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Workers Vanguard No. 1043

4 April 2014
The closing date for news in this issue is 1 April.


Workers Vanguard

Venezuela: U.S. Imperialism Fuels Right-Wing Protests

Break with Chavismo! For a Revolutionary Workers Party!

For almost eight weeks, students and middle-class demonstrators demanding the salida (exit) of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro have set up barricades in affluent neighborhoods in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities. While deriding the country’s oppressed masses and raving against purported Cuban infiltration of the government, protesters have also attempted to tap very real popular grievances—shortages of necessities like cooking oil, flour and toilet paper, rising inflation and high crime rates. The government has called out the National Guard against protesters, but by several reports the protesters themselves are responsible for many of the almost 40 deaths. There have also been rumors of a coup attempt, leading to the arrest of three air force generals on March 24.

The U.S. imperialists, who back the right-wing opposition, and their media mouthpieces have raised a great hue and cry over Venezuelan government repression. On March 4, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the Maduro government by a vote of 393-1. Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry threatened sanctions against Venezuela and denounced Maduro for waging a “terror campaign against his own people.” (Actually, the U.S. secretary of state is the real expert in waging terror campaigns against civilian populations.) Florida gusano Congressmen are foaming at the mouth over the possibility of ousting Maduro and stopping the 100,000 barrels of oil that Venezuela ships to Cuba daily, partly in exchange for the services of 30,000 medics and other Cuban personnel.

Leading figures in the protest include neoliberal opposition politicians Maria Corina Machado, who was recently stripped of her parliamentary immunity, and the now imprisoned Leopoldo López. Machado, a congresswoman from a wealthy district who is known as the “Venezuelan Iron Lady” for her conservative views, was honored at the White House in 2005 by George W. Bush for her attempts to undermine the regime of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez. The group she cofounded, Súmate, has taken money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a notorious CIA front. López, a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School of Government, has the blessing of Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank funded by ExxonMobil, Chevron and the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), which is another CIA conduit. A member of Venezuela’s oligarchy, he is a wealthy descendent of the 19th-century Latin American nationalist Simón Bolívar.

Since Chávez was first elected in 1998, the U.S. imperialists have sought to install someone more to their liking in Caracas. Hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. funds have been poured into attempts to undermine the Venezuelan government through U.S. AID’s “humanitarian” programs and NED grants to train political activists and provide “democracy assistance.” Toppling the regime was the goal of the failed U.S.-backed coup in April 2002, the capitalist lockouts designed to cripple the oil industry in the winter of 2002-03 and the campaign to recall Chávez in 2004. After Maduro was elected president by a narrow margin last April, Washington’s local agents claimed fraud and attempted to reverse the results in favor of their candidate. (read on)

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About the ICL

V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!