Venezuela

In Venezuela, after decades of class polarisation, neglect of the needs of the majority, corruption on a massive scale and unbridled bureaucracy, the magnitude of problems that Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by socialist president Hugo Chavez is attempting to tackle is enormous.
Luis Britto Garcia was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1940. He is the author of a vast work that encompasses 47 titles, eight of them narrative fiction. In 1970, he won the Casa de las Americas Prize with his collection of tales Rajatabla. In 1979, he won that international distinction again with his novel Abrapalabra.
Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro and London Mayor Ken Livingstone signed an agreement on February 20 for Venezuela to provide discounted oil to London authorities. In return, London will assist with city management and environmental protection in Caracas.
“Today a new epoch begins”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared in his victory speech on December 3, having won the presidential election with the highest vote in Venezuelan history on a platform of deepening the struggle to build socialism. “That new era is the new socialist democracy. That era is the new socialist society.”
“We, and millions of people around the world … believe another world is possible, a world free from war, poverty and hunger. Here in Venezuela the [government of socialist President Hugo Chavez] along with the majority of the people in our country are fighting hard to build this new world, despite the attempts of the old elite and the US government to prevent us from succeeding.” This is what 25-year-old university student Germania Fernandez told Pablo Navarrete, according to a December 1 article on Venezuelanalysis.com.
Hobart Resistance organiser Mel Barnes took part in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela in December, to see the revolutionary process for herself. The brigade was timed to coincide with the presidential election in which President Hugo Chavez won another landslide victory as people voted to deepen the Bolivarian revolution.
Critics of Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, “finally feel vindicated (again)”, Venezuelanalysis.com editor Gregory Wilpert wrote in a February 6 comment piece. “The Venezuelan dictatorship that they have been predicting for the past eight years has, according to them, finally come to pass — for the sixth or so time.”
Nobody can quite believe their eyes and ears. More than 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has made it abundantly clear that his country is embarked on a socialist revolution.
One of the best-known and most successful aspects of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution has been the “social missions” — social programs funded by Venezuela’s oil wealth aiming to solve the most pressing problems of the nation’s poor majority. One of the best known and most successful social missions was one of the first to be established, the health program Mision Bario Adentro (“Into the Neighbourghood”). Established in April 2003, the mission has brought free quality health care via the establishment of popular health clinics in poor neighbourhoods across Venezuela. Before Barrio Adentro, health care was out of reach for many of the poor, as private health care was too expensive and the public health system was in a state of disrepair.
On January 8, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez swore in his new cabinet, including five new members, calling upon them to take an oath that they would “never rest arm or soul in the construction of the Venezuelan path towards socialism”. One the ministers sworn in was Hector Navarro, previously higher education minister and now Venezuela’s minister of science and technology.
“In my country, a surgery like that costs [US]$8,000”, said Roberto Andrade from El Salvador about the operation he received in Cuba that removed cataracts from both his eyes, completely free of charge, according to a January 10 Miami Herald article. “I make $12 a day. I would never, ever, be able to save that much.”
“Venezuela’s Leap Backwards” was the headline verdict of the January 10 Washington Post editorial, which attempted to throw doubt on the legitimacy of the December 3 presidential election in Venezuela that returned socialist President Hugo Chavez to office with a record 7.3 million votes (63% of the total vote cast)."Venezuela's Leap Backwards" was the headline verdict of the January 10 Washington Post editorial, which attempted to throw doubt on the legitimacy of the December 3 presidential election in Venezuela that returned socialist President Hugo Chavez to
Sending shockwaves through the corporate elite, on January 8 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared his government’s intention of reversing the privatisations that had been carried out by previous governments. Declaring “We’re on our way to socialism, and nothing and no-one can prevent it”, Chavez insisted, “All that was privatised, let it be nationalised”, according to a January 9 Associated Press report.
Mision Vuelvan Caras, literally “about-face”, is a social project — or mission — launched by the revolutionary government of Venezuela in 2004 to train and offer employment to thousands of people. It is changing the lives of a large number of the country’s citizens, many of whom previously had no formal education or jobs to rely on.
Trent Hawkins is a leader of Resistance, an Australian socialist youth organisation, who participated in the December solidarity brigade to Venezuela organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Below is his account of the December 3 presidential election and its aftermath.
December 3 — Wild celebrations have broken out here as the National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced that left-wing incumbent Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidential elections with a vote of over 60%. In pouring rain, thousands of cheering supporters have flocked to the Miraflores presidential palace to applaud the president, who has spoken to the people from the balcony of the palace.

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