Destabilization in Venezuela: Battling opposition induced violence against Chavism
With the passing of Hugo Chavez in 2013, his successor Nicolas Maduro had been well prepared for the battle ahead. Right wing opposition forces who were battling with Chavez for power during his rule, once more posed a severe threat along with external forces, and in particular the USA, who sought to disrupt Venezuela’s Bolivian movement initiated under the late Hugo Chavez, in the hope of bringing Venezuela back under the dictates of Washington.
Leading up to elections in 2013, Nicolas Maduro had to accept the inevitable if the results came in and declared him the winner. Moreover, even before the results were in, opposition leader Henrique Capriles had announced he was not going to accept the results if Nicolas Maduro won.
In addition, border incursions as before under Chavez’s rule were becoming a nuisance, with US-backed Colombian paramilitary groups entering Venezuela to carry out subversive activities against government officials, attacks on government buildings, churches, hospitals, newspaper offices and including assassinations of Chavistas.
The opposition was to take advantage of all this criminal actions towards the eradicating of “Chavismo”, and cast the blame on the Bolivarian government as being unable to establish order, and therefore incompetent to rule the country.
Having emerged as Venezuela’s new president by a close “50.76% of the vote against 49.07%, for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles”, Nicolas Maduro placed in a faceoff with the opposition knew it was going to be a rough road ahead .Predictably, Capriles refused to recognize the results and called on supporters to take to the streets. His reasons were that the regime had exercised total control of the country.
Consequently, not long afterwards his “staff declared the elections were rigged.” In the ensuing violence, at least 8 people were killed and 61 injured. Anything would do to achieve the goal to end the Bolivarian rule; Sabotage, provocations, subversions, political killings – all is fair in love and war.
The opposition-controlled news media networks began, disseminating news bulletins calling the elections stolen and resisting attempts by Maduro the PSUV and its supporters to claim victory. The opposition plans were to “incite unrest in cities, block the transport routes, ignite confrontation and then raise hue and cry over “victims of government repression”.
To the opposition the use of force to come to power is not excluded. Moreover, with help from local mercenaries and foreign special operations units, attacks against government officials, government run institutions, local businesses sympathetic to the Maduro government and supporters of Chavismo, are frequent occurrences.
A case in point is the clamour over food shortages, which of late has been uncovered to be opposition controlled systematic hoarding of basic food items, by privately owned warehouses and elitist storeowners. Used as a weapon against the government, the poor, and the underclass, in the hopes of bringing the economy to a halt, destabilize the Maduro government and in effect “Chavismo”.
“Most people,” says a shopper, “are convinced that this business (food shortage) is run by agreement between three sectors: the bachaqueros, or resellers themselves, the supermarket managers who deliberately divert produce to them, and corrupt members of the police or armed forces under the dictates of opposition leaders. With support from the CIA and the paramilitary groups who are on hand to make sure it all goes smoothly.”
According to journalist Jose Sant Roz, author of the book “La CIA en Venezuela” (The CIA in Venezuela), the CIA had been “preparing for the developing crisis in the country”, by expanding their network of correspondents dramatically after the death of Chavez. One of their plans called for setting up agents in so-called “hotspots” working in conjunction with corrupt politicians, businesspersons, Colombia-US supported bachaqueros paramilitary groups, and Venezuelan opposition supported news media houses, with the aim to destabilize the government.
Colombia’s involvement in the Venezuelan crisis should come as no surprise to most readers. More so based on the latest remarks by former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, who says, “…any foreign country should conduct a military intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro.”
Uribe who was having a hard time facing Colombia’s own FARC guerrillas during his tenure, and where Colombia now under President Santos is about to broker a deal with FARC, is mouthing off on Venezuela? His irresponsible threat helped prompted the Maduro government to enact a state of emergency decree.
“The 60-day decree was issued as threats of foreign intervention were floated by foreign politicians, including former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe”, after which Capriles immediately called on his supporters to “take to the streets and discharge your anger”, insinuating that members of the Venezuelan military should also rebel.
