Category: Nicolas Maduro
Hot rap, and then Maduro joins in
worker | August 22, 2021 | 6:07 pm | Nicolas Maduro | Comments closed
Hot rap, and then Maduro joins in
US to Increase Pressure on Venezuela’s Maduro ‘Multilaterally’
worker | March 8, 2021 | 7:36 pm | Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | Comments closed

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States plans to multilaterally increase pressure on Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, by working with global partners to bring about an electoral solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country, a senior US administration official told reporters.

“The United States is going to continue to increase the pressure. It’s going to expand that pressure multilaterally to ensure that those that are guilty of human rights abuses, that are robbing the Venezuelan people, that are engaged in rampant criminal activity really find no quarter nowhere until they sit down to the table in earnest and make decisions that lead toward free and fair elections in the country,” the official reportedly said during a phone briefing Monday.

The official also stated that the new US administration would review unilateral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.

“We are going to review the sanctions to make sure that they are effective because the focus of sanctions should be to increase pressure on the regime, eliminate any sort of access to corrupt capital to sustain themselves but also not [a regime] that penalizes and punishes unnecessarily the Venezuelan people and the country,” the official said during a briefing on Monday. “But again… there is no rush to lift sanctions.”

The official admitted that unilateral sanctions imposed under the Trump administration were ineffective, and have not succeeded in achieving the desired electoral outcome in the country. Nowhere in the world, the official added, have unilateral sanctions actually led to democratic transition in the absence of a multilateral approach among the international community.

US Not in Bilateral Negotiations With Maduro

During the conference call, the US administration official said that the US was not engaged in bilateral negotiations with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

“The negotiation is one that is not between the United States and the [Maduro] regime, it is between the illegitimate regime and the interim government of Venezuela,” the US official said on Monday.

The US official said negotiations with Maduro have failed in the past and accused Caracas of using them as a delay tactic.

The Biden administration will work with global partners, including the European Union and Latin American ally countries, to multilaterally increase pressure on the Maduro government, the US official said, adding that Venezuela has adapted to Trump-era sanctions.

In 2018, Venezuela held a presidential election in which the incumbent president, Maduro, won. The United States did not recognize the results of the election or recognize Maduro as a legitimate president and introduced a series of sanctions against Caracas, in large part affecting the nation’s oil industry and business infrastructure.

Maduro accused Washington of working with opposition figure Juan Guaido to overthrow the former’s government as a means of seizing its vast petrochemical resources. According to a 2019 study co-authored by renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, US sanctions have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Venezuelans.

No To War In Venezuela – U.S. Peace Council
worker | January 31, 2019 | 8:23 pm | Nicolas Maduro, Struggle for Peace, US Peace Council, Venezuela | Comments closed
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY!

SIGN THE STATEMENT HERE —–> nowaronvenezuela.org

Desplácese hacia abajo para leer la versión en español.

 

No U.S. War on Venezuela!

Support National actions on Saturday, February 23 – the one month anniversary of U.S. attempted coup.

 

We cannot be silent in the face of the latest U.S. aggression against the Venezuelan people.

 

Nicolás Maduro is the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, chosen twice by the people as part of an internationally observed electoral process. Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, the United States has been relentless in its pursuit of regime change in Venezuela. With Donald Trump in the White House, these efforts have escalated to threats of all-out military violence, the plundering of billions of dollars in wealth from the Venezuelan people and pushing a multitude of outrageous lies in the global media.

 

For hundreds of years, the U.S. has waged war against the people of the world through coups, invasions and economic warfare. Juan Guaidó is a U.S. puppet. He is not a representative of the Venezuelan masses. The idea that a person can swear themselves in as president at a rally in the interest of “defending democracy” is laughable. The right wing in Venezuela claim the Bolivarian elections are rigged because they refuse to participate in them. Instead they engage in voter intimidation using violence reminiscent of Jim Crow terrorism against African-Americans in the Deep U.S. South.

