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Tucson solidarity with Venezuelan Revolution

By Jafe Arnoldski |
March 3, 2014
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Tuscon protest against U.S. interference in Venezuela.
Tuscon protest against U.S. interference in Venezuela. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tucson, AZ - On the evening of Feb. 27, a group of activists gathered outside Tucson City Hall to protest U.S. interference in Venezuela and declare solidarity with the revolutionary Bolivarian government.

Protesters held signs reading, “U.S. hands off Venezuela,” “We stand with Maduro for peace,” “Let democracy decide,” and “Long live the Bolivarian revolution!” Friendly drivers honked their horns and passersby raised fists of solidarity during rush hour in Tucson’s downtown. People stopped to ask about the demands of the protest and were appalled to learn about U.S. government backing of right-wing movements, as well as the violence targeting popular people’s projects in Venezuela. Venezuela’s revolutionary government takes billions in oil profits and invests them in jobs, housing, food programs, health care and education, lifting millions out of poverty.

In recent weeks, a right-wing movement backed by the U.S. is attempting to overthrow the revolution and return Venezuela to the days of poverty and misery. The U.S. is funding non-governmental organizations and using other illegal methods to support anti-government protests and violent attacks by the right-wing opposition. Pro-U.S. and counter-revolutionary forces are once again turning to street violence in the wake of electoral failures. It is similar to the failed coup attempt against revolutionary President Hugo Chavez on April 11, 2002. At that time, the U.S. government under President Bush funded and provided intelligence to the coup makers at that time. Now, the government led by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is responding to more U.S.-backed provocations with calls for a peace conference. Venezuelan police also use force when necessary to suppress the guarimbas - roadblocks with burning tires and men carrying an assortment of weapons.

The recent violence represents an escalation by a section of the wealthy capitalists and their supporters against the socialist-oriented Chavista government. The right-wing opposition is taking advantage of difficulties with inflation. Also, the scarcity of some goods figured in initial protests, but soon turned into violence directed at supporters of the Bolivarian revolution. Some business people in Venezuela deliberately hoard certain goods, purposely sabotage the economy, and then engage in currency speculation to make big profits. The wealthy opposition parties keep losing election after election, including the recent municipal elections where they lost ground. So now some are turning to violence in an attempt to impose their will on the majority.

Tucson Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Alliance for Global Justice planned the rally, and were joined by representatives of Tucson Peace Vigil and Veterans for Peace. Protesters held signs and shouted, “Stop media lies!” in response to wide scale news manipulation by Venezuelan and American news corporations.

The Bolivarian government has the upper hand and the correct handling of the disturbances can bolster the progressive and patriotic movements in Venezuela, but the right-wing opposition is determined to reverse the Bolivarian revolution.

As for Tucson, SDSer Dayna Broder proclaimed: “We stand for solidarity with Venezuela, against war, and with President Maduro for peace.”