CCDS Calls On Progressives To Oppose US Intervention In Venezuela

Statement of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

January 31, 2019 

There now should be no doubt that the Trump Administration is pulling out all the stops to overthrow President Nicholas Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

This week US State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo announced Venezuelan bank accounts in the US will be turned over to right wing oppositionist and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that revenues of the Venezuelan-owned oil company PdVSA and its CITGO subsidiaries in the US – worth billions of dollars – are henceforth seized.

The aim of the Trump-Pompeo-Bolton regime is nothing less than a naked grab for the country’s rich oil reserves and many other minerals that have been used by the Maduro government and Hugo Chávez before him to raise the living standards of the poor and working class. In an interview with Fox News on 1/29/19, Bolton made it very clear: “We’re in conversation with major American companies now… It will make a big difference to the US economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism condemns the Trump administration’s outlaw interference in the affairs of Venezuela, demands an end to US imposed economic sanctions fueling the crisis, and supports negotiations among Venezuelans to end the political crisis. The governments of Mexico and Uruguay called for an international meeting next week in Montevideo to discuss a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is ratcheting up pressure, refusing to rule out a military invasion. Sen. Marco Rubio is leading others in Congress calling on the Venezuelan military to overthrow its government. Some $20 million in US taxpayer money has been given to the Venezuelan opposition.

The US has support for “regime change” among the neo-liberal governments of Europe led by France, Germany and Spain, but is opposed by Greece and Portugal. Russia, China, South Africa, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, Equatorial Guinea and most countries of the Caribbean have rejected US interference. At the January 26 UN Security Council meeting, Pompeo called on all countries to “pick a side” but failed to gain support for a vote. The 34-member Organization of American States, at its meeting January 24th could not muster the necessary 24 votes needed with only 16 voting with the US.

The economic situation in Venezuela is dire. Mainstream media spout the line of the US State Department blaming Maduro and “failed socialism.” But the US has been subverting the economy of Venezuela ever since Hugo Chávez was first elected in 1999. The US supported a coup against Chávez in 2002 and when it failed, the Venezuelan oligarchy shut down businesses, a virtual capital strike against the country. As most of the economy is privately owned, it caused a catastrophic 27% drop in the GDP. US governments from President Barack Obama and now Donald Trump have piled on sanction after sanction to cripple even more the ability of the government to provide food, medicine and control of the out-of-sight inflation. The US has seized assets of individual government officials, restricted access to U.S. debt and equity markets, and prohibited transactions on Venezuela’s use of a cryptocurrency, the petro, seen as a way to circumvent sanctions. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on January 26th that US sanctions have cost Venezuela $23 billion to date

Great Britain has piled on, freezing Venezuelan assets and gold estimated at $8 billion. At the behest of Juan Guaidó, Venezuela’s Central Bank was denied a request to withdraw $1.2 billion of its gold reserve.

US intervention throughout the Western Hemisphere began as far back as the 1850s, when various mercenary expeditions attempted to forcibly acquire the Central American states of Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and diplomatically acquire Cuba from Spain in order to create several new states based on plantation slavery economics. The doctrine that justified brutal repression of the hemisphere was laid down by President James Monroe in 1823 – the Monroe Doctrine.

The aim has always been to control natural resources, gain unfettered access to exploit land and labor and create an unchallenged free trade zone in the Americas. In response, the Bolivarian government of the PSUV worked to realize a new framework of regional economic integration. The trade blocs of ALBA and MERCOSUR encompassing 10 countries of Latin America dared to use the rich resources of their region to provide for social welfare and mutual economic aid. A new currency, the Sucre, was established to circumvent the US dollar. These important new economic blocs pose a direct threat to US Wall Street and corporate fossil fuel industries.

With the ascendancy of the far right in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, Venezuela stands as an obstacle to US aims, as do the socialist governments of Cuba and Nicaragua and now the important new left government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the overthrow of the Maduro regime is just one stage in a Trump policy to overthrow the popular will throughout Latin America. The ultimate target, writes the WSJ, is the revolutionary government of Cuba. (1/31/19)

CCDS rejects US interference in Venezuela and joins with the peace movement, organizations, leading individuals and several members of Congress who are standing up to the Trump-Bolton-Pompeo outlaw regime.