 

U.S.-led sanctions and currency manipulation are responsible for the suffering in Venezuela. Marco Rubio and right-wing media guide the Venezuelan opposition from Miami. The U.S. cannot stand for any country on the planet to enjoy its natural wealth or the fruits of its labor independent of Wall Street and the Pentagon. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world and is rich in gold and other mineral wealth. Iraq war architect John Bolton said that regime change in Venezuela would be a tremendous opportunity to gain more profits for Wall Street. We believe him.

 

Since the Bolivarian Revolution in 1998, massive strides have been taken to uplift the working class, Afro-Venezuelans and Indigenous populations in Venezuela. The working poor have made tremendous gains because the government implemented policies and passed laws to fight racism, sexism, homophobia and economic inequality. Despite sanctions and sabotage, Venezuela has maintained a transparent and democratic system through many elections. Venezuela provides aid to struggling people worldwide through subsidized fuel and by leading the way with progressive labor laws. Their gains are part of the global struggle waged by workers and the oppressed against the wealthiest and most powerful capitalists on the planet.

 

Therefore, we demand:

 

● The U.S. immediately cease all hostile actions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela — lift all sanctions, stop backing a coup, cease efforts to destroy the Venezuelan economy and respect the right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination.

● All countries involved in the plunder of Venezuelan wealth immediately return what they have stolen to the democratically elected government of Venezuela and its people.

● Wall Street must immediately pay reparations to the Venezuelan people for their suffering under genocidal sanctions and currency manipulation.

 

In the internationalist and liberatory spirit of Simón Bolívar, we pledge to mobilize and fight on the side of Venezuela’s right to sovereignty, understanding that the gains won under the Bolivarian Revolution are gains for all the world’s workers and oppressed.

———————–

¡No a la guerra de EE.UU. contra Venezuela!

 

No podemos permanecer callados ante la última agresión de los Estados Unidos contra el pueblo venezolano. 

 

Nicolás Maduro es el presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, elegido dos veces por el pueblo como parte de un proceso electoral internacionalmente observado. Desde la elección de Hugo Chávez en 1998, Estados Unidos ha sido implacable en su búsqueda del cambio de régimen en Venezuela. Con Donald Trump en la Casa Blanca, estos esfuerzos han escalado a amenazas de violencia total militar, el saqueo de la riqueza de miles de millones de dólares del pueblo venezolano y el impulso de una multitud de escandalosas mentiras en los medios de comunicación globales.

 

Durante cientos de años, los Estados Unidos han librado una guerra contra los pueblos del mundo a través de golpes de estado, invasiones y guerras económicas. Juan Guaidó es un títere de los Estados Unidos. No es representante de las masas venezolanas. La idea de que una persona puede auto juramentarse como presidente en un mitin en interés de “defender la democracia” es risible. La derecha en Venezuela afirma que las elecciones bolivarianas están amañadas porque se niegan a participar en ellas. En vez, se involucran en la intimidación de los votantes mediante el uso de la violencia que recuerda el terrorismo de Jim Crow contra los afroamericanos en el sur de los EE. UU.

 

El llamado al “diálogo” entre el gobierno venezolano elegido democráticamente y la oposición respaldada por los Estados Unidos oculta la verdadera naturaleza de esta guerra. Las sanciones lideradas por los Estados Unidos y la manipulación de la moneda son responsables del sufrimiento en Venezuela. Marco Rubio y los medios de comunicación de derecha guían a la oposición venezolana desde Miami. Los Estados Unidos no puede tolerar que ningún país del planeta pueda disfrutar de su riqueza natural o del fruto de su esfuerzo laboral independiente de Wall Street y el Pentágono. Está comprobado que Venezuela tiene las reservas de petróleo más grandes del mundo y es rica en oro y otros minerales valiosos. El arquitecto de la guerra de Irak, John Bolton, dijo que el cambio de régimen en Venezuela sería una gran oportunidad para obtener más ganancias para Wall Street. Le creemos.

