Venezuela

As part of the expansion of the pro-poor social programs — known as “missions” — promoted by the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelanalysis.com reported on July 26 that Chavez had announced plans for the construction of 15 new hospitals. The article reports that building new hospitals, along with the transformation of run-down existing public hospitals, make up the third and fourth stage of one of the government’s best known and most successful missions — Barrio Adentro (“Into the Neighbourhood”).

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, and in particular its experiments with workers’ co-management and in some instances workers’ control, is at the cutting edge of the global movement against capitalism. With the bosses’ lockout in 2002-03, which shut down much of the Venezuelan economy for a period of two months, hundreds of factories were closed down and workers turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves.

The Venezuelan revolution, led by socialist President Hugo Chavez, has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world with its increasingly successful challenge to US imperialism and US-backed neoliberal policies that have caused widespread impoverishment across Latin America. Since Chavez’s re-election in December on an explicitly socialist platform, there has been a struggle to significantly “deepen” the revolutionary process towards creating a “socialism of the 21st century”.

Various leaders of Venezuela’s primary pro-government labour union, the National Workers Union (UNT), have called on all sectors of the organisation to join together and hold elections later this year. At a press conference on July 17, labour leaders Marcela Maspero and Orlando Chirino invited all sectors of the UNT to a general meeting on July 26 to organise general elections and, in that way, unite the principal labour union of the country that has remained divided in recent years.

The revolutionary student movement in Venezuela is divided into countless tiny organisations, often with bases in just one faculty or one campus. One of these organisations, the Popular Revolutionary Movement of Fire (MPR Fogata), in a statement issued in June called for “the revolutionary student movement of Venezuela to strengthen the forces in favour of unity”. The statement argued: “Now we are presented with the possibility of deepening these forces and gradually making that [unity] a reality.”

The dramatic advances of the Venezuelan revolution, and the alliances it has forged with other insurgent peoples and governments resisting imperialism, are creating an historic opportunity to strengthen international anti-imperialist collaboration and rebuild the revolutionary socialist movement worldwide.

Like the rest of Latin America, Venezuela’s history is scarred by colonialism’s racist legacy — Venezuela’s people were dispossessed in 1520 following Spanish settlement. In the following centuries, they were systematically killed and their land exploited. Slavery, which allowed the colonisers to plunder Venezuela, existed until 1854, and at the time of the 1830 constitution neither indigenous people nor those descended from Africa were recognised as Venezuelans.

According to a June 25 Venezuelanalysis.com report, the formation of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has entered a new phase. Officials and party militants had met in Caracas the previous weekend at the “National Meeting of Candidates for PSUV Militants in Caracas”. According to the report, “Record numbers of Venezuelans have registered to be members of the new party” and the grassroots process of forming the PSUV “continues with wide participation”.

In the wake of widely covered opposition protests against the Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew Radio Caracas Televison’s (RCTV) broadcasting licence following its countless violations of the law and its role in the 2002 coup attempt against the democratically elected government, Green Left Weekly’s Sam King spoke with lawyer and writer Eva Golinger in Caracas. Golinger is the author of The Chavez Code and Bush Versus Chavez, which expose US intervention into Venezuela aiming to overthrow Chavez.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB). The name, modelled on that of humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), conjures the idea of an organisation that monitors global standards of press freedom, offers insightful and hard-hitting investigative reports on world conflict and defends the safety of courageous journalists in war-torn countries. One would imagine that such an organisation would lend its support to one of the few countries in the world that is taking major leaps in democratising the media by breaking the existing monopoly of corporate domination.

Pages

Subscribe to Venezuela