Saturday, November 29, 2008

Venezuelan elections give PSUV a mandate to deepen revolutionary process

Decisive revolutionary defeat of capitalist class still a must

A record 10 million Venezuelan voters turned out for state and municipal elections on Nov. 23, in the first electoral run of the new Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Venezuelans waiting to vote, 11-23-08 Venezuelans waiting to vote, Nov. 23.

In the country’s popular vote, 5.3 million people supported the PSUV candidates, and 4 million backed the right-wing opposition. The 65.45 percent voter turnout is the highest ever for regional and local elections

The PSUV candidates won 17 of the 22 governorships, or 77 percent, and 265 out of 327 municipalities, or 81 percent, in an election widely seen as a referendum on the socialist vision of the Bolivarian revolution. There are 23 states in Venezuela, but the southernmost one, Amazonas, did not have elections this year.

This was also the first election to take place since the pro-Chávez forces lost a major December 2007 referendum on some 60 economic and social reforms. This time, almost 6 million people voted for the newly-formed PSUV, a gain of 1.5 million more than in Dec. 2007.

Chávez and other PSUV leaders declared the day after the vote that from the elections must come a deepening of the revolutionary process.

While the country’s right-wing and U.S. imperialism are trying to extract an assessment of victory for those who oppose the Bolivarian revolution, it is clear that there is majority support among the masses for the PSUV.

In the municipalities, the pro-Chávez forces have steadily gained more seats in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections. In 2000, 105 municipalities voted Bolivarian and 146 went for the right wing; in 2004, 220 municipalities voted Bolivarian and 60 voted opposition. This year, 265 out of 327 of the country’s municipalities, or 81 percent, voted for the PSUV, and little more than 50 municipalities voted for the opposition candidates.

Still, some of the elections around the capital reflected discontent with quality-of-life issues and an unpopular incumbent governor running on the PSUV ticket in Miranda. The state of Miranda is next to Caracas federal district, and much of the capital resides within that state.

Many people were unhappy with the extremely high rates of violent crime, drug trafficking and deteriorated infrastructure in the city and surrounding area. They blamed PSUV incumbent candidate Deodato Cabello for failing to resolve these problems and corruption.

That left a wide opening for the U.S.-financed right-wing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky. Capriles was one of the coup plotters against Chávez in April 2002, when he helped lead a violent demonstration against the Cuban embassy in Caracas when he was mayor of the Baruta municipality of Caracas.

The day after the elections, Chávez warned the opposition politicians not to continue with their counter-revolutionary actions, and referred specifically to Capriles, now newly-elected governor of Miranda. "I will be evaluating him, because five years ago he was one of the leaders of the coup d’état and was assaulting the Cuban embassy here in Caracas."

Chávez has issued two messages: He has cautioned the right-wing not to use its new offices as a base for organizing against the revolution, and he has pointed to the gains of the Bolivarian revolution since 1998 as a strong mandate to deepen the revolutionary struggle.

The right-wing opposition won the governorship in five states—Táchira, Carabobo, Nueva Esparta, Zulia and Miranda. However, Táchira and Carabobo were extremely close votes. The states of Zulia, Miranda and Carabobo have the largest populations in Venezuela.

Additionally, the right wing lost three states—Sucre, Guárico, and Aragua—whose governors were elected on a pro-Chávez platform in 2005 but who joined the opposition in 2007.

In the capital city of Caracas, there were two contending victories. Opposition candidate Antonio Ledezma was elected mayor of metropolitan Caracas, the capital’s executive office, while PSUV candidate Jorge Rodríguez was elected mayor of Libertador, the most important of Caracas’ five municipalities. Ironically, Ledezma, an ally of right-wing ex-president Carlos Andrés Pérez, was Caracas mayor from 1992 to 1995, when conditions were at their worst in the capital city.

The importance of Washington’s support for the counter-revolutionary forces cannot be underestimated. The U.S. government has funneled millions of dollars to subversive groups that are targeting communities and regions in order to build an opposition and destabilize Venezuela’s society. The U.S. Agency for International Development—closely coordinated with the CIA’s subversion strategy—channels funds through the U.S. Embassy-based Office of Transition Initiatives. Venezuela and Bolivia are the only countries with OTI offices that are not emerging from civil wars.

Investigator Eva Golinger’s new book, "The Imperial Spiderweb: An Encyclopedia of Invasion and Subversion," details the extensive network of U.S. agencies providing that counterrevolutionary funding and direction.

She writes: "USAID and [the National Endowment for Democracy], and others like Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Germany), FAES (Spain), FOCAL (Canada), Friederich Ebert Stiftung (FES), among others, have been working in Venezuela for years, advising and financing parties such as Justice First, A New Time, and We Can, to help them create platforms and political strategies that reflect the needs and desires of the Venezuelan people, but that are directing a hidden agenda that promotes a neo-liberal and anti-socialist vision."

Venezuela cannot escape U.S. imperialist designs to subvert and sabotage the revolutionary process without inflicting a decisive defeat on the capitalist class and their organizations and agents. Presently, those reactionary elements are still free to function. The class polarization and extreme poverty in Venezuela requires the expropriation of the wealth and resources of the ultra-rich capitalists and the use of those resources to solve the economic and social problems that beset Venezuela.

Progressive activists in the United States must first and foremost extend real solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution and expose the schemes of the CIA and the Pentagon, which aim to smash the revolutionary process.

Good news. Thanks. T & I have been checking up on a lot of propagandistic crap on corporate (so-called "liberal") news sources like PBS's Frontline, which reported repeatedly that the "dictator" Chavez pushed a change in the Venezuela's constitution to make him "president for life."
Many otherwise intelligent people I know actually buy this dishonest frame.
Thanks, Alice
SOS (& of course XOX)
- A
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