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Steve Ellner: 'There is much to learn from the positives and difficulties of the Venezuelan experience'
By Lucas Koerner
October 21, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Distinguished Venezuelan history and politics professor Steve Ellner visited Caracas from September 26 to October 7 to teach an intensive seminar at the Venezuelan Planning School, titled “The Role of the Venezuelan State in the Transition to Socialism”. VA sat down with the long time Universidad de Oriente professor to discuss a range of pressing issues facing Venezuela, including the country’s current economic crisis, the recall referendum, the future of the Bolivarian process, the efficacy of state social programs such as the CLAPs, rentierism and the Maduro government’s controversial Mining Arc, as well as the role of international solidarity.
By Stuart Piper
January 25, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance with the author's permission
“They hit us in the stomach. The revolution, and we as social movements, haven’t been able to deal with the problem of food.” Marisa, community activist in La Vega, a day after the election.
Confrontation inside and outside parliament
On the morning of Tuesday, 5 January, a few thousand supporters of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition gathered around La Hoyada metro station in central Caracas. Most had travelled in from the better-off neighbourhoods to the east. The mood was euphoric, but tense. They would march the short distance west to the National Assembly, in the company of their newly elected representatives who were about to be sworn in.
Is South America’s ‘progressive cycle’ at an end? Neo-developmentalist attempts and socialist projects
Rightists’ election victory poses major threat to Venezuela’s advances: Can People’s Power save the Bolivarian Revolution?
President Nicolás Maduro addresses Chavista supporters on December 7, following election defeat the previous day.
By Richard Fidler
January 13, 2016 - Life on the Left, reposted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author’s permission - Seventeen years after Hugo Chávez was elected Venezuela’s President for the first time, the supporters of his Bolivarian Revolution, now led by President Nicolás Maduro, suffered their first major defeat in a national election in the December 6 elections to the country’s parliament, the National Assembly.
Coming only two weeks after the victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina’s presidential election, it was a stunning setback to the “process of change” in Latin America that Chávez had spearheaded until his premature death from cancer in 2013. The opposition majority in the new parliament threatens to undo some of the country’s major social and economic advances of recent years as well as Venezuela’s vital support to revolutionary Cuba and other neighboring countries through innovative solidarity programs like PetroCaribe and the ALBA fair-trade alliance.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]Di Federico Fuentes
4 agosto 2015 -- ZNet Italy -- Se Hugo Chavez non fosse morto nel 2013, l’ex presidente venezuelano il 28 luglio avrebbe compiuto 61 anni. Tuttavia, anche se Chavez non c’è più, la sua impronta indelebile sul panorama politico del Venezuela, sopravvive.
Il 6 dicembre i venezuelani andranno alle urne per la ventesima volta da quando Chavez era stato eletto presidente per la prima volta nel 1998. L’elezione di dicembre per l’Assembela Nazionale si avvia a diventare un’altra fondamentale battaglia tra le forze che per 15 anni hanno appoggiato o si sono opposte a Chavez.
Per le forze chaviste, la vittoria è vitale per la difesa e l’intensificazione della loro “rivoluzione bolivariana.”
Per l’opposizione, il successo rappresenterebbe un passo importante verso la rimozione del successore di Chavez, Nicolas Maduro, o tramite un referendum prima della scadenza del suo mandato nel 2016 o per mezzo del possibile uso del parlamento per metterlo in stato di accusa.
Nella maggio parte dei paesi, le persone in carica devono fare i conti con un prevalente umore anti-politico riflesso nella maggiore mutevolezza dei votanti e nei più rapidi cambiamenti di governo. Anche l’Australia, relativamente tranquilla, ha visto quattro diversi governi nello scorso decennio.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4546.]
Írta: Federico Fuentes
2015. augusztus 06 -- Green Left Weekly/Latin-Amerika Társaság -- A 2013-ban elhunyt Hugo Chávez egykori venezuelai elnök és forradalmi szocialista július 28-án lett volna 61 éves. Bár Chávez eltávozott, emléke a venezuelai politikai színtér kitörölhetetlen része maradt.
