Venezuela's revolution for humanity

We are on the brink of celebrating the 90th anniversary of Russia's October Revolution, that beautiful, cherished uprising which asked for nobody's permission to turn the hopes that the world might one day belong to those who work on it into a reality.

"Bread, land and freedom" was the working class's battle cry in Petrograd, even if many of them had heard Lenin's voice a mere couple of times.

Leon Trotsky proved to be right: the Russian people ended up backing the Workers, Soldiers and Peasants Councils, taking the Winter Palace and forcing [head of the provisional government Alexander] Kerensky to rush out the back door like greased lightning.

Ninety years later, history is repeating itself in the young Bolivarian revolution. Having learned their lesson, its enemies are poking their heads out everywhere, resolved this time to prevent "Fidel's bearded men from entering Havana".

What defies all logic is that such aims be voiced by Venezuelan retired General Raul Isaias Baduel, who without batting an eyelid is railing against [President] Hugo Chavez's plans to change the Venezuelan Magna Carta.

No one pretends to deprive him of his constitutional right to criticise. Many comrades have let it be known that they're unhappy about certain reforms in their factories, battalions, etc. But that the former defence minister urges people "not to be fooled" barely a month before a popular referendum [on December 2 on constitutional reforms] to decide no less than the path to socialism, is another matter altogether.

And may no one expect us to believe there's nothing behind Baduel's statements to the press conference on Monday. A coup d'etat — and by treachery — is what he's offering his people. Let him and every potential Kerensky go out through the back door!

In Cuba, on January 1, 1959, as Batista fled through the back door of the Presidential Palace given the imminence of the Rebel Army's victory, the counter-revolution attempted a move wearing a constitutional and democratic disguise [attempting a military coup].

It was then that Fidel [Castro], the most sagacious leader ever to match revolutionary coherence and opportunity, shouted the slogan "Revolution YES, Coup d'etat NO!" ... no less suitable, it seems, to the Venezuelan revolutionaries nowadays. Despite the theoreticians' prayers about how times have changed, the essence of it cannot be denied.

By launching a general strike [Cuban workers] put to rest any intentions of snatching the Cuban Revolution from [the people]. Our revolution is still around.

Revolution YES, Venezuelans, with all the criticism these new times demand; treason or coup d'etat, NO!

Let all Bolivarian militants organise a rally like the one that put Chavez back in power [after a US-backed military coup briefly removed him] on April 13, 2002! Let no one stay at home, waiting for the treacherous bourgeois television to tell us fairy tales, while it stabs the revolution!

What is at stake is not the reforms to the 1999 Bolivarian constitution, but a revolution as significant to all of us everywhere as [the Russian Revolution] 90 years ago.

Jose Marti rightly said: "Either aims are set for the Revolution, or the Revolution will set off aimlessly." If [the elite] spoil the referendum and try once again to manipulate us with their money and to rig the election ... then let the aimless revolution begin.

All for Venezuela, where the world's future is being decided, and so is the fate of my revolution [in Cuba], which, incidentally, has wasted no breath in half-measures in almost 50 years of life.

Comrades from Venezuela, you are the continuators of the Cuban Revolution ... you are giving the small, besieged island the reward it deserves, you are giving our Fidel, ill though he may be, the reward he deserves.

The streets of Caracas should shake with the cry of "Socialism YES, capitalism NO!" Let the goals of these reforms be clear to everyone. Let the traitors, the rats and the fence-sitters come out. There were traitors and renegades in Lenin's Russia, in China, and also here in Cuba. It was because of the military traitor Hubert Matos that we lost our unforgettable [Rebel Army leader] Camilo Cienfuegos.

That's why the rallying cry is "Yes to the socialist revolution". We in Cuba were shouting it to imperialism a mere two years after the triumph [in 1959]: "That's what the United States can't forgive, that we've made a socialist revolution right under their nose", said Fidel in front of an impassioned crowd [in 1961]. A few hours later there was the Bay of Pigs [US-backed invasion of Cuba], and a few more hours after that we kicked them out. Yet many scholars still question from the comfort of their easy chairs whether or not Fidel was compelled by the circumstances to become a socialist!

I'm sure some will say things were different then, and they're right. But the continuity of this revolution of Fidel and Che Guevara relies on the Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Let the "Yes" to the reform of the 69 articles in the constitution become a "Yes" to the socialist revolution! Every factory, school and revolutionary household in Venezuela must stay awake.

In the meantime, those of us across the seas and beyond rivers and jungles must set in motion every revolutionary media (the only ones I trust) to keep the revolution from being the victim of another coup. By the grace of communication, we must put our keyboards and cameras at the disposal of the Bolivarian revolution and put up an information network to provide the Venezuelans with feedback.

Capitalism is said to have created its own gravediggers: the proletariat. I would add that it also gave us the internet to do battle.

Let's all unite against those who think it's possible to snatch the dream of a Bolivarian Venezuela out of the world's hands. And let's do it through a socialist revolution, so that this time over the good Simon Bolivar returns, splendid and happy, to Caracas. And this time for good.

Till victory, socialism or death!

[Celia Hart is a Cuban-based writer. Translated from Spanish by Walter Lippmann. Abridged from original that can be read in full at <http://www.walterlippmann.com>.]

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