Open Letter in Rejection of the ‘Anti-Blockade’ Law and in Demand of a Popular Referendum

Photo credit: Graffiti and photo by Dinamo SP

Recently, the self-proclaimed National Constituent Assembly (ANC) approved the “Anti-Blockade Law” project presented to it by the national government on September 29. This law would grant extraordinary powers to the Executive to leave without effect a whole series of rights of the Venezuelan people and their national interests established in the country’s Constitution. Among other things, it would allow the government to manage the country’s and State’s assets at its sole discretion and in secrecy. 

We, the undersigned, categorically reject this predatory and anti-democratic law that harms the rights of the workers and of the collective Venezuelan people. It is a project to give way to mass and large-scale privatizations, with the foreseeable consequences of greater exploitation of labor and derecognition of collective bargaining rights. In fact, sovereignty is surrendered and territories are opened up for exploitation . 

To make matters worse, the approval was fast tracked, without any discussion of it by the Venezuelan people, and not even by the National Constituent Assembly itself. The members of the ANC were not given the opportunity to studythe draft law Access was denied to those who made repeated requests to read it before the vote, were only given access to an audio of  a reading of it at the time of the vote, and even then, several members faced obstacles in attending  the session with some even being prevented from entering the voting area. 

This instrument not only goes outside the procedures established in the Constitution, but also, under the pretext of confronting the sanctions arbitrarily imposed by the United States government, confers all kinds of privileges to national and foreign private investment (Art. 27), modifies the current legal framework to promote a greater participation of private capital in its partnerships with the State in the Orinoco Oil Belt and the Orinoco Mining Arc, as well as legalizing and expanding the commercialization of gasoline by the private sector (Art. 27 and 28). By means of this law the government would have discretionary powers to suspend laws (Art. 17 and 18), and having a freer hands to sign international agreements, manage, cede or hand over public assets, as well as to create wealth funds managed independently from the Public Budget and outside the National Treasury (Art. 16). 

With this law, the Venezuelan State renounces its right to submit disputes in the country’s tribunals, referring such disputes instead to foreign courts, that is, those generally controlled by the countries from which the transnational capitals originate. Nationalizations could be reversed by returning assets that have been subject to some executive, legislative or judicial measure or to the suspension of concessions (Art. 27). It also establishes the confidentiality of procedures carried out by the State, eliminating public access to information (Art. 14, 34 and 35). It even proposes to penalize those who insist on access to this information of national and public interest (Art. 36). 

The Government’s argument for this law is based on the sanctions imposed by the US government. Those of us who sign this call are absolutely opposed to these sanctions and aggressions of a clear imperialist nature, which deepen the hardships of the Venezuelan people. We categorically reject the whole series of confiscations of national goods, freezing of assets, embargoes and various other that the United States and various European powers have imposed on Venezuela. We do not grant the slightest right to these nations to impose sanctions on our country or to take away goods from it. We demand the immediate cessation of all such aggressions and coercive measures. Precisely on this same position of firm defense of national interests and of the Venezuelan people, we reject the law in question and the way it has been “approved”. 

We, the undersigned, based on Articles 62, 71, 74 and 236 of the National Constitution, demand that, dealing with an issue of great national transcendence, it be submitted to the broadest national discussion and popular consultation, concluding this process in an abrogative referendum, so that the Venezuelan people, the real subjects directly affected in multiple ways by this law, have the opportunity to give their verdict on it. This  referendum must be called and guaranteed with full freedom of organization for political and union organizations, access to television and radio spaces, and freedom from any persecution. 

We consider the organization and mobilization of workers, peasants and the people to be primary  in guaranteeing this fundamental and inalienable right of the Venezuelan people. Let the people decide. We call on the various trade union, popular, and peasant organizations, political currents and intellectuals, that are committed to the defense of the interests of the country and of its popular majorities, to put together a national movement that will promote a broad and united democratic and popular mobilization to stop the application of this law, deeply harmful to the interests of the people and the Venezuelan workers. 

Signing Organizations:

Regional Union of Health Workers of the Capital District (Sirtrasalud Dtto. Capital) 

Classist, Unitary, Revolutionary and Autonomous Current (C-CURA)

Toromayma Cultural Collective

Observatory of Political Ecology of Venezuela (OVEP) 

League of Workers for Socialism (LTS) 

Socialist Tide (Marea Socialista)

Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo y Libertad) 

Socialist Workers’ Unity (Unidad Socialista de los Trabajadores) 

Foundation a world to sow sensitivity consciousness love peace for life

Citizen’s Platform in Defense of the Constitution

Conscience and dignity pro-human rights organization

Front in defense of the public services of the parish union, Barquisimeto

Caracol Resistance Foundation 

Venezuelan Diaspora Foundation (FUNDIASVE) 

Lxs Comunes

National Association of Social Networks and Organizations (ANROS) 

Teaching Dignification. Costa Rica 

La Izquierda Diario Venezuela 

Anticapitalist Movement of Chile 

National Union of Workers of the Central University of Venezuela (SINATRAUCV)

Venezuelan Workers Solidarity, diaspora collective in the US and Canada

Individual Signers: Luis Villafañe, Claudia Rodriguez Gilly, Manuel Isidro Molina, Richard Quintero Mendoza, Pablo Gamba, Gustavo Marquéz, Hector Navarro, Oly Millan, Ana Elisa Osorio, Santiago Arconada, Edgardo Lander, Esteban Emilio Mosonyi, Roberto Lopez, Juan Garcia, Fidel Jaramillo, Luis Gonzalez, Bartolo Guerra, Greti Richard, Dario Gomez Suarez, Luz Maria Rangel, Maria L. Sanchez, Oswaldo Pacheco, Magaly Garcia, Livia Vargas González, Teodoro Guerrero Salas, Angel Arias, Hector Perez Seijas, Humberto Antonio Zavala Guerrero, Gladys Emilia Guevara, Cesar Mendoza, Jorge David Martens Ramirez, Lucila Naranjo Chiacchio, Xiomara Pérez, Hector Seijas, Suhey Ochoa, Xiomara Perez, America Salazar, Felipe Montilla, Juan Guevara, Domingo Duran, Ivan Amado, Leander Perez, Efrén González, Freddy Aguilar, Douglas Aponte, Francisco Zurita, Thony Navas, Jose Bodas, Orlando Chirino, Antonio Espinoza, Armando Guerra, Oscar Linares, Samuel Bravo, Zaida Mujica, Omar Vasquez Heredia, Marcos Garcia, Manuel Sandoval (Costa Rica), Duran Moses, Zuleika Matamoros, Carlos Guerrero, Milton D’Leon, Rubén Darío Labrador, Ana Gomez, Vladimir Aguilar, Camilo Parada Ortiz (Chile), José Oliveros, Alejandro Fernandes, Jean Jimenez, Ronny Reyes, Aureliano Sanchez, Alicia Fernández Gómez (Spanish state), Luis Fuenmayor Toro, Ernesto Fuenmayor, Santiago Gomez, Fernando Vegas Torrealba.

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