December 6-án Venezuela huszadik alkalommal fog az urnákhoz járulni azóta, hogy Chávezt 1998-ban először elnökké választották. Eközött a két időpont között a szegénypárti átalakítási folyamat jelentősen visszavetette a szegénységet és hatalommal ruházta fel a szegény többséget.
Komoly akadályokkal is felmerültek, amely akadályozzák és veszélyeztetik a „bolivári forradalom” – ahogyan a Chávez által vezetett folyamatot hívják – fennmaradását.
A decemberi nemzetgyűlési választás egy újabb kritikus ütközetet jelent azok között, akik 15 éven keresztül támogatták vagy ellenezték Chávezt.
A chavista erők számára létfontosságú a győzelem, hogy megvédjék és elmélyítsék a forradalmat.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE
By Federico Fuentes
August 5, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Had Hugo Chavez not passed away in 2013, the former Venezuelan president and revolutionary socialist would have turned 61 on July 28. However, though Chavez is gone, his indelible imprint on Venezuela’s political landscape endures.
On December 6, Venezuelans will go to the polls for the 20th time since Chavez was first elected president in 1998. Between then and now, a process of pro-poor transformation has significantly cut poverty and empowered the poor majority.
It has also confronted serious obstacles blocking further advances and threatening the survival of the “Bolivarian revolution”, as the process pushed by Chavez is known.
The December election for the National Assembly is shaping up to be another critical battle between forces that for 15 years either supported or opposed Chavez.
For the Chavista forces, victory is vital to defending and deepening the revolution.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at the campaign close for primary elections for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, June 26, 2015. Photo: AVN.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE
June 28, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Millions of members of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) hit the ballot box on June 28 to vote for the left-wing party’s candidates for parliamentary elections to be held in December. "Here are these candidates, they are men and women who come from the people, they were nominated by the grassroots (of the party), now it is up to you to choose,” stated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on June 26 during an event to celebrate the close of campaign.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4439.]
Por Steve Ellner
02-06-2015 -- Rebelion -- Los izquierdistas en Venezuela han formulado varias explicaciones sobre los retos actuales, y el descontento creciente que enfrenta el país, el cual aumenta la posibilidad de que la oposición se apodere del control de la Asamblea Nacional en las elecciones al final de este año. En la lista de explicaciones está la comparación desfavorable de las cualidades superiores del liderazgo de Hugo Chávez con las inferiores de su sucesor Nicolás Maduro. (Este mismo razonamiento es utilizado frecuentemente por los miembros de la oposición, quienes –explícita e implícitamente – atribuyen las deficiencias de Maduro a sus orígenes obreros.) Una segunda explicación es que funcionarios corruptos son los responsables de la crisis económica actual, que incluye la escasez aguda de productos de primera necesidad y una inflación galopante que ha llegado a tres dígitos.
Over three months in the early part of last year, Venezuela was subjected to a campaign of violence and disruption known as the guarimba, organised by elements of the right-wing, US-backed opposition.
By Steve Ellner
May 22, 2015 -- VenezuelAnalysis, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Leftists in Venezuela put forward a number of different explanations for the pressing economic difficulties and growing discontent that has beset Venezuela and increases the possibility of an opposition takeover of the National Assembly in this year’s elections.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE.
By Steve Ellner
December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.
The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.
By Ewan Robertson, Merida
October 2, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -– Robert Serra (27), a legislator of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the National Assembly's youngest parliamentarian, was found dead in his Caracas home on October 1.
Authorities confirmed that Serra and his partner Maria Herrera had been murdered in their residence. According to daily newspaper Ultimas Noticias, unofficial reports say that Serra’s body showed signs of torture before he was killed.
The minister of interior affairs Miguel Rodriguez Torres informed state television VTV that an investigation had been launched into the murders.
