[Statement by Hands off Venezuela]After days of violent opposition demonstrations in several cities of Venezuela, February 12 had been billed as the D Day of an offensive to overthrow the democratically elected Maduro government. In several cities there were opposition demonstrations which were allowed to proceed without repression. There were also bigger revolutionary , youth demos marking 200 years since the battle of La Victoria, during the independence war.
At the end of the opposition student demonstration in Caracas (which the opposition mouthpiece El Nacional described as being 1500 people strong only) a small but well prepared group of violent thugs attacked the police and the Attorney General building. They were masked and used rocks and ready made molotov cocktails, while coordinating their actions through walkie-talkies. They destroyed several official vehicles and the facade of the building.
During the clashes two people were shot dead. One of them revolutionary militant Juan Montoya "Juancho" from the 23 de Enero neighborhood, the other, Basil Da Costa, an opposition student. The way they were both were shot in the head is reminiscent of those who were killed by sharpshooters on April 11, 2002, as a way to justify the coup.
At the time of writing these lines, small groups of violent opposition youth continue to riot, attack and besiege several official buildings in Caracas and other cities.
Those responsible for these actions are opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and M Corina Machado who have been instigating the violent demonstrations with the clear aim of destabilising the democratically elected government.
The opposition is profoundly divided between those who refuse to recognise their 3 successive election defeats in 2012-13 and wish to organise the immediate overthrow of the Maduro government, and those who calculate that the deteriorating economic situation (due to economic sabotage) will allow them eventually to defeat the Bolivarian revolution in the ballot boxes.
No doubt, the international media will "report" on these events in a one-sided way, presenting a story of "courageous peaceful opposition youth confronting a vicious and repressive regime".
We call on the international labour movement, the solidarity activists and progressive public opinion to remain alert and vigilant, to counter the lies of the media and to do everything in their power to mobilise solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution in this crucial moment.
Hands Off Venezuela! February 12