By Socialism and Freedom Party, a section of the IWU-FI, Venezuela.
On 21 November, Venezuela will hold regional elections, in which governors, mayors, councillors and members of the legislative councils of the 23 federal entities and 335 municipalities of the country will be elected.
These elections will take place against the backdrop of an acute economic and social crisis, unparalleled in the country’s recent history. Amid seven years of recession and four of hyperinflation. Last October, oil production stood at 590,000 barrels per day, the amount produced at the beginning of the 1940s.
Public services are at rock bottom. With serious electricity failures, terrible telecommunications services, no water in almost the entire country, and a striking shortage of gasoline and gas, in a country that the government boasts that it has the largest oil reserves in the world. In a country where the minimum wage does not even reach two dollars, and with the basketicket barely reaching three and a half dollars.
This dramatic situation has generated an unknown exodus in Venezuela. In the last five years, including this, and according to the UN, 6 million Venezuelans will have left the country.
We are three days away from the regional elections. What characterises the pre-electoral atmosphere is a proverbial indifference, which contrasts with the urgency of the workers to meet their urgent needs in the social tragedy we are suffering.
Food is getting more and more expensive with starvation wages, eroded by the vertiginous rise of the dollar. The government imposes continuous currency devaluations and no agri-food plans. Overcoming the instability created by the shortages of petrol, gas, and water is the central concern of the people and the workers.
This whole situation was severely affected by the pandemic since March last year. Our health system was already at rock bottom before the pandemic. Nurses, doctors and health personnel lacked medicines and PPE and collected starvation wages.
Undoubtedly, the economic sanctions imposed by US imperialism, England and the European Union, endorsed by Juan Guaido and the bosses’ parties, criminal measures that we categorically repudiate, have aggravated the pre-existing situation but they are not the fundamental cause of a social tragedy that is already a decade old. This is the socio-economic framework in which next Sunday’s elections will take place.
For its part, the government managed to form an opposition to suit itself, something it had been weaving for some time. But now, it has managed to sum up almost the entire bosses’ opposition into the electoral process, including the so-called G-4, which, after failing in its coup policy sponsored by US imperialism and led by Juan Guaido, opted to go down the electoral road. Leaders such as Henrique Capriles Radonski are actively participating in the elections. Even some who had left the country, such as Manuel Rosales and Americo De Grazia, returned with governmental consent to run as candidates.
From Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL), we believe that the majority of the people and the workers do not see these elections can solve their most pressing problems and what has caused them, hence their little interest in this election. Workers see that the fundamental reason for the deterioration of their standard of living is the Chavista government of the PSUV, embodied in president Maduro. What the people want is this government to go. They do not see that renewing governors or mayors can solve the severe crisis we are going through.
Undoubtedly, the recall referendum could have become a mobiliser of millions of workers and popular sectors as a whole. But neither the government nor the bosses’ opposition had any interest in this.
These are elections that will be held with outlawed parties, as in the case of our party. With political leaders imprisoned, persecuted, disqualified or in exile. In other words, these are elections without any guarantees or transparency. And the people are also aware of this.
We understand that some sectors of the people will take part to defeat the local and regional representatives of the governing party but we in the PSL believe that there is no reason to participate in these elections forged between the government and the bosses’ opposition, while our people suffer the most severe crisis ever known, and without the minimal democratic guarantees of political participation.
Socialism and Freedom Party calls on the people and workers not to endorse the government and its local and regional representatives with their vote. We believe that the Venezuelan people have the right to transparent and guaranteed presidential, parliamentary and regional elections, but this will only be achieved with their mass mobilisation.
The PSL proposes that today more than ever we must organise ourselves in the communities, factories, universities and companies to mobilise, to take to the streets and fight for our most urgent demands and full democratic freedoms. Against the capitalist plans to hand over our resources to private and transnational capital that the government is advancing through the Orinoco Mining Arc, the law of Special Economic Zones, the Anti-blockade law, the handing over of PDVSA and the basic companies, cheapening the workforce, eliminating unions, collective bargaining and other labour demands, all endorsed by Memorandum 2792.
We must fight for the freedom of the imprisoned workers in jail for demanding and denouncing corruption.
In the strategic perspective of achieving a government of the workers and the people, we call to fight for an emergency Economic and Popular Plan, alternative to the government’s package, for a wage equal to the basic basket of goods, for a quarantine income for informal workers, for a progressive tax on capitalists, bankers and transnationals, for the suspension of the contracts of mixed companies, for 100% state oil without transnationals, for the lifting of imperialist economic sanctions, and a new economic policy in the interests of the people, the recovery of the money appropriated by the US and European powers, confiscation of the assets of corrupt and fraudulent importers, non-payment of the foreign debt, suspension of military spending. With all these resources, we will establish an Emergency Social Fund to solve the terrible social crisis, to promote a massive plan for food, medicines and health supplies.
18 November 2021