Chanting this as one of the main slogans, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the streets of Caracas on August 23, to once again demonstrate their support for the government of President Hugo Chávez and his movement known as the "Bolivarian Revolution". It was an important reply to the latest parody that Venezuelan reaction had been trying to build up in the days prior to the demonstration. They had just handed their fraudulent list of signatures, with which they are trying to get a referendum called against Chávez, to the National Elections Council (CNE).
Chanting this as one of the main slogans, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the streets of Caracas on August 23, to once again demonstrate their support for the government of President Hugo Chávez and his movement known as the "Bolivarian Revolution". Not even the manipulated footage that the bourgeois mass media tried to present could diminish the size and importance of what, without doubt, has been one of the largest demonstrations that Venezuela has witnessed so far. It was an important reply to the latest parody that Venezuelan reaction had been trying to build up in the days prior to the demonstration. They had just handed their fraudulent list of signatures, with which they are trying to get a referendum called against Chávez, to the National Elections Council (CNE). They had also called their latest demo, which only a few thousand naive Venezuelans or hotheaded reactionaries attended.
Hugo Chávez, elected in 2000, has completed half of his presidential term, so on August 20 the reactionaries returned once again to their usual campaign of disinformation and manipulation. This handing in of a fraudulent list of signatures - which has been questioned even by constitutional lawyers that support the reactionaries - was presented as some kind of heroic commando action that had managed to get past the security forces of the regime. This, in spite of the fact that the CNE building was being guarded by more than 400 National Guards. It is also important to note the fact that the outgoing Board of Directors of the CNE, to whom that list was handed, has no powers to summon any elections or referendums, as a new board was about to be designated.
After weeks of an intense media campaign, the reactionary political organizations held a rally in Libertador Avenue, right in the heart of Caracas. As usual it was blown out of all proportions, as they claimed that more than a million Venezuelans had attended this meeting. The truth is that there were no more than one hundred thousand and, as always, those attending came almost exclusively from the bourgeois neighborhoods of Caracas. The footage presented on TV was cleverly manipulated. At the same time the cameras that check the Caracas traffic in that area, and can be viewed on the Internet, were conveniently switched off.
The supporters of the political process led by president Chávez responded to this media show very forcefully, even exceeding the expectations of the most optimistic government officials. Two demonstrations had been organized that were to end up in Bolivar Avenue. One was planned to start at El Valle, one of the working class neighborhoods in western Caracas, and the other at Parque del Este, on the eastern side of the city. The enthusiastic demonstrators began to arrive in the early hours of the morning at the designated meeting points, while the more impatient ones went directly to the Bolivar Avenue. We Venezuelans are known for our spontaneity, so the demonstrators coming from Petare, one of the most highly populated poor districts in eastern Caracas, decided to march straight to Bolivar Avenue, instead of going first to Parque del Este. Shortly after midday, this group alone had already filled Bolivar Avenue, and shortly afterwards, those who had marched from Parque del Este arrived. At this point the demo was spilling out of this two-kilometre long, eight lane, main artery of the city. That means that there were already more than two hundred thousand people present. And those who had started marching from El Valle, another sizeable number of Venezuelans who were enthusiastically marching and chanting slogans, were yet to arrive. As if this were not enough, a fourth demo had started off from Catia, another working class district in western Caracas, close to the Miraflores, the seat of the executive.
Desperate at not being able to hide this gigantic multitude that was expressing its support for the present government, the reactionaries tried to diminish the popularity of Chávez by shifting the emphasis onto the number of coaches that had travelled from other regions outside Caracas. As if the number of people organising to rent coaches to travel to Caracas whenever there is a pro-Chávez meeting could diminish the real meaning of this huge demonstration we have had in Venezuela!
In reply to all this, the wisdom of the Venezuelan people has already spoken: Here is your referendum!