Articles from Pakistan on Venezuela

We are publishing two articles that appeared in the Pakistani daily paper, The Jang, written by the well known Pakistani journalist and TV director Munnoo Bhai and one of the most widely read columnists in Pakistan. They would have reached between 20-25 million people in Pakistan and around the world. The Daily Jang is the largest circulation paper in Pakistan. Munnoo Bhai wrote his first column in a daily newspaper on June 1, 1954. The second article is thus his golden jublee column written on the 50th anniversary of his column writing. There has been a tremendous response and Munnoo Bhai has received hundreds of phone calls supporting the position he has taken on Venezuela.

After every eleventh there is also the thirteenth

By Munnoo Bhai

Published in Daily Jang, Lahore, 31 May 2004

A poet says: When the idols gave me sorrow then god came in my memory.

Those who are now under the throes of the aggression of the lone ‘super power’ are now having the nostalgia of those socialist countries that rose with a force against the oppression and centuries of tyranny, plunder, European colonial domination and genocide of world capitalism. At the end of the Second World War by exploding atom bombs American imperialism tried to impose itself as a world policeman. But it also faced a mounting resistance. Just a few years ago those who were spouting poison against socialism are now coming to the conclusion that it is the only antidote to the imperialist poison. It is true that without a strong and scientific alternative system to replace it, American imperialism is moving towards a new and horrific colonialism and barbarity. In this situation Iraq has become a symbol of resistance against imperialist aggression.

It is also being said that if the Iraqi resistance would not have come up and the shameful acts in Abu Ghraib prison had not been exposed then this imperialist aggression would have moved into Syria, Iran,, North Korea and Venezuela.

Venezuela has become a new symbol of resistance against American aggression. This is a country on the coast of the Atlantic between Colombia, Guyana and Brazil and has an area of 352000 square miles. The former commando and thrice elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has introduced 49 laws in favour of the masses. For this crime and the sin of calling American action against terrorism as terrorism itself he has been declared as culpable to death by the imperialists. And more than once have attempts been made on his life.

In the words of Hugo Rafael Chavez himself after his government was overthrown by a military coup on April 11, 2002 for 24 hours he was certain that he would be assassinated. He says that, "after capturing my government the pro-American businessman, Pedro Carmona had told the people of Venezuela that I had resigned and left the government. I was expecting that they would shoot me and later say that I had committed suicide. But the masses of my country were with me hence I am alive and I am working with a new life, new determination and new intentions for the service of my people."

Those who had overthrown the elected government of Chavez on April 11, 2002 had their regime recognised by the United States within 12 hours. Hugo Chavez was forced to resign but when he refused he was taken to a military garrison where the young officers and soldier instead of shackling him garlanded him and showered flowers on him. From here Chavez was taken to an island two hundred miles in the Atlantic. But here instead of arresting him the military officers arrested those who had brought him there. From here Chavez was taken back to Caracas the capital of Venezuela.

On thirteenth of April 2002 when Chavez came off the aeroplane there were more than a million people on the streets to greet him. The American conspiracy against him was foiled in 48 hours.

After Fidel Castro had stepped on the tail of the Americans, the failure in toppling the government of this second ‘rebel’ didn’t stop the Americans from continuing their intrigues against the Chavez government. But perhaps they were too busy in the affairs of Iraq and Abu Ghraib prison and so the sole ‘superpower’ could not pay enough attention to Venezuela, which is one of the important oil producing countries and one of the four largest suppliers of oil to the United States.

On the second anniversary of the failed coup Hugo Chavez invited Alan Woods from Britain and Comrade Manzoor (Member National Assembly from Kasur) from Pakistan to Caracas. In this ceremony Hugo Chavez named George W. Bush and warned him that the intrigues against the democratically elected government of Venezuela are not stopped then not a drop of the Venezuelan oil shall go to America. Everyday 1.5 million barrels of oil are exported from Venezuela to the United States .He expressed his apprehensions that the American rulers want to carry out a bloody military coup in Venezuela as they had done against Sukarno in Indonesia, Mossediq in Iran and Allende in Chile in the past. These were reactionary counter-revolutions. In the whole of Latin America there is now a saying that ‘after every eleventh there is also a thirteenth’. This is in reference to the coup on the 11th and its defeat on the 13th.

