Venezuela is currently threatened by efforts to organize a coup d’état from Latin American rightists and the U.S. government. There is nothing new here, and there are no doubts. All Latin American countries, through CELAC, UNASUR, Mercosur and ALBA, have issued statements denouncing efforts at destabilizing Venezuelan democracy, expressing their solidarity and the need for dialogue.
 
Solidarity with the Venezuelan people is a great challenge for everyone in Our America. The intensity of the violence unleashed, resulting in deaths, people wounded and material damage, is a matter of great concern and sorrow.
 
Former President Hugo Chávez won the last elections by a margin of over ten per cent.  Sadly, he was not able to exercise the presidency and new elections were called, with the presence of international observers, and there were no doubts as to the legitimacy of the new president. Maduro won, and once again the Bolivarian project begun by Chávez won the elections, because the majority of Venezuelans understood that their country has improved, and that it is more egalitarian than it ever was before.
 
In effect, thanks to this process, Venezuela could for the first time in its history control its own oil resources and place them at the service of the people, of the continent, and even those of the US when the latter was devastated by hurricane Katrina. Over the past decade, the government increased social expenditures by over 60.6%, and today it has the lowest level of inequality in the region, having reduced inequality by 54% and poverty by 44%. In the matter of education they are second in Latin America and fifth in the world in the proportional number of university students. They have built more than 13.721 clinics in poor neighbourhoods, where the State was not present before, and their public health system involves some 95.000 medical doctors. They have built some 500.000 housing units, financed sports, among other achievements. 
 
Nevertheless some sectors of the opposition (not all of them), determined to overthrow the government, have not resigned themselves to electoral defeat and attempt to achieve, through violence, what they had not been able to achieve in free elections. President Nicolas Maduro, in ten months in office, has had to face permanent efforts at destabilization, in the attempt to overthrow him. 
 
The violence and the attacks against Venezuela constitute an attack on all democratic governments of the continent. This is not an isolated case. The efforts to overthrow governments are moving forward with new methodologies in Latin America. They have tried, and failed, in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and in Venezuela itself in 2002, but they have succeeded in Paraguay and Honduras, where the US has expanded their military bases. 
 
Corporate and multinational media such as CNN, FOX, and those of Europe, manipulate information and diffuse war propaganda in the name of peace, and hatred in the name of freedom. Their business is to show that their role is fundamental in order to overthrow any president, and thus to receive greater payments from the US Department of State. But we Latin Americans are keenly aware of the fact that they are simply another political force, working in defence of private interests and great powers, playing on lies to provoke suspended awareness.
 
We need to learn from history, because in the failed coup of 2002 the same thing happened, and because of this may be considered the first media coup in history. This is evidenced in the documentary, "The Revolution will not be broadcast", which I recommend seeing.
 
Building peace amongst individuals and peoples cannot be granted; it is something that must be achieved dynamically through Justice, Truth and Respect for Human rights in a developing democracy.
 
On the one hand there should be an investigation of the death of students at the hands of hooded thugs so that justice may be achieved for the victims. On the other hand there must be support for the Plan for Peace and National Coexistence that Venezuela has launched, with a massive popular march, seeking the establishment of citizens’ peace and the struggle against criminality, fomenting the disarmament of the population and of armed consciences.
 
Maduro, in his speech, spoke with great clarity: "Anyone who puts on a red shirt with the image of Chavez and attacks another Venezuelan with a pistol, is neither Chavista nor revolutionary. He will end up in jail." We do not see the opposition saying the same.
 
The campaign to picture Venezuela as a dictatorship is shameful, when one takes into account the fact that it is the first country in the history of nation states to put in place and apply a system of a referendum for recall halfway through a presidential mandate, in order to strengthen democracy. In fact, when this was done in 2004, Chavez won, as he did in 13 other elections since 1998.
 
If this government were to lose an election, they would accept this as they did in the second attempt to reform the constitution, but they will never lower even one of their flags without cause, because the Bolivarians will continue to work for a better Venezuela and Great Fatherland. The Bolivarian Revolution, a revolution gained through the ballot boxes and in the streets; it always won with the Law and with democracy, and will continue to do so, and this is precisely why it is seen as so dangerous by some and so necessary by others.
 
Because of this we send our solidarity and our support to the Venezuelan people and government, for the defence of their democratic institutions, and of the social, economic and cultural policies established through popular participation. 
(Translated for ALAI by Jordan Bishop)
 
Buenos. Aires. February 22, 2014.
 
– Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureat