Venezuela election blow to imperialist regime change plans

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SUNDAY’S general election in Venezuela saw President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela sweeping to victory winning 67% of the votes and control of the country’s National Assembly.

Previously, the National Assembly had been the main bastion of counter-revolution in Venezuela, led by Juan Guaido. Guaido spearheaded imperialism’s drive to oust the legitimate government of Maduro when he attempted to launch a right wing coup by declaring in January 2019 that he was now the unelected ‘interim president’.

US President Donald Trump immediately rushed out a statement giving his full support to Guaido’s declaration stating: ‘The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime’ and immediately recognised Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Senior Trump officials boasted at the time that ‘Maduro and his cronies’ now needed to understand they had no choice but to ‘exit’ from the country – with the threat that if Maduro didn’t surrender the US would provoke a civil war to destroy the left-leaning national government and install a right-wing dictatorship to turn Venezuela into a vassal state of US imperialism. They also made it clear that military intervention by US troops was an ‘option’.

The UK government rushed to join with Trump in recognising Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, along with the EU and around 50 other US allies.

The Tory government under Theresa May had already instructed the Bank of England to seize 14 tons of gold worth $1.3 billion owned by Venezuela and deposited at the Bank for ‘safe keeping’. Following Guaido’s proclamation, the Tories insisted all this gold was rightfully his.

With the overwhelming support of the Venezuelan people Maduro stood firm and defiant in the face of the coup attempt and threat of military action by US imperialism, and Guaido’s power grab flopped miserably.

An attempt at orchestrating a military coup on April 30 2019 fizzled out before it even began, leading US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to admit at a private meeting that there was no popular support for Guaido amongst the Venezuelan people.

This didn’t prevent US imperialism from organising yet another botched plot to overthrow Maduro in May this year using American mercenaries.

A Florida-based security firm run by an ex-Green Beret claimed it was promised over $200 million to overthrow the Maduro government by kidnapping the president and flying him to America.

This ended in farce with two American mercenaries being captured on the beach they landed on.

All these attempts – from coups to assassinations – failed, as did Trump ramping up the economic embargo shutting off Venezuela’s oil exports and preventing medicine and medical supplies from reaching the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

Medicine was weaponised by Trump openly when, in March, he offered to relax medical sanctions if Maduro would ‘step aside’ and hand power to his puppet Guaido. All the threats, sanctions and coup attempts have failed to crush the Venezuelan people’s determination not to submit to US imperialism.

Rather than face the Venezuelan people at the ballot box on Sunday, Guido and the rabble of opposition parties supporting him refused to stand, preferring to boycott the election rather than face humiliating defeat.

Sunday’s victory for Maduro is a massive blow to US imperialism but there will be no let up in the sustained campaign to overthrow him. This was made clear when Trump administration officials and advisors to president-elect Joe Biden said that they will continue to recognise Guaido as the ‘rightful leader’ regardless of Sunday’s vote.

Imperialism is driven by the world crisis of capitalism to attempt to seize the vast oil reserves of Venezuela for exploitation by any means.

Having failed in its coup attempts, and in trying to bring the Venezuelan people to their knees through the most vicious sanctions regime, the danger is that an increasingly desperate US imperialism is more than capable of mounting a military adventure in the country.

The working class in the US and Britain have a major responsibility to defend Venezuela from a military intervention by US and UK imperialism by putting an end to imperialism through the victory of the world socialist revolution.