A turbulent first year

By Venezuelanvoices.org
Photo credit: Several photos from Venezuelan Voices articles.

Exactly one year ago, on March 18, 2019, we made our first two publications, an interview with sociologist Edgardo Lander and a report on the massacres perpetrated by the Venezuelan government through the FAES extermination groups. For those of us who work voluntarily to support this effort, it is a source of satisfaction to have reached the first year of existence of the Venezuelanvoices.org website.

Since then, we have published 48 translations and original writings, including journalistic reviews, opinion articles, statements and political analyses, almost entirely by Venezuelan authors and the left-wing opposition. Although there have long been publications about Venezuela in the English language with a perspective aligned with Chavismo or the traditional right and center-right opposition, this is the first systematic effort to offer this type of texts in English, from Venezuelan left opposition, workers’, feminist and environmentalist perspectives, accumulating in this short period thousands of visits that testify to the interest in this type of material in English speaking countries.

It has been a turbulent year in which the FAES intensified its operations, the electricity crisis had an acute episode, an attempted coup d’état was carried out, teachers and other sectors of the workers carried out numerous strikes, oil workers mobilized against the persecution of revolutionary union leaders and massive layoffs. Attempts were made to rebuild the trade union movement, the indigenous people and peasants resisted the police and military attacks, while women raised their demands against a government that claims to be on the left but is totally contrary to their most basic rights.

The economic crisis continued to deepen and the government partially recognized its dimensions, but at the same time Maduro’s civil-military regime was able to remain in power, achieving relative diplomatic successes such as obtaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The parliamentary opposition’s bet on US interference did not yield the results they had hoped for, and Guaido and Trump’s business links with the Bolibourgeoisie came to light. In this context, the left opposition continued to bet on a popular way out of the crisis, through mobilization.

Campaigns for the freedom of worker political prisoners, in defense of academic freedom, against purges in PDVSA and for justice for victims of forced disappearance and political assassination were covered on our page, contrasting with the indifference of the big media, most of the left and also of the self-proclaimed democratic sectors. We pay attention to the analyses of economic adjustment measures, of the divisions within Chavismo, of the territorial dimension of official policies, and of the intricate institutional forms in which the struggle for power takes place in a country in economic and social free fall.

Alí Domínguez, a youth political leader from the Chavismo dissidence, died on March 6, 2019 allegedly as a result of a beating that caused him head trauma, a broken septum, and loss of teeth, among other injuries. The government said he was run-over.
Photo: Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela.

We thank all the people who have helped with their selfless efforts to consolidate this self-managed project and invite all those interested in strengthening it to continue reading, disseminating and supporting it. The crisis continues to deepen. The attacks of the new global pandemic are punishing a people deprived of the right to public health for years by the government, with general health conditions deteriorated by hunger and poverty. The fall in oil prices will aggravate the economic crisis produced by decades of plundering and, to a lesser degree, a year of US oil sanctions. The Venezuelan people will continue to resist the oppression and exploitation of capitalism disguised as “21st century socialism” and it will be of enormous importance to multiply internationalist solidarity and activism to help Venezuelan voices be heard by the rest of the world. This page will continue to offer its contribution in that sense.

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