Several left-wing organizations have issued a joint political statement regarding the disqualification of Eduardo Samán and the violation of the rights of organizations and voters.
The text “We repudiate the disqualification of Eduardo Samán, we demand that the democratic rights of political organizations and voters be respected” is signed by the organizations Marea Socialista, EnComún, Partido Socialismo y Libertad, Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo and the Luchas group.
In the statement they denounce “the summary confiscation of the right to political participation by the government of Maduro and the Armed Forces” and particularly the political disqualification of Eduardo Samán, APR candidate for Mayor of Caracas, as well as other candidates associated with the alliance.” They qualify this as an exercise in “political authoritarianism” and reject it as “undemocratic and arbitrary,” for which they demand the candidates´ right to run and issue a call to people to support this demand.
Eduardo Samán was minister of commerce under President Hugo Chávez’s, representing radical positions and establishing a notable popular connection. Later, he assumed critical positions against the PSUV and the government of President Maduro. During his service as minister he came to suffer attacks.
In a non-transparent and surprising way, without prior notification or due process, an electoral impediment to his candidacy for mayor of Caracas appeared, a “disqualification” that prevented his registration as a candidate on the ballot of the Communist Party of Venezuela, with the support of the Revolutionary Popular Alternative (APR) alliance.
Faced with this situation, the PCV – APR raised the name of Rafaél Uzcátegui to replace him. He is a leader who has also experienced a decision that took away his electoral recognition as a leader of his party, the PPT (Patria Para Todos), after assuming critical and autonomous positions. He has displaced in favor of a sector that is allied with the government of Nicolás Maduro to represent that organization.
However, the organizations and voters that support Eduardo Samán, as well as others, defend their democratic right to run, regardless of their electoral positions, continue to insist on the demand of a right that was violated in a way that they consider to be absolutely arbitrary and undemocratic.
Below is the full text, originally published on October 2.
We repudiate the disqualification of Eduardo Samán, we demand that the democratic rights of political organizations and voters be respected
As one more episode of the summary confiscation of the right to political participation by the government of Maduro and the Armed Forces, they pulled out of a hat the political disqualification of Eduardo Samán, APR candidate for Mayor of Caracas, and of other candidates associated to the alliance. It is one more blatant example of political authoritarianism, outlawing a candidate to ease the way for a pro government candidate.
The organizations that subscribe to this declaration, without necessarily sharing Eduardo Samán’s political and programmatic positions, categorically reject this undemocratic arbitrariness and demand his right to run. As left wing, working class and socialist currents, it is for us a question of principle to oppose the confiscation of democratic rights by this State.
The banning of candidates and political organizations is an already common practice on the part of this government, with the aim of holding on to power even against the will of the Venezuelan people, who widely reject it. A practice that runs simultaneously with the violation of other elementary democratic rights, such as the right to protest and to unionize, among others, keeping hundreds of workers and inhabitants of the popular sectors imprisoned or criminalized on parole.
By outlawing candidates and political organizations at will, the government designs an opposition tailored to its needs and, furthermore, violates the elementary right of the Venezuelan people to choose. Of course, elections in capitalist democracy will always be more or less rigged, with enormous disadvantages, especially for those of us who express the class interests of the exploited and the oppressed, and precisely for this reason, it is so much more reactionary for the government to restrict electoral options at will, allowing only those that it considers convenient.
In the specific case of Samán and the APR, it is the most recent expression of a string of maneuvers and attacks by the government against a political coalition that, although the majority of it supported Maduro until last year, now questions him from the left and threatens to dispute votes in certain sectors of the grassroots of Chavismo. Thus, the government launched various legal coups against parties that decided to form the APR. Not considering this to be enough, the government persecuting various candidates, an example of which is the case of Isabel Granado, twice detained by the FAES.
The brutally undemocratic nature of the government was also expressed, previously, in denying the right to hold the office of mayor to candidates elected on the ballot of some of these organizations in 2017: as simple as that; they were elected, but the government decided that they would not take office, also trampling on the elemental rights of the people who elected them.
As part of the anti-democratic attacks on that sector, the government has denied the only deputy of this alliance in the Assembly the right to form a fraction – thereby denying him the rights that correspond to the different fractions – and, in addition, it censors his interventions. A reality that, it must be said, contrasts with the understanding the government has with the political fractions of the right-wing opposition represented in parliament, respecting the democratic rights that it does not grant to those who, like the APR, are part of what has called itself “critical Chavism” or “dissident Chavism.”
Furthermore, the total discretion and convenience of the political disqualifications is evidenced when, at the same time that they impede the registration as candidate of Eduardo Samán, the previous disqualifications to leaders of the right-wing parties that negotiate with the government in Mexico are lifted, in order for them, yes, to present themselves as candidates. Something similar happens with the imprisoned workers: as a result of negotiations between the government and the opposition, some of the leaders of that sector are liberated, while dozens of workers are kept behind bars.
The government, which attacks those who oppose it from the left, including those who are part of the Chavist left, has shown in its neoliberal turn, to be able to collaborate more and more with sectors of the right-wing opposition, first with minority sectors (some who opposed the sanctions, others who simply fought with the majority wings of their parties because they were left out of the management of the resources granted by imperialism), and then now directly with those who promote the sanctions. Thus, it advances each time in understandings with the employer’s opposition and with the traditional sectors of the ruling class – of which sectors of the high Chavist bureaucracy have already become part, due to their conversion into entrepreneurs- while increasingly attacking the working class, the popular sectors and the organizations located to the left of the government.
Thus, in fact, some of the organizations that signed this declaration have also been victims of these anti-democratic maneuvers, such as the denial of being registered as political organizations before the CNE, or the “renewal” of the parties, done in an arbitrary way so as to leave out dozens of organizations.
For all these reasons, even though the APR has recently announced the decision to decline the nomination of Samán to avoid being left without a candidate, we reiterate our rejection of the political ban on Eduardo Samán and any other candidate or political organization; we demand that their rights be respected, and those of the political organizations that nominate him to be accepted as a candidate, as well as the right of that part of the people of Caracas that considers participating in the upcoming elections, to be able to vote not only for the candidates that the government decides at will.
We stand in solidarity with the militants of the organizations that fight against this ban, and we call for joining forces in this demand.
Partido Socialismo y Libertad
Liga de Trabajadores por el Socialismo