Venezuela’s September 26 National Assembly elections gave an interesting insight into the state of class struggle in a country sharply polarised by the revolutionary changes led by the government of President Hugo Chavez. The significance lies in the vote occurring after 11 years of the Chavez-led Bolivarian revolution, which has resulted in big improvements in the living standards of the poor majority.
On September 28, a British Guardian reporter who interviewed me by phone published an article on the September 26 Venezuelan National Assembly elections titled “Opposition Gains Loosen Chavez’s Grip on Power.” According to the article, I said the electoral results “suggested the government should try to modify its radical discourse and accommodate the opposition, as long as it accepted the government’s legitimacy”.
In the parliamentary elections on Sunday 26 September, the PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] won a volume and distribution of votes that gave it a simple majority of deputies in the National Assembly. The triumph of socialist candidates preserves the political continuity of the democratic process led by President Hugo Chavez, and shows that the bulk of the population prefers the anti-capitalist and socialist path.
As if straight out of a Cold War era movie, US corporate media outlets such as the Miami Herald ran headlines on September 18 claiming scientists from Albuquerque “tried to sell classified nuclear data to Venezuela”. Readers were no doubt shocked to read in the Miami Herald that “an elderly maverick scientist who battled the scientific community for decades over laser fusion was indicted Friday in New Mexico, charged with trying to sell classified nuclear weapons data to Venezuela”.
As Venezuela’s September 26 National Assembly election time approaches, international media have increased negative coverage of the South American nation. The bombardment of negative, false, distorted and manipulated news about Venezuela in US media has increased in volume and intensity during the last few days. Venezuela is subjected to this every time an election nears. This international media campaign against the left-wing government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have a clear and coordinated objective: removing the Chavez from power.
In the lead-up to the September 26 national Assembly elections, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on workers to not allow the right-wing opposition to halt the advance of the Bolivarian revolution. Chavez, who is also president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), made the call on September 15 while addressing the Socialist Electrical Workers Front Braulio Criollo. Faced with acts of sabotage in various electrical substations across the country, Chavez urged workers to not lower their guard.
Venezuela’s decision to re-establish diplomatic, political and economic relations with Colombia on August 10 was only possible thanks to a range of circumstances and actions. Venezuela cut ties on July 22 in the face of allegations made by Colombia at the Organisation of American States (OAS) of alleged Venezuelan support for left-wing Colombian guerrillas. The Venezuelan government said the allegations were part of an attempt, backed by the US, to spark a war between the two nations.
A huge transformation of agriculture is taking place in Venezuela, a transformation that has lessons for every other country in the world. I had the opportunity in July to visit the country and see the changes that are taking place first hand. Venezuela’s Law of the Land and Agrarian Development, the Law of Food Sovereignty and Security, and the Law of Integrated Agricultural Health set out the agenda.
One of Venezuela’s state-run food supply networks increased by 70% its sales in July, Edward Ellis reported in the Correo del Orinoco International on August 13. Ellis said commerce minister Richard Canan told Venezuelan television program Desperto Venezuela of a record income for the Bicentennial Markets, which took in a total of US$56.5 million in July. Ellis said Canan, a member of socialist President Hugo Chavez’s government, reported a 2.1 million people visited the markets in July, an increase of 35%.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For several years this has been met with denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chavez, from TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson to establishment figures like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom liken the nation to a military dictatorship.