Sant Roz also indicates that it is in the interest of Washington to try to maintain tensions and seats of “hotbed” in Venezuela and Latin America, and particularly in Colombia, with the aid of paramilitary groups, fearing that any hope of reconciliations between warring factions will result in the US losing several military bases in the region. Accordingly, “a complex scenario by the Pentagon to provoke a war between Columbia and Venezuela is ready and just waiting for its time to come.”
After the 2015 December 6 parliamentary elections in Venezuela and the clear defeat of Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to control the National Assembly, the opposition saw this as the green light to up the ante on the Bolivarian regime. For the first time a feeling of euphoria had entered into the hearts and minds of opposition leaders and its supporters, who wasted no time to put plans into effect to remove Nicolas Maduro from power. The leaders of the opposition were sure that Maduro’s government would be gone within six months at most. But those predictions did not come true. President Maduro as well as politicians loyal to him who were schooled by Hugo Chavez, is holding the line.
Although the opposition holds the most seats in the parliament, executive control rests with the PSUV. President Maduro does have a measure of hope in the “recall referendum” that was instituted by Chavez himself, the mastermind behind the recall referendum, and the “emergency” act, which can be put into use constitutionally to prevent any attempts by the opposition to circumvent the law in an effort to remove the Bolivarian government unconstitutionally.
In the case of the recall referendum, “the National Electoral Council (NEC) has given the opposition its official permission” to request one. The country’s constitution only allows legislators to request such a referendum if the president has already been in office for half of his elected term.”
Incidentally there are no objections by the Maduro government to grant the rights to a recall referendum. Chavez himself survived a recall referendum back in 2004. Maduro was elected president in 2013, and thus there are no roadblocks to conducting the procedure. However, 195,000 signatures are needed to validate the recall referendum.
Interestingly the required 195,000 signatures as put forward by the opposition seem to be facing an uphill battle. According to the NEC and the Maduro government, some 190,000 signatures presented by the opposition belongs to “deceased persons”, which makes the preliminary counts null and void, and prevents the process from going forward constitutionally.
In a TeleSUR report,”… nearly 190,000 of the signatures submitted belongs to the deceased. The commission overseeing the referendum process said tens of thousands of names that were submitted belong to people who are not alive”. According to Jorge Rodriguez of the PSUV, “they said they delivered 1.85 million of signatures. However, almost 190,000 of them were (of) deceased people.”
Constitutionalist jurist Maria Alejandra Diaz said in an interview with TeleSUR that it will now be “very difficult” if not “impossible” for the opposition to hold a recall referendum this year”. In addition, “the process leading up to a referendum will take at least 170 days” in her estimation, which means the third week of January 2017 is the earliest one could be held. “Any registered voter including the head of state can file a complaint over irregularities uncovered during this process”, she added, meaning a referendum could be pushed back even further.
All of this doesn’t sit well with the opposition forces, which took to the streets again amid a call from Capriles and National Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup, to stage a protest in front of the NEC building in spite of a refusal by the mayor of Caracas to grant such a protest licence out of fear of violence.
Having turned out just as predicted, the violent protest actions, which can be seen on social media, show opposition protesters attacking police officers with sticks and bricks in the video before police personnel moved in, using tear gas to quell the violence. Several individuals have been arrested since.
Incidentally, National Assembly president Allup’s security head Coromoto Rodriguez was placed under arrest and charges are pending implicating him from statements made by detainees, saying he “offered us cash to carry out the attacks against officers”. Moreover, a photo of Allup himself was seen on social media posing with two of the attackers charged in the beating of the female officer.
Interestingly, what is taking place at present in Venezuela, according to the “Chavistas” and President Maduro himself, is that the “scrawnys” have set about to wage a “campaign of destabilization” and “demonization” against the president and his government, with help from the international bourgeoisie network of big money interest and private cooperate controlled media outlets, whose aim is to control Venezuela’s oil wealth, and destroy Chavismo and the Bolivarian rule in the Latin American region and the wider Caribbean area, preventing any long-term realization to regional integration.
By Reggie (Vinciman) Wright