Yesterday John McDonnell MP explained why US imperialism is so
concerned about developments in Bolivia and Venezuela: “What the US is
terrified of is the prospect that socialism will catch light all across
the Americas, so of course it has to go on the attack. But it is
exactly for this moment that solidarity campaigns exist.” He explained
that, “what is happening is not a personal attack on Morales or Chavez
but an attack on the seeds of socialism that they are spreading.”
The occasion was a solidarity meeting held at the office of the
National Union of Journalists in London, which followed a very
successful picket outside the US Embassy earlier in the afternoon. In
fact, yesterday, hundreds of Latin American solidarity activists and
supporters participated in the two activities that were organized by
Hands Off Venezuela and other Latin American solidarity groups to
express their solidarity with the people of Bolivia and Venezuela.
Picket outside the U.S. Embassy
afternoon picket outside the U.S. Embassy saw the participation of up
to 100 activists. For the workers and students in Britain, the
revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia are a massive inspiration. All the
more worrying it is then when these revolutions are under threat from
plotting generals and fascist gangs. Many speakers throughout the day,
expressed the sentiment that an injury to one is an injury to all – a
defeat of the Bolivian or Venezuelan revolution would be a blow also to
the workers of the world.
Many organizations were present at the picket. Jeremy Dear, General
Secretary of the National Union of Journalists addressed the gathering,
pointing out the fact that it was ironic that here he was protesting
outside the US embassy when the Bush administration had actually
nationalised more sectors of its economy in just a few days than Hugo
Chavez had in the whole of the last decade! He stressed the fact that,
“The US is standing up for privilege, for the interest of the few against
the interest of the many and will go to any length to achieve it.” He
warned that US imperialism would “drown the revolution in blood if it
gets the opportunity,” a reference to the coup against Allende in 1973,
but then added, “But there is one big difference – we are prepared, we
have learned the lessons and we are already organised.” In response to
this rousing speech the crowd started chanting “No More Coups” as they
waved their banners in front to the Embassy.
There were speakers from the campaigns, Hands Off Venezuela, Colombia
Solidarity Campaign, Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, Global Women’s Strike
and Movement of Ecuadorians in the UK. Following these speeches, others
attending the protest, workers and students from Colombia, Bolivia,
Britain and Chile took the opportunity to express their solidarity with
their brothers and sisters in Venezuela and Bolivia and their
opposition to U.S. imperialism.
Meeting at the NUJ
evening meeting was packed with over 100 people in attendance. The
first to speak was John McDonnell MP, as we have reported above. He
recalled the experience of Chile in 1973, and stated that solidarity
had to be expressed now. “As soon as I return to Parliament I will
raise this issue on the floor of the Commons”, said John. He was
followed by Beatriz Souviron, Bolivian ambassador, who gave an update
on the recent massacre by fascist gangs in Bolivia. Felix Plasencia
from the Venezuelan embassy also spoke, expressing his gratitude to the
assembled meeting and the organizers for the support they had shown for
the peoples of their countries.
Alan Woods, founder of Hands Off Venezuela, was next to speak. He
argued that the people had to be armed in order to defend the
revolution from the coups and also cited the example of Chile 35 years
ago. “The example of Chile and now of Bolivia shows that a
revolutionary government can’t trust the army to defend itself”, stated
Alan. He went on to attack the oligarchy, the capitalists, landlords,
who were the “main enemy to the Revolution”. He added that, “Only their
overthrow would advance the cause.” Alan concluded by saying that if
Hugo Chavez was here, he would say that the best way to help the
Bolivian and Bolivarian revolutions is to fight for socialism in our
Amancay Colque from the Bolivia Solidarity Campaign explained the
details of the Bolivian massacre and how non-violence in the face of
armed fascist gangs becomes absurd. She explained how in Pando state,
the reactionary governor had hired mercenaries to machine-gun rural
workers who support Morales. She also stated that the oligarchy is
backed by companies in the US and European countries. “Our enemy is
also imperialism”, she said.
The meeting expressed its anger at the conduct of the prefects of
Bolivia who had plotted with the U.S. Ambassador against the
democratically elected president of the country. Many called for those
responsible to be put on trial. The U.S. was repeatedly condemned for
its meddling in the affairs of Bolivia and Venezuela and many speakers
expressed their support for the expulsion of its ambassadors. In fact,
whenever this call was issued during the meeting there was loud
At both events, frequent mention was made of the blackout in the media.
How can it be that when 30 poor peasants are massacred by fascist
gangs, this news warrants no mention. And yet, mainstream media such as
the BBC and CNN have no qualms in implying that Evo Morales is some
kind of dictator. A great deal of anger was expressed at the media’s
silence on the coup attempt.
Finally, the meeting resolved to maintain the solidarity activities and
remain vigilant of any future developments in Latin America.
Wednesday’s successful activities were a big step forward for the
solidarity efforts in Britain. In the future we must be prepared to
step this solidarity activity.
Long live the revolutions in Venezuela and Bolivia!
Down with U.S. imperialism!