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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002

An appeal to the international Labour Movement

The situation in Venezuela is reaching a critical point. The reactionary forces, backed by conservative big business and the US embassy, are mobilising all their forces to overthrow the legally elected government of Hugo Chavez by extra-parliamentary means.

The mass media have put in circulation the lie that this is a "general strike" supported by the workers of Venezuela against an unpopular government. There is absolutely no truth in this. In reality what we are seeing is a campaign of organised sabotage designed to destabilise the country and prepare the way for a right wing coup d'etat.

The bosses have organised what amounts to a lock-out with the support of certain right wing trade union leaders. This is already the fourth time this year that they have attempted to destabilise the country by these means. It is similar to the lorry drivers' "strike" that the CIA organised to bring down the legally elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile. These machinations led to the bloody dictatorship of Pinochet. Now the same people want to repeat the experience in Venezuela.


The last time they moved in this way (last April) it led to a coup in which reactionary businessmen linked up with right wing army officers to arrest the President. They talked a lot about "democracy" but immediately came out in their true colours, with plans to suspend the Constitution and introduce a dictatorship of the rich.

The role of the USA in all this was quite clear. This great "democracy" - as always - refused to condemn the coup. The CIA has played, and is playing, an active role in this conspiracy, as it has in every other coup in Latin America: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and so on.

The attempted coup last April was defeated by a spontaneous mass movement of millions of workers, unemployed, peasants, soldiers and poor people. Now once more the masses are confronting the counterrevolutionary forces in the streets of Venezuela.

If the people of Venezuela were allowed to fight the counterrevolution on their own, they would easily defeat it. This was shown last April. But behind the counterrevolution stands the might of the USA and its allies in Latin America. These are intervening shamelessly in the internal affairs of Venezuela, encouraging and financing the counterrevolutionary forces.

The revolutionary process opened by the election of Hugo Chavez has aroused the workers, peasants and poor people of Venezuela and given them new hope for a better future. The government has carried through a series of progressive reforms to improve the conditions of the masses.

The people now understand that Venezuela is an immensely rich country with huge reserves of oil, but that the wealth of the nation is being plundered by foreign imperialists and a handful of wealthy local oligarchs who serve the interests of imperialism. They want to carry the revolution forward and put an end to this scandalous exploitation once and for all. This is the only "crime" of the people of Venezuela, for which the imperialists are determined to make them pay.

If the Venezuelan revolution goes down to defeat, it will be a severe blow against the cause of millions of poor people throughout Latin America who are fighting for their rights.


The aim of the counterrevolutionary "strike" is to strangle the economy, paralysing the vital oil industry and the movement of essential supplies. They have already succeeded in causing food and petrol shortages. The intention is to cause such chaos that it will bring about a split in the tops of the armed forces and a coup by right wing army officers - as in Chile.

Not satisfied with seizing the oil of Iraq, the USA also wants to get its hands on Venezuelan oil. There is constant pressure from Washington and its corrupt allies in the region to force a "regime change".

This shameless and insolent bullying must cease! Let the international labour movement take a firm stand against imperialism!

The people of Venezuela must not feel alone in their hour of need. Let the world working class raise its voice in their support!

We appeal to you to raise this matter urgently in your trade union and Labour Party branch. Send messages of support to Venezuela and protest to the US embassy about its continued interference in the internal political affairs of Venezuela. Send letters to the press and to the British government, demanding that it does not support US aggression against Venezuela.

The youth must add its voice to the protest. Every youth and student organisation must mobilise to denounce the aggression against the Venezuelan revolution.



December 19, 2002

Anyone who wishes to add their signature to this appeal can do so by writing to Jorge Martin at:

[We include model resolutions and letters of protest (see below), which should be sent immediately. Send emails to the relevant quarters. Phone up and demand answers. Contact your local member of parliament and demand to know where he or she stands on this issue. Better still organise pickets outside the US embassy to make them aware that we know what is going on.]

