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*Venezuelan Revolution at Cross roads*

Bolivarian revolution
*Just to remind people, the Venezuela Consejo Nacional Electoral/CNE( **
 link to www.cne.gov.ve )
is official numbers people should pay attention to today( we should hear
officially by late tonight), there will be lots of rumors, both sides are
tense and many rumors of a Plan B from both and rain is in forecast most of
the day all over the country...*
*Cort *

*Venezuelan Revolution at Cross roads*

< http://www.marxist.com/venezuelan-revolution-at-cross-roads-oct-2012.htm>
* *
Written by Lal Khan

*The elections being held today, October 7, 2012, in Venezuela are of
immense historical significance. The results of this election will have a
crucial impact not just in Venezuela and Latin America but far beyond its
frontiers, on the consciousness of the masses and the dynamics of the class
struggle. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that there has been
an enormous interest and attention in the outcome of these polls by the
experts and strategists of the western imperialist world ruling elites and
its media.*

Chavez has been called a dictator, tyrant, authoritarian, narco, anti-American
terrorist. They have portrayed the image of Venezuela as one of violence,
insecurity, crime, corruption and chaos, failing to mention the incredible
achievements and social advances during the last decade, or the causes of
the social inequalities left behind from previous governments. These
scathing attacks on Hugo Chavez are not without a reason. They are
terrified of a Bolivarian victory. The rhetorical attacks on Iran, North
Korea, Islamic fundamentalism and so on are a different ball game.

In fact the imperialist and the Venezuelan oligarchies are fervently
campaigning for the joint opposition (forged by the imperialists and their
agents) candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski to win this presidential
election. The imperialist support for this right wing candidate is for the
very clear interests of the resumption of unhindered imperialist plunder
and the intensification of capitalist exploitation. The imperialist support
was plainly spelt out by Robert Zoellick, the outgoing President of the
World Bank, when he said in June this year, "Chavez's days are numbered. A
Capriles victory was an opportunity to make the Western Hemisphere the
first democratic hemisphere." This is in spite of the fact that Chavez has
won eight elections and referendums during his almost fourteen year term
which were endorsed even by so called 'neutral' American observers
including the Jimmy Carter foundation.

But imperialism and their strategists have a simple definition of
democracy: does a government do what they want it to do?- in other words
the freedom of free market enterprises and unfettered access for corporate
capital to unrestricted exploitation in order to amass colossal rates of
profit. Capriles stands exactly for these policies. He describes himself as
a political centrist who looks to the left, but this is mere rhetoric
coming from a man who belongs to one of the wealthiest families in
Venezuela and whose programme of privatisation, austerity and
neoliberalism will return the country to the poverty and stagnation of the
"lost decades" of the 1980s and 1990s.

Capriles and the right wing opposition's subservience to big oil companies
and imperialism will mean a return to the plunder of Venezuela's huge oil
reserves as in the past. This is evident from the massive financing of
Caprile's campaign by these vested interests as well as plans to sabotage
the elections. His political record includes support for the 2002
anti-Chávez coup and an attack on the Cuban Embassy during the 2002 coup
that toppled Chavez for a few days. This military coup was covertly
supported by US imperialism and the present opposition which is now
masquerading as democrats. Capriles has announced a foreign policy of
appeasement to imperialism and to cold shoulder the relations with the left
governments in Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other governments
elected in the wake of a rising tide of class struggle in Latin America.
But the masses are not so naive. They can see the ugly physiognomy of the
oligarchy that lies concealed behind the smiling mask.

Chavez was a colonel in the military commandos in the 1980's. In fact he
took part in a military operation against a guerrilla campaign in the
mountains launched by the communist party at the time. One of leaders of
the communist fighters was comrade Maria Leon who later became a senior
minister in the Chavez government after the 2002 coup. That was a unique
rendezvous. When Chavez was elected in 1998, he was not a socialist. But
when he tried to carry out the capitalist revolution, he was astonished to
find that the biggest hostility to the fulfilment of those tasks came from
the capitalist oligarchy and imperialism. Capitalists, politicians and
heads of state from Washington to London to Madrid pressurised him to
submit to their agendas. "Come with us", urged the Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Maria Aznar, trying to seduce him with offers of wealth and luxury in
turn for obeying orders. Every dirty tactic under the sun has been used to
destabilize his government or make it difficult for him to govern, as
stated by the former US State Department chief Lawrence Eagleburger.

