Union meeting in Venezuela

This text was first published in Spanish in LaClase.info and later translated to English and republished by Oakland Socialist on May 18, 2019.

Caracas, May 10, 2019. During the whole day yesterday, a first meeting of workers was held in the Engineering Auditorium of the UCV, convened by Eduardo Sánchez, president of SinatraUCV and the federation that brings together the administrative employees of the national universities.

More than 100 people from different sectors participated. Public employees, oil workers, university workers, health workers, private security guards, rubber companies, potters and metalworkers from the center of the country, political organizations such as Marea Socialista, LTS, Revolutionary Left, Class Struggle, PSL were also present.

On the podium were Eduardo Sánchez, Horacio Silva, union leader of the oil sector, Thony Navas, president of Sirtrasalud Capital District and José Bodas, general secretary of Futpv, and of the trade union C-cura.

The event was introduced by César Mogollón, from the Chavismo Bolivariano group in the state of Aragua, an organization of dissident Chavismo, dismissed from Fundacomunal, who welcomed those present, and said that the time had come to deepen the struggle of the workers, and present the country with a plan to fight against the attacks of the Maduro government on the rights of workers.

Eduardo Sánchez

His intervention was followed by that of Eduardo Sánchez, who referred to the tremendous difficulties in bringing together this important group of activists, given the difficulties with the cash and the terrible problems of transport.

Sánchez referred to the ITV, where many of the factors present at the event participated last year, and which had a possibility of forming a tool for the workers’ struggle, but which ended at the tail of the policy of the right-wing, headed by Guaidó.

He affirmed that “this crisis was not created by the workers, it was created by capital”. He added: “the workers are losing everything, while the government keeps saying that there is an economic war, and when we protest we are told that we are squalid and traitors”.

He argued that a large structure of corruption was organized in the government.

According to Sánchez, the right would be simply replacing one face with another – against the present government, but within the same capitalist logic. And he added categorically: “in this country everyone wants Maduro to leave”, adding that “Maduro will not leave except through the strength of the workers, so we must have a program of struggle.”

“The polarization between the government and the opposition is intended to avoid any other alternative. The workers are an independent class and we are not represented today by the government or by the opposition led by Guaidó. Here there is no revolution. The workers must organize as a class, with independence, and build an instrument of struggle that goes even further, to the political. ”

He raised union autonomy, and said: “The unions can not defend the government or the employers, or the parties.”

It was very clear in raising the need for workers to have a tool of their own, independent of Guaidó, to face the anti-worker policy of the Maduro government.

He closed by rejecting the imperialist intervention of the United States, but also the Russian and Chinese interference.

José Bodas

José Bodas, coordinator of C-cura and general secretary of Futpv, said that the government preferred to pay the external debt at the cost of hunger for the workers. He gave a detailed description of the terrible operative situation of PDVSA, and of the destruction of the salary of the oil workers, and affirmed: “This is a government that delivers the oil to the transnationals, not only to the Chinese, Russian, Norwegian, French , also to Chevron.”

He affirmed that the oil that China buys in Venezuela is sold in the United States. “All transnationals are happy in Venezuela with the hunger wages they pay,” he said.

Bodas rejected the coup d’état of Guaidó and the interference of US imperialism, and argued that workers must go out and fight for our rights and against the anti-labor and anti-popular policies of the Maduro government. “It is necessary to build a political-union alternative for the workers, independent of Guaidó, to fight for our demands,” he concluded.

Thony Navas

The president of the health union of the capital raised that “Two groups at the top try to have hegemony. However, there is a space to build a class alternative, left to face the government and independent of Guaidó.”

“Unity is necessary on the basis of union autonomy, we can become a political reference, to fight for our rights and against Maduro’s starvation policy.”

And he concluded by rejecting the coup and imperialist interference.

Subsequently, four working groups met, where the political conjuncture was discussed, the different conflicts under way at the moment, the fighting program and the plan of action, and the need to implement new organizational forms and forms of struggle in the trade union movement. At the end of the important debate, the resolutions of each one of them were presented, and a meeting was convened next Wednesday at the headquarters of SinatraUCV, to systematize and publish the agreements, and to specify the street actions to be carried out in the coming days.

The event concluded with a general agreement to form a platform or national struggle alliance, which has a coordination table that meets periodically. The participants in the event will later define the name of this new fighting tool.

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