Venezuelan elections, a battle to defend Revolution
by Gloria La Riva
Nov. 30, 2015
Reprinted from Liberation News
Venezuela’s upcoming Dec. 6 elections for all 167 National Assembly seats could be critical for the future of the Bolivarian Revolution.
The Bolivarian Revolution is the process launched by Hugo Chávez in 1999. It includes great economic and social gains, a progressive Constitution and legislation, national control of Venezuela’s enormous oil reserves, and a declared goal of building socialism.
Threatening these gains and aims is an intensifying economic and political war waged by the right-wing opposition and the U.S. government in the lead-up to the elections. The campaign of aggression shows no signs of easing after Dec. 6.
The right-wing politicians—part of Venezuela’s capitalist class—hope to derail the revolutionary government by winning a majority of seats in the National Assembly.
Ominous detailed plans by the opposition to dismantle revolutionary laws and institutions were published in El Nacional, on Nov. 23, one of the main opposition newspapers.
A “non-governmental organization” called “Un Estado de Derecho,” made up of right-wing lawyers, has prepared a 40-page analysis in which it claims how the “rule of law” can be reinstated, if the opposition wins just 50 percent plus one seat. It is a blueprint describing a takeover of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Public Defender and General Comptroller and reorganizing the Citizen and Electoral powers of the Constitution.
El Nacional emphasizes, “This will be just the first step.”
Un Estado de Derecho is one mere component of an array of organizations financed by the U.S. government, given training and direction in subversive tactics, under the claim of promoting “democracy.” Others include terrorist organizations and individuals that carry out violent attacks.
U.S. imperialism and Venezuelan capitalists are fighting for return of their unfettered political and economic power, something they cannot achieve solely through coups and sabotage.
Destabilization campaign deepens
When President Hugo Chávez died in March 2013, the opposition intensified violent attacks on civilians and Venezuela’s defense forces. President Nicolás Maduro and his government became the new target.
The arsenal of economic war by Venezuela’s most powerful capitalists includes hoarding of consumer goods, massive currency theft and flight of capital. The drastic drop in world oil prices has also contributed to high inflation and loss of government revenues.
Economic difficulties affecting the population are bound to cost support and voting abstention, even though the PSUV militants are those forces struggling to guarantee improvements for the masses.
Still, the revolutionary government has maintained a high investment in social development, including a record pace of housing construction averaging 480 homes per day, for a total of 1,000,000 homes to be built between 1999 and 2015.
On Nov. 19, President Maduro announced an astounding acceleration in construction, with 500,000 more homes to be built next year through the Great Venezuela Housing Mission (GMVV).
Election nears, false accusations against PSUV
For months, unsubstantiated accusations and sensational media claims have been hurled at the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and Maduro’s government, all with the aim of affecting the electoral outcome.
On Nov. 10, in a calculated operation of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, two men purported to be nephews of PSUV leader Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti as their plane landed, and were charged with conspiring to import cocaine to the U.S. Strangely, no other person was arrested and the private plane was allowed to leave. Of course, the corporate media used this incident to smear Maduro and Flores, who is married to Maduro.
Cilia Flores is a longtime leftist and attorney who was instrumental in helping free Hugo Chávez from prison in the early 1990s after his courageous strike at the dictatorship of Carlos Andrés Pérez. She became the first woman president of the National Assembly and is a PSUV candidate for an Assembly seat.
On Nov. 25, a false accusation was launched internationally accusing the PSUV of murder after a man named Luis Manuel Díaz was shot to death in the state of Guárico south of Caracas at a campaign rally. Díaz had just recently become local leader of the right-wing party Acción Democrática.
With absolutely no facts or information on the case, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby denounced Maduro’s government the next day, accusing it in an official statement of failing to protect opposition candidates. Other U.S. officials weighed in to denounce Venezuela’s government, including Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, as well as Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro, European Union officials and Amnesty International.
On Nov. 28, Venezuela Vice-president Jorge Arreaza held a special conference inviting all the foreign diplomatic corps and urging them to transmit the truth of the case to their countries.
Arreaza said, “It is a terrible media attack against Venezuela and happens each time there is an electoral process. It is a pattern, a script carefully thought out and planned.”
He explained that the initial investigation shows Díaz’s murder was the result of a confrontation of criminal gangs, Los Plateados, El Malony and El Juvenal, over control of activity in the state of Guárico. Díaz was a known member of Los Plateados and was under active investigation for murder.
Arreaza added, “It was a murder for hire … with the same weapon that killed that man, (Díaz) another member of the same band, Los Plateados, was murdered.”
Using sensationalist and unsubstantiated media stories to spread suspicion about PSUV leaders is a subversive tactic. When clarified, the damage is already done. The truth gets no headlines.
This is only a small part of the attacks the government and PSUV are being subjected to. Washington will likely repeat the lies after the election as well and declare the electoral outcome fraudulent if progressives win the majority.
Washington’s psychological operation in other countries’ elections is well known: Million-dollar funding, media lies and fear mongering, to affect an outcome favorable to U.S. interests.
What Washington fears most of all
The U.S. government has killed or wounded millions of people in its wars and occupation throughout the Middle East, in its determination to control the giant oil resources of the region.
Venezuela has the largest-known oil reserves of any country in the world.
Before Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, U.S. and British oil companies reaped enormous profits with minimal royalties paid to Venezuela. Meanwhile, 80 percent of the people lived in poverty through the decade of the 1990s.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. had tightened the blockade against Cuba and imposed neo-liberal policies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean via government leaders subservient to Washington.
President Chávez put a stop to this submission in 1999 when he took office. Today, Venezuela’s oil belongs to the country, not the imperialist powers.
In 2004, Chávez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro launched a process of unprecedented unity among several countries that was never possible before, with the formation of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples, ALBA.
Washington’s influence diminished in recent years due to the revolutionary and progressive governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
This is why President Obama acceded to Latin American pressure to allow Cuba to attend the Organization of American States summit, and opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba. It is simply a change of tactics. The ultimate objective of reasserting its domination and overturning the revolutionary governments remains the same.
Solidarity urgent more than ever
The Venezuelan revolutionary leaders and pro-government masses are working non-stop to mobilize the people on Dec. 6, at the same time they struggle to defend people’s power and advance the Bolivarian Revolution.
The mass rallies, the “1×10” daily, door-to-door campaign to get the vote out for the PSUV and GPP candidates are not routine electoral exercises. It is a life-and-death struggle to defeat the oligarchy and U.S. imperialism’s latest offensive, and to fight for a socialist future. It is a fight for Latin America’s and the Caribbean’s true independence and sovereignty.
Progressive forces worldwide must know what is at hand if the right-wing and U.S. government were to defeat the government and progressive candidates. We must work ever more earnestly to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.
In the United States, the newly created Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee, along with the ANSWER Coalition, Alliance for Global Justice, U.S. chapters of FMLN, and many other groups, are mobilizing to hold rallies, meetings and other actions in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Haven, Conn., Dec. 5 and 6. In Vancouver, Canada, several organizations will hold a protest at the U.S. Consulate on Dec. 6, as well as forums. Actions are planned throughout Latin America. Information is available at: www.cuba-venezuela.org