In a massive show of support for the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) established to unite the mass movement that supports the Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez on June 1 some 2.5 million PSUV members participated in an historic process of electing candidates for the upcoming regional elections in November.
Following the December 2 constitutional reform referendum defeat the first for the forces of the Bolivarian revolution since the election of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 1998 and facing popular discontent at the problems holding back the advance of the process of change, the pro-revolution forces face a big challenge in securing an overwhelming victory in the November regional elections in order not to lose ground to the US-backed opposition.
First came the decision by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on April 9 to re-nationalise the Sidor steel plant, privatised by a pre-Chavez government in 1997, after a long workers’ struggle.
Visibly overcome with emotion, four former Colombian legislators — Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Perez, Orlando Beltran and Jorge Eduardo Gechem — held prisoner by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for years, were reunited with their families in the Simon Bolivar International airport near Caracas on February 27 after a successful Venezuelan-led humanitarian mission.
In recent weeks, external and internal pressure against Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, as the process of change led by socialist President Hugo Chavez is known, has intensified dramatically.
“This is pure judicial terrorism”, Venezuelan energy minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Caracas on February 8, in response to court injunctions obtained by US-based ExxonMobil Corp. — the world’s largest oil corporation — in January.
Venezuelas Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez, characterised a series of court orders obtained by Exxon Mobil Corp. in Britain, the Netherlands, and the Dutch Antilles, freezing up to US$12 billion in assets of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, as "judicial terrorism" in a statement today.
On February 4, a series of massive ostensibly non-political peace demonstrations against the left-wing guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) took place in Colombia. Hundreds of thousands took part under the banner of No more FARC, No more kidnappings. Protests also took place around the world.
With the defeat of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms, aimed at “opening the path to socialism” in the referendum on December 2, by a tiny margin of 50.7% to 49.3% with 90% of the vote counted, many Venezuelans and supporters of the Bolivarian revolution internationally are asking “what happened?”.
Heightened political tensions between Colombia and Venezuela over Colombian President Alvaro Uribes decision on November 21 to cancel the mediating role of his Venezuelan counterpart, President Hugo Chavez, in negotiations for the release of 45 high-profile hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signifies more than just a war of words between two presidents, but a clash between the Latin American left and the right-wing aligned with US imperialism.
student protests two weeks ago against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms, more than 50,000 students marched in favour of the reforms in Caracas on November 22. The reforms aim to facilitate the massive deepening of the revolutionary process lead by the Chavez government that has already made significant inroads into reducing poverty, in order to open the transition to a ‘socialism of the 21st Century”. The reforms, which have been widely debated throughout society and have been adopted by the National Assembly, will be put to a referendum on December 2.
After receiving the modified project of constitutional reform, which includes an additional 36 changes proposed by the National Assembly, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, announced on October 31 that the proposed changes, which will be put to a referendum on December 2, should be voted on in separate blocs, rather than as one single bloc.
The Venezuelan consulate and the residency of a Cuban doctor were attacked with explosives in the opposition-controlled state of Santa Cruz in the early hours of Monday October 22.
Venezuelan opposition groups are planning to use “all means possible to stop the constitutional reform referendum”, scheduled to take place on December 2, reported the October 25 Ultimas Noiticias. Describing the proposed constitutional reforms as a “constitutional coup”, a coalition of opposition parties — some of which participated in the short-lived military coup against the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez in 2002 — have called for a massive protest on November 3, demanding that the National Electoral Council (CNE) suspend the constitutional reform referendum.
The surprise decision in August by Colombian President Alavaro Uribe to allow the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to mediate in negotiations for a humanitarian exchange of 45 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC Colombias largest guerrilla group), for 500 guerrilla insurgents held in Colombian jails, has given many Colombians hope that a humanitarian accord to swap prisoners could develop into broader and lasting peace negotiations that would put an end to more than 40 years of civil war.
According to official figures, over 1 million aspiring members of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) participated in the election of spokespeople, as part of the latest phase in its construction, which will culminate with a founding congress scheduled to begin on October 27. Congress delegates will be elected from the spokespeople.