Category: Venezuela
Oscar Lopez Rivera Vows to Continue Fight for Puerto Rico Independence


  • Oscar Lopez Rivera next to his daughter Clarissa Lopez (L) during a press conference in San Juan, May 17, 2017.

    Oscar Lopez Rivera next to his daughter Clarissa Lopez (L) during a press conference in San Juan, May 17, 2017. | Photo: teleSUR

Published 17 May 2017 (9 hours 36 minutes ago) 

The former political prisoner thanked progressive movements for supporting his decades-long struggle for a free Puerto Rico.

In his first hours of freedom after 36 years behind bars in U.S. prison, Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar Lopez Rivera vowed Wednesday to continue to fight for the freedom and independence of Puerto Rico while expressing solidarity with progressive movements across the Americas.

Who Is Puerto Rico’s Oscar Lopez Rivera?

“During the years I was jailed I always thought I would return home,” Lopez said during a press conference in San Juan with the ocean at his back, thanking all the progressive organizations and world leaders who supported him and worked for his release over the years.

“You have a Puerto Rican that has never promoted sectarianism. I come here to fight and work, that’s what I know how to do,” Lopez Rivera said. “We can make Puerto Rico the nation that it has the potential to be.”

The life-long freedom fighter for Puerto Rico’s decolonization and independence thanked Pope Francis, Argentina’s Grandmothers and Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, former Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica, the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, as well as artists, activists and especially youth and children.

“It is is them who have in their hands the future of our country,” said Lopez Rivera, dressed in black to represent his mourning for the friends and relatives who died while he was in jail for the past 36 years and to whom he never had a chance to say goodbye.

He also spoke out about the harsh austerity currently policies rocking the island in the face of a crippling debt crisis, stressing the importance of funding public education and applauding Puerto Rican students for being on the front lines of the struggle to defend education and resist colonial relations with Washington.

Oscar Lopez Rivera’s Puerto Rico Independence Fight Lives On

“Unity will make decolonization possible, there is no other option,” Lopez Rivera said. “Loving our country doesn’t cost anything — what will cost us is to lose it.”

He also thanked Venezuela and all “those who defend the Bolivarian Revolution” and called for the U.S. to end its interference in the nation.

“I ask the U.S. to stop interfering in Venezuela, to stop using people and structures to reach countries and create a hostile environment with violence, and to have people lose because in the end it’s the people who lose.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was the first world leader to talk to Lopez Rivera and told him in a phone call Wednesday he wanted to thank the activist for his strength and kindness in his struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico.

“A big hug — it was very touching to see you with you family,” Maduro said to Lopez Rivera. “Long live a free Puerto Rico, long live dignity.”

Lopez Rivera, in return, thanked Maduro for his support throughout the long process of waiting for his freedom.

“I feel Puerto Rican, but I also feel Venezuelan,” Lopez Rivera said to the president. “The truth of Venezuela will prevail, we are sure it will prevail, we hope the U.S. can’t do what it has in mind and what it aspires to do.”

Lopez Rivera also criticized the financial oversight board put in place last year by U.S. Congress through the controversial law known as PROMESA to restructure the island’s debt. He said that nothing that comes out of the oversight board — which has been widely criticized for undermining Puerto Rico’s democracy and deepening colonialism — will be good for the island nation since it promotes sweeping privatization and gives benefits to international companies instead of small farmers in the country.

“They made us their guinea pig to do experiments and make us poorer,” he said.

Lopez Rivera’s daughter Clarisa Lopez Ramos thanked the worldwide support for her father and for the fight to protect the island’s main public post-secondary education institution, the 70,000-student University of Puerto Rico, as it faces massive cuts as part of a harsh austerity plan to tackle the island’s massive debt load.

Puerto Rico’s Oscar Lopez Freed After 36 Years in US Prison

“The daughters and sons of Oscar are the students at the University of Puerto Rico, resisting and fighting,” said Lopez Ramos, referring to the student movements that have launched strikes and other actions to protest the cuts. “Thank you, my dad returned home.”

A celebratory concert attended by thousands of Puerto Ricans is underway in Rio Piedras featuring artists, musicians and prominent individuals welcoming Lopez Rivera home.

Lopez Rivera returned to the island in February to serve out the final weeks before his freedom Wednesday on house arrest after former President Barack Obama commuted his sentence in January.

The activist thanked former U. S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who commuted the sentences of Puerto Rican political prisoners.

