“The coup has already been defeated” declared Nicolas Maduro, the winner of the April 14 presidential elections, mid-morning on April 16. By that time, seven people had been assassinated by fascist bands who were activated the night before in attacks at headquarters of the governing Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), popular health centres and houses recently turned over by the government to displaced families.
Also at that point of the day, the call for a general strike did not materialise. The call was made by the fascist high command led by the failed candidate of April 14.
The true relationship of forces in Venezuela were expressed in the constant mobilisation of millions and millions of people from the December 9 (when the recently re-elected president Hugo Chavez left for to receive treatment in Cuba for the cancer that killed him on March 5) to April 11, when Maduro closed the electoral campaign.
On April 11, seven central avenues of Caracas were overflowing with men and women committed to the revolution. The true correlation of forces was not borne out correctly by the election results.
It was a feat of the revolution to have obtained 50.75% of the vote. But it is only from an electoral viewpoint (bourgeois or reformist) that interprets the reality based solely on votes cast. Votes cast are indications that have to be dealt with as a measure of the state of enthusiasm at any particular time, but it does not reveal the full dynamic of a revolution.
Meeting with the executive board and the entire group of operation chiefs of the state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, Maduro repeated that he did not make a pact with the capitalist class: “Here what we have is a socialist revolution, revolution, revolution”, he affirmed amid a roar that echoed throughout the chamber, coming from outside, where spontaneously thousands of petroleum workers had gathered.
On the contrary, Maduro said, we can radicalise the revolution and attack the causes of a lack of supplies of some basic goods in the shops and other problems that are confronting our nation. Maduro’s comments met a thunderous standing ovation of the chiefs of the enterprise. All this was transmitted by the national chain of radio and television stations.
Rafael Ramirez, president of PDVSA, gave an exhaustive report of the state of the company, functioning to its fullest with the workers ready to reject any attack — such as the ones that occurred on the night of April 15, when fascist groups were prevented from entering PDVSA’s installations.
Despite the escalating tension when the opposition refused to recognise Maduro’s victory and began a campaign to overturn it, the overall situation has been calm. Maduro engaged in his energetic official activity, taking advantage of each occasion to exemplify an attitude of firmness in confronting the blackmail of a coup.
He announced that a national march planned by the opposition for April 17 “will not enter Caracas. We will not have another April 11” (in reference to the military coup begun on April 11, 2002 after premeditated violence against pro-and anti-government marchers).
Maduro added that the opposition has entered a situation that it does not know how to get out of. He said there are three opposition governors of the opposition who, if they follow with the position adopted by the leaders of the ultra right, will find themselves confronting a direct response: “I do not recognise a governor who does not recognizse me; I do not recognise a governor behind the coup. Instead of sending the money stipulated by the budget to him, instead, I will send it to the people.”
Maduro also denounced the United States government as the party responsible for the escalating tension behind the coup attempt. He said he would present the proof of direct US interference via local fascist leadership.
Defeated again, the imperialist conspiracy will continue. It is the task of every revolutionary man and woman in the world to contribute to building the biggest front in defence of the socialist Bolivarian revolution. The battle involves all of us.
[Originally published at America XXI, it was translated from Spanish by Miguel Hoffman. Luis Bilbao is a member of the Argentine Union of Militants for Socialism. Bilbao lived in Venezuela and as director of the Latin America-wide America XXI magazine, helped in the creation of the PSUV.]