HOV Venezuelan Referendum Rally, Toronto Dec 2nd

On a cold and snowy day in Toronto, about 20 solidarity activists gathered to support the constitutional reforms in Venezuela and say no to CIA destabilization plans. Hands Off Venezuela designed signs highlighting the progressive reforms in the referendum to cut through the lies and distortions of Western media and the Venezuelan oligarchy. Opposition supporters showed their “democratic” credentials by shouting that nobody except them had a right to demonstrate, that Bolivarian activists are “terrorists” and that anybody supporting Chávez was an “idiot.” With attitudes such as these it is not surprising that that the mass of the Venezuelan people say No Volverán – they will not return!

Watch a video of the rally here:


The U.S. Media and Government Launch an All-Out Campaign Against the Venezuelan Revolution

As the forces of revolution and counter-revolution collide once again in the country of Bolivar, the U.S. government and its servants in the mainstream media have launched yet another a blitzkrieg propaganda offensive against the Venezuelan people’s right to determine their own destiny.

This is no conspiracy. A detailed CIA plot called “Operation Pincers”, which aims to destabilize the country in the days around the vote on the proposed changes to the Constitution, has been exposed. A major component of this plan is to create an atmosphere of distrust, uncertainty, and confusion, with the Venezuelan and international media playing their usual pernicious role. The goal is to prepare public sentiment for possible U.S. intervention to “restore order”. It’s an old but all too effective tactic.

The media mouthpieces of the U.S. ruling class are foaming at the mouth in an all out effort to throw mud on the Venezuelan revolution. With misleading headlines implying that all that is at stake is the elimination of presidential term limits – never mind that the president would still need to be re-elected for each of those terms – they seek to disorient even those who have until now sympathized with the revolution and opposed U.S. intervention. The real stakes are far higher. The Venezuelan masses understand the vote as a referendum on their current and future quality of life, while the oligarchy and their imperialist masters understand it as a threat to their centuries of privilege and domination of the majority.

For example, the New York Times has played up Thursday’s opposition rally, while minimizing yesterday’s pro-Chavez rally, which dwarfed the former, and was perhaps as much as five times larger. They have also focused on corruption and scarcity of basic goods in Venezuela, blaming these things on Chavez. But the fact is, this is largely the product of counter-revolutionary sabotage, and many of the proposed changes to the Constitution are intended to address this. However, it should come as no surprise that the NYT takes this superficial approach. Let us not forget that the NYT was an early and avid supporter of the April 2002 coup against Chavez. On April 13, 2002 they “reported” the following:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona.”

As for the circumstances surrounding the coup, this is how they described it:

… Armed Chávez supporters fired on peaceful strikers, killing at least 14 and injuring hundreds. Mr. Chávez’s response was characteristic. He forced five private television stations off the air for showing pictures of the massacre. Early yesterday he was compelled to resign by military commanders unwilling to order their troops to fire on fellow Venezuelans to keep him in power. He is being held at a military base and may face charges in Thursday’s killings.”

A lie in every line!

  1. The snipers were anti-Chavez provocateurs;

  2. In what way was the response “characteristic”? No media was shut down – except for he pro-Chavez Channel 8 and Catia-TV – both shut down by the coup-mongers, not the government;

  3. Chavez did not resign, but was kidnapped by the pro-coup generals that had threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace and all those inside it if he did step down;

  4. Chavez was not even going to get a chance to stand “trial” for “crimes” he did not commit; at one point he was about to be executed, but the soldiers guarding him refused to do it; he was then about to be remanded to U.S. custody and flown out of the country, when pro-Chavez special forces turned up to rescue him and bring him back to the capital. This is the actual course of events, as documented in the film “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

Fortunately for the people of Venezuela and the world, the masses of Caracas and across the country refused to accept the New York Times‘ version, and came onto the streets by the millions to overthrow the coup-mongers and restore Chavez to power.

As for the Washington Post, it has opened its opinion pages to none other than Donald Rumsfeld, the disgraced former Secretary of Defense and “architect” of the Iraq quagmire. In an op-ed titled “The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez”, Rumsfeld churns out his venom, couched in high-sounding diplomatic Newspeak [and by the way, his piece is dated Sunday, December 2nd, the day of the referendum – today is Saturday, December 1st!]

In line after line of distortions and outright lies, Rumsfeld laments that “not enough” is being done to “prevent Venezuela’s once vibrant democracy from receding into dictatorship” [!]. Of course, the “vibrant democracy” he is referring to is the “good old days” of violent repression of social movements, capitalist cronyism, and billions in easy profits for U.S. oil companies and their Venezuelan lackeys while 80 percent of the population languished in squalor and misery. And the “dictatorship” he refers to is the political awakening and participation in the political process of millions of Venezuelan workers, peasants, youth, and urban poor. In Rumsfeld’s view, the “global order is threatened … by violent extremists, rogue regimes, failing states and aspiring despots such as Chávez.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! He even suggests using NATO as a force to “contain” undesirable elements around the world – i.e., anyone who does not follow the dictates of U.S. imperialism.

As for the U.S. government itself, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had this to say at a press conference held yesterday (Friday, November 30, 2007): “We are concerned that people would not be able to have the free and fair elections that they deserve. I think there is good reason for them to be unhappy.” He then added, “[The decision] is up to the Venezuelans to make and we’ll see what they decide on Sunday.” This is quite ironic considering that at least $8 million in U.S. taxpayer money has been spent on anti-Chavez propaganda in the run up to the referendum, as detailed in the leaked memo to CIA headquarters! Not to mention the millions of dollars spent supporting anti-Chavez organizations in Venezuela and literally buying off many of his former supporters.

The bottom line is, the example of Venezuela’s revolution can no longer be tolerated by those who believe it is their divine right to exploit the vast majority of humanity. U.S. imperialism and its agents will never rest until the Venezuelan revolution is snuffed out. They will use every trick in the book – and then some – to ensure the example does not spread. After all, what would happen if the workers, youth, and poor of other countries – for example the United States – also got the crazy idea that society’s wealth should be used to provide universal health care, education, quality jobs, a reduced workweek, a full pension, to rebuild infrastructure, etc.? That neighborhood assemblies and factory councils should be organized to democratically manage the economy and the needs of our communities? That perhaps the banks should be used to develop the economy and improve everyone’s quality of life, instead of providing mega profits for the few? That perhaps we, the vast majority, don’t need a handful of parasites on our backs to effectively and democratically run society in the interests of all? This is the real reason for the hatred being spewed by the representatives of the ruling class against the Venezuelan revolution.

Tomorrow’s referendum will be another historic milestone in the Venezuelan revolutionary process. Workers and youth in the U.S. and worldwide must be on the alert in order to do their part to prevent U.S. intervention from derailing this process, which is a beacon of hope for the future of humanity. Let the Venezuelan People Decide! Hands Off Venezuela!

John Peterson
U.S. HOV National Secretary