 

Desde la Revolución Bolivariana en 1998, se han dado pasos masivos para elevar la clase trabajadora, los afrovenezolanos y las poblaciones indígenas en Venezuela. Los trabajadores pobres han logrado enormes avances porque el gobierno implementó políticas y promulgó leyes para combatir el racismo, el sexismo, la homofobia y la desigualdad económica. A pesar de las sanciones y el sabotaje, Venezuela ha mantenido un sistema transparente y democrático a través de muchas elecciones. Venezuela brinda ayuda a personas con dificultades en todo el mundo a través de combustible subsidiado y liderando el camino con leyes laborales progresivas. Sus logros son parte de la lucha global emprendida por los trabajadores y los oprimidos contra los capitalistas más ricos y poderosos del planeta.

 

Por lo tanto, exigimos:

 

● Los Estados Unidos cese de inmediato todas las acciones hostiles contra la República Bolivariana de Venezuela: levanten todas las sanciones, dejen de respaldar un golpe de estado, cesen los esfuerzos para destruir la economía venezolana y respeten el derecho del pueblo venezolano a la libre determinación.

 

● Todos los países involucrados en el saqueo de la riqueza venezolana devuelvan inmediatamente lo que han robado al gobierno elegido democráticamente de Venezuela y su pueblo.

 

● Wall Street debe pagar de inmediato reparaciones al pueblo venezolano por su sufrimiento bajo las sanciones genocidas y la manipulación de la moneda.

 

En el espíritu internacionalista y liberador de Simón Bolívar, nos comprometemos a movilizarnos y luchar por el derecho a la soberanía de Venezuela, entendiendo que los logros y beneficios obtenidos durante la Revolución Bolivariana son ganancias para todos los trabajadores y oprimidos del mund

President Maduro Says ‘Fascist’ Group’s Plot to Destabilize Venezuela Foiled
worker | October 3, 2017 | 7:33 pm | Fascist terrorism, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201710031057901627-venezuela-maduro-opposition-plot/

An employee of the Venezuelan national electricity company is pictured inside an electric plant in San Fernando de Apure (southern Venezuela) on October 02, 2008

President Maduro Says ‘Fascist’ Group’s Plot to Destabilize Venezuela Foiled

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Venezuela’s President Maduro has announced that the country’s government has derailed an opposition plot to disrupt core public services, including national energy, water and gasoline supplies, and thus destabilize the situation in the country.

The Venezuelan leader referred to the schemers as a “right-wing fascist group,” which included the “opposition leaders of the highest level.” The plot, which he said was mastermind by the US embassy in Caracas, was supposed to be set in motion on Monday.

Nicolás Maduro had not revealed any names of the suspects but said that the group has been captured “with concrete physical evidence.”

Vice President Tarack el Aissami, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol and Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) Director Gustavo González López are set to reveal all the details of the operation on Tuesday, the President said during a meeting with regional leaders in the country’s northern state of Vargas, which was broadcast by the Venezuelan state television channel.Maduro specifically pointed out that the sabotage plan was also aimed at disrupting the country’s regional elections, which are scheduled for October 15, when the country will elect a governor for each of its 23 states.

At the end of September, the Venezuelan leader already urged the country’s military to be on standby and be ready to “defend every inch of its territory.” Venezuela, he said, has been “shamelessly threatened by the most criminal empire that ever existed,” referring to the US in the follow up to the introduction of new US travel restrictions against some senior Venezuelan officials.

Venezuela to Donate $5M to Harvey Victims in Texas
worker | August 30, 2017 | 7:00 pm | Donald Trump, Local/State, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela | Comments closed

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelas-Citgo-to-Donate-5M-to-Houston-20170830-0015.html

Venezuela to Donate $5M to Harvey Victims in Texas

  • Houston residents trudge through floodwaters.

    Houston residents trudge through floodwaters. | Photo: AFP

Published 30 August 2017

Venezuela has extended its solidarity to the victims of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has announced that the South American country will be donating US$5 million to help with recovery efforts in areas devastated by Harvey, particularly Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas.

