[News] Venezuela’s Marching Campesinos Meet Maduro, Denounce Corruption & Revolutionary 'Reversals'

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 3 11:38:09 EDT 2018


https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13975


  Venezuela’s Marching Campesinos Meet Maduro, Denounce Corruption &
  Revolutionary 'Reversals'

Merida, August 2, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com 
<http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/>) – Venezuela’s campesino marchers 
achieved their immediate objective 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/image>Thursday, holding a public meeting 
with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, where they presented proposals 
for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

Scenes of tears and cries of joy dominated the live televised meeting 
held in Miraflores presidential palace, in which the multitude of small 
farmers, who hadmarched 435 kilometres from Guanare 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13966>, Portuguesa state, were given 
the opportunity to address the nation and draw the president’s attention 
to a series of popular grievances, including land evictions, corruption 
in state bureaucracy, and paramilitary violence.

The meeting with Maduro was cast into doubt Wednesday night when the 
march arrived in Caracas only to be met by a heavy National Guard picket 
line just blocks from Miraflores.

The weary marchers, who were accompanied by a significant number of 
Caracas-based social movements, decided to occupy the street in the 
rain, before meeting a commission from the National Constituent Assembly 
(ANC) headed by the body’s president, Diosdado Cabello.

The following day, they received the news that the president – who 
hadreceived pressure <https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13969> from 
within his own cabinet to attend the marchers personally – was to meet them.

During the encounter, three campesino leaders voiced the marchers’ 
demands to the president and the nation in unequivocal terms.

Arbonio Ortega, from Portuguesa state, explained that the 
anti-imperialist march was “a product of a necessity,” due to what he 
termed the “reverses” of the Bolivarian Revolution in the countryside. 
He also stressed that the march demonstrated the power of mobilisation 
and resistance in the sector.

Amongst the grievances which he outlined was corruption in local state 
entities, asking, “Why did we receive no support from the [United 
Socialist Party] government of Portuguesa state (...) why was it so hard 
for us to get to this point?”

He also underlined the problems of corruption and inefficiency in the 
wider agrarian sector, claiming, “We have plenty of proof.”

Equally, Nieves Rios, from Zulia state, denounced the violent land 
evictions currently occuring there, especially in the Catatumbo region. 
Amid cries of “justice, justice” she also made allegations before the 
president of corruption in the armed forces which, she claimed, protect 
“certain interests” and who are “mistreating” the people of the region.

Finally, farmer Jesus Osorio presented the campesinos’ official document 
of proposals which he handed over to Maduro.

The proposals include the declaration of an agrarian emergency, the 
intervention and restructuring of the Ministry of Agriculture and all of 
its sub-bodies – including the National Land Institute and the state-run 
agricultural corporation Agropatria – an audit into the ministry’s 
functionaries, and a review of the agrarian courts in order to halt the 
criminalisation of the land struggle.

“We must applaud those who have done things well, but punish those who 
have do them badly,” he appealed in reference to local officials and 
politicians.

In response, Maduro assured the marchers that he was “well informed” of 
their activities, and applauded the farmers for “waking up the national 
consciousness of what is going on in the countryside,” describing the 
initiative as “miraculous.”

“If the government doesn't reach the depths of the people, then the 
depths of the people must reach the government,” exhorted the former bus 
driver.

Responding to the marchers’ grievances, Maduro called a campesino 
congress to be held at the end of September.

He also ordered a review of all denunciations made over land which has 
previously been taken from private large landowners and handed over to 
communities, campesinos, or public or state bodies.

Likewise, he scheduled a high-level meeting for the following day to 
address the problems of land evictions, the legal agrarian system – 
including the appointment and conduct of local agrarian judges – all 
cases of alleged violence against campesinos, as well as the cases of 
corruption which the grouping bought to Caracas. He ordered the 
president of the Supreme Court, the president of the National 
Constituent Assembly, the attorney general, and his executive vice 
president to attend the meeting.

At the recent PSUV congress, Maduro took the unprecedented step of 
publically assuming responsibility for recent economic failings, 
recognising that “the productive models which we have tried have, so 
far, failed and the responsibility is mine, is ours.” He made no 
specific reference to the problems experienced in the countryside.

The marchers began walking July 11 numbering approximately forty. They 
have, though, grown in number along the route as delegations from other 
rural sectors and communities they have passed through joined their 
efforts. They now have representation from at least ten states.

“This march has been painted as being opposition-led, financed by 
powerful people. No, this march isn’t right-wing, its 100% chavista, 
supporting Maduro, Bolivarian, and the only thing it seeks is for 
Venezuela to move forward,”declared 
<https://www.aporrea.org/desalambrar/n329109.html> Elvis Camacaro, a 
disabled marcher from Portuguesa state who has made the journey on his 
bicycle.

The marchers have received wide-reaching support, especially from the 
Communist and Tumpamaro parties and alternative media outlets, as well 
as elements within the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV).

Analysts have claimed that the march may galvanize a host of popular 
revolutionary movements which look to pressure the government from a 
leftist position. This month has also seen protests from pro-government 
sectors such as theelectrical workers' union 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13964> andpublic sector nurses 
<https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13930>.

The ANC’s Escalonaclaims <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13972> 
that the march “has begun to make history… [and] could mark the 
beginning of people going back to the streets.”

Equally, the Communist Party, which has supported the march since its 
beginning, has described it as “heroic” and “an important impulse” to 
“build a new correlation of revolutionary forces.”

Explaining how the march was financed, Camacaro clarified that 
“campesinos came out with sacks of beans, lentils, rice, and people on 
the way have helped up with food and accommodation.”


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