Tamara Pearson

There were large marches in Caracas by supporters and opponents of venezuela's revolutionary government on May 1, as well as smaller ones around the country, to mark International Workers Day. Government supporters celebrated a minimum wage rise and a new labour law that extends workers' rights. Government opponents, however, demanded a “fair wage”.

President Nicolas Maduro marched with the pro-government march in Caracas, while opposition leader Henrique Capriles marched with his supporters in the eastern part of the capital.

The results of Venezuela's presidential elections in a few weeks may well predictable, with polls showing socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro well ahead of his right-wing opponent. But we are going through a fragile, vulnerable period, with a future that is less predictable.

These elections, as the start of the era of the Bolivarian revolution without its historic leader Hugo Chavez, have special characteristics and factors that go beyond the vote.

Unity and leadership

Venezuela Analysis journalist Tamara Pearson's passionate and insightful report on the feeling among the Venezuelan people after the passing of President Hugo Chavez, the response of the opposition, the people's determination to continue their revolution, and the importance of international solidarity.

Film by Green Left TV.

Vice-President Nicolas Maduro congratulated Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his “gigantic” victory in Ecuador’s presidential and parliamentary elections on February 17.

Correa received 57% of the vote, achieving a strong lead ahead of the runner-up, banker Guillermo Lasso who got 24.06% of the vote.

“We’re very happy, and we’ve communicated our congratulations from the whole people of Venezuela, from our president Hugo Chavez, to President Rafael Correa,” Maduro said.

Venezuela's Vice-President Nicolas Maduro and government ministers marched with up to one million people on January 23 to defend the Bolivarian revolution, which has signficantly reduced poverty and promoted new forms of participatory democracy, on the country's Democracy Day.

The right-wing opposition march turned out to be a small rally. Further, sectors of the far right have called on the armed forces to resist what they referred to as the “invasion” of “Castro-communism” in Venezuela.

The Venezuelan government has responded to opposition and private media accusations that it is being “mysterious” regarding information on Chavez’s health situation, and has called such statements as well as rumours being spread on social networks “psychological warfare”.

President Hugo Chavez announced on public television on the night of December 8 that he would return to Cuba to receive surgery for new malignant cells, and that vice-president Nicolas Maduro will be in charge during his absence.

Chavez said Cuban doctors informed him that the area where he has previously been affected will need to be operated on again, as new malignant cells have appeared.

He also said that “there are always risks in processes like this” and that “if anything happens to me that hinders me [from performing as president]”, Maduro was his preference to replace him.

About 25,000 people squished themselves into the sports stadium of Chillogallo, the most populated area of Quito, to launch the candidates of President Rafael Correa’s Alianza PAIS (Country Alliance, or AP) on November 10. Elections are scheduled for next February for the presidency and National Assembly.

The Venezuelan government will begin a process of recovering 300,000 hectares of land during April that have been in the hands of an unnamed English company, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in an interview during his trip to Uruguay.

Chavez said the process of taking back or “recovering” land had been fundamental to the revolutionary process led by his government. He said this especially so that “worker control” could “prevent companies from exploiting the land and workers, and getting rich and taking the earnings overseas”.

Venezuela marked the 12th anniversary of President Hugo Chavez’s first oath of office in February 1999 on February 2.

Chavez won presidential elections in December 1998 on a pro-poor program that pledged to break the corrupt, two-party system that had dominated Venezuela since 1958.

To commemorate the occasion, Chavez and supporters held four televised site visits in Caracas. The visits highlighted gains in education, food, health and people’s power that have occurred as part of the “Bolivarian revolution” the Chavez government is leading.

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