By the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV)

Caracas, November 28, 2023

Declaration of the VII plenary session of the Central Committee of the PCV regarding the consultative referendum on the Essequibo Territory:

The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), as a revolutionary party of the working class, acting with total independence from capital and the bourgeois state, guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and proletarian internationalism, in safeguarding the peace and sovereignty of the peoples and inspired by the emancipatory, Latin Americanist and unifying ideals of the liberator Simón Bolívar, addresses the working class of the city and the countryside and, in general, the Venezuelan people, to state our position before the call made by the National Government for a Consultative Referendum on the Essequibo territory this December 3, 2023:

  1. We reiterate our historical position in favor of a peaceful and negotiated solution to the border dispute between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; without interference from monopolies and foreign powers, for the good of our peoples and not of local and foreign oligarchies; respecting the sovereign rights of both countries and under the principles of mutual cooperation, unity and solidarity between peoples.
  1. Recognizing the fairness of Venezuela’s historical claim against the dispossession executed by the British Empire at the end of the 19th century, we reject the path to escalate diplomatic, political and military tensions assumed by the bourgeois governments of both nations and promoted by the oil companies after the discovery of large oil and gas deposits in the disputed area, particularly by ExxonMobil, whose direct action in the conflict coincides with the appointment of its CEO, Rex Tillerson, as US Secretary of State in 2017. The transnational oil companies that benefit from the concessions illegally granted by the government of Guyana play a decisive role in the actions aimed at exacerbating the bi-national conflict in search of a quick decision which looks after their interests, while opening the way to the possibility of a clash between neighboring peoples, with unpredictable consequences.
  1. We call on the working people of Venezuela and Guyana to remain alert and to strongly condemn, on both sides of the border, these maneuvers that only favor capital and the local bourgeoisies. Likewise, we call on both peoples to reject any pretension to install military enclaves of the United States or any other foreign power in the Essequibo strip, which would be a threat to peace in the region and an aggression against the sovereignty of the two nations.
  1. The government of President Nicolás Maduro, in its desperation caused by a growing popular rejection of its neoliberal administration and in order to overlook the just demands made daily by the Venezuelan workers, has resorted to the old strategy of the bourgeoisie on the issue of the Essequibo: to try to instill ultra-patriotic and chauvinist feelings in a good part of the population through a million-dollar advertising campaign. We deplore that this strategy adopted by the Government, with which it intends to deceive, manipulate and dominate the Venezuelan people, making them believe that there is no more important problem to solve in our country, has only electoral, opportunist and reactionary purposes. There could even be a scenario in which — as a result of the escalation of tensions — the government of President Nicolás Maduro imposes a state of emergency to justify the suspension of the presidential elections scheduled for next year. We warn that the consequences of such a policy could be a strategic defeat of the legitimate aspirations of Venezuela over the Essequibo territory and an advance in the positioning of transnational capital and the interests of the imperialist powers in the region.
  1. For the PCV, a government that restricts and violates the labor, human, social and political rights of the Venezuelan working class; that prosecutes and bans parties, as it did recently against the Communist Party of Venezuela; that applies a policy of confiscation of the constitutional rights of the working people and restriction of democratic freedoms, with the criminal freezing of salaries and pensions, the dismantling of collective bargaining agreements, restrictions to trade union freedom, the imprisonment and prosecution of workers who fight or who denounce corruption, the deterioration of public education and health, or the extreme precariousness of essential public services such as electricity, water and domestic gas, has no moral or political authority to call for a false “national unity in defense of the homeland.”
  1. The PCV calls on the people of Venezuela to reflect, with critical thinking and class consciousness, on what position to take before the Consultative Referendum called by the Government on the issue of the Essequibo, without getting carried away by the noisy campaign with which it intends to portray the anti-worker, anti-popular and anti-democratic government of Maduro as “the most patriotic,” when in reality it is willing to hand over everything to transnational companies in order to hold on to power. Such are the cases of the oil companies Chevron, Repsol and ENI; the concessions in the Orinoco Mining Arc and the Special Economic Zones, in which large extensions of the national territory are offered to foreign companies.
  1. The PCV also denounces the mechanisms of coercion and undue pressures that are being exerted by those in power to force people to participate in this referendum, which is not binding and therefore does not resolve the dispute with Guyana. Threats of unjustified sackings or suspension of social benefits (including the withdrawal of the CLAP food bag) and the practices of harassment and persecution under the accusation of “betrayal of the homeland,” which both workers of the public administration and inhabitants of popular sectors receive, are unacceptable. In this regard, we must be clear that participation in any popular consultation is a right and not an obligation. To participate or not to participate, to vote yes or no, is a free and voluntary decision of each Venezuelan and must be respected; we demand a stop to the abusive governmental authoritarianism.
  1. We warn the Venezuelan people that those who today speak of the defense of the country against the advance of ExxonMobil in the Essequibo strip are the same ones who a few days ago signed a secret agreement with the U.S. government to allow the handing over of the Venezuelan oil and gas industry to the same U.S. companies that operate illegally in the Essequibo. The Venezuelan working class must preserve its independence from the ruling classes, act according to its own interests and not allow itself to be used by the bosses’ elites, the bourgeoisie and their politicians in the government and the opposition who, as it is, have never previously been interested in the Essequibo strip because national oil income has been enough for them to accumulate their capital and realise their own gross enrichment.

The PCV will do everything in its power to unite the working class and other exploited sectors of Venezuela and Guyana, with the aim of achieving a common strategy for the benefit of the peoples and against the desires of the monopolies and the warmongering adventures of the bourgeois governments both here and there; objectives that will be fully achieved  when the working classes and the peoples of Venezuela and Guyana assume power and initiate processes to construct societies without exploitation and social oppression.

Caracas, November 28, 2023