Recalling when he declined Clinton’s 1999 offer for a pardon, the activist said he rejected it since other comrades were still jailed under poor conditions. “I believe in principles, and I believe in not leaving anyone behind.”

Finally, he said he will tour the 78 municipalities of the island now that he is free, as he has promised in the past.

“Long live Puerto Rico, of love and liberty!” Lopez Rivera said. “Always in resistance and struggle!”

NYC/Weds. May 17: OAS Luis Almagro is a Threat to Peace in Venezuela
Please join us to protest Luis Almagro who has become a serious problem for peace in the region. Luis Almagro is an agent of the State Department, who works for the armaments industry complex of this nation and whose goal is to subject the peoples of the Americas to the boots of the Pentagon.
Wednesday May 17 @ 11:30 AM to 3:00PM
Americas Society Council of the Americas 680 Park Avenue New York, NY
Secretary General of the OAS Luis Almagro is a Threat to Peace in Venezuela
Despite the massive abuse of human rights in Honduras, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico the Secretary General appears to be singularly focused on bringing about regime change in Venezuela. Moreover, Almagro now appears willing to facilitate a slide towards civil war and imperial intervention in Venezuela even though U.S. military intervention would be catastrophic and deal a serious blow to regional independence. 
The situation is volatile. Colombian paramilitaries have been infiltrating the country and there has already been a deadly confrontation with Bolivarian security forces. At the same time, the ultra right inside Venezuela is engaging in mounting selective assassinations and acts of terrorism and sabotage. The right wing coalition of political parties (MUD) now refuses all dialog and is set on the path of confrontation. The large majority of Venezuelans, however, want peace. 

On May 6, the head of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, met in Washington with Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster. On May 9, the opposition voice Lilian Tintori called for a military coup. On the same day Secretary Almagro, spoke, via video conference, to the Venezuelan National Assembly. He declared that “Venezuela is a dictatorship” and that Maduro’s call for a constituent assembly was “undemocratic” as if it were up to the Secretary General instead of Venezuelan citizens to decide such issues. 
The US—Almagro campaign for regime change has further polarized the politics in Venezuela. Each call by Almagro over the past year to invoke the democratic charter against Venezuela or suspend this nation from the OAS has only emboldened the right wing opposition to take a hard line. It is no surprise then, that the opposition now refuses all dialog with the government, has called for early presidential elections, rejects the constituent assembly, and refuses to rein in the ultra right’s terrorism unleashed on the streets.  The US-Almagro strategy is to bring a “quick” solution to the conflict.  They know that the longer it takes to bring down the government, the more likely the popular sectors will buy into the constituent assembly process and join the resistance to a US backed right wing coup.

Almagro is now fully exposed as a hypocrite and lackey of US power. He cannot be a friend of peace while countenancing assassinations and the burning of public buildings. He cannot be an effective advocate of democracy by brandishing the threat of North American aggression as political leverage. He cannot consistently champion the Venezuelan constitution and call for early presidential elections. If he really wants to help Venezuela in this moment of crisis, Almagro should call on Washington to repeal Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela an extraordinary threat to the national security of the United States and he should insist that the opposition join Vatican mediated talks. 

To endorse this action:
Bolivarian Circle Alberto Lovera NY, International Action Center, Worker World Party, Cuba Solidarity New York, Alianza Pais, Libre Resistencia Hondureña, Manhattan Green, The Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, Pastor for Peace.
Open letter by the Communist Party of Venezuela: Defeat the Coup Against the Bolivarian Republic

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Open letter by the Communist Party of Venezuela: Defeat the Coup Against the Bolivarian Republic

