Desperate to overthrow democracy and reverse the gains of the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela’s opposition groups are increasing resorting to open violence. An estimated sixty people have died during demonstrations and protests since early April. Although only a handful were killed by state security forces who face constant attacks, the international media has relentlessly portrayed a false picture of a “brutal” government targetting innocent protesters – the opposite of the truth. In one of the latest developments, opposition protesters torched the house in Barinas where Hugo Chavez spent his teenage years, destroyed five statues of the late President, and blocked roads into the city.
As international participants at a recent one-day conference in Caracas were told, the Bolivarian Revolution faces a serious crisis, the result of factors such as economic difficulties related to low energy prices and the historic under-development of other sectors, a widespread black market system, and constant political and diplomatic pressures from US imperialism and its Venezuelan allies. The Maduro government’s response includes the proposal to convene a broad-based Constituent Assembly to discuss the country’s future. But perhaps not surprisingly, this offer of an open and genuine dialogue has so far been rejected by the big business sector, the MUD opposition coalition, and the reactionary hierarchy of the powerful Catholic church. The Organization of American States – headed by puppets of the White House – is also completely opposed to any peaceful resolution of the crisis in Venezuela.
Latin America is at a crucial crossroads, as reactionary forces strive to reverse all the democratic and social gains of the past two decades. At this crucial moment, all friends of the Bolivarian Revolution need to step up our solidarity, by exposing the lies of the corporate media and defending Venezuela’s sovereign right to determine its own destiny, free from interference by Yankee imperialism.