Venezuela Thoughts

Venezuelan Thoughts
October 5, 2017

Canada has joined the U.S. in placing sanctions against Venezuela lending support for the overthrow of the elected Venezuelan President and his Socialist Government. This is part of the U.S. effort for another regime change to install a U.S. friendly government and get control of the oil.

There are two sides to every story and often a story behind the story, and while we hear one side, we are for the most part denied hearing or viewing the other by our Main Stream Media.

The Venezuelan opposition MUD, a coalition of 11 main opposition parties, are not a loyal opposition in the Canadian sense as they have called for anti-government demonstrations which turned violent. The demonstrations went on for months costing many Venezuelan lives and further damaged an economy already gripped in an economic crisis.  Some were killed by the Security forces but more were killed by

opposition forces. There are frightful stories of the killings of government supporters and assassinations of government officials and leaders. A video caught demonstrators setting a government supporter on fire while they continued to beat him.
The U.S. does not tolerate any foreign influence in their elections but has a long history of economically destabilizing countries and instigating regime changes going back to Chile and before. In Venezuela, the hypocrisy of American exceptionalism runs thick.

On May Day Maduro called for the election of a National Constituent Assembly amid unrest in the country. The elections were held on July 30, 2017. The main opposition opposed the election and refused to participate, declaring it undemocratic and leading to a dictatorship. Three hundred international election observers said if was a free and fair election.                  The government sees it as a further enhancement to their democracy with community representation from all sectors of society, and assured indigenous representation. This new National Constituent Assembly would be collectively involved in the writing of a new constitution. This is all legal by way of an earlier national referendum and elections under Hugo Chavez which resulted in the formation of a National Constituent Assembly written into the existing 1999 constitution. This was before the establishment coup removing Chavez as President.

The election, with most of the opposition not contesting, resulted in a large majority of government supporters elected to the Assembly. The opposition claims to have the support of 70% of the Venezuelan population so why would they not participate in an election which would put them firmly in power?

The calling of an election for a National Constituency Assembly was a smart political move on part of the Maduro government. It may be described as manipulative by overstepping the opposition controlled National Assembly, which in their opposition to Maduro was collaborating with the U.S. government giving support for American intervention.  it was democratic and provides a path to a more inclusive electoral system that could deliver the country out of its political and economic morass.

In 2002 the traditional ruling class, including military leaders, business elites and private media together with U.S. support, orchestrated a military coup against the elected and very popular President Hugo Chavez. “The revolution will not be Televised” on You Tube is a powerful Irish documentary filmed with a crew that, by chance, was in Venezuela doing a documentary on Hugo Chavez. They covered the coup from the inside. This is the most politically revealing and enlightening documentary you may ever see. Google It.

As seen in the documentary the successful military coup against Chavez left 19 dead. Chavez was arrested, shuttled away, and was to be charged in a Venezuelan court. All this time Chavez refused to step down from the presidency.

The coup lasted 47 hours and what transpired in that short time was remarkable and revealing. The head of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, Pedro Carmona was instated as president of Venezuela; the National Assembly and the Supreme Court were dissolved and the country’s 1999 Constitution, which was adopted by the people, was declared void. Almost overnight, Venezuela was transformed from a Social Democracy to a dictatorship with a clear intent of unravelling all the progressive measures enacted under Chavez. When the coup took place, there was no western media outcry and Washington immediately acknowledged the installation of the new President.

This, and because Chavez refused to resign his Presidency, so enraged sections of the population that they marched on and encircled the Presidential Palace. Pedro Carmona seeing the size of the threatening crowd resigned and the loyal Presidential Guard restored Chavez to his rightful place as President of Venezuela.

With the economic crisis and a renewal of opposition demonstrations there is an avalanche of hostile media giving often misleading reporting on the Venezuelan crisis; citing the government of being undemocratic and despotic. The U.S. has imposed sanctions and threatens military intervention.  But, Venezuelans, like many in South America, are sick of western imposed neo-liberalism and much prefer the Bolivarian Socialist model. This in the eyes of the U.S. is akin to heresy.

Before supporting another American orchestrated regime change, Canadians should know that the Bolivarian ballet box revolution has transformed a very unequal country where over 70% of Venezuelans lived in poverty or near poverty into a much more equal one reducing poverty by 45% and lowering extreme poverty to a single didget number. Child poverty and malnutrition were reduced. They undertook a literacy campaign that eradicated illiteracy and was  acknowledged by the UN.

A National Public Health System was created providing free access to primary healthcare. This resulted in a reduction in the infant mortality rate by 49% and increased life expectancy.

Under Chavez and Maduro 1.7 million units of social housing have been built.

They nationalized strategic industries, such as petroleum, electricity, telephone, cement, and iron ore with a portion of profits now going to support social programs.

More than one million hectares of land was returned to Aboriginal people while providing support with the development of a productive agricultural model, including massive investments in food production, and the provision of low-interest loans,

Training and technical assistance was provided for cooperatives and small and midsize producers.

A full listing of the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution are too numerous to be listed herein.

Unquestionably some of these gains had to be scaled back with the drop in the price of oil and other negative impacts such as corruption contributing to the economic crisis. But they have not taken the discredited path of austerity which punishes all but the wealthy and has been shown not to work.

It is clear to see that the Bolivarian revolution is about creating a better society for the people and any outside condemnation should take this fully into account.

One should also recognize that the economic crisis existing in Venezuela, resulting in many hardships, is largely caused by the collapsing oil prices, U.S. sanctions, and the opposition efforts to destabilize the country.

The negative effects of the crisis have emboldened the more affluent to call for the removal of the Maduro government. And, as the people face instability and hardship it is possible that Venezuelans may again wake up to the rule of the traditional ruling class and the restoration of neo-liberalism destroying the progressive progress made.

Canadian values and adherence to international law, dictate that we should not support  U.S. efforts for regime change. Hands off Venezuela.


p.s. 10/15/2017  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, has won 18 of 24 state governorship elections with a 61.14 voter turnout. International observers lauded the transparency of the electoral process.



Author: Ron Brydges

Born on Vancouver Island and raised as a child in Prince Rupert and as a teenager in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Graduated, not without struggle, from Central Collegiate High School. Got my first post graduate job at a steel and pipe mill in Regina, Returned to B.C. and worked in a fabrication shop, a consulting firm, a northern mine and then went east and lived and worked in Toronto for a machinery manufacturer. Moved to St. Catharines where i worked on contract for GM. Was discharged at 62 and took up writing. Now divorced with two daughters and four grandchildren. There was a life between these lines and some of it will come out in my blogs.