In Democracy, Latin America

DATES & TIMES

Dates: Sunday July 7 & July 14

Times: 12 pm EDT / 11 am CDT / 9 am PDT / 5 pm London (BST) / 16:00 UTC

Duration: 90 min

CLICK HERE TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE

REGISTRATION

Click HERE to register for Part 2 on July 14, 2024

ABOUT THIS EVENT

Venezuela goes to the polls on 28 July 2024 to choose a president for a six-year term beginning on 10 January 2025. The second term of incumbent President Maduro has continued the radical transformation that began under Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela has weathered a ferocious and unrelenting campaign against it led by the USA, UK, Canada and the European Union, including punitive illegal sanctions and repeated coup attempts. Shortages and hyperinflation have been overcome, and in a remarkable but quiet transition, Venezuela has become self-sufficient to a degree unknown for over half a century.

Maduro’s astute political strategy has brought all but a tiny fraction of the opposition into the ballot process, driving a rift between the hardline Unitary Platform and its US backers. In October 2023, the opposition parties signed the Barbados Agreement and pledged that each political faction would select its candidates freely as long as they were eligible to participate under the Venezuelan Constitution and laws.

In the face of these achievements and the self-inflicted loss of oil supplies provoked by the Ukraine war, the USA and its allies negotiated a short-lived agreement with the Maduro government. They issued limited licenses for the Venezuelan oil, gas and gold sectors under sanctions in return for the release of opposition figures and US citizens jailed in the country for participation in coup and terrorist plots.

The USA has now returned to an intransigent policy whose purpose is to deny the legitimacy of the July 28 election result, continue its punitive and illegal sanctions, and return to a regime-change course.

The agreement included a commitment to allow appeals from opposition leaders banned from participation in elections due to their support for coup attempts. In January, the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) lifted several bans but rejected far-right politician María Corina Machado’s challenge to her long-standing 15-year disqualification, pointing to her participation in coup attempts, treason, and corrupt dealings. The US State Department responded by revoking the gold license and threatening to do the same for the energy sector when the sanctions waivers expire in April, as they actually did. An earlier agreement signed in Mexico City by the end of 2022 had included a $3 billion fund, drawn from Venezuelan seized assets abroad, to attend to urgent social needs. These resources have not been delivered by the US government.  Machado won primaries of the opposition Unitary Platform in October 2023, but the process was deemed illegal by the Supreme Court. Instead of an internal primary of party members it was an open primary using the Venezuelan electoral roll, which should therefore have been conducted under the auspices of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE). Machado refused this adamantly, and pushed through an illegitimate process through a body called the National Primaries Commission controlled by her own NGO, Sumate, against which there is a case in the Supreme Court for ‘usurpation of electoral powers’.

Machado, despite knowing she was disqualified to run for office, said she would continue to push her candidacy although her political party Vente Venezuela does not belong to the Unitary Platform and does not participate directly in the dialogue with the government.

The government has called to respect the judicial authorities’ decision and rejected any violations of the Barbados Agreement. And Jorge Rodríguez, National Assembly president and head of the government dialogue delegation, said the accord had been discarded and replaced by the document reached in May in the national consensus dialogue that produced the electoral schedule.

As Machado remains disqualified, the Unitary Platform named a substitute candidate, Corina Yoris, who under unclear circumstances was taken out of the way, then she choose retired career diplomat Edmundo González Urrutia, thus remaining on the electoral path as the hardline opposition’s representative Gerardo Blyde had commented earlier. However, even among the PUD sympathizers there are voices that question González Urrutia’s ‘autonomy’ and decision-making independent from Machado, as it appears that he is only acting as her agent, which borderlines illegality.

The stage is being set for the US to return to its hardline policies of denying the legitimacy of an electoral process that former President Carter described as “the best in the world,” and on this excuse to continue its punitive and illegal sanctions, extend its seizure and blocking of Venezuelan assets abroad, and return to seeking a regime-change on a country at the forefront of the multipolar and democratic transitions sweeping Latin America.

This webinar, involving a wide range of expert commentators, will analyse the challenges of a decisive moment in Venezuela’s history.

Speakers: Part 1: July 7 @ 12 pm (EST), 5 pm (London)

Joe Emersberger is an engineer, writer, and activist based in Canada. His writing, focused on the Western media’s coverage of the Americas, can be found on FAIR.org, CounterPunch.org, TheCanary.co, Telesur English, and ZComm.org.

Maria Páez Victor is a sociologist, born in Venezuela and educated in Caracas, New York, Mexico City, England and Canada. For several years she taught the sociology of health and medicine as well as health and environmental policies at the University of Toronto. Páez Victor has national and international experience in policy analysis and impact assessment, with expertise in the areas of health, environment, and energy.

Francisco Dominguez is a specialist on Latin America’s contemporary political economy, about which he has published extensively. A former refugee from Chile’s Pinochet, he is also National Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in the UK. He is also involved in solidarity activities with Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico. He makes regular contributions to various alternative media. He is co-author of Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America and author of pamphlet, Maduro: A decade continuing Chavez’s socialist anti-imperialist struggle.

William Camacaro is a Venezuelan-American National Co-Coordinator in the Alliance for Global Justice. He was a co-founder of the Bolivarian Circle of New York “Alberto Lovera” and Senior Analyst for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA). William has published in several progressive news outlets. He has organized delegations to Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. He has been a long-time activist for social justice in the United States.

Saheli ChowdhuryModerator is a co-editor and contributor of Orinoco Tribune. She is a Bengali socialist interested in anti-imperialist struggles throughout the world and especially in the Global South.

Organizers

Orinoco Tribune and the International Manifesto Group

Co-sponsors

Alliance for Global Justice, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (UK), Geopolitical Economy Report, Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, Venezuela Solidarity Network (US)

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