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Maduro Government Receives Staunch Support from Communes, Medical Supplies from China, Diplomatic Assistance from Russia

May 20, 2019

Entrance of Panal 2021 commune in 23 de Enero, Caracas  


A Day in a Venezuelan Chavista Stronghold: Communal Resistance in Caracas

Marco Teruggi reports on the popular organization in 23 de Enero to resist against the economic crisis and foreign aggression.

 Venezuela Analysis, May 20th 2019 at 10.31am

Translation by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau

Caracas a city made up of several cities. They oppose each other; sometimes they are afraid of each other. The east side bursts with news about Juan Guaido and the opposition. The west side is the territory of Chavista majorities, Miraflores Presidential Palace, the core of power. The division is about class but about names too: people in the east live in hills, while in the west they live in barrios. One of those barrios is the 23 de Enero neighborhood, which had a tradition of popular resistance even before Hugo Chavez came onto the scene and where several colectivos exist. Colectivos are one of the forms of Chavista organization.

The word colectivo has been used to embody the myths of the right wing to demonize the Bolivarian Revolution. They are described as criminal gangs used to carry out the dirty work of state security forces, such as preventing the opposition from holding their demonstrations. Republican Senator Marco Rubio has affirmed they should be described as terrorist organizations by the United States.

One of these colectivos in the 23 de Enero is the Alexis Vive Patriotic Force. The presence of the organization can be felt as soon as you enter the neighborhood, where you can see a banner in a tall arch that reads: “Welcome. Socialist Commune El Panal 2021.” Once inside the commune, you find a communal bakery, the daily life of a popular sector in Caracas with children wearing their school uniforms, newsstands, murals, motorcycles, music, and people trying to find shelter from the Caribbean sun.

“Colectivos are grassroots social organizations that work in political, social, communal, productive creations,” says Robert Longa, a reference in Alexis Vive. He’s sitting at Arsenal radio station, which they built in front of the communal sports facilities. Longa estimates that there are about thirty colectivos at the 23 de Enero.

“We are above all a communal movement. We think we must be immersed with the masses. This is about being a collective vanguard and that collective vanguard is the commune. We are part of the insurgent subject in the neighborhood,” Longa says. Alexis Gonzalez [after whom Alexis Vive is named] was murdered during the first years of the Bolivarian Revolution, during one of the coup attempts undertaken by the right-wing.

There are about 13 thousand people living in the communal territory, while the commune, together with the Alexis Vive Patriotic Force, has set up self-government agencies and is focused on economic and social development, including a sugar refinery, a bakery, a textile company, a food collection center, a blacksmith’s workshop, its own currency, a dance school, a sports club, and a pool for children during the weekends.

Alexis Vive, just like the other colectivos, is the target of media and political attacks of the right. “They see the colectivos in neighborhoods as pockets of resistance and containment walls, the same as the Cuban Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR). We are the center of media and material attacks that try to implode the system of our communities. On February 27, 1989 we came down from our slums; we did the same on April 11, 2002. We played a crucial role to seize and maintain power. And I guess they see the colectivos as an obstacle that will not let them generate the social unrest they are looking for.

There is calm in the 23 de Enero area, where the Patriotic Force and the Panal 2021 Commune exist. The organization manages to find solutions to problems of insecurity and it fights the economic situation every day. There is a complex situation in the poor areas of Caracas and it is even worse in cities far from the capital city. It is the result of the economic, financial blockade imposed by the U.S. but also due to mistakes: “The Revolution has made its own mistakes but we think we must solve them ourselves. Changes must be made inside the Revolution, not outside of it,” Longa says.

An activity is being carried out in the sports club; the Ministry of People’s Power for Communes is handing over tools for production. Communes from around Caracas’s western area came to the activity; people debate about the economic situation, difficulties and the need to produce, about prices, the meetings between the United States and Russia; about what could happen in such an unstable scenario where people’s organization is a major part within Chavismo's architecture.

“We always knew this moment would come, that we would see the empire’s face sooner rather than later,” Longa says. “We expect anything could happen from them. They bet on precise operations that may include murdering the President or imprisoning him. They try to create troubles within the Bolivarian National Armed Force to achieve a split leading us to a civil war, bringing U.S. mercenaries with Colombian paramilitary soldiers to generate scenarios like Syria’s.”