An open letter to the people, from the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV).
To our compatriot Nicolas Maduro, President of the Republic; to the working class and working people of the city and countryside; to the patriotic officers, classes, and soldiers of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces; to the national leadership and militancy of the political parties and popular organisations of the Great Patriotic Pole, including the United Socialist Party.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela finds itself threatened yet again by acts of political violence from sectors of the extreme right as part of the execution of a destabilising plan elaborated by North American imperialism.
This plan has as its objective the imposition through force and blackmail of a government which would work to maintain US hegemony throughout the continent, taking apart the processes of national liberation which begun across Latin America at the start of this century, and turning back progressive advances which have allowed the working class and the people in general to establish rights and social advances which were historically denied them by governments which responded absolutely to the interests of the bourgeoisie, which in itself acted as a subordinate to North American imperialism.
On this occasion the aggressive escalation against our people by those actors of the oligarchy and extreme right is much greater.
Apart from the anti-popular violent acts resulting in the creation of shortages and the high cost of living, terrorist acts have been seen in various cities across the country in recent weeks.
These acts have been accompanied by a national and international propaganda war which looks to sew confusion and instigate confrontation between nations, creating a state of chaos and violence which only favours a bloody resolution of the political crisis, be it through a coup or a direct intervention by North American imperialism and the international institutions at its beck and call.
The Venezuelan extreme right, following instructions from US imperialism and with its direct financing, does not control itself in its crimes of violence and provocation.
With such objectives in mind, the pro-US right are pressuring military officers with diverse forces of blackmail and manipulation.
We call on the patriotic soldiers and officers to not cede to these unpatriotic terrorists and to take up the cause of the defence of our national sovereignty and our independence and the security of our people without hesitation and with complete commitment.
For us, the Venezuelan communists, it is clear that what is happening is the sharpening of the class struggle in its political form — the heightening of the struggle for power. The forces which represent the interests of European and North American great monopoly capital are attempting to take over control of Venezuela and all Latin America by defeating and vanquishing the social and political sectors which offer resistance to such objectives.
In light of the dangerous terrorist escalation, which is putting our national sovereignty, independence, and the gains of the working people at risk, we call for a unified, forceful, and coherent response. It is necessary to mobilise without delay the widest possible anti-imperialist alliance to defeat the anti-democratic terrorist plans.
We urgently need the central government, the parties of the Great Patriotic Pole, the forces of the popular and working-class movement, and the patriotic command of the armed forces to work together.
It is necessary to develop a popular and patriotic plan to defeat the pro-imperialist and terrorist extreme right. To not do so would be to act with irresponsibility and, in reality, to hand oneself over without a fight.
The true revolutionaries do not hand ourselves over, we fight united until we succeed.
The Venezuelan working class needs that the sectors of the petit-bourgeoisie which currently hold hegemonic power in the national executive, the other powers of state and parties of government, immediately abandon all sectarian and selfish conduct which has only weakened the Bolivarian process and effectively works in favour of the enemies’ plans.
The Communist Party of Venezuela has insisted for many years for the need for a collective and unified national leadership of this Bolivarian process of changes, but the petit-bourgeoisie groupings which have exercised hegemonic control over the government have not paid attention to these calls and proposals.
Hence, in the current context we insist on unity of action of all the political and social forces willing to defend the nation against the imperialist enemy and their puppets.
However also, in the context of a wavering and inconsequent petit-bourgeoisie in power, we call upon the most conscientious and combative sectors of the popular and workers’ movements, the peasantry, the middle strata, the revolutionary intellectuals and the patriotic officers to forge a block of forces which will lead the wide patriotic and anti-imperialist alliance so as to halt the seditious plans of the pro-US right and also so as to displace the reformist-appeasement sectors which, from positions of government, tend to favour the sectors of the big bourgeoisie and form pacts with social democratic elements of the right wing.
Only an ample, popular unity, led by the organised and conscientious working class can guarantee the defence of the Bolivarian nation and the deepening of the revolutionary changes towards the real construction of socialism on scientific and committed foundations.
Peace is won by defeating fascism.
“Occupy Wall Street” movement shares reactionary propaganda against Venezuela
| May 12, 2017 | 8:52 pm | political struggle, Venezuela | No comments

Saturday, May 13, 2017

“Occupy Wall Street” movement shares reactionary propaganda against Venezuela
The tweet of “Occupy”.
The reactionary, imperialist propaganda against Venezuela’s government has found new promoters: The famous “Occupy Wall Street” movement seems to be one of them, as long as it uses Twitter in order to share reactionary views about what is happening in Venezuela. 
More specifically, on 12 May 2017, the so-called “resistance movement” shared on Twitter an article of the New York Times titled “Venezuela Tries Protesters in Military Court ‘Like We Are in a War'”
Since its establishment in 2011, the “Occupy” movement- a leaderless movement with hazy anticapitalist slogans- tried to absorb popular discontent (especially of the indignant youth) against the system without having a clear ideological basis. 

Many questions have been arised about who has financed this supposed “movement” and why it attracted support from prominent personalities of the U.S. bourgeoisie, from billionaire Warren Buffet to ex-Vice President Al Gore. Do multimillionaires like Buffet or Sorros belong to the…99% of the people who the “Occupy” movement claims it represents?

