MSJ Salutes the Historic Contribution of President Hugo …

2018 March 6.
On Monday March 5th 2018, the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) of Trinidad and Tobago, together with countless others who are involved in the struggle for social justice, commemorated the Fifth Anniversary of the passing of President Hugo Chavez Frias. President Chavez was undoubtedly one of the most important historic figures of the Twenty-First Century. In just over a decade as President of Venezuela he began a process of transformation not only of his own country but of Latin America.
Some of the outstanding achievements of President Chavez included:

  • Redressing the legacy of poverty and inequality in Venezuela through policies of redistributing that country’s oil wealth towards the provision of educational opportunities for all; improving health care; increasing access to decent housing; addressing gender and ethnic injustice
  • Offering a Vision and creating mechanisms for integration of Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis not of imperial power and exploitation, but of solidarity as, for example: ALBA; PetroCaribe; Telesur; the strengthening of Mercusur; and the establishment of CELAC
  • Providing hope that another world is possible; which saw progressive parties and movements winning elections and forming governments throughout Latin America – in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras.

These achievements cannot and will never be erased from history and the MSJ salutes President Chavez for his vision and dedicating his life to the cause of social justice and the Bolivarian Revolution. Chavez Lives on in the hearts and minds of millions the world over!
At the same time, however, we condemn those right wing forces who seek to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution and all that President Chavez fought and died to create. These forces of reaction are comprised of the old economic ruling classes in Venezuela – the oligarchs and elites – who traditionally held power in Venezuela and who benefited from wealth and privilege that came with that power. These elites never accepted the will of majority of Venezuelans who time after time democratically elected President Chavez and his party to positions at state, municipal and in the parliament. So intent were these right wing, reactionary forces that they carried out a coup d’etat against the President Chavez, which coup was defeated by the mass of Venezuelan people who came out in defense of their elected President.
Since the passing of President Chavez five years ago, these right wing forces have intensified their actions to bring about regime change by any means against the democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro. These forces are not interested in democracy – they simply want to take back the power that they lost in order to continue their life of wealth and privilege. When they failed to properly initiate a recall referendum because they violated the constitutional requirements they screamed that they wanted elections and then contrary to their so-called “belief in democracy and peace” they carried out violent protests.
When these violent protests failed because the majority of Venezuelans wanted peace; they once again demonstrated that they were not interested in the democratic process by boycotting the elections for the National Constituent Assembly, which Assembly is recognized in the Venezuelan Constitution as the “original will of the people”.
In the face of the overwhelming support by Venezuelans for the Constituent National Assembly, the right wing then changed their tune and took part in the elections for State Governors. This process of elections was free and fair and they won several governorships. The Government of President Maduro, committed as it is to democracy and peace, then agreed to a process of dialogue initiated by the President of the Dominican Republic and in which four other governments participated as mediators.
This process of dialogue focused on the way forward including setting the date for the Presidential elections. Agreement was arrived at after compromises were made by both the government and opposition for an April election. The government had wanted March and the opposition May. Then in an act of duplicity, the opposition reneged on the agreement for an April election date. President Maduro initially stated the intention to have the election proceed as originally agreed, but in the interest of peace, has now agreed to postpone the election to a date in May – the month the opposition had first demanded.
Once again, however, the right wing forces in the opposition have demonstrated that they are neither interested in democracy nor peace as they have condemned the holding of elections! The MSJ is clear in our position. The right wing is not about democracy – they want regime change so as to totally destroy the Bolivarian Revolution and the legacy of President Chavez!
In this, these right wing oligarchs and elites are being supported by a revitalized US imperialism under Donald Trump. Indeed, we have no doubt that it is the support from the Trump administration that has resulted in sections of the opposition repudiating the process of democratic elections. Since Trump has become President there have been:

  • Open threats by Trump himself to use military force to remove the elected President Maduro
  • Increased sanctions by the US against Venezuela in violation of international norms
  • The attempt – against all diplomatic norms – by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Amalgro and other pro-US states to use the OAS to create the conditions for a foreign military intervention in Venezuela
  • The most recent statement by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (himself a former head honcho of the oil giant Exxon) that the solution to Venezuela may be like Chile – a clear reference to the extremely violent coup d’etat by General Pinochet against the democratically elected President Salvador Allende. It must be noted that this coup was openly encouraged and supported by the United States, and resulted in some of the worst human rights violations – murders, torture, imprisonment without charge or trial, banning of trade unions and political parties, suspension of elections and other democratic processes – in the modern history of the Americas.
  • The racist position of Trump – “shithole countries”; anti-immigrants of colour etc.

The MSJ condemns these right wing, neo-fascist forces and the US government for their plan to destroy the Bolivarian Republic and restore the power of the oligarchs and elites. We have confidence that, notwithstanding the many difficulties that Venezuela is experiencing – many of which are the result of destabilization by the very elites – the majority of Venezuelans desire democracy and peace and that they will vote for President Maduro and thus vote to preserve and deepen the legacy of President Chavez. The MSJ re-iterates our support for the PSUV, the party of President Chavez, and all progressive forces in Venezuela and we stand with the democratically elected President Maduro and the Constituent National Assembly.
Movement for Social Justice

David Abdulah
Political Leader