CANADA’S postal workers union, the CUPW, has condemned the government of Canada’s decision to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, over the elected president Nicolas Maduro.
‘It is deeply disturbing that the Canadian government has chosen to support this US-backed coup, which is in direct violation of international law,’ said the CUPW in a statement.
The union’s national president Mike Palecek wrote:
‘By following the US agenda in Venezuela, Canada has aligned itself with the right-wing regimes of the Lima Group and Donald Trump, who resemble past US governments who intervened and disrupted democratically elected governments in the Americas and elsewhere in the world. This is unacceptable.
‘Venezuelans created their Bolivarian Constitution from the ground up and have held several democratic elections. Venezuelans are capable of running their country without interference and harassment from the United States and its allies, including Canada.
‘Venezuela is currently facing economic difficulties, many a direct result of economic sanctions levied against Venezuela by the United States, in hopes of triggering a change in government.
‘On January 23, 2019, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido swore himself in as interim president. He was quickly (and illegally) recognised by Canada, the US and other US allies. What is happening in Venezuela is a usurpation of the democratic process.
‘The presidential elections of May 20, 2018 were free, transparent, reliable, secure and in accordance with the law, according to observers from around the world, including a CUPW delegate, who travelled to Venezuela to observe the elections.
‘President Maduro won with nearly 67.84% of the vote.
‘None of the candidates who participated in the electoral process contested the results.
‘Canada and the US are claiming that the electoral process was not legitimate, despite assurances from numerous observers that it was.
‘What they are really saying is that the latest elections did not garner the outcome they had hoped for.
‘IN CUPW WE DO NOT SUPPORT US-BACKED COUP D’ÉTATS
‘Let us not be fooled. The US support of this coup is about one thing: oil. Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves and US National Security Advisor John Bolton has publicly stated that the US has a lot at stake in Venezuela’s political crisis, specifically citing the country’s oil and the benefit it could bring to the US.
‘ “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,” said Bolton.
‘WE SUPPORT THE VENEZUELAN PEOPLE AND THE POSTAL WORKERS
‘Meanwhile, Canada continues its relations with horrific regimes like Saudi Arabia.
‘CUPW maintains solidarity with the Venezuelan people and its postal workers. Under the Bolivarian Constitution, Venezuelan government worker rights, health and safety, and rights to health care were vastly improved.
‘We stand with our sisters and brothers in their fight to protect their rights and democracy from foreign governments who are intent on dismantling them.
Meanwhile, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has also issued in statement in which it ‘strongly condemns the attempt by the forces of international capitalism to instigate a regime change in Venezuela and urges all workers to join the international protests now being organised.’
SAFTU stated last Thursday: ‘US president Trump, Brazilian president Bolsonaro and Argentinian president Macri, along with other right-wing governments, have backed and recognised the self-appointed “interim” president, the right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
‘This was clearly part of a pre-planned, coordinated intervention, led by Trump and US imperialism to carry through a coup and remove incumbent elected president Nicolás Maduro from power.
‘This brazen intervention by Trump was followed by European governments, arrogantly demanding that Maduro call fresh elections within eight days.
‘Trump has “ruled nothing out” and hinted at military intervention if Maduro refuses to step down. The bloody nature of Trump’s intervention is made clear by appointing Elliot Abrams as special envoy to Venezuela.
‘Abrams was convicted for his involvement in arming the “Contras” – paramilitary forces in Nicaragua – in the 1980s.
‘These western imperialists condemn the Maduro government but have collaborated and supported brutal regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and military dictatorships in Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
‘It is possible that the attempted coup will not succeed in forcing Maduro out, because it is reported that Trump has failed to secure the first elementary requirement for a successful coup: ensuring the military is on your side!
‘The military high command are said to be remaining with Maduro, though this could change, or divisions could rapidly open up, if it appears that the regime faces the prospect of being overthrown or imploding.
‘Should these forces succeed in Venezuela, the repression and attacks that workers and socialists are currently suffering will dramatically worsen.
‘Any right-wing regime coming to power to replace Maduro will enact revenge on the working class and socialists.
‘It will mean privatisation, austerity and frontal attacks on the workers and the poor.
‘If Trump does carry out his threat to intervene militarily it would mean even greater repression of workers.
‘An economic and social catastrophe is engulfing Venezuela.
‘GDP collapsed by 35% between 2013 and 2017, a greater collapse than in the US depression between 1929 and 1933, when it fell by 28%.
‘IMF predictions indicate that hyper-inflation will soar to up to 10,000,000% this year, making wages worthless.
‘This economic collapse has wiped out the gains in healthcare, education and other areas introduced by the Hugo Chávez-led government.
‘An estimated 90% of Venezuelans live in poverty.
‘Hunger and starvation have returned, and the crime rate is soaring in the major cities.
‘An estimated three million people have fled the country – about 10% of the population – in the largest refugee crisis in Latin American history!
‘This catastrophe has enabled Guaidó to mobilise not only the middle class but also sections of the working class and poor who had previously supported Chávez and, until recently, were prepared to “give Maduro a chance”.
‘Now, out of despair and desperation, some workers from former Chávez strongholds have joined pro-Guaidó protests.
‘This extremely explosive and unstable situation, against the background of a social collapse and disintegration, has provided the ruling class with a weapon to try and discredit socialism.
‘But it is not socialism that has failed but the attempt to introduce reforms in a top-down bureaucratic manner, while remaining within a “mixed” capitalist economy, in which economic power remained in the hands of the capitalist class who are now plotting to reimpose their dictatorship.
‘This has important lessons for South Africa, where workers are faced with an economic and social catastrophe because of the failure of the ANC government to transform the ownership of the economy but to leave economic power in the hands of the white, monopoly capitalist exploiters.
‘SAFTU fully agrees with NUMSA’s view, that: “It is our duty to do all we can to defend the gains of the working class majority and the poor of Venezuela.
‘ “We call on all our comrades locally and abroad to give their full support and to do all they can to defend democracy.”
‘Zwelinzima Vavi, SAFTU General Secretary.’