American Maoists Send 4 Delegations to Venezuela in Less Than 6 Months—Is This Legal?

September 5, 2019 Updated: September 5, 2019

Commentary

For the fourth time since April, U.S. Maoists from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) have sent a delegation to Venezuela.

These delegations are clearly in support of Venezuela’s Marxist regime. They organize support and solidarity for the regime and clearly propagandize in its favor. They also clearly side with the Maduro regime against President Donald Trump.

Is this legal under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)? Are any of these delegates registered with the U.S. government as agents of Venezuela? If not, why not? Are there grounds for prosecution under FARA?

The latest FRSO trade union delegation traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, for the “1st International Meeting of Workers in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its Government and Its People,” which started on Aug. 29.

Delegates included labor delegations and trade union leaders from Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Argentina, Nigeria, Portugal, France, the UK, and Spain.

According to FRSO’s FightBack! News:

“On opening day, the international delegates joined their Venezuelan trade union comrades and traveled to the Plaza Bolivar in the center of Caracas. Delegates, special guests and workers from across Venezuela joined in a ‘No mas Trump!’ rally. Francisco Torrealba, the president of the Venezuelan Workers Confederation, kicked off the rally with a rousing speech.

“Attendees signed a declaration against U.S. imperialism and Trump’s blockade, demanding respect for international law and the sovereignty of Venezuela. Delegates and people from the street joined in chanting, ‘No more Trump!’ and ‘Que viva Venezuela! Que Viva Maduro! Respeto por Venezuela!'”

On Aug. 31, labor union activists from 25 countries gathered again “for the ultimate goal of building solidarity with the working class, the people and the government of Venezuela” and to coordinate opposition to “the criminal economic sanctions put in place by U.S. President Donald Trump.”

Both FRSO delegates Jared Hamil from Los Angeles and Gabriela Killpack from Salt Lake City, Utah, are active in Teamsters United, an alliance working to build Maoist power in the Teamsters Union. Both have histories in organized labor and the U.S. Maoist movement.

The latest FRSO delegation comes hard on the heels of another FRSO delegation to Venezuela that attended a major international communist gathering, Foro de São Paulo (São Paolo Forum), in Caracas in late July.

“Delegations to the Foro de Sao Paulo committed in the final declaration to act together in solidarity with Venezuela, Latin America and other countries of the world against U.S. aggression,” according to FightBack! News.

Among the 1,200 delegates were leaders of socialist and communist parties “from every Latin American country, most of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as Mexico.”

They were joined by leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-aligned National Democratic Front, the North Korean ambassador to Venezuela, several far-left Palestinian groups, European communists including Basque and Irish militant, and the FRSO delegation led by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based comrade Tom Burke.

Among other socialist dignitaries, Burke, as FRSO organizational secretary, had a photo-op with Alfredo Valdivieso of the Communist Party of Colombia Central Committee.

In late April, Burke also led a four-member FRSO delegation to Venezuela to celebrate May Day. On their first day, the comrades held a held a two-hour meeting with “members of Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) Central Committee and leaders of the Communist Youth of Venezuela,” according to FightBack! News.

The comrades also met Venezuelan Minister of Communes Blanca Eckhout, who had just made a “triumphant speech about building 2.6 million new homes.” Eckhout quoted Hugo Chavez, saying, “Our new society cannot be capitalist because capitalism is designed to destroy our homeland, our society, and our people.”

Between the two events, long-time FRSO supporter and Chicago Teachers Union activist Richard Berg led an unofficial teachers union delegation to Caracas in mid-July.

According to FightBack! News, “Their goals were to learn what they could from Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, exchange views on effective education and to show solidarity with the students, teachers and social movements of Venezuela.”

The Trump administration has clearly signaled that it wants to oust the Maduro regime in favor of the legitimate interim President Juan Guaidó.

On Jan. 23, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter:

“The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime. Today, I have officially recognized the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela.”

Since then, the U.S. government has instated ever-stronger sanctions on Venezuela to drive the Russian-, Chinese-, and Cuban-backed Maduro regime from power.

Yet all through this, U.S. communists have been regularly traveling to Caracas to meet with government officials and Communist Party leaders. They’re organizing with other communist entities, including North Korean diplomats, to counter U.S. sanctions. Then they hold meetings on U.S. soil to propagandize for the Maduro regime all over the country.

If these FRSO Maoists are all registered under FARA as Venezuelan agents, they’re only morally guilty for supporting a tyrannous regime. If they’re not registered as Venezuelan agents, are they acting illegally?

Perhaps if the Justice Department isn’t too busy investigating the president, they might look into this matter.

Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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