Nicolas Maduro: Good and Better Times in Latin America

By Yenia Silva Correa; Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver on November 4, 2019

Photo: Bill Hackwell

The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, began his speech at the closing ceremony of the Anti-Imperialist Conference of Solidarity, for Democracy and against Neoliberalism by greeting Army General Raul Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party by saying, “where Raul is, there is Fidel,” in front of an emotional hall in the Palace of Conventions in Havana that included President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez; and Communist Party of Cuba Second Secretary José Ramón Machado Ventura.

President Maduro said he was very excited with the chants he heard when he entered the room: “We hear him, we feel him, Fidel is here! We felt moved because it is so. Fidel is here in this effort to find a solution to the attempts of neoliberalism,” he commented.

He recalled that Cuba was the first one to convene other American nations to unite and fight back against imperialism. He then mentioned Chile, the country that has woken up to its Government’s attempts to fill that land with even more neoliberalism.

The Venezuelan President said it’s a shame that the Constitution of the dictator Augusto Pinochet is still in force in Chile. “Now, the Chilean people who are in the streets will change the Constitution,” he asserted.

He stressed that people are rising up against any social exclusionary model from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) neoliberal capitalism, adding that “we accompany people’s rebellion worldwide against the IMF and their model of exclusion.”

“I say that remembering that in this scenario Fidel rang the bell and workers’ unions were the first to answer. Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the USSR, and U.S. imperialism thought they were the winners forever.”

“Many people in left-wing movements threw in the towel. There were hard times in the nineties because of the attempt to impose neoliberalism’s unipolar world. And a second answer appeared, in which Cuba played a key role. Cuba was in its special period and Cuba’s actions, without the support of the USSR, was heroic. Cuba resisted, remained standing, giving a revolutionary example to all.”

Maduro went on to say a strong, leftist movement then started in our America, with a great leader in front of it: our Commander Hugo Chavez.

“In 1999, we fostered a constituent popular process to ask the population if they wanted a Constituent Assembly to transform the State.” He noted that the population backed that concept with their votes supporting the proposal made by Commander Hugo Chavez on April 25, 1999.

However, he denounced that Commander Chavez was accused right away of being a dictator, a tyrant, and this was believed by some who were not just on the right.  “I’m accused of being a dictator today and we are persecuted. All sorts of accusations are issued to give legitimacy for a coup d’état and some people, not from the right, believe in it and they are afraid of coming to Venezuela and they cowardly concede to the imperialist blackmail,” he said.

President Maduro affirmed that Venezuela is not going to ever relinquish to a neoliberal project and that they will keep a Latin Americanist, Bolivarian and revolutionary project.

In fact, he said the Bolivarian Revolution appeared a bit more than 20 years ago as an early response to the U.S. Empire’s dictatorial and unipolar trend of thought and that it came as an early response to prove that a different world is possible. One that comes with a guarantee to free education, free health care, decent homes, union and social rights, decent pensions, cultural rights. An alternative model proving that it is possible indeed to distribute the wealth among everybody in good times and bad.

Venezuela’s new “Constitution was passed in a constitutional referendum on December 15, 1999, that will be 20 years this December 15. Here is the strategic guide; it was the first response achieved through social struggle, ideological struggle, taking power through the vote. A long time has passed. We can say the path remains untouched in our process of Revolution.”

“Venezuela’s revolutionary force, facing global media campaigns, aggression of all sorts and murder attempts against the President is no small thing. Those are specialized campaigns against Chavism.”

“There is another specialized campaign in Argentina. Why so many campaigns, so much manipulation, so much fear?” Maduro wondered.

“Regardless of all these attempts to derail us, we remain standing. It’s no small thing saying the Revolution has won 23 elections out of 25 in 20 years. And we are ready to win election number 24 in a few months.”

He noted that two years ago, amidst violent opposition protests and murders, elections were held in Venezuela, “even though they constantly say we are a dictatorship.” Out of 23 regional governments, they won 20 with 54 percent of the vote. Two months before that, they had won 300 mayor’s offices out of 335 with 68 percent of the vote.”

Between 2002 and 2013, he stated, Venezuela lived a moment of revolutionary offensive and splendor with Commander Chavez after overcoming a coup d’état, as well as the election of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil; Tabare Vazquez in Uruguay; Rafael Correa in Ecuador; Fernando Lugo in Paraguay; Mel Zelaya in Honduras; and the always revolutionary Cuba. Every process with its own characteristic.

But a setback was endured in the region when President Zelaya was ousted in Honduras in 2009, the same as President Lugo in Paraguay, and President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Another coup was carried out in the South American giant against Lula to prevent him from winning elections. “And I’m sure he will win again when he is released from jail.”

A hard blow was Mauricio Macri’s victory in Argentina, he said. “And Chavez’s death was really a hard blow because Chavez was the leader of a highly significant historical trend.”

He added that strengthening the economic blockade against Cuba in times of the Donald Trump Administration is also a hard time.

“After all of that, with the strong resistance we’ve had, we can say today, towards the end of 2019, that a new geopolitical situation is developing in the region and a new wave is rising to face neoliberalism.”

In this connection, he listed three fronts: the front of resistance in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the Caribbean, with an active, victorious and triumphant resistance.

He added that we are all sure that indigenous leader, “Evo Morales is going to resist and triumph over the fascist threat of the Bolivian Right. The Venezuelan President said that the deadline of the opposition was not set just against Evo but against the Bolivian people. That is the truth, it is fascism and I’m sure that indigenous people, Aimara and Quechua, as well as miners, college students and movements in the shantytowns are going to take Bolivia’s streets to back Evo Morales. We give our strong support to Evo in the face of manipulation and lies from the Bolivian Right and the United States. There is plenty of resistance there. A struggle.”

A second front rising in Latin America’s horizon, bright and beautiful, is in Mexico’s President Manuel Lopez Obrador and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez. He said this is a progressive front that is going to play a key role in Latin America’s struggle against neoliberalism. While a third front made up of the people’s movements is present in the streets of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile.

Maduro said the United States Administration, stupid as it is, as well as the regional right, has blamed him and Raul for the events in Brazil, Chile and Ecuador. No, he stated, “it is the IMF that is the only one to be blamed, together with its neoliberal recipients. The ones being blamed are searching for alternatives to face those wild neoliberal policies of hunger and misery.”

“We want a common destination Like the one developed by the great Commander Fidel Castro. We have to pave that way.

“If there is anything we learned from Chavez, it was to be brave. I always remember how brave Chavez was when he came to Cuba. He came to Cuba to support Fidel during the worst time of the special period.

“More than a few told Chavez; don’t go to Cuba or you will lose credibility! They were in the midst of the special period and Chavez said, “Fidel is the light for the Continent. I’m going!” And here he was 25 years ago. A dose of courage is needed to pave the ways of truth.”

“In Venezuela with courage we united the revolutionary processes, commanded by Bolivar and Marti. And then followed the unity between Fidel and Chavez. It’s necessary to take those paths of courage and dare to debunk myths, blackmail, and lies.”

Maduro finished his talk to a thunderous applause when he said, “Good and better times are rising in Latin America. Let’s have enough spiritual strength to continue pushing in our century and then no one will be able to take it from us.”

Ever Onward to Victory!

Source: Granma, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau