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.

By Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (UK)
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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:)

Name Surname Position Organisation
Dave Anderson MP Labour Party
Andy Bain National Treasurer TSSA
Steve Bell Officer Stop the War Coalition
Roger Bevan International Officer UNISON Wales
Maggie Bowden General Secretary Liberation
Professor Bill Bowring
Lee Brown Researcher
Colin Burgon Chair Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Tony Burke Assistant General Secretary Unite the Union
Louise Christian Lawyer Christian Khan
Professor Mike Cole
Michael Connarty MP Labour Party
Manuel Cortes General Secretary TSSA
Matthew Crighton Secretary Scottish VSC
Bob Crow General Secretary RMT
Maire Daley Teacher Education City of Liverpool College
Luke Daniels President Caribbean Labour Solidarity
Andy De La Tour actor
Dr. Michael Derham University of Northumbria
Dr. Francisco Dominguez Head of Latin American Studies Middlesex University & VSC Secretary
Denis Doody Executive Member UCATT
Frank Doran MP Labour Party
Sian Errington Women for Venezuela
Paul Farrelly MP Labour Party
Jayne Fisher International Committee SERTUC
Jennie Formby Labour Party NEC
Hywel Francis MP Labour Party
George Galloway MP Respect
Lindsey German Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Tom Gill writer & blogger Revolting Europe’
Moz Greenshields Former NEC Member UNISON
Dr. Peter Hallward Kingston University
Fabian Hamilton MP Labour Party
Billy Hayes General Secretary CWU
Ben Hayes Student Friends of Venezuela
John Haylett Political Editor Morning Star’
Dr Julie Hearn Lecturer Lancaster University
Ian Hodson National President BFAWU
Zita Holbourne Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Kelvin Hopkins MP Labour Party
Steve Jones Postal Executive CWU
Jim Kennedy Labour Party NEC
Bruce Kent
Aaron Kiely Black Students’ Officer National Union of Students
Ernesto Laclau
Frank Land Emeritus Professo London School of Economics
Ian Lavery MP Labour Party
Ken Loach Film Director
Dr. Steve Ludlam Senior Lecturer Department of Politics, University of Sheffield
Dominic MacAskill Head of Local Government UNISON Wales
Alpesh Maisuria Senior Lecturer Education studies and Research, University of East Londo
David Margolies Emeritus Professor Goldsmiths University
Hazel Marsh University of East Anglia
Professor Doreen Massey
Len McCluskey General Secretary Unite the Union
John McDonnell MP Labour Party
Phil McGarry Chair SVSC & RMT Scotland
Roger McKenzie Assistant General Secretary UNISON
Karen Mitchell Legal Officer RMT & VSC Vice-Chair
Grahame Morris MP, Labour Friends of Venezuela & Labour Party
Dr. Thomas Muhr Visiting Fellow (Global Development) Bristol University
Steve Murphy General Secretary UCATT
Jay Murphy Author & screenwriter
Pablo Navarrete filmmaker & journalist
Doug Nicholls General Secretary General Federation of Trade Unions
Frances O’Grady General Secretary TUC
Bob Oram Chair Morning Star’ Management Committee
John Pilger Filmmaker & writer
Baroness Margaret Prosser
Diana Raby author, ‘Democracy & Revolution’
Bernard Regan International Committee SERTUC
Linda Riordan MP Labour Party
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead LSE
Professor Vincezo Ruggiero Middlesex University
Bert Schouwenburg International Officer GMB
Jim Sheridan MP Labour
Jackie Simpkims trades union officer War on Want
John Smith General Secretary Musicians’ Union & President, International Federation Musicians (FIM)
Elaine Smith MSP Labour
Matt Stanley Executive National Union of Students
Samuel Tarry Councillor & Labour Group Chief Whip Barking & Dagenham Council
Enrico Tortolano Latin America correspondent Tribune
Steve Turner Assistant General Secretary Unite the Union
Frank Ward Assistant General Secretary TSSA
Mike Weir MP SNP
Chris Weldon Councillor, Sheffield Council Labour Party
Matt Willgress National Co-ordinator Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Chris Williamson MP Labour
Peter Willsman Former NEC Member Labour Party
Mike Wood MP Labour Party
Tony Woodhouse Chair Unite the Union
Salma Yaqoob

Plus over twenty others.