Hands off Bolivia and Venezuela!

Issue 

On October 5, Resistance held a protest outside the US consulate to offer solidarity to the people of Bolivia and Venezuela in the face of the campaign against their democratically elected governments by the US. Both countries are targets of Washington for their refusal to allow foreign oil and gas corporations to control their natural resources and determine their future.

In April 2002, the Bush administration welcomed the short-lived coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that attempted to return to a situation more favourable to US interests, where oil would be sold at cheap prices to US corporations by a wealthy elite while the majority of Venezuelan people would be condemned to poverty. Since the coup was defeated, the US government — through the National Endowment for Democracy and the US Agency for International Development — has poured at least US$11 million into supporting Venezuelan opposition groups.

Similarly, according to journalist Eva Golinger, the US has spent millions funding groups in Bolivia aimed at undermining the government of indigenous President Evo Morales. Morales won office in 2005 on the back of social movements that had forced two pro-US presidents to stand down. Since 2005, Bolivia's gas has been nationalised and revenue redirected to social programs to alleviate poverty, in collaboration with Venezuela and Cuba through the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), which is providing an alternative to US-pushed "free trade" policies.

On September 10, speaking on his weekly television show alongside Morales, Chavez warned, "If US imperialism attacks our peoples, using their lackeys in Venezuela and Bolivia, they can be sure that we're not going to wait with our arms crossed".

Resistance member Raffaele Fantasia made the point outside the US consulate that neither can we in Australia wait with our arms crossed as Washington intensifies its campaign against the people of Bolivia and Venezuela. Resistance is committed to defending their sovereignty and building solidarity with their struggles.

Bolivia and Venezuela are proving that there is an alternative for the world's poor and oppressed. Mass movements in both countries are challenging US economic and political dominance of the region and are showing that it is possible to make social gains through the redistribution of land and wealth to the poor majority. Their inspiring examples prove that it is possible to struggle against the system and win.

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