Despite sanctions and threats, Venezuela shows the way in dark times

Venezuelan health workers go door to door during COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Rosana Silva/covid19.patria.org.ve

The following statement was issued by the Asia-Pacific Venezuela Solidarity Network. The statement was adopted at a regional solidarity forum held on July 5, which marks the day, in 1811, when Venezuela declared its independence from Spanish colonial rule.

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We, the undersigned solidarity groups, greet the Venezuelan working masses on the commemoration of the 219th anniversary of their independence.

The working masses of Venezuela, the first independent country in South America, have been showing the world their resilience, solidarity, and unparalleled valour for the past 219 years. They have won against European colonisers, their own oligarchs, and modern imperialist powers led by the United States.

And now, despite its fragile condition as a country, beleaguered by numerous sanctions every day, Venezuela is winning the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19), a fight that is being lost by Western superpowers and neighbouring Latin American countries governed by predatory oligarchs and neoliberal policies. Venezuela has one of the lowest infection rates in the world (0.5%), one of the best mass testing capacities in the world (45,000 per one million Venezuelans), and a mortality rate of 0.9%.

In contrast, Venezuela’s number one foe, the US, already has 2.8 million infections (8% infection rate) and a mortality rate of 4.6%, which is the average global mortality rate.

As of July 5, only 65 people in Venezuela have died from COVID-19. In contrast, the US has lost more than 130,000 people, Brazil almost 65,000 and Britain more than 44,000.

Venezuela’s success comes despite a public health system and economy crippled by a decades-long economic blockade by Western imperialists led by the US, domestic destabilisation plots by local oligarchs (now being led by wannabe president Juan Guaido), and an attempted invasion led by US military operatives on May 5, in the middle of the pandemic!

In spite of this, Venezuela has the best response statistically in combating COVID-19 in all of South America. Furthermore, pandemic cash aid has been ensured to all workers and poor people and, remarkably, despite their hardships, Venezuela was able to donate protective equipment and testing kits to small island nations in the Caribbean, as part of its internationalist solidarity.

While the world has been shocked by the callous disregard that the US rulers have shown towards the health and safety of their own country’s population, the US and its imperialist allies have, during the pandemic, escalated sanctions to the point of prohibiting any country from trading with Venezuela, and backing up the economic aggression with military harassment of foreign oil tankers attempting to trade in Venezuelan ports.

The blockade has adversely affected Venezuela’s ability to keep protecting its own population from the virus and give solidarity and assistance to its Latin American neighbours, including countries devastated by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, on July 2 a British court continued the Western imperialists’ blatant disregard for the norms of international relations by allowing the British government to seize gold worth £800 million (US$1 billion), belonging to Venezuela, stored in British banks.

We call for an end to the use of unilateral economic sanctions and military blockades by imperialist states, for an end to all prohibitions on trade and illegal seizure of assets by the US, Britain, the EU countries and other imperialist powers against Venezuela and all other countries.

We call for an end to military aggression by the US against Venezuela and countries attempting to trade with Venezuela.

We demand that the efforts of Venezuela, Cuba and other socialist states to render material aid to other countries afflicted by the pandemic be recognised and assisted by all international organisations. Efforts by the US and its allies to sabotage this medical solidarity should be considered a crime against humanity.

Venezuela has always extended international solidarity, despite the country’s limitations, always steadfast in fulfilling its socialist mandate, not only for the Venezuelan working class, but for the international working class.

Venezuela has, since 1999, shown that socialism is the only system that truly serves humanity, with or without crisis. Capitalism, on the other hand, has always resorted to barbarism in times of crisis. Venezuela, like Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Kerala, has shown the world that socialism is not only an effective alternative, but a compassionate one.

In commemorating Venezuelan Independence Day, let us keep the fire of hope ablaze and intensify our worldwide struggle for socialism.

Block the impending capitalist attack! Lift the US-led sanctions! Socialismo o muerte!

July 5, 2020

Signatories: Philippines-Venezuela Solidarity Network (Phil-Ven-Sol); Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network; Nepal-Venezuela Solidarity Network; Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM); Socialist Alliance, Australia; PLM (Partido Lakas ng Masa), Philippines; Working Peoples Party (PRP), Indonesia; Praxis, Indonesia.

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