CCDS urges members, friends and all peace and justice loving people to:

  1. Call your Senators and Representative in Congress to demand, an end to all US sanctions against Venezuela, return all Venezuelan assets to the duly elected government of President Maduro, stop all interference in Venezuela and all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and oppose all war plans and other acts of aggression against Venezuela and all sovereign countries.
  2. Call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your elected representatives.
  3. Plan and attend public demonstrations, rallies, forums, letter-writing campaigns to the media and elected officials to stop all US interference in Venezuela, and in support of the four demands listed above.

Hands off Venezuela. End the sanctions now.

Yes to negotiations and a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Venezuela.

 

CHALLENGING U.S. IMPERIALISM IN LATIN AMERICA

Oppose the Coups in Latin America

Statement by the Peace and Solidarity Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism – December 2018

The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism condemns the November 27th vote in the U.S. Senate to impose economic sanctions on Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) mandates that the U.S. vote against loans and aid to Nicaragua from international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. The NICA Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, and after passage by unanimous consent in the Senate, it now awaits the signature of President Donald Trump. The NICA will impose significant cuts to infrastructure and social programs compounding the crisis caused by widespread destruction by U.S. funded oppositionists this spring and fall.

CCDS stands with organizations, faith leaders, solidarity groups and individuals who have denounced the U.S. government’s economic warfare. As with Venezuela and Cuba, the intent is to create a humanitarian crisis to undermine, destabilize and overthrow the democratically elected, socialist governments of Latin America in pursuit of an imperialist agenda – the so-called policy of “regime change.”Once again we see the U.S. government pursuing policies throughout the hemisphere and in the U.S. of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described 50 years ago – the “three pillars of evil” – white supremacy, militarism, and exploitation.

Troika of Tyranny

Trump administration National Security Advisor John Bolton boldly announced U.S. aims in a speech in Miami November 1st:

This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere. The United States looks forward to watching each corner of the triangle fall…the Troika will crumble.” (11/1/18)

What is driving this “regime change” policy? The countries targeted have pursued policies aimed at the betterment of their citizens – free education and health care, eliminating extreme poverty, creating an inclusive society where women, minority and indigenous populations are equal, protecting the environment, and combatting the violent drug trade that has engulfed other countries of the region.

The people-oriented policies of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba are a direct challenge to the “neo-liberal” world order of free markets for capital, deregulation, austerity budgets, and elimination of worker and environmental protections in the pursuit of maximum profit and plunder of natural resources. Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela stand as examples to the world that there is an alternative to policies dictated by Wall Street and free market capitalism.

In Nicaragua, the violence that began in April 2018 was sparked by IMF demands to gut social security pensions in repayment of loans. When the FSLN government countered with a plan to make employers shoulder the burden, the business council refused and walked out of negotiations.

Oppositionist groups funded by the U.S. “aid” organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy seized on the moment of confusion and waged a social media-driven disinformation campaign that accused the government of making workers, not businesses, pay. The ensuing violence resulted in nearly 200 deaths, including several police, kidnappings, torture and destruction of public and private property.

In Venezuela, sanctions have been used against working people and the very poor who are most supportive of the Maduro government. Using the excuse that Venezuelans who have left the country pose a humanitarian crisis, the U.S. openly talks about plans for military intervention. Right wing governments of Colombia and Brazil are being urged to cooperate with the U.S.

The U.S. announced more sanctions on Cuba following an overwhelming UN vote of 189-2 on November 2nd to end the longest running economic embargo of any country in history. Only Israel sided with the U.S. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the embargo “a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of Cuban men and women.” Estimates are over $1 trillion in lost economic activity since 1962.

The Larger Framework: Aims of U.S. Empire in the Western Hemisphere

With the collapse of Socialist Bloc countries and the dramatic shift from manufacturing to finance at the apex of the capitalist world, we have seen the coming of age of neo-liberal globalization. U.S. global hegemony has been increasingly challenged by China, India, and various formations of the Global South such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). In Latin America there has been a shift from U.S. domination of the region in trade, investments, and economic assistance to greater competition with China, Russia, and European countries.

