Strong defeat and punishment vote against Maduro’s government

We publish here a statement issued by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL-Venezuela). -SC

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On 6 December the government of Nicolas Maduro and the PSUV suffered a heavy political defeat at the hands of the pro-imperialist opposition grouped in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

The MUD obtained a qualified majority of two-thirds in the National Assembly (NA) with 112 deputies, while the PSUV won 55 deputies. Chavism has thus lost the majority in the National Assembly, which had held for 16 years.

It was a crushing defeat. The MUD won 7,707,422 votes, representing 56.2 percent, while Chavez won 5,599,025 votes, or 40.8 percent.

The massive vote for the MUD reflects a clear punishment vote of the majority of the people and workers against the growing deterioration of their living standards. It was a vote of rejection of high inflation, the shameful queues, against shortages of basic products, low pay, insecurity, layoffs, and lousy public services. It was a punishment vote against a government that has criminalised protest, persecuted those who fight, laid off thousands of workers of public bodies, ignored collective agreements and systematically violated the autonomy of popular organizations and unions.

It is not a turn to the right, far from it. The vote obtained by the MUD is not accompanied by a great confidence in their leaders or their political proposals; it was above all a clear vote against the government and the disaster that has engulfed the daily lives of working people. It is not a blank check. Many voted for the MUD with a “handkerchief on the nose”.

Nor is it the failure of socialism, as some bosses and pro-imperialist sectors may seek to show. In fact, in Venezuela there is no socialism. What failed was a political, economic and social model that has allowed bankers, telecommunications and oil transnationals, Bolivarian bourgeoisie and corrupt officials to enrich themselves at the expense of deteriorating living standards for the population, benefitting from oil revenues, deceiving the people and hiding their business behind a false socialist discourse. Those responsible for these variants of centre right to strengthen are Chavism and the failure of its political project.

In the last two years the Venezuelan working people have seen their living standards plummet. Venezuelans are going through a lot of labour. Their salaries are destroyed by daily inflation. The hardship of long and exhausting queues to purchase basic products has overcome the patience of the people. The drama of the dismal public services, disastrous transport, lack of water and electricity, has caused the daily lives of millions of people to become unbearable. All these vicissitudes explain the strong punishment vote of the working people against the government of Maduro and the PSUV.

It is evident that the majority did not believe the tale of “economic war”, behind which the government has tried to evade responsibility in the severe economic crisis. The people did not buy the election slogans using the figure of the late president as a banner. “We are of Chavez”, “The candidates of Chavez” could not overcome the discontent that has been accumulating in the Venezuelan people. The election results gave the lie to a pollster linked to the government before the elections who said that the Venezuelan people were “culturally Chavist”.

The results of 6 December are just a new phase of the political, economic and social crisis. Now there are two opposing bosses’ powers: one is controlling the executive and other institutions, and another is controlling the majority in parliament. We understand the people’s rejection of the government, but we cannot place any confidence in the new National Assembly and the deputies of the MUD.

The Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL) argues that the workers and the people must continue to rely on our own strength, our independent and autonomous mobilisation, both from the government and the MUD. This is critical for fostering from below, from the workers, our own agenda of demands to the new Assembly.

In this regard, the PSL demands the NA to pass a law for a general wage increase, and for providing the minimum wage to be adjusted to the basic basket and increased every three months according to inflation. An Act of Reenlistment for all unfairly dismissed workers, including the reinstatement of our comrades Bladimir Carvajal and Orlando Chirino, and payment of lost wages. An Act of Amnesty for all union, community, students, and indigenous activists and political leaders arrested or with precautionary measures for protesting or expressing their political position. Including Rodney Alvarez, worker of Ferrominera Orinoco detained for five years for a crime he did not commit. The Pemon Indians with open trials. Parliamentary inquiry into the murder of Sabino Romero, as well as the slaughter of La Encrucijada, the killing of two Mitsubishi workers in January 2009 in the context of a strike, the slaughter of Hato Las Flores against Yukpa Indians, and the disappearance of Alcedo Mora in Merida. Raise the reform of laws restricting the right to demonstrate and strike. And the termination of joint venture contracts in the oil sector, for PDVSA to belong 100 percent to the state, without corporations, and managed by their workers, technicians and professionals, among other laws.

The own President Maduro and former PSUV’s Deputy Elvis Amoroso announced economic measures and a new adjustment, which would aggravate the hardships of the working people. It is possible they may be contemplating increasing the price of gasoline and other unpopular measures. In this, the deputies of the MUD have full agreement with the government. The new situation demands the strengthening of the self-organization of the people and the workers, and the mobilisation to confront the government and the National Assembly, to resist the adjustment plans and the regressive measures that seek to promote both.

11 December, 2015

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