The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) expresses our solidarity with the democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro and the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Within the past week there has been an intensification of actions by the Opposition in Venezuela to remove President Maduro by means of a coup d’etat, either through the agency of the Venezuelan National Assembly (Parliament) or by street demonstrations and some acts of violence.
The source of the Opposition’s most recent efforts was the fact that they have been propagating a falsehood that the Maduro government is not abiding by the Venezuelan Constitution to have a recall referendum take place immediately. It is very important to note the facts, which facts are also not being reported in the traditional media. Significantly, there are powerful sections of the Venezuelan media that itself is propagating the falsehoods as they oppose the Government of President Maduro and as they opposed the Government of President Hugo Chavez. We cannot be blind to the fact that the process of change in Venezuela initiated by President Chavez and continued by President Maduro attacked the interests of the powerful elites – the oligarchs – in Venezuela who had traditionally controlled both economic and political power and used that power to maintain their position of wealth at the expense of the majority of Venezuelans who lived in poverty.
The Constitution that now provides for a recall referendum is the Constitution that was passed into law following the initiative of President Chavez. It is therefore ironic that the Opposition, which at that time objected to that Constitution and the process that led to its establishment, is today calling for the Constitution to be put into effect. More importantly, however, the Opposition has in the past six months steadfastly refused to abide by the specific provisions and processes set out in the Constitution for a recall referendum to take place. As far as they are concerned since the Constitution has a provision for a recall referendum, it matters not how that referendum is to take place. And so they are whipping up mass support for the violation of the constitutional process for the referendum, in other words, mobilizing around a falsehood. Thus:

  • The referendum process takes some 8 to 9 months to be completed. Having triggered the process by seeking the minimum of 1% of the electorate in April of 2016, the process could not have been completed in 2016.
  • Moreover, the Opposition got more than the 1% needed to trigger the process, but so desperate were they that almost 30% of the signatures collected at this first stage were identified as being fraudulent.
  • Notwithstanding that the National Electoral Council, the body established by the Constitution to oversee the referendum process, stated that this fraud needed to be investigated, the Opposition on its own accord and without the sanction of the National Electoral Council decided to embark on the second stage of the process – the collection of signatures of 20% of the electorate – which is necessary to go to the third stage – the actual referendum vote. The Opposition announced that it would be collecting the signatures on October 26, 27 and 28
  • However, the National Electoral Council was ordered by a number of Courts in Venezuela to halt the process of collection of the 20% and this has been used by the Opposition as evidence that Maduro is a “dictator” and justification that the Maduro government must be removed.
  • In the circumstances this position by the Opposition is a falsehood. However, they recognize that in this era of “post truth societies” the truth no longer matters. What matters is being able to mobilize support around highly emotive issues. This development is seen not only in Venezuela but in the UK (Brexit); the US (Trump); and in Trinidad and Tobago. For these manipulators of truth if one tells a lie enough times it becomes the truth. So repeatedly lie that  Maduro is a “dictator” when he actually is a democratically elected Head of State and the lie becomes the truth. Repeatedly lie about Maduro frustrating the referendum process when the truth is that the Opposition has not been in compliance with the Constitution and the lie becomes truth so powerful enough as to provoke violent anti- Government rallies.
  • Failing in their attempt to manipulate the referendum recall process, the Opposition then convened an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly last Sunday (October 21st) in order to pass Resolutions that sought to remove President Maduro from Office on a number of spurious grounds and in circumstances where the Parliament does not have the power of impeachment or removal of a President.. This attempt at a Parliamentary coup d’etat was frustrated by the intervention of citizens who went into and occupied the Parliament chamber.
  • Since last Sunday’s failed Parliamentary Coup, the Opposition has taken to street protests. It is to be noted that the elites in Latin America have used the route of parliamentary coup d’etats to remove from office: President Lugo in Paraguay; President Zelaya in Honduras; and President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. This is a clearly planned strategy to reverse the progressive changes and reforms in Latin America which have taken place in the two decades since President Chavez’ election to office; and which reforms sought to improve the lives of the masses of poor, workers, indigenous peoples, youth in the hemisphere.
  • It is to be noted that President Maduro has agreed to mediation between the Government and Opposition, which mediation would be done through the Good Offices of the Vatican and with the approval and agreement of Pope Francis. To date the Opposition has been making excuses for their not taking part in the mediation talks – thereby exposing their true intentions which are not for the peace and progress of Venezuela but to retake power in order to reverse the progress of the Bolivarian Revolution.

The MSJ has no doubt that the Venezuelan people will, in spite of all the economic problems that they are experiencing; find a way forward out of the economic and political crisis in which their country is embroiled  and once more advance along a path of progressive change in the interest of the workers and poor.

Movement for Social Justice

David Abdulah

Political Leader