This book by Alan Woods is essential reading for all those who want to understand what is happening in Venezuela today. But this is no mere description of events. It is a powerful Marxist analysis of the Venezuelan Revolution, its weaknesses and strengths, its contradictions and unique characteristics. The book was not written with hindsight. Every chapter, beginning with the coup of April 2002, was written as the events were unfolding at the time, and traces the winding course of the revolution. With an introduction by Rob Sewell.

The decree of expropriation of Venepal in January this year was a major turning point in the Venezuelan revolution. The decision to nationalise Venepal and put it under the administration of the workers, and the very high profile way in which the decision was taken, was bound to have an impact amongst other groups of workers in the same situation.

On Sunday August 8, the biggest march in the history of Venezuela took place in Caracas. The masses poured onto the streets of the capital in a rousing finale to the campaign on the referendum. This was a resounding reply to all the accusations in the bourgeois press that the Bolivarian Movement had lost its mass base.

From the beginning the privately owned media and the leaders of the right wing opposition have tried to minimise and ridicule the discovery and arrest of foreign paramilitaries in Venezuela, as did the US government. But the truth is that there are clear links between these groups of "irregulars" and the Venezuelan and Colombian oligarchies, with the helping hand of the US.

The arrests near Caracas on Sunday of up to 80 Colombian paramilitaries linked to the political opposition confirm suspicions that the counterrevolution is resorting to ever more desperate and violent measures to overthrow the government of Hugo Chavez. It is quite clear that the captured men were being trained by the opposition to stage a coup.

The International event took place in Caracas from April 13 to April 15. The dates were chosen to commemorate the massive reaction of the workers and the people which defeated, in less than 48 hours, the reactionary military coup of Pedro Carmona two years ago. More than 150 international guests were present during the events as well as thousands of Venezuelan revolutionaries.

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