Venezuela: Majority support socialist policies

March 13, 2016

A recent poll conducted by Hinterlaces, a well-known and usually reliable Venezuelan pollster, showed that Venezuelans, by a substantial majority, oppose neoliberal solutions to their country's crisis.

The poll was based on 1200 interviews in the country as a whole between January 11 and 17. The poll has a 95% level of accuracy and a 2.7% margin of error.

Hinterlaces focused its poll on key economic difficulties facing the South American nation in order to know the state of mind of Venezuelans regarding the domestic political situation.

This is especially relevant after the overwhelming electoral victory by the right-wing opposition in the elections to the National Assembly on December 6.

The poll suggests that it was primarily people's genuine discontent with the economy that lead to the opposition gains, not support for neoliberalism. Much of the economic problems can be traced to the right's “economic war” aimed at reducing socialist President Nicolas Maduro's support.

The poll shows that the overwhelming majority of the population (79%) are in favour of the government's aim — economic planning and some enterprises working together within an overarching socialist framework. They do not object to the government working with multinational corporations as long as those corporations do not set the rules of the game.

Venezuelans also overwhelmingly oppose (by nearly three-quarters) the privatisation of the state oil company PDVSA, the state electricity company Corpoelec and state telecommunications company CANTV.

This is significant because immediately after the opposition's electoral victory to the National Assembly, key leaders from both the business world and right-wing parties announced their intention to extend privatisations.

Venezuela's Chamber of Commerce, Fedecamaras, even demanded the abolition of the nation's hard-won Labour Law, that grants crucial rights to workers. This is the tip of the iceberg of the Venezuelan right's full neoliberal program.

[Abridged from the Morning Star.]

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