The working class, the organised labor movement, the marxists-leninists, must not trust such non-partisan and completely leaderless “movements”, like the “Occupy Wall Street” one. After all, history has exposed the actual role of such “movements” as bourgeois fabrications which aim in keeping people, the working class, far from real radicalization and class consciousness.  
US Moves in Venezuela Expose Washington’s Hypocrisy onRussia
| May 9, 2017 | 8:49 pm | Analysis, political struggle, Venezuela | No comments
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

US Moves in Venezuela Expose Washington’s Hypocrisy onRussia

© AP Photo/ Ariana Cubillos
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The US Senate is seeking $20 million for regime change efforts in Venezuela as violent right wing protests continue. Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear spoke with Middlesex University professor Dr. Francisco Dominguez about why Washington is interfering with Venezuelan politics and how this fits into Washington’s historical pattern in the region.

“I think it’s a measure to maximize pressure,” Dominguez explained. “This fascist offensive against the Bolivarian government of Venezuela is losing momentum, even though it’s becoming more violent.”

​”I think the reason why they’re going for this is because the situation is slipping through their hands, and this can be justified on the grounds that they’re trying to use the Organization of American States (OAS) in a very intense manner, seeking to isolate Venezuela, to apply the democratic charter, to suspend it from the organization in order to create the conditions for external intervention.”

The OAS, which Venezuela recently decided to leave, is a regional coalition that includes, Canada, the US Latin America and the Caribbean. Dominguez explained it was organized by Washington after its victory in World War II, in order to exert its influence over the rest of the Americas.

Dominguez pointed out that the body has supported every Latin American regime change instigated by the US. Cuba, which was expelled from the organization in 1962, has referred to the OAS as the “US Ministry of Colonies.”

Dominguez also noted that Louis Almagro, current secretary general of the OAS, is a former leftist politician in Uruguay known to commiserate with right-wing functionaries like Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Loud and Clear Host Brian Becker noted that the Senate proposal is a bipartisan effort supported by supposed liberals like Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen and even Tim Kaine, the vice presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton.

Quoting the measure, Becker said the “Senators proposed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the USAID work with the OAS to ‘support the efforts of independent media outlets, to broadcast distribute and share information beyond the limited channels made available by the government of Venezuela.'” He pointed out that, in interfering with Venezuela’s government, the US is guilty of precisely the kind of tampering it has accused Russia of in the 2016 elections.

Dominguez replied, “Absolutely, it violates every principle of international law. But what is even more hypocritical is the fact that all the demands from US politicians regarding violations of this or that protocol and this or that treaty and so on, the United States has refused to sign any of them.

“The United States is not a signatory to any treaties regarding human rights and other such documents that it demands the Venezuelan government hold, which is completely ridiculous.”

KKE strongly condemns EU parliament’s reactionary resolution on Venezuela

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

KKE strongly condemns EU parliament’s reactionary resolution on Venezuela
KKE MEPs K.Papadakis and

Info: Rizospastis / Translation: In Defense of Communism.

On the occasion of the joint resolution adopted by the EU Parliament with the votes of the MEPs from the European People’s Party, the Socialists & Democrats, Conservatives-Reformists and Liberals (ALDE) regarding the situation in Venezuela, the Europarliament Group of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) issued the following statement: 
“The Europarliament Group of the KKE voted against the resolution which was filed at the EU Parliament by the EU People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Conservatives-Reformists about the situation in Venezuela. The resolution, which supports the opposition parties, calls, among others, the high representative of the Union for foreign affairs “to actively explore with international and regional organisations other measures that would enable the EU to restore full democracy to Venezuela”. That is in fact another resolution of the Europarliament, like the previous ones regarding Syria, Libya, Ukraine etc, that consists a precursor and preparation for imperialist interventions of the EU, alongside the USA and other imperialist organisations, such as NATO.
The EU- this inter-state union of capital and her institutions- are not legitimized to proclaim themselves as supposed supporters of peoples freedoms and enforcement instruments of EU’s “democratic values” and “principles”. The interest of all the bourgeois powers, of the EU and the USA, for the dead protesters and people’s freedoms in Venezuela is hypocritical. What they care about is only that their own corporation businesses will dominate over their rivals and to take share of Venezuela’s energy wealth, the top oil-producing country in the world. 
By hiding this reality, the government (Syriza) and New Democracy are engaged in a fight for impressions about the situation in Venezuela, in order to disguise their strategic compilation in promoting the antiworkers policy. The stance of SYRIZA MEPs, who in the beginning had voted against (the resolution) but now they appear as… abstained from the voting, is revealing.

