Her Excellency Rocío Maneiro
Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
March 19, 2017
Comrades, allow me to convey the warmest greetings to you all on behalf of the People and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and to express my personal gratitude to the Marx Memorial Library for giving me the opportunity to say a few words in commemoration of Karl Marx.
Marxism has been present in the revolutionary ideas of Latin America throughout the twentieth century, when Communist parties emerged all over the region and were forced to go underground by the repressive governments of the time. In Venezuela especially, Marxist ideas were rooted deep in the soil of our revolutionary tradition, which goes back to the struggles against slavery and oppression, and the War for Independence which in Venezuela became a civil war.
In present times, as you may know, the legacy of Marx is at the core of the Bolivarian Revolution and more specifically in the policies of our Government. Our social programs are inspired by the ideas of Karl Marx, giving priority to the inclusion of poor people into health, education, and housing systems.
Our Revolution also has been playing a crucial role in integrating Latin America into a regional project for Unity. In the last decade we had played a key role and we had also been deeply involved in the formation of to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA).
These great efforts towards the construction of our unified Homeland, are at risk. These great efforts towards a development of socialism in a unified Latin America, are at risk.
In 2006, in the World Social Forum in Caracas, President Chávez warned us that there was not much time left to implement the socialism envisaged by Karl Marx, saying, and I quote:
“I think that time is short, I think that there will be nothing beyond the 21st century if we do not change the world’s course in this century, I think that the phrase of Karl Marx is today more valid and dramatic than ever,
there is hardly any time left: socialism or death, but real death— of the entire human species and of life on planet earth, because capitalism is destroying the planet, capitalism is destroying life on earth, capitalism is destroying the ecological equilibrium of the planet; the destructive development of the capitalist model is putting an end to life on earth. I believe it’s now or never”.
But as we have found, there is no easy way. In 2016, and so far in 2017, President Maduro ́s government has made great efforts in overcoming an avalanche of attacks. Firstly, the right wing opposition, in control of Parliament since December 2015, has made the overthrow of the constitutional Government of Venezuela its number one priority. Secondly, the price of oil, the main export of Venezuela, fell to its lowest point in decades, so that we suffered an 85% drop in our national income.
On top of that, Washington declared Venezuela to be an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the US national security and foreign policy”, and since that moment, the economic war organized by the right wing opposition has dramatically intensified, affecting the distribution of food and medicines, while the international media began to promote the possibility of a humanitarian intervention in Venezuela.
Up to this day, the Bolivarian Government has managed to deal with this multi-pronged aggression, and to increase the popular organizational capabilities and consciousness of our people, the unity of the social coalition that supports the Bolivarian Revolution. Right now we are facing a renewed right wing international campaign launched by the imperialist forces. But we are aware of our role, and of the call made by Karl Marx in the 19th century: “the workers of the world have nothing to lose but their chains, workers of the world unite.”