On 30 August, the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles held a virtual thematic meeting on the crisis in Venezuela, with a presentation by leaders of the National Committee of Workers' Conflicts in Struggle.
The activity brought together unionists representatives and activists from various Latin American countries to discuss and show solidarity with Venezuelan workers.
During the meeting, urgent issues related to the political, economic and social crisis that is deeply affecting the Venezuelan people were addressed. Trade unionists and activists shared their perspectives and proposed joint actions to support those who are fighting for justice and better living conditions in Venezuela.
Economic situation of misery
Thony Navas, leader of Sirtrasalud, Capital District, Caracas, opened the activity by highlighting the serious wage crisis facing Venezuela, listing it as the worst place in Latin America. He pointed out that, for two years now, workers have received just 4 dollars a month as a salary, an amount that doesn't even cover a basic food basket. In addition, he described the absence of basic social rights, such as social security and pensions, in a political system that calls itself socialist, but in reality is sustained by corruption, neoliberalism and authoritarianism. "We are living through a disaster caused by a government that is not socialist, but voraciously capitalist and neoliberal. And we must denounce to other brothers and peoples, not only in Latin America, but throughout the world, that here they are trying to create a model of modern slavery, as happens in other governments, which makes us the most miserable in Latin America," he said.
Fighting for rights and freedom
Alongside Thony, Guillermo Navas, the lawyer defending the 6 comrades arbitrarily detained by the Maduro government for organising and demanding rights, highlighted the workers' ongoing struggle in Venezuela, despite persecution and repression by the state. "Based on a law they invented to imprison opponents, demanding basic rights such as drinking water or wages is an offence," he said.
The lawyer also mentioned that union leaders and activists have been unjustly imprisoned and treated like common criminals, and emphasised the importance of considering the struggle against the government as an immediate revolutionary task for the Venezuelan people and Latin America in general.
Challenges and commitments
The meeting addressed the challenges that the combative and independent left faces in deconstructing distorted narratives in order to gain the necessary support for Venezuelans living in the midst of a deep crisis.
Fábio Bosco, member of CSP-Conlutas and ILNSS, addressed exploitation in the region, saying that "the different imperialisms continue to plunder the wealth of Latin America and all governments, whether dictatorships or so-called progressives, are committed to international interests. The situation in Venezuela is the most dramatic," he emphasised.
Members from different countries shared information about strikes, persecutions and resistance actions taking place in their respective territories, and all noted the seriousness of the case when compared to the contexts of other Latin American countries.
Finally, the ILNSS' virtual meeting emphasised the importance of international solidarity among workers in Latin America, determining as a commitment the dissemination of the truth about the cruel reality imposed by Maduro's government, especially among left-wing movements in Latin America and around the world, and the unity to support the Venezuelan people's efforts to seek justice, better living conditions and respect for human rights.
Recommendations and joint actions
Representatives from different Latin American countries expressed support and solidarity with the workers of Venezuela, and proposed the creation of a joint international action, not only focussed on trade union issues, but also in support of political prisoners and the search for a workers' government and a socialist development plan for Venezuela.
Acts in front of embassies around the world will also be planned and co-ordinated. In addition, the participants discussed carrying out concrete actions, starting with meetings between organisations, to amplify the voices of the oppressed, denounce abuses and seek collective solutions to the challenges faced in Venezuela.
A motion should be made and presented at the CSP-Conlutas National Congress, which will be held between 7 and 10 September. An initiative like this will also be taken forward during the 5th International ILNSS' Meeting, which starts on 10 September and ends on 12 September.
New debates will be held. Through this collaboration and joint action, the workers present showed that they are willing to face the difficulties to end the exploitation, persecution and violence of governments against the working class in Venezuela, Latin America and the world.