Kolkata: Solidarity with the people of Venezuela who are resisting US and corporate intervention in its internal affairs reverberated in Kolkata recently, with a programme that saw academics and activists gathering in South Kolkata recently under the banner of ‘Friends of Latin America’.
Addressing the programme, noted economist Prabhat Patnaik said: “The struggle of the Venezuelan working class against imperialism is a bold statement against the United States.
Patnaik said the success of Venezuela’s present socialistic pattern of governance lay in the fact that due to steps like nationalisation of the country’s vast oil assets and telecommunication services, the poverty level of 40% in the 1990s and early 2000 decade dropped to 7%, one of the best amongst the Latin American nations.
He said the huge social sector investment by Venezuela does not seem tohave gone down well with the legacies of the erstwhile exploiters and rich Venezuelans as well as a section of the gainfully employed middle class of the country. The US, which equates democracy with neo-liberalism is taking the help of these forces, so that Venezuelan huge oil reserves can again be recapped by US-based multinational companies, he added.
“What is striking is that the US effort has got sanctions from the coalition of different developed nations, which is unprecedented” Patnaik said, adding that what was going on in Venezuela was an attempt to create a coup against an elected government whose fault was that it did not adhere to the neo-liberal economy prescribed by the US and other imperialist forces.
Noted educationist Mihir Bhattacharya said the US’ attempt went against the charter of the United Nations. He also criticised the media which, he said, was in an orchestrated manner manufacturing news to fan support for US sanctions.
Professor Amiyo Kumar Bagchi warned that if the US succeeded in imposing its hegemonic authority over Venezuela, it would have a catastrophic effect on India and other third world nations. If in the Indian election, a progressive government swears in to office and tries to implement progressive programmes, even then an emboldened the US, in such scenario, would start attempts to destabilise our country , just like it is now doing to destabilise the legally elected Government in Venezuela, he warned.
At the end of the programme, president of the All India Democratic Womens’ Association, Malini Bhattacharya, unanimously passed a decision to write a proposal on behalf of Friends of Latin America to all political parties taking part in the Lok Sabha Election 2019, requesting them to take a stand in favour of Venezuela and denouncing US attempt’s to organise a coup to overthrow the legally elected Nicolas Maduro government.