Downing Street protesters denounce Western-backed coup in Venezuela

flags draped over Hands Off Venezuela protesters
Mohamed Elmaazi

On 28 January, demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street to denounce Britain’s support for the ongoing coup attempt in Venezuela.

The Canary attended the demo, which began at 4.45pm, alongside at least 80 people.

Speakers outside Downing Street condemned the latest acts of “Western imperialism” in Venezuela and called for an end to crippling US-imposed sanctions.

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Allied Western governments, including the UK, followed Trump’s lead.

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Jorge Martin of Hands off Venezuela was at the demo. And he explained the absurdity of the situation, saying:

There are many people in France… who are against the French government. There are many people in Britain who are against Theresa May’s government, who has a very slim majority in parliament. That doesn’t mean that someone who has no constitutional capacity stands in the middle of the street and says ‘I’m the president’ and then Mr Trump says ‘oh yes, he is the president’.

Jorge Martin of Hands off Venezuela No 1 - 1000 x 500

 

The UK demonstrations followed earlier protests outside the White House, which also slammed the US-backed coup attempt. 70 leading experts and scholars also condemned the coup in an open letter.

Planned in advance

On 23 January, Juan Guaidó – the newly elected president of Venezuela’s national assembly – declared himself to be “interim president”. Donald Trump and his right-wing international allies immediately recognised Guaidó’s new self-declared role.

The AP revealed that Guaidó’s announcement was secretly orchestrated by the Trump administration last year. The “far-right” opposition leader has repeatedly called upon the Venezuelan military to overthrow the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro. But the military brass continue to support the government.

It’s the oil, baby

Journalist Ben Norton writes that, “in the immediate wake of the US anointing Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s supposed ‘president'”, there are already “rapid moves to privatise Venezuela’s oil and open the door for multinational corporations”.

Venezuela reportedly has the largest proven oil reserves on the planet.

Stephen Agnew, an activist in attendance, told The Canary:

The British and US government are supporting a coup in Venezuela to oust the democratically elected government and replace it with their own oligarchical puppet… They want oil in the country and they are going to take that money and wealth that belongs to the Venezuelan people and put it in the hands of the American capitalists. They are not out for the interests of democracy, they are not out for the interests of freedom – they are out for their own interests, the interests of profit, which is ultimately what imperialism is all about.

 

Free and fair

In 2018, Maduro called for early elections after extensive pressure from the opposition, the US and the EU. However, Trump’s government refused to recognise the results before they were even in. And despite the fact that the opposition called for the early elections, many opposition politicians and their supporters ultimately decided to boycott them.

Venezuela’s electoral system has previously been called the “best in the world” by former US president Jimmy Carter, and a “model for the world” following a Forbes investigation.

But isn’t the situation bad?

Martin told the press:

There are very serious problems in Venezuela… which have been aggravated by US sanctions, [and] which have been aggravated by the fact that the British government is withholding Venezuelan gold. If the British government is really worried about the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, why don’t they hand over 14 tons of gold… which would go a long way to alleviate the conditions which are there?

Solidarity activists are planning events throughout the week.

Featured image via Mohamed Elmaazi

Get involved

Write to your MP and demand that they oppose the coup and return Venezuela’s gold to the Maduro government so that it may help alleviate the suffering of Venezuela’s people (be sure to be polite and concise in order to be effective).

– Attend the Emergency Meeting at 3A, Student Central, Malet St.

– Also see about attending this Emergency Rally on 31 January 2019.

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    1. Totally unbalanced reporting of this story on the BBC. In the item broadcast tonight as part of BBC News at Ten, of the four Venezuelan nationals interviewed, four supported the removal of Maduro. Not one second was given over to any supporters of the Maduro administration, and absolutely no reference was made to the pro-Maduro marches that took place today and yesterday, where thousands of Maduro supporters took to the streets of Caracas to demonstrate against what they see as a coup to usurp a democratically elected socialist government- an insurgency funded and facilitated by Washington, supported by the leaders of Western Europe, tolerated by the US client states of South America who can’t afford the re-instatement of trade sanctions if they don’t go along with it, and championed by the same liberal media that just spent two years denouncing electoral interference by the Russians. What makes this US proxy insurgency so unique is the sheer brazen audacity of it- unlike previous decades of clandestine US interference in Latin America, usually under the auspices of the CIA, this regime-change operation is happening in broad daylight, right under the noses of everybody. They’re not even trying to hide, or in the very least play down, their true motives- within five days of the international community recognising Juan Guaidó as the de facto leader of Venezuela, they’ve gone after PDVSA, the state-owned oil company that currently controls the largest oil reserve on Earth. There’s nothing conspiratorial, clandestine or surreptitious about any of this: proper in-your-face asset-grab imperialism for the twenty-first century. Despite the world’s media reporting every hourly development of this vulgar little episode, international condemnation seems to be anything but forthcoming. How can such an egregious example of hegemonic subjugation be accepted by so many so readily? The alacrity with which other countries are queueing up to support this nation-bullying is alarming to say the least- this is giving the US an open licence to do whatever the fuck it wants, where it wants, to who it wants. Next stop- Iran.

    2. I like that its in the open finally for everyone to watch, and the appalling shallow thinking of Western Nation leaders as they simple socially emulate Trump automatically. Its purely a social move without considering what regime change in Venezuala means showing us they have a disrespect for democracy, or the curiousity to even investigate the truth about how America has been waging a clandistine war with the end game being the plundering of Venezuala.
      Its visble now thanks to Trump, and his ignorance.

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