RELATED:
Venezuelan Constituent Assembly Passes Decree Against US Sanctions

“Let’s not allow war or threats to be imposed, but instead let’s impose solidarity. We will always be with the people of the United States and the peoples of the world in difficult times,” Arreaza said.

He explained that President Nicolas Maduro has approved a special program to help the victims in the states of Louisiana and Texas.

The plan was approved by U.S. authorities and the cities’ mayors, according to Arreaza.

The diplomat indicated that a percentage of the sales of gas from Citgo will be destined for the construction of houses for the people affected. Citgo is a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, based in Houston.

Arreaza also said that he will be sending a letter Wednesday to the charge d’affaires at the United States embassy to deliver the construction project, adding that Venezuela has offered rescue workers, doctors, and other specialized personnel to help with the situation on the ground.

President of Citgo Nelson Martinez said the company was “going to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of those affected, with its support plan for construction.”

Citgo operations were forced to shut down at its Corpus Christi, Texas facilities, near where Harvey made landfall Friday, but are reportedly on their way to restarting in the next few days.

RELATED:
Experts Say Climate Change Intensified Hurricane Harvey

In an announcement Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a decree imposing new economic sanctions on Venezuela. The latest U.S. sanctions ban trades of Venezuelan debt and prevent PDVSA from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups. Trades of existing bonds commissioned by Caracas will also be barred.

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington D.C., said the new round of sanctions is “severe” and is on a level never seen before, making Trump’s cursory threats of military intervention against the Bolivarian state highly plausible.

The government has said that the sanctions target the Venezuelan people, affecting food and medicine supplies, which has led to international condemnation of the U.S. measures.

The new sanctions come weeks after Trump said that a “military option” has not been ruled out against Venezuela.

Going Crackers Over Caracas: The War Party Demands We Fall in Line on Venezuela
A government supporter holds a heart-shaped placard decorated with an image of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro during a rally in support of the Constitutional Assembly outside of the National Assembly building in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

Going Crackers Over Caracas: The War Party Demands We Fall in Line on Venezuela

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Repeat after me: (by orders of the NeoCon Thought Police): “I condemn the evil dictator Nicolas Maduro and support a US-led humanitarian intervention to save the people of oil rich Venezuela! I condemn the evil dictator Nicolas Maduro…”

You might have thought that in the so-called “Free World,” people would be free to support or praise whatever governments or political systems they want to, without any serious consequences to themselves or their livelihoods. But if the country or government you want to praise is an “Official Enemy” of the western elites, it’s a very different story. The War Party’s enemies have to be ours. Yes, siree.

Think of Orwell’s 1984, and the Two Minutes Hate. Right now, it’s the former bus driver Nicolas Maduro who is playing the role of Emmanuel Goldstein — the man who we are expected to shake our fists at when we watch the “telescreen” — giving those regular “bad guys” Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin a bit of a break.

Over the last week or so there’s been a hysterical campaign to get prominent figures in Britain, who in the past had expressed their solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela — like Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — to issue public denunciations. Never mind if the individuals concerned were on their summer holiday — as Jezza was. That’s no excuse.

The “Labour silence” was tantamount to treachery, the War Party cried. Cycling around Croatia in your short-sleeved white shirt, shorts and socks and admiring the beauty of the old quarter of Dubrovnik is just not on, when there’s another leftist government sitting on huge reserves (and which has friendly relations with Syria), to urgently topple.

Interestingly there have been no such calls for Tories (or Blairite Labour MPs) to break off from their vacations to denounce the genuinely undemocratic leadership of Saudi Arabia or NATO ally Erdogan in Turkey, who’s has a right old crackdown since the attempt to topple him in a coup last year failed. And the people demanding condemnations of Venezuela for being a “dictatorship” have been very quiet about the eye-catching 98.63% vote achieved by Tony Blair’s friend Paul Kagame in Rwanda earlier in August.

The neocon Establishment — with onion slices concealed in their handkerchiefs — feign humanitarian concern for the plight of the masses in Venezuela, while, at the same time turn a blind eye to the devastating cholera epidemic currently spreading across war-torn Yemen. Any genuine humanitarian who cared about human suffering on this planet would put Yemen as the top of his/her concerns, but its the western bombs which are doing the damage in that country, so the War Party are very keen to divert our attention elsewhere.