“They were horribly assassinated in their house … a motive still hasn’t been determined, what we can assure is that there is a specialised team at the site to investigate who is responsible for this act”, he stated, while asking PSUV members to “remain calm”.
Serra was a rising figure within Chavismo, and had been a prominent student leader in the PSUV. Originally from the western city of Maracaibo, the law graduate and criminologist also spearheaded initiatives to tackle violent crime in Venezuela. He was elected to the National Assembly for the PSUV in 2010.
[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3968.]
Von Federico Fuentes, Übersetzung Christian Klar
August 4, 2014 -- Portal Amerika21.de -- Die Veröffentlichung eines gegenüber der Regierung des venezolanischen Präsidenten Nicolás Maduro höchst kritischen Dokuments, verfasst von einem der dienstältesten Minister in der Regierung des früheren Präsidenten Hugo Chávez, hat eine beispiellose Debatte unter den venezolanischen Revolutionären ausgelöst.
Jorge Giordani ließ die Bombe am 18. Juni platzen - einen Tag, nachdem er als Planungsminister ersetzt wurde. Dem ging seine Entlassung aus dem Vorstand der venezolanischen Zentralbank und aus der staatlichen Ölgesellschaft PDVSA voraus. Er hatte den Posten fast ununterbrochen inne, seit Chávez erstmals 1999 an die Macht kam.
Viele sahen Giordani als Hauptarchitekten der Wirtschaftspolitik der Chávez-Regierung und als Vertreter einer orthodoxen marxistischen Linie im Kabinett. Seine Absetzung ist als Beweis für eine Vergrößerung der Kluft zwischen "Pragmatikern" und "Radikalen" in der Regierung dargestellt worden.
[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3968.]
Federico Fuentes megvizsgálja a chavizmuson belüli, a bolivári projekt gazdasági irányvonalára vonatkozó vitákat, amelyek a korábbi tervezési miniszter, Jorge Giordani a Maduro-adminisztrációval szemben nyilvánosan megfogalmazott kritikái után indultak el.
2014. július 22 -- Latin-Amerika Társaság -- Az Hugo Chávez kormányában a leghosszabb ideig szolgált miniszter által jegyzett, és a venezuelai elnök, Nicolás Maduro kormányával szemben nagyon kritikus dokumentum példátlan vitát váltott ki a venezuelai forradalmárok között.
Jorge Giordani nagyot robbantott azután, hogy június 18-án leváltották a tervezési miniszteri posztról. Ezt megelőzően már felmentették a Venezuelai Központi Bank, és az állami olajvállalat, a PDVSA vezetőségéből is. Ezeket a pozíciókat 1999 óta, Chávez első elnöksége óta megszakítás nélkül töltötte be.
Sok tekintetben Giordani volt a Chávez-kormány gazdaságpolitikájának főépítésze, és a kormányban az ortodoxabb marxista vonal képviselője.
Leváltását úgy állítják be, mint ami bizonyíték a kormányon belüli pragmatisták és radikálisok közötti szakadék kiszélesedésére.
For more on Venezuela, click HERE.
By Federico Fuentes
July 21, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The publication of a document highly critical of the government of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, authored by one of the longest-serving ministers in former president Hugo Chavez’s government, has triggered an unprecedented debate among Venezuelan revolutionaries.
Jorge Giordani dropped the bombshell on June 18, a day after he was replaced as planning minister. This was preceded by his dismissal from the boards of Venezuela's Central Bank and state oil company PDVSA, the state oil company. He had held the post almost uninterruptedly since Chavez first came to power in 1999. .
Many view Giordani as a principal architect of the Chavez government’s economic policy and representative of a more orthodox Marxist strand within cabinet. His removal has been portrayed as evidence of a widening rift between “pragmatists” and “radicals” in the government.
An activist with the Baruta Battle Unit Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh).
