Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 49 Number 10, May 18, 2019 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Hands Off Venezuela!

The British Government Must Stop All Interference in Venezuela

Demonstration in Los Angelese, USA

On May 8, the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made a further commitment to regime change in Venezuela, during a joint press conference in London with Mike Pompeo, the visiting US Secretary of State. The Foreign Secretary made it clear that the British government would stand shoulder to shoulder as the staunchest ally of US imperialism and "intensify pressure" to change the government of Venezuela and remove its president, as if it were the arbiter of who is in power in that country rather than the people of Venezuela. The British government must be condemned for its continued interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and its threats of further economic sanctions in order to effect regime change. Jeremy Hunt hypocritically spoke of the US and British government's shared belief in "liberty, democracy and the rule law", when it is evident that in regard to Venezuela and many other countries, their "neo-liberal democracy" with its interference, including economic and even military intervention, constitute the greatest threats to the world's peoples and the greatest breaches of international law and the Charter of the UN.

Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, Washington DC

US imperialism, with the support of the government of Britain and other allies, has done everything possible to destabilise the government and economy of Venezuela, in order to force from office Nicolas Maduro, who was twice elected as president of Venezuela in elections in 2013 and 2018. Even before President Maduro took office, in January this year, US imperialism and its allies acting under the auspices of the Organisation of American States and the Lima Group had declared, without any credible evidence, that the May 2018 election was "illegitimate". They urged President Maduro not to take office, but instead to transfer executive power to the National Assembly, controlled by opposition parties and under the leadership of Juan Guaido, until new elections could be held. This National Assembly had in 2016 refused to submit to the authority of the Supreme Court of Venezuela, or comply with its orders, a violation of the country's constitution and a situation which still continues today.

The US and its allies, including the EU, also announced further economic and other sanctions against Venezuela in order to create further instability in the country. The government of Britain, for its part, took a similar stand to the US government. In January 2019, Jeremy Hunt declared: "Nicolas Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela," and "the United Kingdom believes that Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward." He added that "we are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen". The British government and the EU then went one step further, declaring in a joint statement at the end of January that if new elections were not announced in Venezuela within eight days, they would recognise Guaido as "constitutional interim President". When the government of Venezuela ignored their interference, the EU declared Guaido "President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections".

Protest outside the Bank of England when the Bank refused to return Venezuelan gold

Since that time, the British government, acting in concert with the US, the EU and others, has continued to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela in the most blatant way, both through the UN Security Council, through sanctions and by more covert means. The government has also put increased pressure on those countries that support the government of Nicolas Maduro, such as Cuba, Russia and China. The governments of Britain, the US and their allies make much of the fact that there is what they refer to as a "humanitarian crisis" in Venezuela and even make a big show of sending "humanitarian aid" to that country. They do not disclose the fact that the crisis is closely connected with the economic sanctions which they have imposed on Venezuela, which prevent the country dealing with its economic difficulties. According to one recent report, the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans over the past two years can be attributed to sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

All of this destabilising activity has nothing to do with "liberty, democracy and the rule of law" which favours the people. As has become evident, the National Assembly and its new president, Guaido, is clearly under the influence of the US and other foreign interests. Guaido, with foreign support, has done everything possible to stage a coup in Venezuela, including inciting the sections of the armed forces to mutiny, an aim that so far has been spectacularly unsuccessful.

Increasingly, people and countries throughout the world are raising their voices to oppose the blatant interference of the US, Britain and their allies in Venezuela. It is vital that the workers and all democratic people in Britain continue to raise their voices to condemn the interference of the British government in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. What the people demand is an end to all such interference. The struggle is on to create the conditions for an anti-war government that puts the interests of the people of Britain and of all countries at the centre of its activities.


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