Scottish trade unionists reject regime change in Venezuela

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing over 540,000 trade unionists in Scotland, has reaffirmed its support for the Bolivarian Revolution in the face of aggressive US-led efforts at regime change in Venezuela.

An emergency motion proposed by Unison Scotland and seconded by RMT Scotland was carried unanimously at the STUC 122nd Annual Congress in Dundee this week.

Phil McGarry, chair of the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign set out the current situation in Venezuela at an STUC fringe meeting on Monday, co-hosted by SVSC and the Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign (SCSC).

As well as praising the social and economic gains for working class Venezuelans over the past two decades and rejecting US-led calls for regime change, the motion passed calls on each of the affiliated 37 trade unions and 20 Trades Union Councils to “counteract all propaganda directed against Venezuela as prejudicial to the implementation of progressive policies everywhere, including Britain”.

Sam McCartney of Unison Scotland, moving the motion, further called on “all trade unions to affiliate to the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign so that we are able to counter the lies and propaganda being spewed out by those who seek to undermine democracy and self-determination”.

He added: “Over the years, this Congress and the STUC have supported social and economic change to empower the masses in many countries. Only a few years ago, we sent our support and solidarity to fellow workers and comrades in South America. Let’s continue our support, let’s send our support to Venezuela and the legitimate government.

“Let’s start by demanding that the US ceases its interference in Venezuela. Let’s demand that the Bank of England and Deutsche Bank in Germany release and return the billions of pounds of gold they owe back to Venezuela.

“Let’s stop the bullies of the world imposing their dogma on working class people.”

Ann Joss of RMT Scotland, seconding the motion, told the Congress that the Trump administration is “agitating for war, and this position is being supported slavishly by the United Kingdom”.

She continued: “They are using the argument that this is to solve the ‘humanitarian crisis’. What a load of rubbish! It was them that created the crisis with their economic sanctions. Selective amnesia comes to mind.

“If they get away with this without challenge, then they will further concentrate their efforts on Nicaragua and Bolivia.

“The truth of the matter is that they want Venezuela’s oil. Let’s send a clear message of solidarity from our Congress. No to US intervention! No blood for oil! Viva Venezuela!”

You can find out more about joining the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign as an individual, or affiliating your trade union or organisation, by clicking here.

Full text of the motion

Emergency motion no. 1 – Venezuela Solidarity

“That this congress pledges its continued support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its Elected Government and its policies designed to affect progressive change in favour of working people. It commends the Social and Economic gains secured including its programme for Public Health provision, its elimination of illiteracy, its strengthening of Trade Union Rights, its reduction in Poverty, Inequality, and the construction of 2 million homes since 2016.

“Congress therefore condemns the calls for Regime change from the United States, its allies and expresses its dismay at the devastating consequences of the Economic Sanctions, both formal and informal imposed by the United States and their allies. This is viewed as a fundamental attack of the principle of Democracy.

“US Vice President Mike Pence told the UN Security Council last Wednesday that the Trump administration is determined ‘to restore democracy to Venezuela’, preferably through diplomatic and economic pressure, but ‘all options are on the table’.

“Congress calls on the General Council to:

Raise matters with the British and Scottish Governments to condemn these sanctions, and to consider ways to promote a peaceful solution through dialogue, including the initiatives proposed by Mexico, Bolivia, and Uruguay;

Defend the sovereignty of Venezuela and its right to self-determination;

Reject and oppose any external interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, especially from the United States, including any military aggression; and

Reject and oppose any attempt to change the government by illegal, unconstitutional and/or violent methods.

“Immediately and unconditionally lift all sanctions by the United States and the European Union which violates international law, thus easing the suffering of the poor and the most vulnerable.

“Finally, Congress calls on all its affiliates to counteract all propaganda directed against Venezuela as prejudicial to implementation of the progressive policies everywhere, including Britain. Solidarity with the Venezuelan people is crucial.”

Mover: UNISON (Scotland)
Seconder: RMT (Scotland)