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Eyewitness Venezuela: 400,000 workers rally for May Day in Caracas

By Sean Orr |
May 2, 2019
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Massive May Day march in Venezuela.
Massive May Day march in Venezuela. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Caracas, Venezuela - On May 1, May Day, in the heart of downtown, 400,000 workers poured into the streets for two reasons: to honor their day, International Workers Day; and to celebrate the defeat of the coup attempt against their elected president Nicolas Maduro.

The energy was incredible in what can only be described as a victory rally, as the working class has defeated every attack inflicted against it by imperialism in the past 20 years. Workers marched in their work uniforms, behind the banners of their socialist unions - miners, oil workers, cement workers, teachers and all other sectors of the economy. As they marched, they sang along to "Bella Ciao" and other revolutionary songs playing from the main stage, at the bottom of a hill outside of the presidential palace.

Marching side-by-side with the unions were the Bolivarian militias, descending on the city from all corners of the country. In Venezuela, the revolutionary process is driven by a strategic alliance, the "civic-military union," under the leadership of the revolutionary parties of the country. This union is organic and living, and is there for all to see. Many of the militia members are workers themselves, and march with pride in their crisp tan uniforms. They are the nation's second line of defense, and I cannot imagine that any army in the world can break their spirit.

The only speaker at the rally was President Maduro - the "Presidente Obrero," the Worker President - and the entire crowd hung on his every word. He spoke of the opposition for what they are: cowards and criminals, whose only policy proposals for the Venezuelan people are violence and terrorism. When Maduro notified the crowd that the soldier who was shot by the opposition was finally stable in the hospital, the entire avenue broke out in applause.

The Worker President talked about the challenges the revolutionary movement is facing, and that while U.S. imperialism has suffered a major defeat with the collapse of the Guaido-led opposition, they will not stop and the homeland must remain vigilant. He also spoke openly about the errors the government has made, and even read criticisms he had received from ordinary folks about weaknesses in his work. In an act of self-criticism, he declared his agreement with the criticism. In response, Maduro called for a great Congress of the Bolivarian Peoples this weekend, for the government to take in all of the proposals of the social organizations and trade unions and create a new, more radical plan to chart the country's path forward.

Maduro explained that their struggle is like that of a boxer - with one fist, they defend the homeland from all external threats, and with the other fist they drive forward their revolution to new stages. He closed his speech with the chant of the Bolivarian movement - "Leales siempre, traidores nunca!" (Always loyal, never traitors). And as the crowd shouted back "Traidores nunca." 400,000 fists shot up into the air. They will win.