Within a short period of time, Venezuela was overrun by economic sabotage,
oil industry lock-outs, chaos in the streets and a brutal media war that
distorted the reality of the country on a national and international
level. The more popular Chavez became, the more millions of dollars flowed
from US agencies to anti-Chavez groups to destabilize, discredit,
delegitimize, overthrow, assassinate or remove him from power by any means
possible. For years now, a group of US congress members - democrats and
republicans - have tried to place Venezuela on their list of "state
sponsors of terrorism". They claim the relationships between Venezuela and
Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and even Venezuela and China is a "grave threat"
to the US.

Having to navigate through this experience Chavez came to the conclusion
that the tasks of the bourgeoisie democratic revolution cannot be
accomplished within the confine s of capitalism itself. That is what led
him to raise the slogan of 21st century socialism. It ultimately led to the
coup of 2002. Chavez's support amongst the vast majority of the lower ranks
of the army and the mobilisation of a million people in Caracas defeated
the coup in 36 hours. From then onwards he embarked upon radical reforms
including nationalising the oil industry and chunks of the economy, 80% of
the income of which previously went abroad, so that now the income has been
used for investment in infrastructure and social programmes resulting in
the reduction of poverty by 21 per cent from 1999 to 2010. Illiteracy has
been abolished; railways, roads and port facilities are being expanded at
an unprecedented rate. There is full and free healthcare for the poor. More
than 250,000 housing units have been built for the homeless. Weekly
working hours have been reduced from 44 to 40 hours. Pre and post natal
leave has been extended to 26 weeks. Gender equality has been the hall mark
of the revolutionary process.

But capitalism has not been abolished and the oligarchy is trying to
sabotage the economy. Electricity outages and an increasing crime rate show
that an appropriate infrastructure cannot be built even under state
capitalism. Chavez was not a trained cadre of a Marxist- Leninist party.
But the necessity of a party led him to launch the United Socialist Party
of Venezuela (PSUV). However this was an amalgamation of diverse left and
progressive groupings with little ideological and organisational cohesion,
crystallising in the formation of a strong self-serving right wing within
the PSUV, mainly comprising of reformists and opportunist elements that act
as a sort of fifth columnists. They don't believe in revolutionary
socialism. Sections of this bureaucracy even sabotage the implementation of
radical reforms that Chavez often announces. This is an inevitable outcome
for a party which is created while being in power. This is the most
detrimental threat to the revolution that has continued for almost a decade.

*The masses in Venezuela have steadfastly stood by the revolution and
defied the attacks of imperialism and counter revolutionary forces. They
fight to defend the gains of the revolution. But the revolution is far from
complete and that is really the cause of the crisis we see in Venezuela. *

*Today the masses will be tested against the avalanche of media propaganda
and finance capital. According to the polls by the right-wing pollster firm
Datanalsis, support for Chavez stands at 43.6 percent as compared to
Capriles's 27.7 percent. If Chavez wins, he plans to further advance the
revolution. He wants to set up a system of communes or socialist local
entities across the country as a way of devolving power to the people.
According to a quote in the Economist, "It is the Leninist idea of the
soviets." The article continues, "And what if Chavez loses? He said earlier
this month that a Capriles victory would lead to a 'profound
destabilisation of Venezuela, which might even cause 'civil war'. The
opposition worries that the army might back the president if he decided not
to recognise defeat." One of Chavez's strengths is his strong support
within the armed forces that are "wedded to Mr. Chavez's socialist
project." With attacks from the imperialists and oligarchy he may go the
whole hog and complete the socialist revolution. The rapidly rising forces
of Marxism in the PSUV will play a decisive role in such a consequential
change of gargantuan proportions.*