US hands off Venezuela! Stop threats against Cuba!

February 11, 2019

The following statement was released by Seth Galinsky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City Public Advocate, Jan. 30.

The U.S. government — backed by Democrats and Republicans alike — has unilaterally declared the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela “illegitimate” and turned its U.S. bank accounts over to self-proclaimed “president” Juan Guaidó. Washington is calling on the Venezuelan military to overthrow Maduro’s government. And the U.S. rulers are spewing slanders about the Cuban internationalist volunteers in Venezuela. With shameless cynicism, they claim to be acting in the name of “democracy.”

The Socialist Workers Party condemns this blatant violation of the sovereignty of Venezuela. Only the people of Venezuela have the right to decide their own future, free of outside meddling and interference.

Washington claims it has the right to decide which governments are “legitimate” and which are not. This is nothing new. Since the Spanish-American War in 1898, every U.S. administration, no matter which party was in the White House, has overthrown governments in Latin America and around the world that weren’t to the capitalist rulers’ liking.

Working people in Venezuela face a real challenge. Despite the banner of the Maduro government that it was building “21st century socialism,” the fact is that working people in Venezuela never took political and economic power out of the hands of the capitalist class. Battered by the capitalist crisis, with no leadership pointing a working-class road forward, many have become demoralized or have left the country.

Washington knows this full well. Together with its imperialist and capitalist allies, the U.S. government is taking advantage of the economic and political crisis facing Venezuela’s toilers to try to get what it wants — a regime totally under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. And they are using the crisis in Venezuela to prepare new attacks against the Cuban Revolution.

The Cuban Revolution shows the only way forward for workers and farmers around the world. On Jan. 1, 1959, a massive popular insurrection swept Cuba in response to the call by Fidel Castro and the Rebel Army for a general strike. They ousted the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship and brought to power a government of workers and farmers, and created a new kind of army out of the rebel forces, based on working people.

At crucial turning points — like the U.S. invasion at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba’s massive response to the request from the newly independent Angolan government for military help against the invasion by apartheid South Africa, and the loss of most of its trade when the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union collapsed — Cuba’s revolutionary leadership and government responded. They mobilized the masses and told the truth about the challenges they faced. They organized to increase the understanding, class consciousness, self-confidence and discipline of the island’s workers and farmers. Working people proved they are capable of organizing society in the interest of the vast majority.

This is what remains ahead of workers and farmers in Venezuela, like in the U.S. and the rest of the capitalist world. Working people in Venezuela need time and space to be able to forge a leadership in struggle that can organize them to take political power into their own hands. Working people the world over should demand that Washington and its allies stop violating the sovereignty of Venezuela and stop their relentless attacks against Cuba.

U.S. hands off Venezuela! End the U.S. embargo of Cuba!