On Sunday, October 31, millions of Venezuelans will go to the polls to
elect governors of the country’s 24 states and mayors for 337 municipal
councils. Coming after the massive victory of the Bolivarian movement
in defeating the presidential recall referendum on August 15, this
election offers the possibility for the Bolivarian movement to take
control of some key states and local councils.
Partial results of this weekend’s local elections in Venezuela indicate
a dramatic turnaround in many states. Former opposition strongholds
have been won by Bolivarian candidates. This confirms the solid support
for Chavez that was clear to all in the August 15 recall referendum.
Capitalism could be overthrown very easily in these conditions, but
decisive action needs to be taken now.
At a mass rally of 10,000 people on Monday January 10, Venezuela’s
president Hugo Chavez announced a new decree aimed at speeding up land
reform. Since the Land Act was passed in December 2001, the National
Land Institute has already distributed 5.5 million acres of land to
peasant cooperatives. Up until now all the land distributed has been
state-owned land and there have been no expropriations. The new decree
is aimed at the large landed estates (latifundia) that have been left
idle or are poorly used.
Commander William Izarra is a retired air force officer, with long standing links with left wing movements, including with leaders of the PRV. He was in charge of ideology in the National Maisanta Commando, and is seen as one of the most consistent and left wing elements within the Bolivarian leadership. This interview was conducted by comrades of the Revolutionary Marxist Current for our paper El Topo Obrero, on December 7th, in his Caracas home.
As was to be predicted, London’s Financial Times reacted negatively to
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s announcement of a speeding up of
land reform. We did not expect less from the FT, a paper that has
always unashamedly defended the interests of capital. However, what we
did not expect was for the FT to argue that the “best way to address
rural poverty”, was for businesses to “pay decent wages and guarantee
good working conditions for its workers”!