The trade union-backed Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (SVSC), which helped secure unanimous support at the Scottish Trades Union Congress for opposition to regime change in Venezuela, has called on the Scottish Parliament and progressive parties to denounce today’s coup attempt.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing over 540,000 trade unionists in Scotland, has reaffirmed its support for the Bolivarian Revolution in the face of aggressive US-led efforts at regime change in Venezuela.
It is no coincidence that Elliot Abrams has been appointed as Trump’s envoy to Venezuela. Abrams was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s when officials in the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran, in contravention of sanctions. They secretly used the proceeds to fund the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua who were waging an armed struggle against the elected Sandinista government. The destabilisation caused eventually led to the downfall of the Sandinistas. Job done, Abrams plead guilty to two counts of lying to Congress about the affair and was later pardoned. He was recently challenged by Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. She asked: ‘... would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide if you believed they were serving US interests, as you did in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala?’ Abrams refused to answer.
In 2010 Haiti, a close neighbour of Cuba, was hit by a devastating earthquake. The impact on the poverty shattered people of that country was almost beyond imagining.
It has taken his death to show us how many friends Hugo Chavez had. The regular drip, drip of hostile lies about Venezuela in the media gave way to a torrent of praise for the remarkable changes he brought to his country; and in doing that, to the world. Governments and leaders across the world, in particular Africa as well as of course Latin America, lined up to praise him.
People in Scotland with a commitment to social justice will mourn the death of Hugo Chavez. He was a great leader for the people of Venezuela, with a practical commitment to improving the lives of its people and in particular the millions who had been left to a life of poverty by previous regimes. The sheer scope of the imaginative programmes he led forward is extraordinary - for universal healthcare, literacy, food soverignty, land reform, electoral democracy, environmental protection, racial and gender equality, the rights of indigenous people and industrial democracy, for example.
What can Scotland learn from Latin America? As the debate about the constitution picks up, that’s probably not a question which many are asking. However those who attended the conference at the STUC on 2 December found that the answer is ‘quite a lot’ which is relevant to that debate and to discussions about social justice and inequality. Especially for those who believe a fundamental shift in the balance of power is more important than the formal question of independence.