The Tory government has responded to the Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela on Sunday July 30 with an escalation of hypocritical imperialist rhetoric and actions.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote a tweet in which he denounced Venezuelan president Maduro for acting “like a dictator of an evil regime”. At the same time, the UK ambassador to Venezuela attended a special session of the opposition-controlled National Assembly which declared the Constituent Assembly as illegitimate and decided not to recognise it. This is a very scandalous and provocative measure on the part of a British diplomat.
Hands Off Venezuela strongly rejects these statements and denounces the hypocrisy of the Conservative government of Theresa May. A government like Theresa May’s, which cozies up to all sorts of dictatorial and oppressive regimes, has no moral authority whatsoever to speak about human rights or democracy.
Let us remember that the Tory government has no problem whatsoever in having the closest relationship with the reactionary and murderous dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, which is currently carrying out a war in neighbouring Yemen that is killing thousands of men, women and children. The government of Theresa May has suppressed a House of Commons reports on the links between Saudi Arabia and reactionary Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, and Boris Johnson himself advocated the continuation of the sale of British weapons to the Saudi regime right after the Saudi Air Force admitted bombing a funeral in Yemen, killing dozens.
More recently, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May had no problem in visiting Turkish president Erdogan and agreeing the sale of fighter jets worth £100 million. Erdogan has sacked tens of thousands of civil servants in a politically motivated purge; razed Kurdish towns to the ground; and jailed tens of thousands of people for their political beliefs, including 12 members of parliament from the Kurdish and Left HDP. Journalists in Erdogan's Turkey are regularly arrested, with dozens of media outlets closed down.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are just two of many examples which could be given of the UK government supporting reactionary oppressive regimes (yes, Boris Johnson, dictatorships), as long as they are “our” allies and we can sell them weapons. Not a single tweet from Boris Johnson about these. The UK ambassador did not go and offer support to HDP mayors and Members of Parliament when they were being arrested and jailed. The stinking hypocrisy and double standards of the Tory government know no limits.
What happened in Venezuela on July 30th is easy to understand. President Maduro, as it is his right, called for Constituent Assembly elections. No one was excluded from participating. The opposition decided to boycott the elections, as is their right also.
But the Venezuelan opposition went further. They organised a campaign of violence and threats, backed up by Washington and Madrid (and now London too), to prevent the elections from going ahead. Over 200 polling stations were attacked, dozens could not open due to intimidation from violent opposition supporters who set up barricades, carried out arson attacks, killed Constituent Assembly candidates and on the day of the election itself attacked a National Guard motorcade with a powerful incendiary roadside bomb.
In any other country they would be rightly described as terrorists. Not a single tweet from Boris Johnson about this. Instead, the Tory government has decided to side with this undemocratic and violent opposition against the right of Venezuelans to participate in elections.
We say to May and Johnson, loud and clear: HANDS OFF VENEZUELA!