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Venezuelan Workers Fight the Coup Attempt and Maduro’s Austerity Measures

On May 10, 150 Venezuelan workers representing trade unions from all over the country met in Caracas with the goal of organizing a working-class opposition against imperialism, Juan Guaidó’s coup attempt and President Nicolás Maduro’s austerity measures.

Left Voice

May 28, 2019
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Meeting of Combative Workers (Encuentro de Trabajadores en Lucha), Caracas, May 10.

The meeting was organized by the workers’ union leadership of the Central University of Venezuela (SINATRAUCV).

The gathering, known as Meeting of Combative Workers (Encuentro de Trabajadores en Lucha), was held at the auditorium of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). It brought together auto, delivery and metro workers as well as public sector workers from the Departments of Labor, Health and Education.

Also in attendance were students and left organizations, such as Socialist Tide (Marea Socialista), Workers’ League for Socialism (Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo), Revolutionary Left (Izquierda Revolucionaria), Class Struggle (Lucha de Clases), Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo y Libertad) and the Catholic Workers’ Youth (Juventud Obrera Católica).

The goal of bringing together workers from different workplaces and trade unions was to create a labor coalition that stands against the imperialist offensive on Venezuela and also against the austerity measures of Maduro’s government.

The meeting was convened in response to the general lack of independent organizing for the working class in Venezuela. Many of the workers who attended were former members of the Intersectoral Organization of Workers from Venezuela (ITV), a labor coalition between several unions and workplaces. This coalition had previously organized workers from several sectors independently of the Maduro government and the right wing. But in the wake of the coup attempt, the ITV was co-opted by the right and aligned with Guaidó against Maduro. As one of the participants, Zuleika Matamoros, said during the meeting, “There is a vital need to raise the banners against Guaidó’s politics of interference without giving any support or trust to Maduro’s government.”

The agreements made at the meeting and approved unanimously were:

(a) Building an independent and autonomous alternative for workers that declares itself anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal, that fights interventionism and the coup attempt but also fights the austerity measures implemented by Maduro’s Government, which have subdued the working class into polarization, hunger and misery.

(b) Setting up a permanent committee to follow up with the plan and program of struggle that was voted at the meeting and to organize a bigger meeting in the future, encouraging the emergence of bodies of self-determination as a vehicle for the working class and the oppressed to fight austerity.

Ángel Arias, a public sector worker and member of the Workers’ League for Socialism, said the meeting was “highly positive, and if we organize more workers in a space like this that is independent of the government, private capital and right-wing opposition, we will be contributing to the emergence of a movement that stands against imperialist intervention and coup attempts with an independent perspective.”

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