misión Venezuela Vivienda, which houses people from the poorer barrios. Their address was enough to condemn them in the diseased minds of their assailants.
      The worldwide disinformation campaign rarely if ever mentions the innocent bystanders who have been killed, or even the deliberate targeting of supporters of the revolution, such as the two that Seán mentions. In Ireland we even have a bogus human rights group called Venezuelan Community in Ireland, who have tried to close down information meetings if the views expressed did not concur with their own—a normal tactic of the “democratic” opposition in Venezuela.
     This is once again a very crucial moment for Venezuela, Latin America, and probably the world, as right-wing forces feel emboldened by the election of Donald Trump.

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