Venezuela

This thesis documentwas drafted, discussed, and approved by our members this past October 2015. Although it was written some months ago, it still remains valid. It reflects a correct understanding of the events that have taken place, and shows how our warnings were confirmed in the face of serious threats from the counterrevolution. We believe that the document serves as a tool in the debate that is developing within the ranks of the Chavista movement in general.

The assault against the Bolivarian revolution has intensified in the recent days and weeks. Editorials and front pages in US and Spanish newspapers are screaming about hunger in Venezuela and demanding the removal of the “dictatorial regime”. Ongoing scarcity problems have led to instances of looting. The right-wing opposition is attempting to trigger a presidential recall referendum, but is also threatening violent action and appealing to foreign powers, including in some case for military intervention. What is really happening in Venezuela and how can these threats be faced?

With 53% of the votes the Venezuelan opposition has managed to secure 112 seats in the National Assembly. This gives them a sweeping two third majority and wide ranging powers. Drunk with victory and seething with revenge, they have started to announce plans to reverse every single one of the gains of the Bolivarian revolution. This has provoked ferment amongst the revolutionary rank and file, which at the same time is directing part of their anger at bureaucrats and reformists within its own ranks.

Late into the night on 6th December, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council announced provisional but conclusive results for the parliamentary election. The counter-revolutionary opposition MUD had won 99 seats to the Bolivarian PSUV’s 46, with another 22 remaining to be allocated. This is a serious setback and it is our duty to analyse the reasons and explain the likely consequences.

Venezuelans will go to the polls on December 6 to elect deputies to the National Assembly. A combination of factors have made this one of the most difficult challenges the Bolivarian Revolution has faced in the 17 years since President Chávez was first elected in 1998. In addition to the usual challenges of a profoundly undemocratic opposition and belligerent imperialist provocations we have to add a combination of national and international economic factors which have put Venezuela in a very tight spot and which lead to one conclusion: either the revolution is completed, or it will be defeated.

In this article we will be analysing the objective conditions which led to the emergence of SIMADI and the currency exchange controls in general, which since their implementation have been unable to reach their stated objective of preventing capital flight.

The statement by president Obama that Venezuela represents an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US “national security” represents an important escalation in imperialist meddling against the Bolivarian revolution.

Sixteen years since Chavez came to power, the Bolivarian revolution has still not been completed. A revolution cannot be carried out partially. Either it goes all the way in removing capitalism once and for all, or it opens dangers for itself, which in the long run can lead to defeat, with the oligarchy regaining full political control. In this article written last year, Jorge Martin looks at what needs to be done to complete the Venezuelan revolution.

Two years have passed since the death of Hugo Chávez. His death, as I wrote at the time, was a great loss for the cause of freedom, socialism and humanity. I had known him for almost ten years and had an enormous respect for his courage, honesty and dedication to the cause of socialism.

The historical experience of Chile, Nicaragua and Cuba demonstrates that as long you do not remove the class enemy from power within the country, they will not stop until they have crushed the revolution. This is very relevant to the situation faced today by the Venezuelan revolution. Read the statement of the Marxist Tendency of the PSUV, the IMT in Venezuela.

On Thursday, February 12, the Venezuelan authorities announced the arrest of 7 officers of the Venezuelan Air Force who were taking part in a coup plot to remove the democratically elected government of President Maduro and install a "Transitional government" in its place.

This article was written for the first edition of a new Venezuelan magazine called “Proceso: revista crítica de izquierda” (Process: critical left magazine), published by the political education school Escuela de Gobierno Hugo Chávez Frías of the Merida governorship.

To the degree that the reformist and class collaborationist nature of Heinz Dieterich’s ideas has been exposed, he has met with rejection. In Venezuela his pro-bourgeois views and his close relation with the counterrevolutionary General Raul Baduel discredited him and led to a radical break with Chavez. Recently by him was published in the well-known left-wing website Aporrea. In response to requests from activists in Venezuela, Alan Woods has written a reply.

On the evening of April 10, the main political representatives of the Venezuelan opposition attended a meeting at Miraflores Presidential Palace with representatives of the government and the Bolivarian revolution. The meeting generated a lively debate within the Bolivarian movement. We publish here the statement of Lucha de clases - the Venezuelan section of the IMT, together with some explanatory notes.

