Corbyn supporter on Venezuela abductions: This happens all the time in other countries

Corbyn supporter on Venezuela abductions: 'This happens all the time in other countries'

There are reports two of Venezuela's most prominent opposition politicians had been snatched from their homes

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The leader of Britain's Communist Party has played down the chaos in Venezuela on talkRADIO, suggesting the abduction of political leaders happens in lots of other countries and claiming Nicolas Maduro still enjoys huge support.

Robert Griffiths, who publicly backed Jeremy Corbyn in the recent election in Britain, was speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer after reports two of Venezuela's most prominent opposition politicians have been snatched from their homes by the country's intelligence agencies, and Maduro won a hugely controversial election which could allow him to assume dictatorial powers - despite critics calling the vote a sham.

Griffiths began by claiming that "I don't think anybody regards Venezuela as a model for socialism in Britain" - a comment which drew a sharp response from Julia, who pointed out that Corbyn himself had made this exact comment in one of several speeches in support of Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

Maduro, who succeeded Chavez upon his death in 2013, has faced protests for several months, centring on the collapse of Venezuela's economy and his perceived authoritarian policies. But Griffiths said much of the opposition to Maduro was rooted in previous coup attempts, adding that the elections held over the weekend were actually wholly democratic.

"There were 15 opposition parties that took part in the elections to the Constituent Assembly," Griffiths said, "which were carried out, incidentally, completely in accordance with Venezuela's democratically agreed constitution."

When pressed by Julia on the abduction of the opposition leaders, Griffiths said this sort of thing "happens all too frequently" in democratic countries. 

When asked to name a state in which this has happened recently, Griffiths replied "Turkey", a comment which drew astonishment from our presenter, who told Griffiths "It's a totalitarian state now." 

The interview got more heated as Griffiths first claimed "there is still mass support for Maduro" and went on to laud the achievements of socialism in other countries.

Asked by Julia "when will you give up on the idea that it doesn't actually work?", Griffiths replied by saying "the social and cultural achievements of Cuba are enormous in comparison with other third world countries" and claiming China "has lifted 700 million people out of extreme poverty." 

Julia claimed this was nothing more than a "blatant lie", and finished by telling Griffiths he should be ashamed of himself.