Venezuelan Revolution

Chavez five years 6 Image chavezcandangaThe Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela can be traced back to 1989, when the masses of workers and poor rose up against an IMF-imposed package of austerity measures. Carlos Andres Perez responded by sending the army to kill unarmed protesters, leaving hundreds dead. This led to a failed uprising of junior military officers, led by Hugo Chavez, against the government in 1992. On release from jail, Chavez stood in the 1998 presidential election and won against the joint forces of the regime, opening up a revolutionary period.

Faced with imperialist aggression and coup plotting by the oligarchy, Chavez used the country's oil resources to carry out a widespread programme of social reforms, particularly in the fields of housing, education and healthcare. Companies were nationalised and workers occupied their factories. In 2005, Chavez declared that the aim of the revolution was socialism. But this revolution was never completed.

Back in 2005, Alan Woods, in The Venezuelan Revolution: A Marxist Perspective, explained that it is impossible to make half a revolution:

“[T]he Venezuelan Revolution has begun, but it is not finished, and it cannot be finished until the power of the Venezuelan oligarchy is broken… This means the expropriation of the land, banks and big industry under workers’ control and management. It means the arming of the people... It means that the working class must organise independently and strive to place itself at the head of the nation. And it means that the Marxist tendency must strive to win over the majority of the revolutionary movement.”

The current crisis in Venezuela is being blamed on socialism by reactionaries in all corners of the planet. It is, therefore, vital that all socialists have a good understanding of the history of the revolution, its achievements and its shortcomings. 

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.

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. 

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.