On Tuesday, April 1, a group of violent opposition protestors attacked the building of the Ministry of Housing, setting it on fire. Over 300 people had to be evacuated, including children from a nursery in the same building. You are not likely to have read about it in the mass media.

It is often the destiny of revolutionary leaders that after death those that attacked and vilified them during their lifetime begin to praise them, while simultaneously distorting their ideas, watering them down, reducing them to impotence, just as one neuters a troublesome tomcat.

After a week of “guarimbas” (public disturbances organised by the Right Wing) one thing has been obvious – these protests have been carried out by a minority which represents only itself with the sole aim of creating chaos and sabotage. The only way to confront them is through the conscious and organised mobilisation of the working class and the revolutionary people. 

For the last two weeks there has been a violent campaign of rioting on the part of a small number of opposition supporters in Venezuela. They have blockaded streets and avenues (mainly in the middle and upper class areas of urban centres) in an attempt to force the removal of president Maduro. What is the meaning of these actions and how should they be confronted?

[Statement by Hands off Venezuela]After days of violent opposition demonstrations in several cities of Venezuela, February 12 had been billed as the D Day of an offensive to overthrow the democratically elected Maduro government. In several cities there were opposition demonstrations which were allowed to proceed without repression. There were also bigger revolutionary , youth demos marking 200 years since the battle of La Victoria, during the independence war.

Using the slogan of “Unity on the Streets” the right wing in Venezuela has launched a new “guarimba” (1) (attempts by right wing opposition to create public disorder and unrest on the streets –Ed.) against the Bolivarian revolution.

The December 8th municipal elections in Venezuela gave yet another victory to the Bolivarian revolution, with the Socialist United Party (PSUV) and its allies in the Great Patriotic Pole receiving 5.1 million votes (49.24% of the total) and 4.4 million (42.72%) going to the opposition. If you count the votes for Bolivarian candidates outside of the main GPP alliance, the total for the revolution adds up over 54%.

Statement of Lucha de Clases (Class Strugge), Marxist Tendency of the PSUV. What we have witnessed in recent days is a developing coup as correctly described by Comrade President Nicolas Maduro.These are not just peaceful protests of fellow Venezuelans who believe that there has been fraud, but an orchestrated plan to overthrow the Bolivarian government and smash the revolution. How can we fight it?

Hugo Chávez is no more. Always a fighter, Chávez spent his last months in a life and death struggle against a cruel and implacable enemy – cancer. He fought bravely to the very end, but finally his strength gave out. On Tuesday, March 5, at 4.25 pm the cause of freedom, socialism and humanity lost a great man and the author of these lines lost a great friend.

On Sunday April 14, Bolivarian candidate Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential election by a narrow margin. With 99.12% of the votes counted, there was a 78.71% turn out, with Maduro receiving 7,505,378 votes (50.66%), and Capriles 7,270,403 votes (49.07%). Opposition candidate Capriles declared that he does not recognise the result and demanded an audit of 100% of the vote.

Bolivarian candidate Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential election of April 14 by a narrow margin. With 99.12% of the votes counted, there was a 78.71% turn out, with Maduro receiving 7,505,378 votes (50.66%), and Capriles 7,270,403 votes (49.07%). Capriles declared that he does not recognise the result and demanded an audit of 100% of the vote.

This coming Saturday the Venezuelan presidential elections will take place. These elections have once more mobilized the masses who are coming to the fore to defend their revolution and the legacy of its deceased leader Hugo Chavez. Although the victory of the revolution is clear in these elections, it is equally clear that they will mark the opening of a new and decisive phase in the history fo the revolution. The following text is a statement by Lucha de Clases- the Venezuelan section of the IMT - that outlines the dangers ahead and the tasks of the revolution.

This article appears in the April edition of Labour Briefing. It is almost an impossible task to sum up the legacy of Hugo Chávez in 650 words, but that was the space which was available.

Yesterday the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal published an article, El chavismo según los chavistas, on the tasks facing the Bolivarian movement after the death of Chavez. They quote Alan Woods who explains that in order for the revolution not to be rolled back it must become irreversible. Here we provide the full, original text of the interview, with the questions posed by the El Universal journalist and Alan’s reply.

It is a week now since the death of Hugo Chávez and there are still kilometer long queues of people coming from all over the country to pay their last respects. Presidential elections have been called for April 14 and the mood is turning angry at the provocations of the oligarchy.

