[Venezuela] Against reactionary nationalism, for a working class position

Written by IWL-FI – International Secretariat
Monday, 21 September 2015 20:25
Statement against forced displacement of Colombians from Venezuela

The deportation of over a thousand Colombians and forced displacement of further 7,000 on behalf of the Nicolás Maduro administration, together with the declaration of a state of emergency in the border towns with Colombia, as well as the chauvinist and reactionary response of the Colombian bourgeoisie and government, compel proletarian and revolutionary militants to respond from the point of view of the working class.
We are against the forced displacement and deportation carried out by any government against any nationality in the way Maduro is carrying out. We are for the immigrants from Africa displaced by wars unleashed by American and European imperialism, the extreme poverty and famine created by them; we are for the humiliated and exploited Latin immigrants who are threatened with the blackmail of being illegal and exploited in USA; for Cubans and Africans passing through the Colombian territory as transit to the United States and detained, punished and deported. In short, we are with the persecuted and humiliated in any region of the planet and against imperialism and governments who persecute them.
The Maduro administration takes these measures in the middle of a deep economic crisis that assails the living standards of ample sectors of workers with an inflation that may reach as much as 200% a year, notable shortage of food and toiletries, among others, with increasing levels of delinquency and insecurity while its popularity has plummeted.
Maduro justifies the adoption of such measures using arguments that even if true, are not the responsibility of poor Colombians who are now being displaced. The smuggling of goods subsided by the state that are ransacked from Venezuela and the presence of Colombian paramilitary forces are phenomena that exist and deepen Venezuelan social crisis, but they are not the main cause of the social and economic crisis that the country is going through, which is what the Maduro administration is trying to make us believe in order to act in accordance with the worst xenophobic style of American imperialism and the European Union against Latinos and African immigrants. Smuggling and drug-dealing are controlled by powerful mafias with the participation of state agents, members of the state armed forces, police, National Guard and Intelligence Service. These agents are neither persecuted nor is the mafia dismantled. The poorest and most vulnerable sectors, who only seek their own survival, are blamed.
The appearance of the landlord Uribe (former Colombian president, defender of the paramilitary groups) on the borderline, megaphone in hand, or the speeches of President Santos are nothing but demagoguery. Colombian and Venezuelan toiling masses cannot forget that the families that are now being deported to Venezuela used to be driven to emigration in order to flee poverty, unemployment and violence created by the Colombian bourgeois administrations, such as that of Uribe or Santos, that used paramilitaries to evict the poor peasantry and so seize their lands. They are directly responsible for the displacement of many of Colombians who have migrated to Venezuela.
We are against Maduro and the Venezuelan right just as we are against Santos and Uribe. All of them, being representatives of different sectors of the bourgeoisie, agitate the reactionary nationalist ideology to obtain electoral benefits and pretend to use the toiling masses of both countries for the benefit of the inter-bourgeois rubs in both countries.
In the case of Venezuela, our standpoint goes beyond the rebuff of the measures taken. We consider that on both sides of the borderline, Juan Manuel Santos and Nicolas Maduro governments neither represent nor defend the interests of the broad majorities of the workers and the oppressed of both countries. The contrary is true. The austerity measures adopted by Maduro, the growing inflation and scarcity are felt by Venezuelan workers as well as by over 5 million Colombian brothers who live in Venezuela. We regard both administrations, in spite of all their differences, as the guarantors of the interests of different bourgeois sectors, the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie” and allies in the transnationals of different type and defenders of capitalist exploitation.
This true repressive turn may be explained, in part, by Maduro’s decline in popularity to the lowest level ever suffered by Chavism in all its history. The denunciations, the major “enemies” and conspiracies are nothing but imaginative frame-ups or media shows that are left aside after completing their “mission” and shelved in case they are needed again later on. (Remember the “Dakazo”, the signing of the decree of Obama, the fight with Guyana …)
But the real aim of all this repressive policy goes further. The economic crisis, due to the government’s inaction and inability, is deepening and will force it to deal with the employers from Fedecamaras and the Bolibourgeoisie to implement more austerity.
It includes hitting state employees labour rights, cutting funds for the Bolivarian Missions, liberalizing prices of gas and other services, increasing taxes, privatisations and other measures. The Fedecamaras is already demanding the return of privatized companies back to their former owners, and the modification of the Organic Labour Act (LOTTT), specifically everything that refers to job security and working hours. And all this to ensure the payment of the public debt.
Austerity is falling on the shoulders of workers and the people. What will be their response?
It is likely that the resistance struggles against layoffs, attacks on contracts and wages, which are scattered today, will begin to increase and then the repressive apparatus that is now being prepared will be deployed against the struggles tomorrow. That is, the attacks on humble settlers of Colombian nationality, are but a rehearsal for widespread repression against workers and poor people in general, as seen with the “Liberation and Protection of the People Operation” (PLO), and for an even worse criminalisation of the social, trade unions and popular protests.
For all the aforesaid reasons, the position that is to be taken by proletarian and popular organisations in view of the current crisis must be that of absolute independence from both governments. It is from that position that we summon all the peoples, workers, unions, organisations of poor peasants, of native peoples, democratic organisations of both countries to raise a set of unified demands against both governments to defend the poor inhabitants who live on each side of the artificially drawn frontiers, whose purpose is to facilitate the political, economic and social domination of the workers, peasants and the people.
With this in mind we propose a joint campaign to be carried out in both countries, of the proletarian, people’s and democratic forces for the Colombian -Venezuelan brotherhood, with absolute independence from both governments, that would develop the broadest solidarity with the displaced, the deported and the evicted and favouring the victims of both Maduro and Santos administrations and demand from all trade unions to work for an immediate end to the forced displacement of our Colombian brothers and sisters. We furthermore demand that the inhabitants who have already been displaced and whose homes have been destroyed should be compensated.
On the other hand, it is the very same neighbours and workers on either side of the frontier who know where the paramilitary, the corrupt and the smugglers exist. They are the ones who self-organised and with the support of the aforementioned organisations can begin to put an end to these mafias.
The violent and reactionary Maduro’s government behaviour make it clear to thousands of workers who relied on the “alternative” governments spread all over Latin America that these governments use the same methods and defend the same interests as the so-called “right-wing governments.”
In the same way that the Uribe government (clearly a “right-winger”) bombed a guerrilla camp in Ecuadorian territory a few years ago, the “progressive” governments of Lula and Dilma Rousseff (PT) in Brazil have for over a decade deployed Brazilian troops in Haiti, as part of the Minustah. It’s an occupation army that suppresses the protests of the Haitian people against the misery caused by imperialist multinationals. Or Bachelet in Chile, who keeps on penalizing and prosecuting hundreds of students and teachers who fight for the right to public education.
As revolutionary socialist organizations, we declare to the workers and peoples of Colombia and Venezuela that the only ones that can begin to solve definitively all the problems that affect us, especially border issues, insecurity, smuggling and paramilitaries are workers and socialist governments which could begin by proclaiming a socialist federation between both countries to enable a common plan against these scourges. This is impossible under bourgeois and capitalist governments as the current ones.
Socialist Workers’ Party – Colombia (PST)
Socialist Unity of Workers – Venezuela (UST)
International Workers’ League – Fourth International (IWL-FI)
2nd September 2015

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