Leading Figures from Britain Express Solidarity with Venezuela Against Unconstitutional Destabilization Attempts

Leading figures from across British society such as Grahame Morris MP (Labour Friends of Venezuela & Venezuela Solidarity Campaign,) filmmaker John Pilger, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, Professor Ernesto Laclau & many others have signed a statement in solidarity with Venezuela.


The British daily newspaper The Morning Star has today published a statement  signed by a range of figures from across British society (see full text and list of signatories below) initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in solidarity with Venezuela and urging “vigilance at this time against those who seek to abuse Venezuela’s democracy for their own ends” as Venezuela approaches mayoral elections on Sunday.

Commenting on the continuing destabilization efforts of anti-democratic elements of the right-wing opposition in Venezuela the statement notes that “the aim of this destabilization is ‘regime change’ to replace the legitimate, elected Maduro government,” and warns of “fears that sections of the US backed opposition are already planning to use these elections as a focal point for further destabilisation.”

Signatories include Grahame Morris MP of Labour Friends of Venezuela, Colin Burgon, Chair of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, filmmaker John Pilger and Frances O’Grady, Trade Union Congress General Secretary, alongside student leaders, peace campaigners, community represenatives and array of others from across British society.

In the political field, further signatories include MPs Dave Anderson, Michael Connarty, Frank Doran, Paul Farrelly, Hywel Francis, George Galloway, Fabian Hamilton, Kelvin Hopkins, Ian Lavery, John McDonnell, Linda Riordan, Jim Sheridan, Mike Weir, Chris Williamson and Mike Wood, alongside Baroness Margaret Prosser plus Elaine Smith MSP.

An impressive array of further supporters in the trade union and labour movement include the general secretaries Len McCluskey (Unite the Union,) Billy Hayes (CWU,) Steve Murphy (UCATT,) Bob Crow (RMT,) Manuel Cortes (TSSA,) Doug Nicholls (General Federation of Trade Unions) and John Smith (Musicians’ Union & President of the International Federation Musicians) plus UNISON Assistant General Secretary Roger Mckenzie.

Other prominent people to add their support from across British society include filmmaker Ken Loach, actor Andy De La Tour, lawyer Louise Christian, plus a range of academic and writers including Professor Ernesto Laclau, Professor Doreen Massey and Dr. Francisco Dominguez.

Prominent campaigners for peace and social justice include Bruce Kent, Zita Holbourne (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts,) Salma Yaqoob, Maggie Bowden (General Secretary of Liberation,) Lindsey German (Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition,) student leaders Aaron Kiely (NUS Black Students’ Officer) and Matt Stanley (NUS Executive) plus Bob Oram, Chair of the Morning Star Management Committee.

STATEMENT: Opposing destabilization in Venezuela

“Mayoral elections will be held across Venezuela on 8 December.

These are the first elections following the violence and destabilisation unleashed in April by sections of the Venezuela’s right-wing opposition in response to Nicolas Maduro being elected President.

This was an attempt by the right-wing opposition to unseat Maduro even before he was sworn into office. They immediately alleged fraud despite providing no evidence and having themselves signed off a dozen audits prior to the election. They continued to make these baseless allegations even after a 100% recount, that they had demanded, confirmed the results and after governments across Latin America, the UK, France, Spain and others in the EU recognised the results.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, emboldened by a US refusal to acknowledge the election results, used claims of fraud as a pretext to encourage opposition supporters to “vent their anger”. A wave of opposition political violence followed leading to the death of 11 innocent people and dozens injured as well as petrol bombings and arson of government funded health centres, National Electoral Council buildings and headquarters of parties supporting Nicolas Maduro.

Today, destabilisation attempts are ongoing. There is growing concern of the use of sabotage to exploit and create difficulties in the economy and damage key infrastructure. This has worrying echoes of US President Richard Nixon’s strategy to “make the economy scream,” initially used to try to overthrow the progressive government of Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1970s.

The aim of this destabilization is ‘regime change’ to replace the legitimate, elected Maduro government. In that context, we are especially alarmed by the recent statement by 45 Venezuelan retired military officers, including a dozen generals and admirals, and a former defence minister, supporting a military intervention to replace the Maduro government.

The elections in December should be another opportunity for Venezuelans to express themselves at the ballot box as they have done in 17 elections, all declared free and fair, since Hugo Chavez opened up a new political era in Venezuela in 1999. But there are fears that sections of the US backed opposition are already planning to use these elections as a focal point for further destabilisation.

