Bolivarian revolution

A large contingent of Venezuelan campesinos marched across the country for almost three weeks in what they called the “Admirable Campesino March” to raise awareness about the many problems faced by small farmers, including evictions, harassment and general neglect at the hands of government institutions.

The marchers, who first set off on July 12 from the city of Guanare, Portuguesa state, arrived in Caracas on August 1 with the plan to deliver a collective document that presents both their complaints and proposals to President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro responded rapidly to the European Union’s proposal to impose further sanctions on top government officials following the May 20 presidential and state council elections. The 28-country bloc alleges the vote failed to comply with "minimal democratic standards".

Maduro, who won the presidential election by a landslide despite low voter participation, said on May 28: "This is the European Union that arrogantly wants to put its nose in Venezuela's business." He added, "Enough of this old colonialism."

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza responded forcefully to the latest round of US sanctions, which follow hard on the heels of socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro’s electoral victory on May 20.

“There is no unilateral measure, no pressure from any foreign power that can intimidate the Venezuelan people,” the top diplomat stated.

Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.

The Lima Group, a coalition of 13 right-wing Latin American countries plus Canada, also refused to recognise the results. Among its members are:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections on May 20, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that night.

With 92.6 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, while his closest rival, former governor Henri Falcón getting 1.8 million votes, said CNE President Tibisay Lucena who added that in total, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, out of an electoral registry of 20.5 million people.

Hundreds of popular organisations and social movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean met at the Summit of the Peoples in Lima, Peru, over April 10-14.

The summit is a regular parallel to the official Summit of the Americas, which brings together governments from the entire Western Hemisphere.

Venezuela officially boycotted the governmental summit following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s controversial banning by Peru’s government. This, however, did not dissuade a colourful and multifaceted Venezuelan delegation from attending the parallel summit.

The situation was bleak for Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution in the first half of last year.

With a dire economic situation and a growing wave of violent opposition protests, President Nicolas Maduro turned the tables by convening a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in July.

With the National Electoral Council setting April 22 as the date for the country’s presidential election and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) confirming current president Nicolas Maduro as their candidate, leftist organisations in Venezuela have been debating what position to take.

As Venezuelans get ready for April’s presidential election, US Senator Marco Rubio claimed via Twitter the world would support Venezuela’s military if it decided to orchestrate a coup against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is up for re-election.

The Republican lawmaker from Florida tweeted on February 9: “The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.”

US Secretary of State and former CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil Rex Tillerson has threatened Venezuela with a ban on oil exports, only days after hinting that the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, could be overthrown by a military uprising.

Describing Venezuela’s armed forces as a possible “agent of change”, Tillerson suggested on February 1 that the military could “manage a peaceful transition” should they remove Maduro from office.

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