Manchester, England–HANDS Off Venezuela campaigners urged the creation of a "European bloc" in support of the social revolution in that country and against any US military intervention yesterday.
A charged fringe meeting of the Labour Party annual conference at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester heard that US neocons are "freaking out" over the changes in Venezuela – as well as in Bolivia and Mexico – and could take aggressive measures to stifle it.
Labour leadership contender John McDonnell MP praised Venezuela’s revolution that had become "a symbol of struggle for freedom" around the world.
But he warned of a backlash from the US and its allies, including Britain, and stressed the urgency of "welding together a European bloc in support of Venezuela to ensure that it is not politically isolated.
"We need to take direct action and confront politicians about what they are doing to back the Chavez government against possible military action by the US," he argued, adding that a Labour government should be at the forefront of this.
Fellow left MP Jeremy Corbyn delivered an eyewitness account of last month’s Mexican election crisis, where the Democratic Revolution Party (DRP) lost to the pro-US National Action Party.
Mr Corbyn described the millions-strong demonstrations in support of DRP leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who had submitted 900 pages of allegations of fraud which was ignored by the electoral commission.
"In the run-up to the elections, Mr Obrador was way ahead in poll after poll. When 95 per cent of the votes had been counted, he was the clear winner, but, bizarrely, he lost after the remaining votes were counted," recalled the MP.
Mr Corbyn called on the audience to show their solidarity with Obrador’s movement, because it aimed to defy the US neoliberal agenda and "nationalise resources, redistribute wealth and implement an anti-poverty strategy."
Hands Off Venezuela national committee member Rob Sewell said that people in Britain must start fighting their corner and urged the "Bolivarisation" of the Labour Party to bring it back to its roots.
Finally, Mr McDonnell praised Mr Corbyn’s "encyclopaedic" knowledge of Latin America and hinted that a Labour government under his leadership would have Mr Corbyn as its Foreign Secretary.
*Hands Off Venezuela has organised a one-day national conference taking place on November 4 at the UCU headquarters in London.