Venezuela

“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.

“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 Weekly’s 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. Chavez’s government has already had to defeat a military coup and massive economic sabotage.

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.

Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez spoke for people the world over at the United Nations General Assembly in September when he attacked US imperialism’s attempt to dominate the world and subjugate its people. Referring to US President George Bush’s speech the day before, Chavez said: “The imperialists see extremists all around. No, it’s 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.”

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