Few moments of calm can be expected in Venezuela’s politics. Though here, as in the majority of Caracas western areas, Guaido’s emergence did not translate into demonstrations of support. Chavismo has deep roots, with identity, culture, organization: “the rank-and-file is evidence that Chavismo exists, as well as the resistance we’ve had during this time. There is a consolidated Chavismo, convinced that the strategic line drawn up by Chavez is the correct line, communes, people’s power, regardless of the mistakes committed by leaders who seem to hold back the Revolution. That’s part of the contradictions in the process,” Longa says.

Political time can speed up suddenly at any moment. The Alexis Vive Patriotic Force know it. As many other people’s organizations, they have been declared the target of a strategy aimed not only at overthrowing Maduro but at reshaping society, which means erasing the Chavista grassroots that learned to lead in politics. Longa is among thousands of people who are convinced that they won’t be able to achieve this: He reminds us that, “Venezuela is a country inherited from a liberator and with blood of indigenous leaders.”

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Venezuelanalysis editorial staff.

China Delivers 71 Tons of Medical Aid to Venezuela

"With this second shipment, as well as that which we already received from the Russian Federation, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent some 166 tons of medicines and supplies have arrived in the country," Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said.

By TeleSur English May 15th 2019 at 10.19am

The People's Republic of China delivered a large amount of medical aid to Venezuela on Monday, completing their second long haul of cargo to the Bolivarian Republic since March.

According to the Venezuelan Health Ministry, a Chinese Boeing 747 carrying 71 tons of medicine and surgical material arrived in Caracas on Monday, May 13. The Venezuelan Government said the delivery included supplies for pregnant women and medicine to treat respiratory conditions. 

"With this second shipment, as well as that which we already received from the Russian Federation, the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent some 166 tons of medicines and supplies have arrived in the country," Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said.

China previously shipped 65 tons of humanitarian aid to Venezuela on March 29. This delivery was mislabeled as 'military' support to the government of the Bolivarian Republic.

Both Venezuela and China maintain close political and economic ties and have so for several years. China, along with Russia, have defended Venezuela at many U.N. Security Council meetings in which the U.S. and its allies attempt to pass resolutions against the Bolivarian Republic.

Russia Warns US Against Venezuela Meddling as Alleged Bomb Threat Temporarily Closes National Assembly

Merida, May 15, 2019 ( –

Russia told the United States that Venezuela’s people should be the only ones to decide the future of the country during a three-hour-long bilateral meeting held in Sochi, Russia on Tuesday.

The high level meeting, which bought together Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, dealt with a number of issues including Iran, nuclear disarmament, and Syria, but foreign involvement in Venezuela was one of the key disputes. Subsequent announcements from both sides indicated that no agreements had been made nor common ground reached.

The United States and fifty-three other nations maintain that Venezuela’s self-declared leader Juan Guaido is the lawful president, while Russia and roughly 75 percent of the world’s governments continue to have relations with Nicolas Maduro, who was elected in May 2018.

The US has hardened its stance against Caracas in recent months in its bid to oust Maduro, including ramping up economic sanctions and threatening military intervention, with tensions flaring over a naval border incursion last Thursday

In Sochi, Lavrov warned that US attacks against Venezuela do nothing to promote a democratic solution to the current crisis.

“Threats against Maduro's administration, which are heard from U.S. officials and Guaido, who constantly reminds us of his right to invite an armed intervention from abroad, have nothing in common with democracy," Lavrov told Pompeo, drawing parallels with previous regime change efforts which ended in war, such as in Iraq and Libya.

Lavrov’s remarks were backed up by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also met Pompeo on his trip. Putin’s aide described the discussion as “rather frank,” with the Russian leader informing Pompeo that “any steps that may provoke a civil war in [Venezuela] are unacceptable.”

Pompeo, for his part, called for “every country interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that.” Nonetheless, he went on to reiterate his government’s position that “Maduro must go.”