Chavez and Bhutto

By Munnoo Bhai,

Published in Daily Jang, Lahore, 01 June 2004

The resistance of Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chavez against the world’s sole super power has risen as a forceful voice and has become the centre of attention for the world public opinion. It is not ruled out that he could become an alternative power in the opinion of the world. This wall of resistance can become a socialist force of the yesteryears against the excesses and the aggression being perpetrated in the world today.

In the words of Hugo Chavez, “It was an extraordinary event that the masses of Venezuela came to know the conspiracy against their elected government in good time and they came out in hundreds of thousands. It was due to this fierce protest that the military officers were forced to foil this heinous conspiracy of imposing a dictatorship against democracy. This was that concrete truth that saved me from a certain death and my country from a terrible disaster. It will be my earnest desire that this truth will guarantee the betterment and development of my country and its people”.

According to Chavez the political crisis didn’t develop after his accession to power in 1998. This conflict has been there ever since the economy of human need has been at war with the economy of the market. Venezuela is one of the largest oil producing countries and amongst the four main oil-supplying countries to the United States. In spite of this a vast majority of the masses of Venezuela have been forced into the darkness of poverty and misery. In the words of Chavez, “my opponents are least bothered about the poverty and misery of the country because they breed on the poverty of the poor. They are agitated because I want to spend a part of the income of oil to give some respite to the lives of the poor, destitute and the workers.”

In the last six years the government has doubled the spending on health and tripled the expenditure on education. This has increased literacy, health of children and the average age of the population. But the rich classes think that their rights have been hit, that their rates of profit have decreased which they consider as a damage to their interests. They are worried that Hugo Chavez will continue to take these steps to sustain his popularity. These policies they think will further decrease their rates of profits.

Chavez tells us, “After failing to remove me from power my opponents i.e. the rich classes of the country closed down the state oil company last year. During the countrywide strike my supporters were fired upon and then a signature campaign was started for a referendum against me. But the Venezuelan national electoral council that is an independent and autonomous institution like the American federal election commission […]. Now this has been exposed and proved that 375,000 signatures in favour of the referendum were forged. More than 800,000 were only names written without signatures and there were so many signatures of people long dead.”

“In the short span of six years I have been elected twice and still if I am considered a non democratic president and my decisions are considered dictatorial, I am prepared to fight another presidential election so that with the support of the masses I can inflict a stunning defeat on the enemies of the people.”

Hugo Chavez hopes that the representatives of the rich classes or the “Oilgarchies”of Venezuela and the American rulers will respect the democratic decisions. But this fact is also well known that today the most prominent flag bearers of democracy are the biggest enemies of democracy.

In the second anniversary of the failure of the April 11, 2002 coup along with thousands of Venezuelan masses a hundred and fifty foreign delegates also participated. Speaking on the occasion the People’s Party member of the National Assembly Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed drew the analogy of the present situation in Venezuela with the political revolution of 1968-69 in Pakistan. He said that the People’s Party became the largest party in the country’s history almost overnight on the basis of its anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-capitalist founding manifesto. But the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto government while remaining within the confines of this system tried to carry out reforms against this system through the bureaucracy and hence failed. Due to the failure of fulfilling the tasks posed by a revolutionary political situation it was ultimately overthrown. Martial Law was imposed and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged at the gallows. On this occasion Manzoor Ahmed also read out a quotation from a page of the last book of Bhutto’s memoirs in which Bhutto had confessed his own responsibility in reaching this fate, that he had not paid enough attention to the contradictions in the interests of different classes. Manzoor Ahmed drew another analogy between Chavez and Bhutto: that both of them faced extreme hostility from the media that is in the control of the rich classes.

It is considered that the centre of anti-Chavez activities is the American Embassy in Venezuela. In the whole of Latin America a famous joke circulates that there is no military coup in the United States because there is no American Embassy in America.