Venezuela: 8M No More Women’s Oppression of Women! Let’s Recover our Rights!

On March 8, we will not miss the opportunity to say it on the streets:

No more women´s oppression! Let’s recover our rights!

Heading Towards the International Strike of 8M

From Marea Socialista and Juntas y a la Izquierda we are committed to the effort of participating in unitary actions within the framework of the international strike of women and the LGBT movement this 8M. Within the diversity of the action, we stand with by our demands: Free contraceptives for all, legalization of abortion, for a salary that at least covers the cost of the Basic Basket, for the recovery of our social benefits, against the complicity of institutions in cases of violence and femicide, as well as the violation of our rights.

For Our Rights as Workers!

The economic crisis in Venezuela, as a result of Nicolás Maduro´s government´s anti-worker measures for the benefit of the bureaucracy-bourgeoisie, keeps women subject to work for a salary set at 6 dollars per month (5 loaves of bread per month for an average family), which means that we have far exceeded what is considered conditions of misery. Working women in Venezuela are subjected to overwork to receive food, in addition to the conditions of double exploitation, since the crisis subjects women to redouble domestic work in the midst of the precarious situation.

Such is the case of the teachers union that is mostly made up of women who are being subjected to work in the worst conditions, under duress and silence.

So our demand in this regard is clear: salary that covers the Basic Basket, as established in Article 91 of the CRBV thanks to the workers’ and people’s struggle; restitution and recalculation of our social benefits at the value they had before the monetary reconversion; respect for workers´ benefits and that at present are not recognized by state and private employers.

No more violence against women who raise their voices for the recovery of wages and labor benefits that are taken from us.

Against Patriarchal Violence!

In Venezuela, official statistics of femicides are unknown, since 2016 the Public Ministry has not published anything on the matter. The horrifying reality is highlighted by independent research, which is how some estimates have been revealed, understanding that there is even a subestimation (1). Just in the month of January investigations report one femicide every 23 hours.

That is why we demand that femicides come out of invisibility, that official figures be shown and impunity cease in all cases!

For the Freedom to Decide!

The commercialization of access to contraceptives is a harsh reality in Venezuela. Contraceptives are charged in dollars, while the government does not have a free access policy. The result is that we are a country where unwanted pregnancy figures are very high, but especially early pregnancy. In these conditions, women of all ages are subject to the risk of becoming pregnant without wishing it, with the aggravating factor that the right to terminate a pregnancy is not recognized and is punishable by law. The sentence is clear: privatization of the right to sexual enjoyment! Pay for contraceptives in dollars, or else be a mandatory mother!

To this situation we must add the precarious maternal and child assistance coupled with silence and absence of epidemiological bulletins. The last known data is from 2016, the Minister who dared to show them was immediately dismissed. The alarming figures that remain in total and absolute secrecy since then account for a 30% increase in infant mortality and a 65.79% increase in maternal mortality compared to the previous year.

We clearly demand: free contraceptives! Legalization of abortion! Comprehensive sex education! Quality care for pregnant women and newborns!

Patriarchy and Machismo in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs

The government calls itself feminist and the Ministry of Women and the INM are institutions at the service of a government that has proven to sexist and patriarchal. It is the transmission belt of the entire policy against women. It hides behind “humanized childbirth” to do nothing for maternal and child health care. They hide behind subsidy programs and bonuses so that we silence our demand for wages; they claim to have women in many high-ranking positions, but they are at the service of the same party-government that systematically violates women’s rights and has feminized poverty exponentially. They are the propaganda apparatus of an anti-worker government that attacks hard working women and also favors private sector exploiters for them to have us as a cheap workforce, the cheapest in the world, so cheap that it maintains the state-bureaucratic apparatus (and also the private employers) with almost free work, as in the worst of neoliberal governments, in a system of absolute labor deregulation and lack of protection.

Indignation is what we felt when the government announced the delivery of millions of dollars to the Catholic Church, gave millions of dollars to the evangelical church and founded “the first evangelical university” for them. It is clearly not a government that is thinking about how to solve women´s problems, on the contrary, it is part of the problem that affects women. It is a government of extractivist capitalism and has a reactionary character. It will not legalize abortion, it doesn´t give a damn that we cannot eat or buy contraceptives, that mothers die or suffer great hardships in public hospitals, it delegates all responsibility for childrearing by reducing the effective support of the state and we must pay the vaccines of our boys and girls in dollars.

This March 8 we will be the 4th international strike of women and the LGBT movement. It is time that working women raise our voice against the capitalist exploitation perpetrated on us by Maduro´s government. In the private sector, under the mask that workers are paid “better”, they are lowering all their labor costs thanks to government policies, which do not have a hint of “socialism” but rather belong to wild and patriarchal capitalism. Meanwhile, the government submits us to maintain the state apparatus with practically free work for a bag of food or with symbolic salaries that do not even cover a day of balanced and complete meals.

Organization, Struggle and Political Independence Against the Bureaucracy and Capital

Of course, none of women´s central demand´s is going to move forward with a government that has been dismantling the social conquests and achievements in women’s participation that the Bolivarian revolution achieved in its early days. Nor with the political forces of the traditional right that was at the head of the patriarchal capitalist regime for decades in Venezuela.

In order for us to move forward, we need organization, struggle and political independence against the bureaucracy and capital, whose expressions are today represented by Maduro and Guaidó. We need to face the authoritarianism and austerity policies that unload the Venezuelan and global capitalist crisis on the working class and the popular sectors of our country, especially affecting women.

No option with the current, corrupt and retrograde political leaderships, or with the institutions of the bourgeois-bureaucratic state in decay, is able to offer us a way out. So, together with the struggle for our rights and demands as a working class, as a people and as a female gender or sexual diversity, we consider that we can only find our alternative with a democratic government of the workers and the popular sectors , with an anti-capitalist, eco-socialist and anti-patriarchal character, to really drive the necessary transformations.

We believe this road passes through the displacement of everything that Maduro and Guaidó represent, and through the dissolution of the institutions of the battered and rotten V Republic that ended up reproducing the IV, for which we think that the current government must end the “Constitu-chimba” of the constituted bureaucratic power (ANC), dominated by the PSUV, and the AN dominated by the classic bourgeois right, and also the TSJ and all other bureaucratic and corrupt powers, to give way to a real and genuine People´s Constituent that redesigns everything and opens up new perspectives for the country.

For us, this struggle is inserted in the planetary struggle for the liberation of all peoples and, therefore, March 8 as the international day of struggle for women in the world is also a day of common struggle alongside Venezuelan women.

That is why we call all women who want to stand up to demand our rights to participate with Marea Socialista in the promotion of Juntas y a la Izquierda as a space for the orientation and articulation of our struggles, in unity of action with the various expressions or movements that fight for women´s rights. For an anti-capitalist feminism, of working women and young women and of the popular sectors, beside the entire working class and oppressed peoples.

  1. In the absence of official data, the anthropologist, communicator and feminist Aimee Zambrano Ortiz began in 2019 a thorough count of the femicides that were reported by digital media in Venezuela. The data collected is backed up and this effort has been put into graphs and tables in conjunction with the Utopix website.