Four more lawmakers accused of treason

Likewise on Tuesday, more opposition Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) deputies had their parliamentary immunity from prosecution revoked by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

The lawmakers join a number of their colleagues in being accused of treason, conspiracy, and instigating civil rebellion, amongst other charges, by the Supreme Court, all related to their alleged involvement in the unsuccessful April 30 putsch.

On April 30, AN President Juan Guaido attempted to lead a military uprising to oust President Maduro. The attempted coup failed, however, when it became apparent that all but a handful of soldiers remained loyal to the sitting president.

Following Tuesday's decision, Deputies Carlos Paparino (First Justice, Merida State) and Miguel Pizarro (First Justice, Miranda State), as well as Substitute Deputies Franco Casella (Popular Will, Miranda State) and Winston Flores (Popular Will, Vargas State) may now be subject to criminal prosecution. This follows ten other right wing lawmakers who had their immunity revoked last week, with AN Vice President Edgar Zambrano taken into custody Wednesday. AN President Guaido also had his immunity lifted in April and investigations into the self-proclaimed “interim president” are ongoing.

Following the vote, ANC President Diosdado Cabello hinted that two more prominent opposition leaders – ex-governor of Bolivar State and Causa R leader, Andres Velazquez, and far-right Vente Venezuela party head Maria Corina Machado – may also be formally accused.

After learning of the decision, Deputy Paparoni told press, “None of us believe ourselves to be, nor are, martyrs, but we are also not willing to abandon this struggle for the future.”

Casella, on the other hand, decided to flee the accusations, taking refuge in the residence of the Mexican ambassador. A number of other accused opposition leaders also currently living in the residence of the Argentinian, Spanish, and Italian ambassadors in Caracas.

Alleged bomb alert at AN Palace

The Federal Legislative Palace in the Capitolio district of Caracas was cordoned off by police Tuesday following an alleged bomb threat which prevented the National Assembly from holding session.

ANC President Cabello later announced that “Fortunately, no explosive artefact was found.”

AN President Guaido, however, disputed the allegation, claiming that the government was “sabotaging” the building to prevent its functioning.

His position was supported by a small number of other opposition lawmakers who turned up to take part in the session. The opposition members considered holding the session in another location before Guaido declared it would be postponed, with the body going on to successfully hold session on Wednesday.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared the National Assembly in contempt of court in 2016, and its decisions “null and void,” following a series of procedural irregularities. The opposition-controlled body does not recognise this decision, however, and continues to call sessions.

A handful of opposition deputies ponder what to do in the administrative tower of the organisation following an alleged bomb threat closed the Federal Palace Tuesday. (Irene Mejias)

US police threaten to violate Vienna Convention

Venezuela’s political crisis also generated tension in Washington DC, as US police looked to break into the Venezuelan embassy and evict the members of the Embassy Protection Collective on Monday.

The embassy is currently being occupied by a number of US solidarity activists after being left vacant as the two countries broke diplomatic relations in January when the Trump administration recognised Guaido as “Interim President”. This was the second failed attempt by Guaido’s US representative, Carlos Vecchio, to take control of the building.

Authorities have cut off water and electricity to the building, while police and Guaido’s supporters have blocked food from entering. Solidarity movements have denounced this as a breach of human rights and international law.

Washington DC Metropolitan police attempted to enter the embassy in the evening after reading ad hoc eviction notice and breaking a chain closing off the entrance to the building. However, an incursion into the building and eventual arrests were halted following discussions with the activists’ attorney and the lack of formal eviction or arrest warrants. Activists have since claimed that the eviction notice read out was a fake.

Fears remain, however, that the diplomatic building is soon to be breached and those inside arrested, sparking a solidarity rally in Caracas Wednesday. Meanwhile the Collective was visited by Reverend Jesse Jackson Wednesday, who brought supplies for those inside. A national demonstration to support the collective is also due to be held in the United States this Saturday.

The trespassing notice read by Washington D.C.’s police, in which they declare that the US does not recognise the “former Maduro regime,” and that Guaido’s team in the US “are authorized to ask individuals to depart from the property.” (Embassy Protection Collective)  


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