Photo: Alejando Cremades at El Estimulo
From VWS, we demand that the Biden administration lift any and all economic sanctions on Venezuela immediately and renounce all interventionist aspirations. Simultaneously, we believe that it is essential for the Left in the United States to offer true solidarity to the Venezuelan working class.
Will the Biden administration deploy a new Venezuela policy? How much will the new government differ from the Trump administration? As a group of Venezuelan socialists in the United States, we consider it necessary to express our analysis and our firm position regarding US-Venezuela relations.
We categorically place responsibility for the brutal crisis that Venezuelans endure today in the hands of the Maduro and Chavez governments. Since the beginning of his first term, Nicolas Maduro has attacked the living wages of Venezuelan workers and driven all public services to a state of emergency, applying austerity to pay foreign debt. However, we are firm in stating that Donald Trump’s policies only intensified those critical conditions: in 2017 and 2019, the United States placed financial and oil sanctions on Venezuela, which accelerated the economic collapse even more, and in 2019 supported a failed military coup. Trump also supported Juan Guaido’s so called “interim government,” which has been enmeshed in corruption scandals. Moreover, the Trump administration stole assets from the Venezuelan State, and destined approximately US$ 600 million from those funds to the construction of its xenophobic border wall with Mexico.
None of the above policies have taken the Venezuelan people into account. These measures do not benefit Venezuelans or strengthen the fight for democratic rights in any way; in fact, they have only bolstered the “economic blockade” alibi that the Maduro regime employs constantly to circumvent accountability for the misery of the Venezuelan people.
Joe Biden’s Venezuela policy is still not clear. However, a Democratic Party government is no guarantee of change in regards to the US’s interventionist line, as it has been shown from its long history of military intervention in Latin America and support for dictatorships. Biden has continued to recognize Guaido’s “interim government,” and is yet to announce any changes regarding the sanctions on the Venezuelan economy. There were some minor changes to the sanctions related to Venezuelan port and airport activities; still, we see a near-total continuity with the Trump era.
From Venezuelan Workers Solidarity, we demand that the Biden administration lift any and all economic sanctions on Venezuela immediately and renounce all interventionist aspirations: the Venezuelan people have the right to lead their own struggle for liberation from Maduro’s dictatorship. Simultaneously, we believe that it is essential for the Left in the United States to offer true solidarity to the Venezuelan working class: the Democratic Socialists of America and other organizations on the left and the labor movement have the responsibility to speak out and mobilize against the US oil and financial sanctions, the confiscation or sale of Venezuelan State assets, and accountability for the illegal use of Venezuelan money for Trump’s border wall, as well as demanding freedom for Venezuelans imprisoned in ICE concentration camps. At the same time, they must also raise awareness about the hundreds of workers, peasants, indigenous people and students who are currently political prisoners in Venezuela, and join campaigns for their liberation, denounce the hunger wages and lack of union rights, and the general absence of democratic rights Venezuelans have to endure.
Venezuela has the second largest forced migration of the past decade, topped only by Syria. Corruption, mismanagement, and outright looting, dilapidated the greatest oil boom in Venezuela’s history and ended up destroying more than two thirds of the gross national product. And then came the US sanctions to make matters even worse. It’s a catastrophe that can’t be ignored by the left. An anti imperialist position must place clear demands on Biden without being blind to the repressive, capitalist and ferociously anti-worker characteristics of the Maduro regime. Let’s build a genuine solidarity movement with the Venezuelan people.