Venezuelan People Standing with Their Bolivarian Government and Armed Forces Repel Opposition Coup Attempt

May 1, 2019 rally in Caracas, Venezuela.

On May 1, it was reported that hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan workers and supporters of the Bolivarian revolution filled the streets of cities around the country in what is reported to have been one of the country's biggest mobilizations in years. May Day took on extra meaning this year coming just one day after the people's forces played a decisive role in repelling the latest attempt by foreign-backed opposition forces to overthrow the country's constitutional government, coming out in their tens of thousands to surround the presidential palace and seat of the Bolivarian government as soon as news broke that a coup attempt with the involvement of military forces was underway.

In the early hours of April 30 the opposition leader and self-proclaimed "president" Juan Guaidó sent out a message calling his supporters into the streets, making it sound like a significant section of Venezuela's military had switched sides and taken over a military base in Caracas. But the truth was something else. Except for a very small number of officers who broke ranks, the Bolivarian Armed Forces stood firm in defence of the constitution and remained loyal to their Commander-in-Chief, President Nicolás Maduro. What's more, the handful of senior officers involved in organizing the mutiny lied to their subordinates to trick them into taking part in their treasonous mission, claiming it was for a different, legitimate purpose. When it became clear to those being manipulated what they would be part of, the vast majority wanted nothing to do with it, and took off. One National Guard member was filmed testifying about what had taken place and who put them up to it.

The response of the working people to the treachery that unfolded on April 30 was swift and decisive. They rose to repudiate the coup forces and their foreign sponsors by surrounding Miraflores Palace, determined to defend the right of all Venezuelans to live in peace, as a sovereign and independent people, free to elect governments of their choosing and to chart their own course without bowing to imperialist threats and interference.

In response to attempted coup April 30, 2019, working people surround Miraflores Palace.

The only liberation that ended up taking place as part of "Operation Freedom" as the coup attempt was called, was that of Leopoldo López, Juan Guaidó's mentor and leader of the Popular Will party that both belong to, who was sprung from house arrest, allegedly with the help of turncoat officers of the National Intelligence Service.

Within a few hours of being summoned to the streets, a large crowd of opposition supporters that gathered in an affluent area of Caracas had dispersed, being blocked from marching on Miraflores to confront government supporters and security forces protecting it.

By early afternoon a handful of renegade armed forces members, a few opposition politicians and a couple of hundred vandals commanded by López and Guaidó, having seized control of nothing, found themselves alone and cut off on the overpass of a freeway, some firing weapons, others hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at the nearby military base before scurrying off to save their skins. The escaped convict López first headed for the Chilean Embassy then to the residence of the Spanish ambassador where he and his family remain as "guests." Twenty-five members of the military took refuge in the Brazilian Embassy.

Despite the debacle he presided over on April 30, Guaidó called on his supporters to rally in the streets again on May 1 and every day after that to continue with the "final phase" of "Operation Freedom" saying they should stage rolling strikes building to an eventual general strike. While an opposition counter-demonstration to the massive Workers' Day march led by President Maduro did take place on May 1, it was reported by observers to have fallen far short of being the "largest march in Venezuela's history" that Guaidó called for.

What the call for ongoing opposition street actions likely signals, despite the rhetoric of Guaidó and those he takes direction from about a "peaceful transition," is that the foreign and domestic oligarchs behind the cruel hybrid war being waged against the Venezuelan people are planning to unleash a new round of destabilizing street violence like the deadly "guarimbas" of 2014 and 2017. The aim will be to generate casualties so Nicolás Maduro can be blamed for "brutally repressing peaceful democracy activists"-- no matter what the facts are -- to provide a justification for whatever new aggressive moves the U.S. and its appeasers decide to make.

U.S. Responds to Failed Coup Attempt

Bolivarian armed forces ratify their allegiance to President Maduro, May 2, 2019.

The Trump administration showed itself to be intimately involved with the coup attempt in many ways. When its efforts failed to produce the desired result, with Venezuela's Minister of Defence and other high officials spurning U.S. attempts to buy them off as if they were mercenaries with no honour, the White House ramped up its psychological warfare. The serial liars John Bolton and Elliot Abrams began spinning stories of a "deal" they had allegedly gotten for Maduro to step down until Russia stepped in and told him not to, and other tales about widespread mistrust and looming betrayals in government and military circles.

For his part, President Trump chose to blame Cuba for the inability of the U.S. and forces it commands to make headway in overthrowing the government of Nicolás Maduro. He threatened Cuba with a "full and complete embargo" and "the highest-level sanctions" if it did not stop what he called its "military interference" in Venezuela, ignoring what Cuba has declared many times over: that it has no troops in Venezuela, and that there are no Cubans taking part in military or security operations there, which, it adds, U.S. intelligence agencies well know.

Lima Group Responds

The illegitimacy and gangsterism of the Lima Group and its members, including Canada, has also been on full display. After a hastily organized teleconference on April 30, ten of its members plus Guaidó's envoy claiming to represent Venezuela, issued a statement expressing their "full support for the constitutional and popular process undertaken by the Venezuelan people, under the leadership of the interim president, Juan Guaidó, to restore democracy in Venezuela," insisting that the attempt by Guaidó and Leopoldo López to put themselves at the head of an armed insurrection to overthrow the country's constitutional government, and possibly incite a civil war, could not be considered a coup d'etat!

A second statement, issued at an emergency meeting held on May 3 in Lima, following the same twisted logic, claims that the failed coup was undertaken to "peacefully restore the rule of law" in Venezuela. It also attempts, without evidence, to associate the "regime" of Nicolás Maduro as well as his family members and supporters with all manner of criminal activity, including being a "threat" for supposedly offering protection to "terrorist groups operating inside Colombian territory." The statement goes on, obviously trying to portray Venezuela as an outlaw state and make a case for the UN Security Council to authorize action against it, alluding, without any evidence, to Venezuela supposedly attempting to "destabilize Colombian institutions," "threaten the life and safety of President Ivan Duque" and to "undermine regional security." Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza recently warned about Duque attempting to mount a "false positive" against Venezuela in this way -- the implication being that it would be used to justify a military intervention against Venezuela.

A new element introduced in the Lima Group's May 3 statement is its agreement "to undertake all necessary actions in order for Cuba to participate in the search for a solution to the Venezuelan crisis." The same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a news item on his web page indicating that he had on behalf of the Lima Group discussed "the ongoing crisis in Venezuela" with President Miguel Díaz-Canel of Cuba, and "underscor[ed] the desire to see free and fair elections and the constitution upheld." Referring to their discussion about Venezuela, President Díaz-Canel said, "I emphasized the need for dialogue with President Maduro based on respect for the sovereignty of Venezuela and international law, without threats or foreign intervention."

CARICOM Responds

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) also released a statement on May 3 in which it said "[T]he solution to the crisis in Venezuela should be a peaceful internal process that avoids the threat or use of force." It said CARICOM "will continue to monitor the situation and remains convinced that the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, the constitutional framework, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy must be upheld."

CARICOM said it would continue to support diplomatic efforts such as the Montevideo Mechanism and would also continue to be in contact with other interested parties to encourage efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the crisis.

(With files from Venezuelanalysis, teleSUR, Miami Herald, Global Affairs Canada. Photos: AVN, Prensa Presidencial, R. Canan)

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 16 - May 4, 2019

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Venezuelan People Standing with Their Bolivarian Government and Armed Forces Repel Opposition Coup Attempt


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