Venezuela

According to an October 8 report from Venezuela’s Presidential Press Office report, a new poll conducted by polling company Seijas has revealed that only 3.4% of Venezuelans think capitalism is the best system of government; 22.6% said it was preferable to socialism and 62.7% said they preferred socialism to capitalism.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, led by socialist President Hugo Chavez, has captured the imagination of people around the world and sparked widespread commentary on the nature of the process of social change under way in the oil-rich South American nation.

“The Venezuelan economy in the Chavez years”, a study released in July by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, reveals massive social gains for the poor and working people in Venezuela as a result of the pro-people polices promoted by the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez. The study, by Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval, also provides a detailed look at the state of the Venezuelan economy, which has experienced significant economic growth. The authors argue that, contrary to suggestions widely made in the corporate media (which the authors refer to as “conventional wisdom”), this growth is unlikely to end any time soon.

Next month, a representative of the foreign ministry of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will visit Australia to address the Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum in Melbourne on October 11-14.’s, Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter conducted an interview in Caracas last November with Venezuelan vice-minister for Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, Vladimir Villegas. Villegas talked about the Venezuelan government’s revolutionary approach to international relations.

I walked with Roberto Navarrete into the national stadium in Santiago, Chile. With the southern winter’s wind skating down from the Andes, it was empty and ghostly. Little had changed, he said: the chicken wire, the broken seats, the tunnel to the changing rooms from which the screams echoed. We stopped at a large number 28. “This is where I was, facing the scoreboard. This is where I was called to be tortured.”

Addressing thousands of members of the battalions of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), packed into the Poliedro Stadium in Caracas on August 25, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for an “offensive” to guarantee the approval in the national referendum of his proposed constitutional reforms, which he says are necessary to guarantee the country’s transition to socialism.

“The internal situation will intensify over the next months, more contradictions will emerge, simply because we have no plans to hold back the march of the revolution”, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on March 24, speaking to more than 2000 promoters of the new socialist party being constructed in Venezuela. “These contradictions”, he said, would “intensify, because we are dealing with the economic issue, and there is nothing that hurts a capitalist more than his pocket, but we have to enter into this issue, we cannot avoid it”.

In GLW #718, Jack Duvall, the president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), published a letter in response to a couple of “errors” Eva Gollinger made in her interview “US continues destabilisation push in Venezuela” in GLW #716. Duvall denied accusations that his group had been involved in training activist groups involved in the recent “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe, and in opposing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. However, Duvall does admit in his letter that in March 2005 the ICNC “gave support to the [Albert] Einstein Institute for a workshop it conducted on nonviolent action for Venezuelans, [which was] held in Boston”.

On August 15 — the third anniversary of President Hugo Chavez’s victory in the recall referendum of 2004 and the 202nd anniversary of Venezuelan independence hero Simon Bolivar’s famous oath not to rest “until the chains of oppression are lifted from my people” — tens of thousands of people turned out to an extraordinary session of Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) to hear the president’s proposed constitutional reforms.

“Thousands of government supporters converged on Venezuela’s National Assembly, carrying banners reading ‘Yes to the reform, on the path to 21st Century Socialism’”, the BBC’s website reported on August 16, as Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez announced proposed constitutional reforms to provide a legal framework for the increasingly radical direction of the revolutionary process led by his government. This process aims to create a system of popular power and socialism.

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