Freitag, 22. März 2013

"On Hugo Chavez: Four points of orientation"

11 March 2013. A World to Win News Service. The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been the occasion for an avalanche of vilification from official and unofficial representatives of U.S. foreign policy and the media. These reactionaries cannot be allowed to politically define the moment according to their outlook and interests. At the same time, people around the world who are sick of American and other imperialist domination are posing questions about what Chavez did in Venezuela. Is it a model for the kind of change that is possible in today's world? Or does it represent an approach that cannot really break from imperialist-led exploitation? What kind of revolution is really required and possible in a country like Venezuela? Following are excerpts from an article entitled "Hugo Chavez: Four points of orientation" that appeared the issue number 298 of Revolution, newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. We will reprint more material on these questions in future issues of our news service. 1. U.S. imperialism has dominated Venezuela. Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. dominated Venezuela's economy. It gave military and political support to the ruling regimes that represented the interests of the wealthy landed, industrial, and financial elites. Oil was a critical factor. Venezuela had emerged as a major oil producer in the world, and U.S. oil companies were heavily involved in Venezuela's oil sector. In 1989 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed a vicious austerity plan on Venezuela. The masses took to the streets in militant protest. The government responded with bloody repression, murdering at least 3,000 people. 2. Hugo Chavez was a thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism. Hugo Chavez came to office in 1998 against a backdrop of massive corruption, autocratic rule, and subordination to imperialism. He said that the resources of Venezuela belong to the Venezuelan people, and that oil revenues should be used to improve social welfare. He called for a foreign policy that would stand up to the U.S. For these and other reasons, Hugo Chavez commanded considerable popular support. For these reasons, Hugo Chavez also became a thorn in the side of U.S. imperialism. In April 2002, the CIA backed a coup against Chavez. And throughout Chavez's presidency, U.S. government aid agencies and military attaches, and U.S. private foundations and media outlets, have worked to build up anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela. 3. Hugo Chavez did not stand for genuine revolution and genuine socialism. A real revolution in an oppressed third world country like Venezuela requires a two-fold break. There must be a radical break with the political economy of imperialism. And there must be a radical social revolution, a radical break with traditional relations and ideas. This was neither the programme nor outlook of Hugo Chavez. Venezuela remained dependent for revenues on the world oil economy, which is dominated by imperialism. It remained dependent on the world market, which is dominated by imperialist agro-business, for its food. Under Chavez, there was improvement in literacy and health care, but there was no fundamental change in the class and social structure of society. Agriculture is still dominated by an oligarchy of rich landowners. In the cities, the poor remain locked into slums. Women remain subordinated and degraded. Abortion is banned in Venezuela. 4. U.S. imperialism has no right to meddle or intervene. Any and all attempts by the U.S. to destabilize, or plot against, the Venezuelan government must be resolutely opposed. We in the U.S. have a special responsibility to act on that understanding.

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