At emergency meeting, author Tariq Ali explains why Venezuela coup has ‘nothing to do with democracy’

Panel of speakers Venezuela Solidarity Campaign emergency meeting 31 Jan 2019 770 x 403
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The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (VSC) held an emergency meeting at the headquarters of the National Education Union (NEU) on 31 January. And renowned intellectual and author Tariq Ali gave a powerful speech to a packed audience.

Ali: “absolutely necessary to oppose this act”

Speakers at the event also included Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Christine Blower of the NEU, Douglas Nicholls from the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), and VSC coordinator Matt Willgress.

The event came as many other people in the UK, US and around the world have been holding meetings and demonstrations in response to the ongoing US-led coup attempt in Venezuela.

The Canary was at the meeting. And we spoke to Tariq Ali before it began. He explained that:

This is yet another example of regime change carried not by military means so far but carried out… [by] misusing [institutions] to try and get rid of an elected government. Juan Guaidó, who has been imposed on the people of Venezuela – they hope, represents a tiny organisation, a far-right organisation, and has been trained by the United States for some time. He is a US asset.

Ali then emphasised that:

Regardless of any criticisms one may or may not have of [Venezuelan president] Nicolás Maduro or the mistakes made by the government, the reason… attempts are being made to topple him and impose a stooge American politician, like they attempted to do in Libya and elsewhere, is because the Americans want a new government; they don’t care a damn whether it is elected or not. And for that reason alone, it is absolutely necessary to oppose this act.

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“Nothing to do with democracy”

Ali then called out the “mainstream media”, saying:

The fact that so many mainstream media organisations are now part and parcel of these adventures that the Americans embark upon – and that the European Union countries, Britain included, have by and large (with the exception of the Tsipras government in Greece) supported this manoeuvre – indicates as to how the one word they shouldn’t use is ‘democracy’.

This is nothing to do with democracy. It has everything to do with ‘regime change’.

Unanimous condemnation of a “cruel US-led attack”

GFTU leader Nicholls, meanwhile, told the meeting that:

The situation arises from the cruel US-led attack on Venezuela by way of torture through sanctions designed to starve the Venezuelan people.

Douglas Nicholls - GFTU - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

He also referred to the fact that major global trade unions have condemned the US-led “recognition of Juan Guaidó” as interim Venezuelan president.

The speakers were unanimous in their denunciation of the actions of “right-wing” governments in collusion with the coup. They also called for increased solidarity with the people of Venezuela by any appropriate means at people’s disposal.

Everybody held signs at the end and shouted “no blood for oil” and “no war on Venezuela”.

No War on Venezuela - Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

As the imperialist pressure continues to mount on the people of Venezuela, we must all do whatever we can to end this crisis imposed by reactionary governments around the world.

Featured image and all other images via Mohamed Elmaazi

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Get involved

  • Venezuela Solidarity Campaign has put out a call for donations. Please donate if you can.
  • In the UK: write to your MP and ask them to oppose the coup and return Venezuela’s gold to the Maduro government (which the UK is withholding) to help alleviate the suffering of Venezuela’s people.
  • In the US: write to your Congressperson and demand that they oppose the coup and end the crippling US sanctions that are exacerbating the humanitarian situation.
  • Read previous Canary articles on Venezuela – and for more Global articles, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Watch The Canary‘s two 2018 interviews with Venezuela experts here and here.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Yes it is curious to watch these leaders of democracy calling for regime change in Venezuala without even looking for the facts on how this dire situation happened. You’d think a leader representing a sovereign nation ruled by democratic principals would be proud to be able to think for itself, and be able to contribute a difference in viewpoint while being respected a voice in within the assembly of democracys. To find the right answer so to speak through a fair debate using facts gained from their Office of Foreign Affairs.
      The way it looks could be easily understood even by a shepherd with an elementary education. When the dog whistle blows the sheep dog moves the flock in the chosen direction. On a calm winter night he may muse how these leaders behave just like sheep, and Trump has blown the whistle.
      A pint to the shepard on noticing the black sheep in the crowd.

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