Venezuelan Revolution

The Venezuelan elections on 20 May were merely an episode in a long saga of imperialist aggression, economic crisis and the deterioration of living conditions for the working class and poor. The reelected Maduro government has continued its policy of making concessions and appeals to the capitalists. If it wasn’t for the escape valves provided by subsidised food parcels, migration and the dollar-based economy, the situation would have led to a social explosion already. The mood of the chavista rank-and-file is increasingly angry and critical of the leadership.

Nicolas Maduro was re-elected for another term of office in the Venezuelan presidential election on Sunday 20 May. The majority of the reactionary opposition, with full support from Washington and Brussels, had called for a boycott, which led to a very low turnout in the middle-and-upper-class areas of the main cities. Their demand that the elections be cancelled was echoed by right-wing governments in the region. This meant that many in the working-class and poor areas turned out to vote as a way of rejecting brazen imperialist meddling. However, even here turnout was visibly lower than in previous elections. The deep economic crisis is the major issue in people’s minds and many are

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As the Venezuelan presidential election on 20 May draws closer, the campaign of imperialist aggression by the US and its allies intensifies. The aim is clear: to implement regime change. At the same time, the economic crisis gripping the country has reached intolerable levels for the workers and the poor, and the government’s policies are impotent to resolve the situation. A revolutionary alternative is required, one capable of fighting the right wing andshowing a real way out of hyperinflation, scarcity and economic depression.

Today marks the anniversary of the defeat of the coup that attempted to remove President Hugo Chavez from power in 2002. Within 48 hours, reaction was defeated by a magnificent movemenet of the Venezuelan masses. Here we reproduce the analysis of those events written by Ted Grant and Alan Woods, originally published on 14 April 2002.

Five years have passed since the death of Hugo Chávez. I had known him for almost ten years and had an enormous respect for his courage, honesty and dedication to the fight against oppression and exploitation. For this he earned the hatred of all the forces of the old society: the bankers, capitalists and landowners, the imperialists, the CIA and of course the so-called ‘free press’ that is merely the slavish mouthpiece of the old order.

It is clear that US imperialism and its lackey countries have increased aggression against Venezuela in recent weeks. The aim has been declared publicly: to trigger a coup d'etat against the government of President Maduro and allow the capitalist oligarchy to take control again. It is necessary to respond with revolutionary measures that strike a blow at the economic power of the oligarchy: the agents of imperialism in the country.

The economic situation facing the masses in Venezuela has suffered a sharp turn for the worse over the Christmas period. The problems that already existed have worsened, with prices spiralling out of control, a further collapse of the transport system and an aggravation of scarcity (of food, fuel and cash). This has led to scattered protests and incidents of looting.

As was expected, Venezuela’s municipal elections on December 10 produced a landslide victory for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). It won 308 out of 335 local councils winning in 23 out 25 state capitals. The opposition, which stood divided and largely boycotted the election, only managed to win two significant local councils, those of San Cristobal, the capital of Táchira and Libertador, the capital of Mérida.

 The fact that the main Venezuelan opposition parties have decided to boycott the December 10 municipal elections has opened the space for candidates representing the revolutionary wing of the Bolivarian movement to stand against official hand picked candidates from the ruling PSUV party. The bureaucracy and the state have responded by using all sorts of tricks to prevent them from running. The campaigns of Eduardo Samán in Caracas and Angel Prado in Simón Planas (Lara) have brought out the simmering contradictions within chavismo.

The fascist bourgeois opposition, with the support of North American and European imperialism, threatens to crush the Venezuelan revolution and to wreck its achievements. The fascist attacks, in working-class neighbourhoods and against Chavista, are a taste of what is to come if the opposition takes power. This ultra-reactionary opposition must be defeated now, and only the workers’ revolutionary initiative can achieve this.

Even before the National Election Council had announced the results of Sunday’s Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela, the opposition and western imperialism had already declared there had been massive fraud and that they would not recognise the legitimacy of the Assembly. Since then, they have piled up pressure on all fronts. What is to be done?

Oscar Alberto Perez

Things in Venezuela are changing by the day, sometimes by the hour. Yesterday, June 27, a police officer commandeered a helicopter and attacked the buildings of the Ministry of Interior and Justice and the Supreme Court of Justice, at the same time broadcasting an appeal for others to join in and overthrow the government of Maduro.

It is eighty-five days since the beginning of the current right-wing offensive backed by imperialism  against the Venezuelan government of President Maduro, which has left 85 people dead. So far the reactionary opposition has not achieved any of its aims. As its ability to gather large numbers of people in the streets has diminished, rioting has become increasingly more violent and deadly. The government has called Constituent Assembly elections on July 30, which will be a major test of its level of popular support. The opposition has declared it is in “disobedience” and has vowed to prevent the election from taking place. What comes next?

The calling of a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has been issued in the middle of one of the worst offensives of the counter-revolution and imperialism in the last eighteen years. In this political situation, the convening of a Constituent Assembly has awoken important revolutionary aspirations among sections of the workers’ and people's vanguard, who are ready to fight to elect deputies to the Constituent Assembly who come from the rank and file and defend a programme of revolutionary demands.