“The war against Venezuela positions the bodies of women as territories of conquest and domination”

Feminist militant Isis Ochoa discusses the centrality of women in the struggle against imperialism in Venezuela

March 07, 2020 by Zoe Alexandra
Women in Venezuela are the most impacted by the imperialist war and are in the front-lines of resistance. Photo: Frente Francisco de Miranda

The United States and its allies are waging a multidimensional war against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through economic sanctions, sabotage, attempted coups and encouraging political instability. This silent and steady war has affected resources available for social programs, impeded the import of medicines and food and is an attempt to break the social fabric of society. In this dirty imperialist war, Venezuelan women and youth have been the most affected, and they continue to be in the forefront of the resistance to imperialism, and in struggles in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution.

On International Women’s Day and in the lead-up to the International Week of Anti-Imperialist Struggle which will take place from May 25-31, 2020, Peoples Dispatch spoke to Isis Ochoa, a Venezuelan feminist militant, to understand the relationship between the imperialist attacks on Venezuela and the struggle of women in the country. Ochoa is part of the Frente Fransciso de Miranda, United Socialist Party of Venezuela and Feminismo Popular.

Peoples Dispatch: How do you understand the patriarchal system in the context of Venezuela?

Isis Ochoa: In our homeland, we are building a process to identify the logic of the exercise of patriarchal power. We understand patriarchy as a project of civilization from the West and imposed by blood and fire by the big genocidal processes of history. The burning of women for being witches, the persecution and enslavement of the African people, the extermination and persecution of the Muslim world, and of course the genocide in Our America. The logic of domination of the genocide in Our America was founded on the mandate of masculinity. This exercise of power implies the looting, expropriation, attacks on bodies and land.

It is a process that generates exclusion, that generates inequalities and peripheral spaces due to the logic of domination. Additionally, in our case, in the case of Venezuela, a nation that is besieged by a systematic, multi-dimensional war, a fourth and fifth generation war, it is a war that positions the bodies of women, of girls and boys, as territories of conquest and domination.

PD: How does imperialism affect the people of Venezuela and in particular the women in Venezuela?

IO: We are suffering a genocidal blockade and we want to denounce it to the world as a crime against humanity that fundamentally affects women. First as a strategic leader, this emblematic leader of the people’s Bolivarian Revolution, but also as head of the family and the order of affection and the culture of care, and the reproduction of life itself. It threatens women’s natural spaces of coordination and common work of care and support.

We have seen how the para-state works with its silent war to occupy territory and it has also generated a systematic and progressive annihilation of generations, capturing our children and youth for criminal groups. It is the imperialist logic of occupation that does not only work for a physical material economic victory over the territories but also a symbolic victory to break, destroy, and annihilate the social fabric and the chain and culture of care with which we support each other and life itself.

The purpose of US imperialism, of the world empires, is to annihilate the nation, the Venezuelan homeland in its sense of being cultural patrimony and its worldview as a matrilineal society. It is a society that generates its culture of care collectively, with extended families built by women.

Today we want to join and wake up this feminist emergency that is being decreed across the world. We also demand serious work of political pedagogy to begin to discuss the fundamental characteristics and categories of the logic of patriarchy. The Bolivarian Revolution is Chavista, it is anti-imperialist, it is anti-capitalist, and anti-patriarchal. What we are trying to do is include, raise awareness of, and support the dissidents of the hegemonic heteronormative patriarchal order. The heteronormative regime excludes all of the people that choose other ways to love, other ways to relate to one another.

In Venezuela, we demand justice, equality and consciousness. We demand a pedagogical campaign to begin to discuss collectively in our society, in our region, and in our planet, the impact of the ravages of the patriarchal order. We continue to resist and soon, we will be able to make sure that people understand the nature of this struggle against patriarchy, exclusion and domination.