The KKE has on time analysed the economic, political and social developments in Venezuela, stressing that the management of capitalism, whatever form it has, either liberal or socialdemocratic, is contrary to the people’s interests and needs. The KKE had, documented and on time, warned that since the government of the last years in Venezuela choosed, instead of the clash with the capital, the compromise and co-operation with a part of it, the people of Venezuela will pay the price of the antipeople policy, the antagonisms between sections of the bourgeois class which are sharpening today. 
The KKE had condemned and condemns every foreign imperialist intervention. It steadily expresses its solidarity to the people of Venezuela who, like every people, have the exclusive right to overthrow the antipeople policies, to free themselves from the shackles of capital’s exploitation with their power and struggle, to take the power in their hands and become the owners of their own producing wealth.
As Protests Rage in Venezuela, US Media Silent on Pro-Government Movements

As Protests Rage in Venezuela, US Media Silent on Pro-Government Movements

© REUTERS/ Carlos Garcia Rawlins
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As clashes between the Maduro government in Venezuela and the opposition are getting more and more fierce, the US media is openly calling for an economic war against the Bolivarian Revolution government, blaming it for casualties on both sides of the conflict.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker, author, journalist and lecturer Arnold August noted that the US media has a very clear stance: that Maduro and his Bolivarian Revolution government are responsible for everything bad that is happening in the country. Those who do not blame Maduro directly nonetheless report on the issue in such a way as to create the impression that Maduro is responsible, August said.

​For example, an April 24 opinion piece by the Washington Times is entitled “Venezuela’s coming civil war: Maduro is arming his thugs to crush the democratic hopes of his desperate people.”

Reuters took a more subtle approach, reporting casualties among civilians without naming who fired the shots, on April 25.

“A 42-year-old man who worked for local government in the Andean state of Merida died from a gunshot in the neck at a rally in favor of president Nicolas Maduro’s government, the state ombudsman and prosecutor’s office said,” the report reads.

“Another 54-year-old man was shot dead in the chest during a protest in the western agricultural state of Barinas, the state prosecutor’s office added without specifying the circumstances,” it continues.

Major media, such as the Miami Herald and CNN, reported in the last few days that the US will have to consider imposing “serious sanctions” on Venezuela, should Maduro fail to host “free and fair” elections, allowing opposition leaders to campaign, August recalled. The US media also purposefully omits reports of demonstrations by the Chavistas — the supporters of the acting government.

The Green Left news website, on the other hand, reported “tens of thousands” of pro-government activists. Deutsche Welle carefully refrained from separating the sides, giving an overall estimate of 6 million people protesting on April 19.  August claimed there were 3 million pro-government protesters across the whole country. All agree that these demonstrations have been the largest in the history of the nation.

August mentioned an opinion piece written for CNN by Jose Miguel Vivanco and Tamara Taraciuk Broner, “high-ranking members” of Human Rights Watch, August explained. Human Rights Watch is heavily financed by George Soros, who is known to be a big proponent of regime change around the world.

Vivanco and Taraciuk’s piece promotes the narrative that all of the deaths and violence in the country are “rightfully” blamed on Maduro, and that international pressure is needed to restore “human rights and democracy in Venezuela.”

“This is one big lie, if I may be quite frank,” August commented.

The US may be up to more than just harsh words in the media, August noted. On April 24, the Maduro government seized a General Motors factory in Venezuela, forcing the company to flee the country, leaving 2,700 people without jobs.

Officially, GM did not pay its taxes and refused to conform to “basic economic and financial rules,” August explains.

But he speculates that GM could have been involved in a darker scheme, similar to what happened in Chile in the 1973 coup d’état against Salvador Allende government.

“Main enterprises in Venezuela — General Motors, but there are others as well — were specifically organizing to hoard goods, to keep it away from the people, in order to create problems, to create a situation where people are starving, etc.,” August told Becker, adding that US companies also cut flights to Venezuela in an attempt to harm its income from tourism.

“It is undeniable that there are internal problems and weaknesses in the economy under the Bolivarian Revolution, but the main feature of the problem at this time is what has been induced and still being induced by the US and its allies,” he said.