Today we were taken to the Foreign Ministry to meet with North American expert, Laura Franco. Laura told us of the stunning effects of the U.S. economic blockade on Venezuela. She also expressed the importance of solidarity with the people of North America. Since Trump expelled Venezuelan diplomats from the United States, Venezuela has redoubled its outreach to activitsts, to the labor and peace movement, and to other movements throughout the United States.
The people of Venezuela are in a struggle. However, this struggle is nothing new; since president Hugo Chavez’s death, the U.S. doubled down on its economic attacks on aiding those that were trying to overthrow the government. The blockade and sabotage of today have led to blackouts, water shortages, and shortages of insulin and other important medicines. To add to that, food suppliers from Colombia (with the U.S. support) have sought to drive the prices of food beyond what working class Venezuelans can afford. Trump is trying to create the conditions for a civil war outside his own country.
As Laura states,
“Sanctions are the new war consistent with Trump’s colonial new attitude.”Linda Franco, North American Expert at the Foreign Ministry
The United States and nearly 50 of its client countries have recognized the cartoonish Guiadó, who has no respect amongst the populous, as the legitimate president of Venezuela because it better fits their agenda. In fact, the Venezuelan people are insulted that the United States will not respect their democracy or their democratically elected president, Nicolas Maduro.
Despite this blockade and its effects, Venezuela has increased its trade with China, Iran, Russia and India. It also continues to have good diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and many other nations. Not to mention the Bolivarian government has also sought to increase the production and distribution of Venezuelan food to local grocery stores in addition to providing food subsidies to all who need it for a healthy diet. Bolivarian socialism also calls for women at 55 and men at 65 whose salaries are insufficient to receive an extra government bonus deposited into their accounts.
These responses of the Venezuelan people are only small brushstrokes of a much larger political mural that depicts the solidarity, class consciousness, and mobilization of their community. For the majority of the people have a spirit of peace and as Laura said, “their will will not be broken.”