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Proletarian issue 75 (December 2016)
Venezuela: Petition for recall referendum fails despite fraud
Maduro’s government fights back against opposition dirty tricks.
On 11 October 2016, the supreme court in Venezuela ruled against holding a referendum to recall president Nicolás Maduro.

The supreme court reached this conclusion in conjunction with the NEC (National Elections Committee) and numerous provincial courts. This result is a major setback for the US-backed opposition in their strategic aim of ousting president Maduro.

The MUD (Democratic Unity Roundtable) opposition was eager to have a recall referendum before 10 January 2017, primarily because, if the referendum takes place after this date, then although President Maduro could still be ousted, the remainder of his term would be served out until 2019 by his vice president and fresh elections would not be initiated.

The decision to suspend the recall comes after numerous provincial courts found there to be extensive fraud in the signatures required to initiate the referendum process. This manifested itself in that 605,727 of the signatures intended for the initiation of the referendum procedure were proven to have irregularities. Quite brazenly, over 10,000 dead people’s signatures had been ‘collected’ to try and push forward the reactionaries’ agenda.

The notion that the regime-change agenda in Venezuela is real should not be taken lightly. One sustained effort to recall a PSUV president via this constitutional mechanism has already taken place in 2004. At that time, the motion, which did go to a referendum, failed to oust President Chávez. However, after the result was announced, the west-backed opposition tried to challenge the result, citing fraud. The validity of the referendum was, however, confirmed by numerous international and observing bodies, including former US president Jimmy Carter.

Having once more failed to secure the result they wished for, the opposition forces are once more seeking to question the NEC, the supreme and the local courts. And that is by no means the end of their exploits. Their relentlessness has perhaps revealed too much of their true character, as they are now assaulting Maduro with the Trump-like jeer that he is “not fit to rule”, based on his citizenship and birth. Reactionary parliamentarians have asserted in Congress that President Maduro is not Venezuelan enough to rule.

The west-backed opposition and imperialist media outlets have been pedantically clutching at straws in order to find a narrative to undermine and oust the socialist PSUV from Venezuela. Childish allegations of dictatorship, human rights violations and, most recently, of causing the economic hardship (in great part actually caused by the activities of the enemies of the government’s popular policies) ... all or anything from the worldwide crisis of overproduction to the weather is being dragged in to try to undermine the government.

As complicated as the criticisms from western media and opposition would like to make it, Venezuela is an oil export dependent economy. Therefore, quite simply, the recent and substantial drop in international oil prices has had a dramatic effect on the economy.

Sovereign supply mission

The rabid tactics of the west-backed opposition do not end in the supreme court or in defeats in the ballot box. They have reportedly engaged in numerous exploitative efforts to undermine the socialist government by shutting down or disrupting Venezuelan production.

However the PSUV is directly challenging this with its sovereign supply mission, which has six facets: the production of seeds, animal proteins, balanced food, and cleaning and hygiene products, as well as the regionalisation of school meal menus and the supply of essential medicines.

This forms a robust step in Venezuela’s aim to achieve food sovereignty – able to produce its own food and not to be subject to the volatile fluctuations of the international market. This vulnerability is something that the Venezuelans are acutely sensitive to in the light of the recent oil price drops.

There is every hope, however, that the situation will soon be turning a corner, as China and Venezuela have just improved and extended their existing ‘oil for loans’ deal. China has already offered substantial support to the Venezuelan economy, and the new deal is something about which the Venezuelan government is highly optimistic

This bolstered support is expected to assist in the stabilisation of the Venezuelan economy over the course of 2017. Nevertheless, there is still much more work for the PSUV government to do in fighting back against the mobilisations, sabotages and political assaults of the west-backed opposition. Not to mention in taking whatever measures are necessary to protect its people from the vagaries of the crisis-ridden world capitalist economy.
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