UPDATE: Opposition Grows to Extreme Right Wing Violence and Destabilisation

Government calls for peace and dialogue in Venezuela.

Please find below a number of pieces explaining the truth about the current situation in Venezuela:

  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs Piece on Venezuela – Venezuelan Government Shows Restraint & Resolve in the Face of Anti-Chavista Mayhem: An excellent article from COHA “views with great alarm the violence perpetrated against the democratically elected government & civilians in Venezuela that has resulted, as of February 12, 2014, in three confirmed deaths, 61 persons wounded & 69 detained,” adding that “The vicious street attack near the national headquarters of the prosecutor’s office in Caracas came after several days of often violent anti-government protests in the streets of Aragua, Lara, Mérida & Táchira” and that “Some of these protests included the use of rocks, guns, & Molotov cocktails, & were largely directed against government buildings, the public (pro-government) television station Venezolana de Televisión, vehicles & other property, the police, & civilians.” It also notes that “Government officials have been urging against retaliation & are seeking to avoid any escalation of violence in the streets,” with President Maduro saying that “these are trained groups who… are prepared to overthrow the government in a violent way, & I’m not going to allow this, so I call on Venezuela to be peaceful.” Read in full here
  • President Maduro Expels Three U.S. Officials from Venezuela for Involvement in Destabilisation Plans: Nicolas Maduro has expelled three U.S. consular officials from the country due to suspected conspiracy with elements of the right-wing opposition involved in last week’s violence & destabilization plans against the elected government. These came after criticisms of Venezuela from John Kerry. President Maduro said, “In case anyone is in doubt, in Venezuela a plan is underway to create a political crisis & justify a state coup.” He also hit back at the U.S., saying that for the U.S. government human rights means “the right of the right-wing to overthrow legitimate governments”. Investigations by lawyer and journalist Eva Golinger have revealed that the US has provided funding & advice to the opposition during the Chavez and Maduro-led era. “[The] U.S. budget for 2014 includes US $5 million for opposition groups in Venezuela (plus what they give in private),” she tweeted, citing U.S. government documents. Read more here
  • Latin America strongly rejects extreme right wing violence & destabilisation plans in Venezuela: In response to the extreme right wing violence unleashed to oust the democratically elected government, nations across Latin America have come out strongly in support of President Maduro’s call for dialogue and peace. Amongst those to make a clear statement on the matter include the regional bodies UNASUR (Union of South American nations) & Mercosur (Common Market of the South), plus governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador & Nicaragua. The Mercosur statement rejects all acts of violence & condemns the destabilization attempts against the government, repudiating “all kind of violence & intolerance which pretends to attack democracy & its institutions, whatever its origin”, & reiterating “its strong commitment [to] the full exercise of democratic institutions, & in that framework rejects the criminal actions from violent groups that want to disseminate intolerance & hatred as an instrument of political struggle” in Venezuela. Furthermore, the statement calls on all sides ”to continue addressing the nation’s problems through dialogue in the framework of the democratic institutions, [&] rule of the law, as has been promoted by President Nicolas Maduro”. (Read more here) Meanwhile, UNASUR also issued a statement in support of dialogue, reading that “UNASUR Member States express their strong opposition both to the recent violence in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the attempt to destabilize the legitimately democratic order constituted by popular vote.” Read full article & the UNASUR statement here
  • Photo Albums Show Stark Contrast Between Opposition Violence & Government Supporters March for Peace as Concerns Grow Over Opposition Media Manipulation of Images: On Saturday, a large march took place in Caracas for peace. President Maduro used the gathering to attack what he called a “coup plot” by the far right opposition. He told supporters that to construct peace in Venezuela, political differences should be settled through a battle of ideas, not arms, saying “We call on all [of] Venezuela to combat in the streets with ideas, with values, in high quality debate, with respect for people’s rights, without violence.” The Venezuelan also warned extremist groups within Chavismo that violent acts would not be tolerated. “I want to say clearly: someone puts on a red t-shirt with Chavez’s face & takes out a pistol to attack, isn’t a Chavista or a revolutionary. I don’t accept violent groups within the camp of Chavismo,” Maduro stated. You can see images of the march here & contrasting images of last week’s extreme right-wing opposition violence here. Meanwhile, this video shows the ongoing violent attacks from elements of the opposition on the state TV channel VTV. In terms of manipulation of current events from the right-wing opposition & the media, this blog looks at the false use of images in other countries to try & demonise the Venezuelan government,
  • A solidarity statement has been issued by British students who visited Venezuela in 2013  to see developments there first hand. The statement notes that, “During our stay there, we saw numerous examples of the remarkable social progress that has transformed the lives of Venezuelans,” & that they “visited the monument of remembrance to those who had died in the US backed – and opposition instigated – military coup of 2002 against Hugo Chavez.” It further notes that “We also saw for ourselves how, in Venezuela, there is full democratic freedom with regular elections as well as the right to protest, to criticise the government, & of freedom of speech– with the majority of the media vehemently opposed to the government,” before saying that “Within this democratic context, where Venezuelans have regular free & fair elections & other means to protest against the government, we totally condemn the wave of violence unleashed by extremist & minority sections of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition on 12 February.” It concludes with “a call for full respect for the democratic will of the Venezuelan people who have chosen their government,” with the students adding that “we condemn all attempts to use violence rather than dialogue to resolve problems & we oppose efforts to oust the country’s elected government through non-democratic means.” Read in full here


  • The VSC Statement Condemning Extreme Right-wing Violence in Venezuela that Seeks the “Exit” of the Government from last week can also be read in full here

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“With the anti-democratic right-wing & their US allies intensifying their campaigns of destabilisation & misrepresentation against the elected government led by former union leader Nicolas Maduro, solidarity will be more important than ever in the coming months. Please support this appeal.” Unite  General Secretary Len McCluskey endorsing a recent VSC appeal for union support.

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