During its 2017 Continental Assembly, held in Bogotá, Colombia from 24 to 27 April the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, in its South American, Latin American and Caribbean expression (CADTM / AYNA), discussed the situation in Venezuela, nationally and in the Latin America–Caribbean and worldwide context. This discussion stressed the themes and the goals which define the areas of activity of the CADTM, including the system of domination by government debt (internal and external), which is just one of the fundamental mechanisms used as an instrument of capitalist domination over the peoples of the world.
In this regard, in order to defend the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its people and the progress made during the Bolivarian revolution, we hereby express our conviction that to guarantee Venezuela’s sovereignty and to preserve the social, economic and democratic advances made, it is paramount that priority be given to meeting the needs of the people over the repayment of government debt (external and internal) as the path to resolving the current crisis and that the greater part of available resources be allocated to ensuring the country’s recovery and the respect of its independence.
Consequently, we reiterate our proposal to accompany popular initiatives aimed at obtaining the suspension of debt repayments in order to free resources needed elsewhere given the country’s present urgent situation, which threatens its process of emancipation. We are putting at the disposal of Venezuela’s people, of its social and popular movements and its national government, our experience in struggles related to debt and our expertise in conducting public and citizen debt audits in several countries (including Ecuador, Greece, Brazil and municipal audits in Spain), in order to contribute to making such an audit a reality in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Its purpose will be to detect illegitimate elements of the debt so that the country’s financial resources can be used for the benefit of its people and to guarantee their rights. We view the perspective of this audit as including financial debt but also environmental debt, historical debt and social debt, on the example of the proposal made publicly by Hugo Chávez in 2006 at the World Social Forum in Caracas. We reaffirm the appeal made by CADTM / AYNA (http://www.cadtm.org/CADTM-AYNA-appeals-to-the), which offered its support to the people and government of Venezuela for conducting such an audit at the World Assembly of the CADTM network in Tunis in 2016.
The conducting of this audit, which the CADTM network present in Venezuela (Red Venezolana Contra las Deudas or Venezuelan Network Against Debt) has long called for and which is now supported by the Platform for Public and Citizen Auditing (Plataforma por la Auditoría Pública y Ciudadana – https://auditoria.org.ve), is closely linked to the exercise of the right to information in public affairs and the obligation to guarantee that right that is incumbent on civil servants of the State in conformity with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, anti-corruption legislation and the laws empowering the population and providing for citizen oversight. Information and social participation are essential to democracy and popular sovereignty.
In consideration of the foregoing, we propose the creation of an International Commission in support of those who promote a public and citizen audit of debt in Venezuela.
Further, in light of the current economic situation faced by the Venezuelan nation, threatened by interference and intervention by the OAS [Organisation of American States] and the USA, we hereby express our categorical refusal of all forms of interference and interventionism that violate the sovereignty of Venezuela as a people and as a nation. We condemn with equal firmness all the threats and manoeuvres attempted against Venezuela in the service of outside interests and capitalist appetites. It is our hope that the conflicts in Venezuela will be resolved by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means, and not through violence.
Finally, we recommend the opening of a public debate in Venezuela on the question of debt and a public and citizen audit and on the sensitive issue of seeking alternatives to the rentier-extractivist model, an example of which is the Orinoco Mining Arc, |1| a project which is closely linked to the debt system and which raises profound concerns over its environmental and social-cultural impacts as well as its reliance on transnational capital.
It is our hope that the institutions will fully facilitate the democratic process so that all concerns, grievances, warning signals, results of enquiries and liberating alternative proposals can be heard.
Translation: Maud Bailly, Snake Arbusto, Mike Krolikowski
|1| Translator’s note: The Arco Minero del Orinoco [https://news.mongabay.com/2016/10/t…] is a “new strategic national development zone” created by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by presidential order on 24 February 2016. This project sets aside an area covering nearly 112,000 sq. km. (larger than the total land area of Portugal), or 12 % of the national territory, to the exploitation of gold, diamonds, coltan, iron and other minerals by large national and transnational mining companies. The project has generated strong criticism due to its rentier-extractivist nature, since its goal is to obtain currency revenues in the short term at the expense of the environmental destruction of a significant proportion of the national territory rich in biodiversity and water reserves, and of the rights of the Amerindian peoples who live in the region.