Hugo Chávez is no more. The cause of freedom, socialism and humanity has lost a courageous champion. He died on Tuesday, March 5, at 4.25 pm local time. The news was announced by Vice President Maduro. The President was just 58, and had been 14 years in power. He has been battling cancer for the last two years, but when news of his death was announced, it came as a shock.

Yesterday, Caracas was once again the scene of a huge mass mobilization in defence of the revolution. January 23 is a national day of struggle in Venezuela. It was the day that the infamous Marcos Pérez Jímenez dictatorship fell in 1958, overthrown by the mass movement from below.

On Saturday, December 8, Venezuelan president Chávez announced that he would have to undergo another surgical intervention in Cuba. Adding that “there are always risks in processes like this” he explained that “if anything happens to me that hinders me [from performing as president]”, vice president Maduro is his preference to replace him.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has won, yet again, the presidential elections on Sunday October 7, with a comfortable margin of 54.84% against the 44.55% of his opponent Henrique Capriles. This is another victory for the Bolivarian revolution which should be used in order to carry out the revolution to the end.

The elections being held today, October 7, 2012, in Venezuela are of immense historical significance. The results of this election will have a crucial impact not just in Venezuela and Latin America but far beyond its frontiers, on the consciousness of the masses and the dynamics of the class struggle. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that there has been an enormous interest and attention in the outcome of these polls by the experts and strategists of the western imperialist world ruling elites and its media.

In the last few days the campaign of provocations and pressure on the part of US imperialism against the revolutionary process in Venezuela has intensified. Leading US administration spokespersons have made statements, putting pressure on the National Electoral Council (NEC) to rule in favour of the opposition in their effort to call a presidential recall referendum. The Venezuelan government has denounced publicly this growing foreign intervention. Evidence has also been uncovered that the opposition organisation which coordinated the collection of the signatures, SUMATE, has received funding from the US National Endowment for Democracy, together with a whole host of other opposition

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The presidential election due on October 7 represents a decisive moment in the history of Venezuela. The outcome of this election will have a major impact throughout the continent and internationally. It goes without saying that the Hands Off Venezuela campaign is actively supporting the Bolivarian candidate Hugo Chavez and fighting against any attempt of the oligarchy and imperialism to sabotage the elections. The IMT stands firmly for the re-election of Hugo Chávez. Why have we taken this position?

For all revolutionaries it is perfectly clear that 2012 will be a defining year of important challenges. Currently, the Bolivarian revolution is at a cross-road. Either we radicalise the revolution and we deepen its changes, or the reformist politics which seek to simply regulate capitalism, as opposed to eliminating it, could lead the revolution to suffer a dangerous defeat in both the long and medium term.

On Sunday February the 12, the long-awaited opposition primary elections took place in order to select the candidate who will face Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections due for October this year. Cápriles Radonski, the present governor of Miranda state won a clear victory with 62% of the vote, compared to only 28.9% for his contender Pablo Perez, present governor of Zulia state.

My visit to Venezuela at the end of June coincided with the speculation, rumours and finally announcements about the health of Hugo Chavez. This incident revealed a number of important questions about the Venezuelan revolution, the role that President Chavez plays in it and the character of the counter-revolutionary opposition.

As part of my recent trip to Venezuela I was invited to speak about the world crisis of capitalism and the class struggle in Europe at two meetings of PDVSA oil workers in Monagas, in the east of the country. One of the meetings took place in Maturín, the capital of the state and where the PDVSA management for the Eastern Region is based, and the other one in the PDVSA installations in Punta de Mata, a city built around a massive oil field.

At the end of June I had the opportunity of visiting Venezuela where I attended the national conference of “Class Struggle” (Lucha de Clases), the Venezuelan section of the International Marxist Tendency. What I witnessed is an increased polarisation between left and right, but above all an open clash between the revolutionary wing of the Bolivarian movement and the reformists and bureaucrats. In a series of articles I will attempt to illustrate this.

On Tuesday May 25, the US imposed penalties against Venezuelan state-owned company PDVSA, and another 6 companies from other countries, for conducting business with Iran.  The sanctions are part of an attempt by Washington to step up the pressure against Iran in relation to its nuclear program. They are also an act of blatant bullying directed against Venezuela.