The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 81/No. 28      July 31, 2017

(front page)

Washington threatens ‘strong economic action’

The Washington-backed Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD), which has been organizing increasingly violent actions against the United Socialist Party government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, carried out a unilateral, nonsanctioned referendum July 16 opposing government plans for July 30 elections for delegates to a constituent assembly.

After the vote, President Donald Trump threatened to “take strong and swift economic actions” against the Venezuelan government if it didn’t cancel the vote.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini joined Trump in demanding the Maduro government implement “political gestures to de-escalate tensions” by “suspending the process of putting the Constituent Assembly into place.”

The opposition seeks to open divisions in the government and Venezuela’s armed forces in hopes of bringing it down. For the last couple years, opposition forces have taken advantage of the ravages of today’s unfolding capitalist economic crisis, exacerbated by their own obstruction against Maduro’s efforts to ameliorate the effects on working people.

Soaring inflation — estimated to reach 720 percent this year — and constant shortages of everything from food to toothpaste to diapers grind down on working people, forcing them to spend hours daily to try and meet the most basic needs of their families. Government corruption has deepened the problem.

Maduro responded that he “won’t be intimidated” by international pressure and that the July 30 vote will be held as scheduled.

To maintain pressure on the government, MUD has called a 24-hour general strike for July 20. Fedecámaras, the bosses’ federation, has backed the action. Fedecámaras’ outgoing President Francisco Martínez cynically said that the bosses’ association will “stand alongside the workers.”

The government says the Constituent Assembly is needed to restore stability to the country. The 545-member body will have the power to revise the constitution and pass laws, bypassing the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

The turnout on the July 16 vote gave a glimpse of the existing polarization in the country. According to MUD leaders, 6.5 million of the 19.5 million registered voters in the country participated in the symbolic referendum. They were joined by 700,000 living in the U.S., the EU and elsewhere.

Some 71 percent of Venezuelans believe the opposition has no plan to tackle the country’s economic problems, according to a July 13 poll conducted by Hinterlaces. In June the poll found that “56 percent of Venezuelans would prefer that President Maduro solve the [country’s] problems.”

MUD has threatened to form its own parallel “government of national unity” without Maduro if it doesn’t cancel the July 30 vote. And it says it will appoint its own members to the pro-Maduro Supreme Court. Many have warned of the danger of an escalation of the conflict, and the consequences on working people.

The government of revolutionary Cuba, which has thousands of volunteer internationalist doctors, nurses and teachers in Venezuela providing low-cost medical care and literacy programs to working people there, has called for an end to foreign intervention.

In a July 14 speech to Cuba’s National Assembly, Cuban President Raúl Castro defended Venezuela’s “legitimate right to resolve its internal problems peacefully and without foreign intervention.”

“We reaffirm our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the country’s civic-military union led by Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros,” he said.
Related articles:
Socialist Workers Party: US hands off Venezuela!
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home