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:)
|Steve||Bell||Officer||Stop the War Coalition|
|Roger||Bevan||International Officer||UNISON Wales|
|Colin||Burgon||Chair||Venezuela Solidarity Campaign|
|Tony||Burke||Assistant General Secretary||Unite the Union|
|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|
|Sian||Errington||Women for Venezuela|
|Lindsey||German||Convenor||Stop the War Coalition|
|Tom||Gill||writer & blogger||Revolting Europe’|
|Moz||Greenshields||Former NEC Member||UNISON|
|Dr. Peter||Hallward||Kingston University|
|Ben||Hayes||Student Friends of Venezuela|
|John||Haylett||Political Editor||Morning Star’|
|Dr Julie||Hearn||Lecturer||Lancaster University|
|Zita||Holbourne||Black Activists Rising Against Cuts|
|Aaron||Kiely||Black Students’ Officer||National Union of Students|
|Frank||Land||Emeritus Professo||London School of Economics|
|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|
|Len||McCluskey||General Secretary||Unite the Union|
|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|
|Jay||Murphy||Author & screenwriter|
|Pablo||Navarrete||filmmaker & journalist|
|Doug||Nicholls||General Secretary||General Federation of Trade Unions|
|Bob||Oram||Chair||Morning Star’ Management Committee|
|John||Pilger||Filmmaker & writer|
|Diana||Raby||author, ‘Democracy & Revolution’|
|Professor Vincezo||Ruggiero||Middlesex University|
|Jackie||Simpkims||trades union officer||War on Want|
|John||Smith||General Secretary||Musicians’ Union & President, International Federation Musicians (FIM)|
|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|
|Chris||Weldon||Councillor, Sheffield Council||Labour Party|
|Matt||Willgress||National Co-ordinator||Venezuela Solidarity Campaign|
|Peter||Willsman||Former NEC Member||Labour Party|
|Tony||Woodhouse||Chair||Unite the Union|
Plus over twenty others.