Socialist Worker

Venezuelan crisis grows amid border showdown

As the right exploits the social crisis, it’s make or break time for left winger Nicolas Maduro, says Alistair Farrow

Issue No. 2643

Nicolas Maduro (far left) is facing attempts to oust his government in Venezuela

Nicolas Maduro (far left) is facing attempts to oust his government in Venezuela (Pic: Luis Astudillo C/Cancillería del Ecuador/Flickr)


Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is using the country’s spiralling social crisis in his bid to oust president Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido, a neoliberal supported by the US and big business, ­organised aid trucks to come across from Colombia and Brazil.

At least four people were killed in confrontations at the border.

Guaido hoped to tap into ordinary people’s anger at the hardships they’ve suffered since Venezuela’s economic crisis began in 2014.

The crisis has seen some three million people flee the country.

Guaido claimed that hundreds of thousands of protesters would force the aid through, but those numbers did not turn out.

And he announced that a truck had made it across Venezuela’s border with Brazil border—just before it was turned back by troops.

The US has called on Maduro to let the aid in, much of it flown by US planes into Colombia.

Yet it remains committed to brutal economic sanctions, which have made the effects of the ­economic crisis far worse.

The US’s intentions were revealed last week in a statement by Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton.

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil ­capabilities in Venezuela,” he said.

Reserves

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. The US has been held back from getting its hands on Venezuela’s oil by Maduro’s alliances with rival imperialist powers Russia and China.

Those alliances show signs of coming undone. Russia is vulnerable to US sanctions and could move its support to Guaido, who has claimed to be in dialogue with the state’s representatives.

It’s a warning that manoeuvres at the top of society will not protect working class people from a return to the rampant neoliberalism ­represented by Guaido.

The clashes last Saturday showed that Guaido does not enjoy widespread support among ­ordinary Venezuelans.

But, after years of betrayals and attacks on working class people, neither does Maduro.

And his ruling PSUV party ­demobilised the mass movement that propelled former president Hugo Chavez into office.

The Lima Group of right wing Latin American governments met in Colombia on Monday.

Guaido and US vice president Mike Pence joined the meeting.

Their aim is regime change in Venezuela. Colombian president Ivan Duque Marquez said, “We will consider on how to enhance the diplomatic blockade that will assist to the fall of the dictatorship.”

These forces will not accept Maduro’s offers to negotiate with Guaido and the US.

Only a return to the mass ­movement on the streets—­independent of Maduro and the PSUV—can repel the US and Guaido’s hopes of a right wing coup.

 


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