Venezuela – right-wing steps up destabilisation campaign

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Respect the democratic will of the Venezuelan people – no to right-wing destabilisation plans

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Friday (4 January) that President Hugo Chavez’s new term of office will begin this Thursday 10 January, in line with the country’s Constitution. Hugo Chavez won a record number of votes to be re-elected President with a landslide 55% last October.

Vice President Maduro explained that the official Presidential swearing in ceremony can be done at a later date by the Supreme Court, in line with Articles 231-235 of Venezuela’s constitution, once Chávez returns from Cuba where he is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Maduro called on “all Venezuelans to read their copy of the Constitution” where provisions relevant to the current situation of the country are clearly outlined. For example Article 231 of Venezuela’s Constitution clearly explains that: “The candidate elected shall take office as President of the Republic on January 10 of the first year of his constitutional term, by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any supervening reason, the person elected President of the Republic cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, he shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

Furthermore, despite the claims by the opposition that a new election should be called Article 233 makes it clear that this is only the case if a  “an elected President becomes permanently unavailable”, which clearly does not apply in this instance.

Despite Chávez’s overwhelming electoral mandate and the constitutional provisions, Maduro warned that the right-wing is attempting to use Chavez’s current absence to force a new election in what he labelled an “accelerated coup d’etat”.

Maduro explained that opposition leader, Guillermo Aveledo recently sent a letter to all ambassadors in Venezuela in which he develops “a false thesis of what is stated in the National Constitution”. He added that “In recent hours the misinterpretations of the right have increased as they believe that their hour has come. They have launched a national and international campaign against the Venezuelan people, looking to take advantage of the circumstances in order to destabilise the country.” The objective of these plans is to “reverse and destroy the Bolivarian Revolution”.

The opposition campaign to seek to force new elections continued with remarks by Julio Borges, national coordinator of the main opposition party Justice First who said that if the swearing-in ceremony does not take place on January 10 then “People should get ready to protest and rebel” and that “we are preparing a real campaign, which will involve going to institutions, countries, embassies and organizations outside of the country”.

On 7 January the head of the Venezuelan Conference of Bishops in the Catholic Church demanded new elections with the government pointing out in response that “high echelons of the Church took active part in the 2002 coup attempt (against President Hugo Chavez)”.  Venezuela’s opposition have previously tried coup d’etat, economic sabotage and special referenda to remove Hugo Chávez from office.

Venezuela’s National Assembly (its parliament) began its new term of office on Saturday 5 January and re-elected Diosdado Cabello as President of the Assembly. During the session Cabello explained that “Hugo Chavez was elected president and he will continue to be president beyond January 10. No one should have any doubt … this is the constitutional route. Whilst Venezuela’s Attorney General, Cilia Flores, also explained on Sunday 6 January that Hugo Chávez can be sworn in before the Supreme Court when he returns from Cuba.

In response to the increasing attempts to force Chavez out of office Cabello appealed to opposition leaders to act responsibly on Thursday and warned: “We will stop any attempt to destabilise the government… There will be a big gathering here in Caracas on 10 January. All of Venezuela is going to come to Caracas and be in front of the Miraflores (Presidential) Palace. The people will be on the streets,” Mr Cabello said. A number of Latin America Presidents will also be in Venezuela defending the democratic legitimacy of the Chavez government and opposing any destabilisation attempts.

The above information is reproduced from the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign facebook page here.

Emergency Public Meeting in Support of Venezuela

Thursday January 10  7.00 pm
With Ambassador Samuel Moncada, Tariq Ali, Jeremy Corbyn MP & Karen Mitchell (VSC.)
Bolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London, W1T 5DL (nearest tube: Warren Street)
Further details