Activists in cities all across Florida began to mobilize as the news of the U.S.-sponsored coup in Venezuela broke at the end of January. Unelected right-wing politician Juan Guaidó declared himself president, and the U.S. government along with the rest of the imperialist Western bloc and the right wing governments in Latin America have recognized him as the legitimate president. The vast majority of the international community, however, continues to recognize the democratically elected Nicolás Maduro, the representative of the Bolivarian revolution led by Hugo Chávez.
The U.S. strategy in Latin America is to overthrow progressive and socialist governments and replace them with puppet regimes that serve its economic interests. It uses the media to spread false propaganda about these governments, claiming that they are dictatorships and that commit human rights abuses. In Florida, where there are many Venezuelan immigrants that are against Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution, these tactics are especially effective. Activists in six Florida cities took to the streets to speak the truth about what’s happening in Venezuela.
Miami: Jan. 26
In the city of Doral, Florida, over 50 activists came out in support of the Maduro government in Venezuela and against U.S. intervention in Latin America. The people chose to protest across from the Univision building, a television station responsible for carelessly spreading propaganda and fake news against Venezuela. People and organizations from all over south Florida showed their support for the Venezuelan people. Organizations such as Miami Democratic Socialists of America, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Bolivarian Circle of Miami were among the many groups.
Rallying in support of the Venezuelan government so close to Miami is no easy feat. While reactionary Venezuelans frequently attempted to harass the activists, they never backed down from their steadfast message of anti-interventionism and support for the Bolivarian Revolution. In the end, this rally in support of Maduro in the heart of Miami, seen as a hotbed of reactionary sentiment, signaled a building consciousness among the people.
Orlando: Jan. 28
In Orlando, Florida, members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation coordinated alongside members of the Orlando Workers League and the DSA for an emergency protest against the attempted coup in Venezuela. Participants chanted slogans and shouted encouraging remarks of solidarity with the Venezuelan people, Nicolás Maduro, and the Bolivarian Revolution. The crowd called for an end to U.S.-led sanctions and a stop to U.S. government intervention in Venezuela and Latin America in general.
Inclement weather consisting of temperatures in the 50s and rain prevented optimal turnout. Nonetheless, the commitment of the Orlando-based coalition remained unwavering as the rally garnered a strong showing of people. Rain or shine, we are committed to supporting the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and Venezuelan sovereignty against the latest U.S.-led coup attempt.
Tampa: Jan. 26
People across the Tampa Bay Area gathered near Senator Marco Rubio’s office to deliver a clear message. We denounced his cheerleading for regime change, his insidious conniving against every progressive Latin American government, and his hysterical obsessiveness with the Maduro government. Participants demanded that the United States stops intervention in Venezuela and all of Latin America, and that the economic chokehold through sanctions, hoarding of essential goods and manipulation of currency exchange rates be ended.
Demonstrators spoke about the history of Latin American countries and U.S. involvement in regime change, the history of Venezuela and the current crisis, Juan Guaidó and the other U.S.-funded far right-wing opposition movements, and why the US is trying to crush the Bolivarian Revolution and Maduro government once and for all. Speaker Ruben Ferrer gave a first-hand perspective as a native Venezuelan and Chavista about the social gains of the Bolivarian Revolution and how the right-wing opposition has been trying to manipulate and undermine the government since Chavez’s election in 1998. Kara Malin spoke about the transparent zeal of the U.S. imperialism’s desire for Venezuela’s oil, revealed through emails surfaced by WikiLeaks.
Demonstrators then marched along downtown Tampa during the city’s Gasparilla Parade to leaflet and talk to spectators on the coup attempt and why they should be against the U.S.government’s plot.
Pensacola: Jan. 25
Members of the PSL and others gathered in front of Senator Marco Rubio’s unmarked local office to make their voices heard. Rubio has positioned himself at the forefront of this attack on Venezuela, peddling lies and right-wing propaganda in an attempt to drum up support for this naked act of imperialism.
Taking turns on the microphone, protesters stood in front of his office and denounced his stance. People described in detail the violent and devastating history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America, called for support for Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, and expressed unwavering solidarity with the Venezuelan people. After the speak-out portion of the demonstration, we rallied and marched through a populous area nearby, chanting “Hands off Venezuela!” and “Venezuela is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” While they received no response from within Rubio’s office, staffers did watch through the windows and appeared to be recording with their phones.
Tallahassee: Jan. 28
The PSL along with other concerned protestors gathered in front of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to protest the U.S.-led coup in Venezuela. A group of about 20 protestors met in front of the Historic Capitol, and then later entered the capitol building to Marco Rubio’s office. There, PSL members Connor Jordan and Shelby Shoup gave speeches denouncing the imperialist attempts at corrupting the socialist uprising in Venezuela.
Jordan’s speech was addressed both to the demonstrators who were there that day, as well as the people of Venezuela resisting regime change at home. The bottom line is that we must see U.S. intervention in Latin America for what it really is: an attempt to quell socialist organizing and an attempt to extract resources from their land. PSL stands in solidarity – along with many other countries – with Venezuela and the workers fighting for their beliefs there.
Sarasota: Jan. 28
During the evening rush hour in Sarasota, Florida, the Party for Socialism and Liberation held an emergency demonstration on the side of a busy road to show support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and President Nicolás Maduro in the face of capitalist, imperialist aggression. About 15 people rallied and stood against the U.S. backed, right-wing coup attempt in Venezuela.
PSL members and Venezuelan Americans spoke about the continuing legacy of the Bolivarian revolution, Venezuelan working class support for President Maduro (who received 67 percent of the vote in an election that was judged free and fair by international independent observers), the illegitimacy of Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly’s claim to power, and the necessity of maintaining Venezuela’s nationalized oil industry and sovereignty from foreign governments seeking oil profits.
Members also spoke about the history of colonialism and capitalist aggression towards socialist governments and revolutions (including the sanctions which have starved the people of Venezuela and other countries) as well as the danger of US imperialism and how the growing number of U.S. military interventions in Latin America cause violence and suffering across the continent. Many commuters and cars showed their support while driving past the demonstration.
The anti-imperialist movement is growing in the state of Florida and the entire United States as people are informed and educated about the intentions and tactics of the U.S. and its allies. We will continue to build this movement until it is more powerful than the forces that are bringing catastrophe and destitution to Latin America. Progressive and revolutionary people in Florida say: Hands off Venezuela! Hands off Latin America!