On 7th October 2012 Venezuelans will be voting in their Presidential election. In recent years, Venezuela’s democracy has been deepened with the country having more elections than nearly anywhere else in the world, all certified free and fair by respected international bodies. Record numbers are registered to vote – up from 11 million in 1998 to 19 million today – due to the removal of obstacles that stopped many poorer people voting.
Alongside this expansion of democracy, there has been a flowering of social programmes that have delivered free healthcare for millions, eradicated illiteracy and lifted millions out of poverty.
This year also marks 10 years since the temporarily successful US-backed coup against the Chavez-led government. Since then we have seen attempts – some successful, others not – to undermine elected governments in Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras and Paraguay, showing how real threats to social progress and democracy in the region remain. Political parties, and other movements, engaged in these destabilisation campaigns have received millions of dollars from US bodies such as the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute and USAID.
Worryingly, in Venezuela, US government interventions have continued – mainly through tens of millions of dollars of funding to right-wing opposition movements including for the coming elections.
There are concerns that some opposition movements may not recognise the outcome at the forthcoming election, which polls indicate Chavez is set to win, in an orchestrated attempt to discredit the outcome and to isolate Venezuela internationally.
We the undersigned believe it is for the Venezuelan people alone to choose their next government, free from any external intervention, and governments around the world should respect the results and engage constructively with the country.
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Rally for Venezuela!
Wednesday, September 26th, at 6.30pm (open from 6.00pm)
Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan Ambassador, former Minister of Higher Education; Tariq Ali; Fidel Narvaez, Ecuador; Seumas Milne, Guardian columnist; Diane Abbott MP; Richard Gott, Author of ‘Hugo Chávez & the Bolivarian Revolution’; Grahame Morris MP, Labour Friends of Venezuela; Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Guisell Morales-Echaverry, Nicaragua; Kate Hudson, CND; Gail Cartmail, Unite Assistant General Secretary; Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor of Geography, Open University; Pablo Navarrete, journalist & filmmaker; Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary; Marilyn Harrop, NUT President; Further Latin American & European guests including Pat Doherty MP, Sinn Fein.
The next 6 weeks are a crucial time to show your solidarity with Venezuela. President Chavez has a significant poll lead for the October 7th election but there are concerns that the democratic will of the Venezuelan people at the coming elections will not be respected by elements of the right-wing opposition.
Come to this rally to show your solidarity!