(Photo: Telesur, Chavistas in Caracas protest in support of Maduro)

There is a right-wing coup attempt underway in Venezuela orchestrated by the Trump White House and the CIA along with its junior partners — the so-called Lima Group. The democratically-elected government of Nicolás Maduro has broken relations with the U.S. government and ordered the U.S. embassy in Caracas closed and all its agents to leave the country within 72 hours. We are witnessing once again a classic example of U.S. imperialism and its proxies attempting to carry out an illegal regime change operation against a progressive government. People all over the world need to stand in solidarity with Venezuela in this critical moment.

The declaration by Juan Guaidó that he is assuming the presidency of the country is an outrage, and represents an attempt by the Venezuelan capitalist elite and their masters in Washington to overturn the country’s Bolivarian Revolution, which has empowered Venezuela’s poor and laid the foundations for the construction of socialism. Guaidó, a member of the far-right Popular Will party, was virtually unknown in the country until a few weeks ago — he has no popular support and is simply a vessel for the conspiracy underway directed by the Trump administration.    

In a statement, Trump claimed that “In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly [which Guaidó leads] invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant.” This is a ridiculous distortion of the truth. President Maduro was re-elected last year with 67 percent of the vote in an election that was judged to be free and fair by independent observers.

In fact, it is the National Assembly that is illegitimate. The National Assembly was declared to be in contempt by the Venezuelan Supreme Court after it defied the National Electoral Council and seated legislators whose elections were nullified on the basis of vote buying. All decisions made by the National Assembly, including the selection of Guaidó as its leader, are unconstitutional and null and void.

This is far from the first time that the United States has sponsored a coup against a democratically-elected government. The overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954, and Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 are just some of the more well-known examples. On a press briefing call today, a senior State Department official pointedly refused to rule out the possibility of the United States taking military action against Venezuela.

The Trump administration’s rhetoric about human rights and democracy is completely hollow. Venezuela is in fact being targeted because it has a socialist government that challenges the dominance of western corporations and refuses to obey the dictates of Washington.  

We call on all progressive people and opponents of U.S. wars to rally in defense of Venezuela’s sovereignty and the Bolivarian Revolution. Actions are taking place outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. today at 6:30 p.m., in Los Angeles on Thursday at CNN headquarters at 6:00 pm, in Washington, D.C. on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. in front of the White House, and in San Francisco on Friday at 5:00 p.m. at 24th and Mission Sts. Now more than ever, we need to take to the streets and demand: “U.S. hands off Venezuela!”