This appeal has been signed by the following trade union leaders, shop stewards and activists and also left wing party activists from the following countries:


And the following, all in personal capacity:
Mick Rix, General Secretary of ASLEF (Rail Union) and member of the TUC General Council),
Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and member of the TUC General Council),
Nigel Pearce, Vice-Chairman of the National Union of Miners (NUM) Yorkshire area,
Alan Woods, Editor Socialist Appeal
Ted Grant, Political Editor, Socialist Appeal
Ron Graves, Secretary of Peterborough branch of UNISON,
Phil Waker, member of the National Executive Committee of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU)
Andy Blake, secretary of the CWU London 7 branch,
Mike Hogan, Secretary of the Liverpool Community College branch of UNISON


Manzoor Ahmed, Member of Parliament for the Kasur II Constituency, Editor of The Struggle and President of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Camapign (PTUDC)
Hameed Khan, Quetta city organiser of PTUDC and Press Secretary of BCSSA, (Baluchistan Civil Secretariat Staff Association)
Nazar Mengal, Baluchistan president of National Organisation of Postal Employees (NOPE),
Naseer Baluch (telecommunications union)
Khalid Bhatti (National Organizer, PTUDC)
Shahida Jabeen (executive member of PTUDC and National Coordination Secretary of PPP Women's Wing)

Other signatures to follow


Miriam Municio, Secretaria General, En nombre de la Ejecutiva del Sindicato de Estudiantes,
José Martín, Portavoz y coordinador de Izquierda Socialista-PSOE de Málaga.
José García, miembro de la coordinadora regional de Izquierda Socialista-PSOE de Andalucía.
Antonio Hijano, Secretario General de la Federación de trabajadores de la Tierra (FTT)-UGT de la comarca de la Axarquía.
María Fernández Molero, Presidenta de la cooperativa textil "El Lugar" y de la Asociación de Mujeres "Un día después" de El Borge (Málaga)
Jose Maria Gil, metalurgico, presidente del comité de empresa de PROGALSA y miembro de la ejecutiva de la Union Provincial de CC.OO. de Guadalajara.
Andres de las Heras, médico, miembro de la Ejecutiva Provincial del Sindicato de Sanidad de CC.OO.en Guadalajara.
Carlos Pineda: metalurgico, Secretario del Comité de Empresa de ECO refrigeracion, miembro de la Ejecutiva Provincial del Metal de CC.OO. de Guadalajara.
Jaime Sinde, médico, miembro del Consejo Regional de Sanidad de CC.OO. de Castilla la Mancha.
Carlos Rodriguez, parado, miembro del Consejo Político Provincial de Izquierda Unida de Guadalajara.
Jaime Vázquez, Presidente de la Cooperativa Redisma, Secretario general de la sección sindical de UGT y delegado del sector de distribución de prensa de Madrid
Agustin Plaza, Secretario General del Sindicato Comarcal de Vitoria de la Federación de Químicas, Minería e Industrias Afines de la Unión General de Trabajadores (FIA-UGT) y miembro del Comité Nacional de Euskadi del mismo sindicato.
Gregorio Barrantes, Miembro del Comité de Empresa y responsable de la Sección Sindical de UGT de Esmaltaciones San Ignacio (Alava).
Javier Plaza, Delegado de Personal por UGT de la empresa ALSATEC (Alava).
Liborio Pro, Delegado de Personal por UGT de la empresa ENVIROIL (Alava)
Rafael Gabikagogeaskoa, Delegado de Personal por UGT de DEYDESA (Alava)
Emilio Villarreal, Responsable de la Seccion Sindical de UGT de DEYDESA (Alava)
Maria Jesus Rodriguez, Miembro del Comité de Empresa por UGT de ÉCLAIR PRYNT (Alava)
Domingo Lorenzo Casas, trabajador sindical de la UGT de Euskadi
Jesus Diaz de Durana, trabajador sindical de la UGT de Euskadi
Gines Férez Abellán, Delegado de Personal por UGT de la Empresa LATIERRO.S.A (Alava)
Francisco Redondo, Miembro del Comité de Empresa por UGT de ARREGUI, S.A. (Alava)
Emiliano Domínguez, Gregorio Latorre, Comité de Empresa de Roca por CGT
Lluis Perernau, Miembro por UGT de la Junta de Personal de la Universidad Autónoma de Bellaterra (Barcelona)
Carlos Castellano, Delegado sindical de CCOO de Seguros Mafre
Salvador Aranda, Presidente del Comité de Empresa de Musersa (Girona)
Antonio Damián, Delegado de CCOO - Tesorería de la Seguridad Social de Barcelona
Alfredo Luna, Delegado de CCOO - Hotel Nuñez y Navarro
Pilar Ubeda, Presidenta del Comité de Empresa de Telefónica Móviles España
Conchi Garbi, Comité de Empresa de Telefónica Móviles España
José Hernández, Comité de Empresa del Auditorio Nacional de Música por CCOO
José Luis Ruíz, Delegado de UGT - Ayuntamiento de Parla (Madrid)
Teresa Cortés, Comité de Empresa del CO Juan de Austria - Comunidad de Madrid