Establishment-friendly media has played its full part in The Great Venezuela Inquisition. Earlier in August there was a ludicrous exchange on Newsnight, the BBC’s regime-change addicted “flagship” current affairs program, in which a Corbyn-supporting Labour MP Chris Williamson was asked by presenter Evan Davis if he was closer to Hugo Chavez or Tony Blair. That’s right. A choice between a man who worked tirelessly to help the poor and to make his country independent from the neo-colonialists and a snake oil salesman who invaded Iraq on a lie, and whose warmongering left over one million people dead.

To ask the question “Blair or Chavez?” is to answer it. No genuine socialist or progressive could possibly opt for the man who assured us Iraq had WMDs, which threatened the world and which could be activated within 45 minutes.
As part of the War Party’s propaganda campaign, the words of those who have committed the heinous “crime” of expressing support for “Chavism” have been shamefully distorted. Countering the blatant lie that multi-party Venezuela was a dictatorship, the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone pointed out that the late Hugo Chavez didn’t go around executing his enemies — the sort of thing genuine dictators do. That was twisted into headlines such as “Ken Livingstone: Venezuela Crisis due to Chavez’s failure to kill oligarchs.” Livingstone was forced to respond to the media representations of what he had actually said:

“I have not said that Hugo Chavez should have killed anyone and nor would I ever advocate it. I even dispelled this accusation in the very interview that is being extensively quoted.

“The point I was making is that, contrary to some misrepresentations, Hugo Chavez didn’t repress the former ruling elite in Venezuela.”

Even condemning “all violence” in Venezuela, as Jeremy Corbyn did after he returned from his holiday, won’t be enough to get the regime-change obsessives from snapping at your heels. Only violence carried out by government supporting forces counts. The violence carried out by opposition activists against United Socialist Party supporters, the police and the security services does not qualify. Those killed or injured in such attacks, like the young black man burned to death in early June are “un-people,” like the victims of terrorist attacks by CIA-backed “rebels” in Syria, those killed in the 2014 Odessa fire, and the 16 media workers who lost their lives when NATO bombed Serbian TV in 1999.

The double standards of the “You Must Condemn Maduro” Thought Police are truly breathtaking. Anti-government street protesters at home are routinely labeled “thugs and scum,” but violent ones, who go out on to the streets in “Official Enemy” countries to try and topple their governments are lauded. Establishment respect for “law and order” and condemnation of ”anarchy” and “mob rule” is not universal — it only applies in “approved” nations. Call for a riot in the UK, and you’ll be arrested before you have time to do your next weekly shop in Aldi, but call for one in Venezuela and you’ll probably get State Department/NED funding (that’s if you aren’t already on the CIA’s or MI6’s payroll).

If what’s playing out before our very eyes in Venezuela seems familiar then it’s not surprising. This is a movie we’ve seen many times before. Think of the “pro-democracy” US-backed anti-government protests in Yugoslavia in 2000, which toppled the Socialist-led administration there, and the “pro-democracy” US-backed-ones in Ukraine in 2014. On both occasions, the “target” governments — and their leadership — were placed in a very difficult position. If they responded to what were clear attempts to usurp power by force — by using force themselves — they knew they would be condemned by the War Party and its media stenographers as “dictators, human rights abusers, war criminals, Nazis, Stalinists” — take your pick. If they did nothing and allowed the protesters to act with total impunity, they’d lose power.

It’s important for the neocon regime changers that we don’t see the bigger picture. We’re not supposed to reflect on the millions of dollars which has poured into opposition coffers from the US —just imagine the outcry if the Venezuelan government bankrolled anti-government activists in western countries.

We’re not expected to focus either on the economic warfare that the US and the western financial/corporate elites have waged on Venezuela for the country’s refusal to toe the line. Of course, Maduro’s government has made mistakes, with the biggest being the failure to diversify the economy when oil prices were high — a point that Jeremy Corbyn made earlier. But acknowledging this is a very different thing from joining in with State Department calls for “regime change” against a legitimate and democratically elected government which still has sizable popular support.