The new government of Mexico headed by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) aims to divest itself of the neo-liberal economic model in favor of building its domestic economy, raising wages and living conditions that will end the forced migration of its citizens. In an inaugural address to the nation on December 1st, the new president announced that “starting from now, we will carry out a peaceful, steady political transformation.” Promising a “change of our political system, he fiercely attacked free market, pro-trade policies have been “a disaster” for Mexico, resulting in low growth, rising income inequality and the migration of citizens out of the country.

Neo-liberal policies are coming under increasing pressure elsewhere in Latin America. Huge mass movements and labor-led strikes have protested IMF-imposed austerity measures in Argentina and Costa Rica. With rising challenges to its regional hegemony, the U.S. has countered its weakening economic position with an expansion of its military presence through dozens of military bases in Colombia and Argentina, and funding rightwing sectors of the capitalist class in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The people of Puerto Rico are challenging the Wall Street imposed regime of austerity and privatization following a debt crisis that led to bankruptcy.

Cuba is still celebrated as a model for progressive economic and political change, and, while suffering setbacks, the spirit of the 21st Century Bolivarian Revolution persists throughout the Western Hemisphere. President Barack Obama recognized the futility of regime change in Cuba and moved toward normalization of relations. Today, President Trump is returning to the use of military threats, supporting violent protests such as in Nicaragua, and imposing crippling economic sanctions to stimulate instability. In the case of Cuba, Trump seeks to reverse the economic and people-to-people ties that have been expanded in recent years. All of these policies constitute desperate efforts to reverse history to overcome the contradictions of neo-liberal capitalism and challenging China’s growing influence in the region. In sum, the Trump Administration is trying to overcome the United States’ loss of regional hegemony.

CCDS stands with people the world over in condemning U.S. government policies of aggression in pursuit of economic and political domination of the hemisphere. We reject interference in the internal affairs of other countries and work to redirect our tax dollars from militarism to living wage jobs for all, a Green New Deal, health care and education.

CCDS Statement on Puerto Rico

Deliver Aid to Puerto Rico Now, Remove All Tariffs and Fees!

Puerto Rico is suffering a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. Hurricanes Maria and Irma left the people of the island without electricity, cell phone connections, clean water, food, medicines, and other items necessary for basic survival. Many communities remain isolated due to destroyed infrastructure. There have been an estimated 400 deaths , and that figure is certain to rise as infections spread from pathogens released by the destruction and the lack of potable water.

Now, over a month after the hurricane, Puerto Ricans are still without basic needs. Federal aid to these American citizens has been criminally slow and inadequate. The neglect of Puerto Ricans today rivals the mistreatment of African Americans in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There is clearly a racist policy of discrimination in disaster relief. The U.S. Congress has passed a $36 billion disaster relief act but only a portion of that will go to Puerto Rico.

Cuba, which has a long history of international solidarity, offered aid for Puerto Rico but the Trump Administration refused it. Congress lifted the Jones Act for ten days, a token gesture to allow ships under foreign flag to carry goods from US mainland ports to San Juan. Much of those goods remain on the docks unable to reach the devastated communities. The scale of devastation demands a massive response to ferry life-saving goods inland. Hospitals cannot operate due to lack of power and lack of clean water. FEMA must mobilize the resources to address these problems.

The conditions which left Puerto Rico so vulnerable to this disaster are rooted in its colonial status. Years of tax relief schemes for U.S. businesses operating on the island devastated the economy before the hurricanes hit. Puerto Rico is burdened by $123 billion in bond commitments and unfunded pension obligations to banks and speculators

The Puerto Rican economy also suffers from the import fees imposed by the Jones Act. These fees hike the prices for Puerto Rican consumers that no other US resident pays. This practice has resulted in long term economic damage. The Puerto Rican government has sought to declare bankruptcy but was blocked by the federal government. A board was imposed to oversee the budget and force the colony to pay its bond payments by cutting social and infrastructure spending – a Federal collection agency for hedge funds and Wall Street speculators.

CCDS declares its solidarity with the Puerto Rican people and progressive forces who call upon the US government to demand:

1. Full mobilization of required equipment and supplies to Puerto Rico by FEMA

2. Provision of humanitarian aid, not loans, to rebuild the infrastructure.

3. Cancellation of the Puerto Rico debt.

4. Support the protections and rights for maritime workers codified in the Jones Act and remove all tariffs, fees, taxes, customs, and import fees imposed on Puerto Rico by the Jones Act.

10/27/17