Paolo Brini (shop steward Smalti Modena)
Domenico Minadeo (shop steward Irce Imola)
Davide Bacchelli (shop steward Ima Ozzano-Bo)
Giampietro Montanari (shop steward Cesab Bologna)
Orlando Maviglia (shop steward Minarelli Bologna)
Ivan Serra (shop steward Rcm- Bologna)
Annamaria Quadrelli (shop steward temporary workers Nidil-Cgil Tim Bologna)
Samira Giulitti e Samira Cimarelli (shop stewards Fisac-Cgil Direct Line Milano)
Nunzio Vurchio (shop steward D'Andrea Milano)
Laura Bassanetti (shop steward Aci Global Milano)
Fabrizio Parlagreco (shop steward Amisco Milano)
Stefano Pol (National Coordinating Committee Nidil-Cgil)
Rapresentanza sindacale unitaria (Shop stewards' committee) UPS Milano
Rapresentanza sindacale aziendale (Shop stewards' committee) UPS Vimodrone - Milano
Lorenzo Esposito (shop steward Banca d'Italia - Milano)
Vincenzo Longhi (shop steward General Detergent - Milano)
Sara Parlavecchia (National Coordinating Committee of the Committees in Defence of State Education, CSP)
Paolo Grassi (Provincial Coordinating Committee, Nidil-Cgil - Milano)
Claudio Bellotti (National Executive, Partito della Rifondazione Comunista)
Alessandro Giardiello (National Committee Partito della Rifondazione Comunista)
Dario Salvetti, Elisabetta Rossi, Jacopo Renda (National Committee Giovani Comunisti, Young Communists)
Gabriele Donato (coordinator Young Communists Udine)
Enrico Duranti (coordinator Young Communists Crema)
Mauro Vanetti ( coordinator Young Communists Pavia)


ATU Division #788
St. Louis Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Labor Party


Greg Oxley, Parti Socialiste, Paris, Syndicat des journalistes CGT.
Jérôme Métellus, Parti Communiste (PCF), Paris.
Hubert Prévaud, Parti socialiste, Toulouse, CGT.
Marc Caprioli, PCF, Paris.
Christophe Schroedel, PS, Syndicat National de l'Enseignement, SNES.
Patrick Loiseau, PS, Paris.
Section de la Jeunesse Communiste, Amiens.
Jean-Marc Domart, PCF, CGT, Paris.


Hans-Gerd Öfinger, member of the Wiesbaden regional comitee Ver.Di (service sector union, the biggest single union, a merger of 5 unions)

Other signatures to follow


Erik De Bruyn, shop steward Socialist Public Service Union City of Antwerp (ACOD)
Lin Van Rompaey, shop steward Socialist Public Service Union City of Antwerp (ACOD)
Mischa Van Herck, member of executive of Socialist Party Antwerp
Brecht Desmet, member student council University of Gent
Miguel Rubio, former convenor Metal Workers Union of Diamant Boart (CMB-FGTB)
Fabian Defraine, Independent Socialist Councillor in Tubize
Maarten Van Heuverzwijn, member of student council University of Gent
Roland Vanderbeke, member of Executive Socialist Public Service Union, Oostende (ACOD)
André Gonzalis, chairman of Public Service Union branch of Veurne and Shop Steward of Teachers Union (ACOD)
Bart Desmet, shop steward of Public Transport Union (ACOD)

NOTE: In Belgium the appeal will also be distributed later in the week to some 1200 trade unionists via a TU Newsletter.


