Stop the Bush-Cheney coup in Venezuela

Bush administration schemes to overthrow democratically elected President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are coming unraveled. Bush joined the anti-Chavez coup plotters in their call for Chavez to agree to ‘early elections.’

But then the Organization of American States voted 32 to 0 in support of Chavez, the first time in history the OAS has defied U.S. diktat. The OAS resolution states: ‘Resolved: To fully back the democratic and constitutional legitimacy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela … led by Hugo Chavez Frias, and to reject categorically any coup attempt.’

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer hastily backpedaled, claiming Bush supports the OAS stand.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Army Chief of Staff Gen. Julio Garcia Montoya denounced a 15-day lockout as an ‘irrational and brutal action against the country.’ National Guardsmen seized control of oil tankers idled by a ‘strike’ of captains that was branded as ‘piracy’ by their crews.

Caracas police arrested a Portuguese provocateur, Joao Gouveia, on charges of firing the shots that killed three and wounded 28 anti-Chavez protesters. Gouveia reportedly confessed that he was paid 35 million Bolivars by coup leader Gen. Medina Gomez to open fire on coup supporters. (Snipers who opened fire killing several anti-Chavez protesters last April 11 were released by ‘dictator-for-a-day’ Pedro Carmona during his 24-hour coup.)

At home, hundreds of groups and individuals signed a letter to Bush initiated by 16 House members demanding that he ‘state unequivocally that the United States government opposes any attempt to remove the democratically elected government of Venezuela by a military coup or other unconstitutional means.’

These same groups set up picketlines outside the offices of the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington and other cities Dec. 18 to protest NED’s role in the coup. We welcome these actions in opposition to another Bush-Cheney ‘coup for oil.’ We urge our readers to stand in solidarity with the people of Venezuela.

Peace on earth?

Unending war, preemptive strikes, missile defense, smallpox, global climatic change, AIDS, terrorism, pollution, poverty, racism and inequality – these are just some of the issues facing humanity. A bit overwhelming isn’t it?

This time of year many people gather with family and friends and reflect on their hopes and aspirations for themselves and their children, the bountifulness of nature and the wish for peace on earth. A wish that may seem as elusive as ever.

Or is it?

Poet Nikki Giovanni wrote:

In the name of peace

They waged the wars

Ain’t they got no shame?

Apparently they have no shame. But, who is ‘they’ and why do they wage war?

Since the Peace movement’s inception, many have grappled with this question. Today, the Bush administration and the monopoly corporations it represents are the ‘they.’ Their ‘Pax Americana’ policies, aimed at making the world safe for corporate greed, are the driving force behind humanity’s monumental problems, including the current threat of war. Now mainstream America is coming to grips with why peace on Earth is needed now. We on the left and in the Communist Party see these problems as embedded in the system of capitalism and the struggle by capitalists to retain their power over the working class and everybody else – the class struggle.

Not everyone may see it quite that way. But most will agree it will take a lot of voices, especially in the U.S., coming together to guarantee that the Bush administration does not have its way with the world.

More than a century ago, the abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner said, ‘Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child … I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth…’ How to turn swords into ploughshares is the historic challenge before us.

Peace on earth? If we work hard. And working people of all races and nationalities have never been afraid of hard work. As a former President of the UN General Assembly, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, once said, ‘The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.’