We deplore the use of violence and other anti-democratic means to target and overthrow legitimate governments, elected in free and fair elections. We believe that respect for democracy requires accepting the outcome of legitimate elections even when you lose. We urge vigilance at this time against those who seek to abuse Venezuela’s democracy for their own ends.”

Please find below a fuller list of signatories to the statement (presented in alphabetical order:)

DaveAndersonMPLabour Party
AndyBainNational TreasurerTSSA
SteveBellOfficerStop the War Coalition
RogerBevanInternational OfficerUNISON Wales
MaggieBowdenGeneral SecretaryLiberation
Professor BillBowring
ColinBurgonChairVenezuela Solidarity Campaign
TonyBurkeAssistant General SecretaryUnite the Union
LouiseChristianLawyerChristian Khan
Professor MikeCole
MichaelConnartyMPLabour Party
ManuelCortesGeneral SecretaryTSSA
MatthewCrightonSecretaryScottish VSC
BobCrowGeneral SecretaryRMT
MaireDaleyTeacher EducationCity of Liverpool College
LukeDanielsPresidentCaribbean Labour Solidarity
AndyDe La Touractor
Dr. MichaelDerhamUniversity of Northumbria
Dr. FranciscoDominguezHead of Latin American StudiesMiddlesex University & VSC Secretary
DenisDoodyExecutive MemberUCATT
FrankDoranMPLabour Party
SianErringtonWomen for Venezuela
PaulFarrellyMPLabour Party
JayneFisherInternational CommitteeSERTUC
JennieFormbyLabour PartyNEC
HywelFrancisMPLabour Party
LindseyGermanConvenorStop the War Coalition
TomGillwriter & bloggerRevolting Europe’
MozGreenshieldsFormer NEC MemberUNISON
Dr. PeterHallwardKingston University
FabianHamiltonMPLabour Party
BillyHayesGeneral SecretaryCWU
BenHayesStudent Friends of Venezuela
JohnHaylettPolitical EditorMorning Star’
Dr JulieHearnLecturerLancaster University
IanHodsonNational PresidentBFAWU
ZitaHolbourneBlack Activists Rising Against Cuts
KelvinHopkinsMPLabour Party
SteveJonesPostal ExecutiveCWU
JimKennedyLabour PartyNEC
AaronKielyBlack Students’ OfficerNational Union of Students
FrankLandEmeritus ProfessoLondon School of Economics
IanLaveryMPLabour Party
KenLoachFilm Director
Dr. SteveLudlamSenior LecturerDepartment of Politics, University of Sheffield
DominicMacAskillHead of Local GovernmentUNISON Wales
AlpeshMaisuriaSenior LecturerEducation studies and Research, University of East Londo
DavidMargoliesEmeritus ProfessorGoldsmiths University
HazelMarshUniversity of East Anglia
Professor DoreenMassey
LenMcCluskeyGeneral SecretaryUnite the Union
JohnMcDonnellMPLabour Party
PhilMcGarryChairSVSC & RMT Scotland
RogerMcKenzieAssistant General SecretaryUNISON
KarenMitchellLegal OfficerRMT & VSC Vice-Chair
GrahameMorrisMP, Labour Friends of Venezuela &Labour Party
Dr. ThomasMuhrVisiting Fellow (Global Development)Bristol University
SteveMurphyGeneral SecretaryUCATT
JayMurphyAuthor & screenwriter
PabloNavarretefilmmaker & journalist
DougNichollsGeneral SecretaryGeneral Federation of Trade Unions
FrancesO’GradyGeneral SecretaryTUC
BobOramChairMorning Star’ Management Committee
JohnPilgerFilmmaker & writer
Baroness MargaretProsser
DianaRabyauthor, ‘Democracy & Revolution’
BernardReganInternational CommitteeSERTUC
LindaRiordanMPLabour Party
Professor JonathanRosenheadLSE
Professor VincezoRuggieroMiddlesex University
BertSchouwenburgInternational OfficerGMB
JackieSimpkimstrades union officerWar on Want
JohnSmithGeneral SecretaryMusicians’ Union & President, International Federation Musicians (FIM)
MattStanleyExecutiveNational Union of Students
SamuelTarryCouncillor & Labour Group Chief WhipBarking & Dagenham Council
EnricoTortolanoLatin America correspondentTribune
SteveTurnerAssistant General SecretaryUnite the Union
FrankWardAssistant General SecretaryTSSA
ChrisWeldonCouncillor, Sheffield CouncilLabour Party
MattWillgressNational Co-ordinatorVenezuela Solidarity Campaign
PeterWillsmanFormer NEC MemberLabour Party
MikeWoodMPLabour Party
TonyWoodhouseChairUnite the Union

Plus over twenty others.