By Arlene Eisen, Caracas
June 19, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – On June 7, President Nicolas Maduro issued a call to each grassroots unit of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 concrete proposals for ways to improve how the Bolivarian government functions. In response, throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions. There are some 13,500 UBChs.
Other Venezuelans joined the discussions through forums, meetings, editorial pages and social media.
A well-attended forum in Catia, a working-class district of western Caracas, set the tone for many other UBCh meetings. Catia is known and respected for being a centre of Chavista militancy. Aporrea.org and other pro-revolution media repeatedly ran written and videotaped reports of the proposals made there by a Gonzalo Gomez, spokesperson from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a leftist grouping within the PSUV, and by Manuel Sutherland, a Marxist economist who coordinates the Center of Worker Investigations and Education and teaches at the Bolivarian University of Caracas (UBC).
Michele Bachelet won a resounding victory in the Chilean presidential race with 62% of the vote.
By Roger Burbach
January 7, 2014 -- América Latina en Movimiento -- Elections in Venezuela and Chile in December 2013 molded the political panorama of Latin America for the coming year, providing a new opening for left-leaning governments and the advance of post-neoliberal policies in the region.
In Venezuela, the decisive victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the municipal elections on December 8 gave a boost to the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, enabling him to advance the 21st century socialism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
After Maduro's narrow victory margin of 1.5% in the presidential elections in April 2013, the opposition went on the offensive, declaring fraud and waging economic war in an effort to destabilise the country. If the opposition coalition had won in the municipal elections, or even come close in the popular vote, it was poised to mount militant demonstrations to destabilise and topple the Maduro government.
By Ewan Robertson, Caracas
December 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Supporters of Venezuela's revolutionary government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement.
The first results announced gave the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) victory in 58% of the country’s municipalities. The PSUV and its allies gained more than 49% of the total vote share versus 43% for the opposition.
After the results were announced, President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech from the Plaza Bolivar in central Caracas to celebrate the win.
“Without a doubt we’ve obtained a great victory today, the people of Venezuela have said to the world that the Bolivarian revolution continues with more strength than ever,” he said.
Maduro mentioned that the right-wing opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition had now lost four national elections over the past 14 months.
He also responded to opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ argument that the municipal elections would be a “plebiscite” on the government’s mandate: “There you have your plebiscite, Caprichito, fascist. I hope that he learns about humility and shows his face to the country and resigns from the political leadership of the MUD.”
Hillside barrios in Caracas. Photo by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis.
By Enric Llopis, Rebelion, translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Tamara Pearson
October 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- At the invitation of the Jose Marti Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba (Asociación Valenciana José Martí de Amistad con Cuba) and the Acontracorrent union, Yasmin Zabala and Hector Acosta -- social activists from the Caracas neighbourhood of 23 de Enero (January 23) -- have lectured at the social sciences faculty in Valencia. They come from a neighbourhood that has historically been very combative, with a strong tradition of community and mutuality.
This barrio of about 250,000 inhabitants, situated on a hill west of the city and near the Miraflores Presidential Palace, has been part of all the major revolutionary moments in Venezuelan history. 23 de Enero owes its name to the date on which the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country (in 1958) after his overthrow by a military-civilian movement.
Venezuela: Workers' control congress: 'neither capitalists nor bureaucrats, all power to the working class'
Publicity for the congress, which declares: “neither capitalists nor bureaucrats, all power to the working class”.
By Ewan Robertson, Mérida
June 24, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Activists from across the Venezuelan labour movement met June 21-23, 2013, for the country’s first ever "workers’ congress", where workers discussed workplace democracy and the construction of socialism.
The congress, billed “First Workers’ Congress: Balance and Challenges of Worker Control and Workers’ Councils for the Construction of Socialism”, was organised by the National Worker Control Movement and saw the participation of more than fifty groups from factories across the country.
Political and union organisations were also present, including radical activists from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the trade union current of the Communist Party (PCV) and representatives of leftist union confederation, the National Union of Workers (Unete).