The excellent media monitoring organization Media Lens has compared and contrasted the “deep concern” shown by War Party media propagandists for “human rights” in a “target” country, before a western-sponsored regime change takes place, and their lack of interest in the people’s plight afterwards, when things invariably get much worse. Neocon/liberal-imperialist hacks couldn’t stop writing about Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003, and the need to “liberate” its people and make the world safe from its non-existent WMDs, but after the invasion, when the country descended into total chaos and bombs were going off on a daily basis, Iraqis were of no interest to them. The papers were full of op-eds calling for “action” to save the people of Libya in early 2011, but after Gaddafi was toppled and Libya became a failed state and a jihadists playground, it all went very quiet.

The same will happen again if Maduro falls. The War Party are going crackers over Caracas only because they want Venezuela’s government forcibly removed from office. Nothing else matters to them.

If we are to issue public condemnations, then let it be of the serial warmongers and “regime-changers,” who caused so much devastation in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria — and who have the nerve to always point the finger of blame at others.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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US Whitewashes Armed Protests in Venezuela, Ignores Voters – Activist
worker | August 8, 2017 | 8:07 pm | Analysis, Nicolas Maduro, political struggle, Venezuela | Comments closed
Masked anti-government demonstrators stend to a burning barricade during a protest against the installation of a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017

US Whitewashes Armed Protests in Venezuela, Ignores Voters – Activist

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An armed right-wing opposition group in Venezuela attempted to carry out an attack on a military base on Monday that was thwarted by the government: the latest attempt by elements who oppose President Nicolas Maduro to destabilize the country following the recent constituent assembly vote in July 30, supporters of the country’s government say.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear speaks with Venezuela-based activist Lucas Koerner, a writer for VenezuelaAnalysis.com, about the attack and how the US government and media claim to want stability in Caracas but in reality seek the ouster of a democratically elected government.

​Days before Venezuela’s constituent assembly, US Vice President Mike Pence made a statement saying, “The United States stands with the Venezuelan people, and we call for the full and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Venezuela, free and fair elections, restoration of the national assembly, and respect for human rights in Venezuela. Our thoughts and prayers reside with all of those who have suffered during venezuela’s crisis. The United States urges the reestablishment of democracy in Venezuela and the restoration of the prosperity that Venezuelans have fought so hard to achieve.”

Koerner told Loud and Clear, “I think it’s interesting that these comments about ‘restoring constitutional order’ and ‘restoring democracy’ come right after Venezuela celebrated an extremely high turnout election on July 30 in which you had over eight million people throughout the country come out and vote in the national constituent assembly election in the midst of what can only be described as a campaign of opposition violence, destabilization and terror.”

He pointed out that people in different parts of the country crossed rivers and endured other difficult circumstances to cast their vote.

“This is clearly an exemplary exercise of democracy,” he said, “and the United States responds, of course, by slapping Nicolas Maduro with sanctions and adding him to the list of authoritarian leaders who are also being targeted for regime change.”

He said that mainstream media outlets have whitewashed violent right wing demonstrators as “peaceful protesters” because they identify with their upper-middle class sensibilities, and therefore paint the Maduro government as repressive and the recent vote as illegitimate.

“There’s no doubt that the constituent assembly has immense legitimacy … The vast majority of people participated in the elections, [and] they see the ball as in the government’s court right now,” Koerner explained, analyzing what Venezuelans will be looking for following the vote. “They came out and they supported their state in the midst of right-wing violence and terror, they’re now expecting this new body to take substantive economic measures to resolve the crisis,” of what he called “politically driven inflation.”

He suggested that the government must take “active measures to address this in terms of trying to fix the extremely broken system of exchange controls and currency regulations,” and work to democratize ownership of transnational corporations and transfer their unproductive assets of “land and factories to workers and communities.”

“This is what the grassroots are calling for,” he said.