The world just joined together to tell Trump: ‘Hands off Venezuela’

Pic taken in Caracas, 17 March 2019
John McEvoy

On 16 and 17 March, protesters around the world gathered to tell US president Donald Trump: “Hands off Venezuela”.

As the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela loses steam, global solidarity seems to be growing stronger.

The Canary was on the ground in Venezuela to speak to protesters.

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In Venezuela

On Avenida Urdaneta in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, thousands gathered to protest ongoing US intervention in the country:

The mood was joyous and calm; bands played on stage and protesters danced.

The Canary asked one government supporter (or ‘Chavista’) about the effects of US sanctions on the country. They said:

If there were no sanctions, we’d be even happier.

Saturday’s protests rolled into Sunday, as many Chavistas re-convened on Avenida Urdaneta. Half of the avenue had been converted into a pop-up sports complex, looking onto the main tent hosting the rally. Throughout the day, children rode bikes, played football, and boxed on the street. Inside the tent, bands played and attendees danced Tambor – a dance originating from enslaved people from Africa.

In between the music, government officials took the microphone to discuss the political situation in Venezuela. Much of the conversation focused on Venezuela’s economic crisis and foreign economic pressure. “We’re fighting against the gringo mindset,” claimed one speaker, as protesters held “Yankee go home” placards.

The Canary spoke to Venezuelan vice-minister of tourism Inair Manzur at Sunday’s event. She talked about the Western media’s highly negative representation of the country and its effect on the country’s tourist industry. “We have so many beaches, so many places people could visit,” she said, “but tourists are put off by the negative publicity.”

Aldrean, a councillor in Caracas, told The Canary about Venezuela’s recent electricity blackout. He seemed to have few doubts that it was the result of sabotage by pro-coup forces. But he said:

Even when things were at their worst – without water, without light – people went out onto the street and marched. That’s how I know they won’t beat us.

The US and the UK

As they have previously, groups also gathered in the US and the UK to condemn their governments’ actions in Venezuela. Journalist Ben Norton reported from Washington DC:

Protesters also gathered in Los Angeles, with placards calling US secretary of state Mike Pompeo a “shameless imperialist” and US special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams a “genocidal grifter”:

Protesters gathered in London too, after a series of recent protests demanding the Bank of England release Venezuelan gold:

South Africa

Only two countries in all of Africa and Asia (Israel and Morocco) recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s ‘interim president’. And as part of the weekend’s protests, South African trade unionists marched in front of the US consulate in Johannesburg:

Protesters similarly gathered in Argentina, Malaysia, Peru, New Zealand, Canada, and elsewhere.

Global opposition to imperialism is vital, as it can be mobilised to confront any future US-backed intervention. And the current message of anti-imperialists is resounding: Hands off Venezuela.

Featured image via John McEvoy

Get involved

  • 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.
  • In the UK: write to your MP and ask them to oppose the coup, the sanctions, and return Venezuela’s gold to the Maduro government, to help alleviate the suffering of Venezuela’s people (be sure to be polite and concise in order to be effective).

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