Rosalba Ramos, National Assembly of Workers, ANTT.
Luis Enrique Barrios, Workers´ Committee in Defence of the Trade Unions, Cotdesi.
Angel Chong, Comité for the Young Socialists of the PRD, CJJSSPRD.
Ubaldo Oropeza, Committee in Defence of State Education, Cedep.
Norma Edith Ramírez, Independent Union of Workers in the High Schools.
Adán Mejia, Mexican Electricians Union, SME.
Angel Ilich Cardosa, Editorial Board of the Workers´ Journal El Militante (Mexico).
Raúl Larios, National Resistance Front Against Privatisation of the Electrical Industry, FNRCPIE.
Amauri Solis, State Councillor of the PRD, Chiapas.
Carlo del Angel, PRD Youth Congress, Delegado por Hidalgo.
Victor Hugo Remirez, PRD Youth Congress, Delegate for the State of Mexico.
Jonathan López, Rank and File Insurgent Movement of the PRD, MOBI PRD.
Juan Manuel, Labour Solidarity and Cooperation Network (Red de Solidaridad y Colaboración Laboral)
Rubén Ribera, Action Committee of the Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica, CLESIME-IPN.
Sergio Rojas, Committee in Defence of State Education, Cedep, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Profesionales, Actlan

Other signatures to follow


Panagiotis Lafazanis, Member of the Greek Parliament and Member of the Political Secretariat of the party Synaspismos
Stelios Dafnis, Member of the Central Committee of Athens Trade Council.
Tsitonis Takis, Member of Executive committee of Archaeological Sites Workers Union.
Ikonomou Konstantinos, Member of Executive committee of Archaeological Sites Workers Union
Delniotis Ioanis, Member of Executive committee of Archaeological Sites Workers Union
Dimarogonas Dimos, Member of Executive committee of Greek Federation of Union of Ministry of Culture Workers
Fotopoulos Nikos, Member of the National Executive committee of Technical Electrical Workers Union.
Tasios Thomas, Member of the National Executive committee of Telecommunication Workers Union.
Nikakis Dimitris, Member of the Executive committee of Shopworkers Union.
Nikolaou Martha, Member of the Executive committee of Shop - workers union.
Milonas Elias, Olympic Catering unionist.
Thanos George, Olympic Airways unionist.
Karagianopoulos Stamatis, Member of B 4 district Committee of PA.SO.K Youth.
Kanelopoulou Christina, Member of Athens PA.SO.K Youth Committee.
Kounougeri Giota, PA.SO.K Youth member
Sapranidis Nikos, PA.SO.K Youth member
Skourli Angela, PA.SO.K Youth member
Doulos Orestis, PA.SO.K Youth member
Karigianis Leonidas, PA.SO.K member
Gougousis Spiros, PA.SO.K member
Karaiskos Thodoros, PA.SO.K member
Bouras Kostas, PA.SO.K member


Lis Mandl, shop steward GPA-work@social and Young Socialists Vorarlberg
Tanja Kreinbucher, NEC Young Socialists, Austria
Manuel Kaufmann, NEC Young Socialists, Austria
Young Socialists Vienna-Alsergrund branch
Young Socialists Vienna-Josefsstadt branch
Young Socialists Mödling branch
Young Socialists Linz-Römerberg branch
Stefan Nagy, member CC Young Socialists Lower Austria
Manu Grabner, member CC Young Socialists Lower Austria
Josef Falkinger, member CC Young Socialists Upper Austria
Editorial Board of the Der Funke (marxist journal in the Social Democracy
and the Trade Unions)

Other signatures to follow

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