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 countrys 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.
The atmosphere in the early evening has been a big celebration already, with fireworks and loud music in the city streets, and a large crowd already gathering near Miraflores Palace, according to Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter, correspondents for Green Left Weeklys Venezuela bureau who were in Caracas on the day of the December 3 presidential election.
The outcome of the December 3 presidential election was a resounding endorsement of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution, and a rebuff of Washington and the right-wing opposition. Now, Venezuelans face the threat of violent attempts to destabilise the country by the US and the opposition. Chavezs government has already had to defeat a military coup and massive economic sabotage.
Venezuelas socialist President Hugo Chavez spoke for people the world over at the United Nations General Assembly in September when he attacked US imperialisms attempt to dominate the world and subjugate its people. Referring to US President George Bushs speech the day before, Chavez said: The imperialists see extremists all around. No, its not that we are extremists. What is happening is that the world is waking up and people everywhere are rising up. I have the impression Mr Imperialist Dictator that you will live the rest of your days as if in a nightmare, because no matter where you look we will be rising up against US imperialism.
Manuel Rosales faces almost certain defeat in Venezuela’s elections but he has told his supporters: “It is true, we are winning.”
Marta Harnecker, a Chilean-born author, intellectual and participant in Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Coral Wynter and Jim McIlroy about the significance of Venezuela’s December 3 elections, in which socialist incumbent Hugo Chavez faces right-wing, US-backed candidate Manuel Rosales.
Marta Harnecker is the Chilean-born author of Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution (Monthly Review Press, 2005) and other books dealing with revolution and Latin America. She has been an active participant in Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution and an adviser to that country’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez.