Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Die Linke salute Hugo Chavez's socialist vision

Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.

l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols

March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?

We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.

Does what has taken place there have consequences here?

Of course. First, this experience has allowed us to revive in our own way the ideological and practical content of our revolutionary current. The very term “citizens’ revolution” comes to us from there. Above all the process prefigures what will happen here. When the same violent, cruel, absurd policies are applied, the result is the same. In Greece, in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy: we do not know where, but the chain of neoliberalism will snap. Perhaps even in France, that’s my wish.

Is it a model?

No, that word should be banned. But it is a source of inspiration with big thematic content: the republican refounding of the nation — not on the basis of identity, a la Sarkozy -- but on the basis of the rules of the game as collectively defined, the constitution; national sovereignty over the areas which allow the organisation of economic life, such as energy and finance. And, priority of priorities, the human being. The purpose of political action does lies in the nice graphs and all those recipes with which they bamboozle the people of Europe by giving them as their purpose flooding the earth with merchandise the need for which they try to create by advertising. It is the stupid model of the neoliberalism versus the shining flame of citizen’s revolution—the human, first and foremost!

Do you think the revolutionary process will continue in Venezuela?

The struggle will continue. Chavez has also succeeded in training the next generation of leaders to a high level. Nicolas Maduro is a former trade union activist with a communist background and a very broad view of international relations. The Venezuelans already have the right person in the right place. They will have to continue the process of in-depth politicisation because the North Americans and the Venezuelan oligarchy are going to put up a fight.

Die Linke (Germany): 'Latin America and the left across the world have lost a fearless defender for a new, just world'

March 6, 2013 -- On the death of of the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, the chairpeople of Die Linke, Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, and the chairperson of the parliamentary group of die Linke in the national parliament, Gregor Gysi, declare the following:

Full of grief, we have received the message on the passing of the president of the Bolivarian Republic and the chairperson of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías. Our most sincere condolences in this hour go to his family, relatives, friends and the people of Venezuela.

With the passing of Hugo Chávez Venezuela, Latin America and the left across the world have lost a fearless defender for a new, just world. Determinedly he pursued the realisation of his vision for such a better world, his vision of socialism of the 21st century.

In the first instance, he was driven by the inclusion of the majority of people who so far had been without rights and assets, who had been excluded from real participation in political decision making as well as the benefits of the natural resources of the country. The development of a truly democratic involvement of the people was his main concern, this was reflected in the development of the missions and councils of the people on numerous levels.

Hugo Chávez stood as a great example for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean islands. The kind of integration that was aimed at the shoving aside of the political influence of the USA towards a real independence and sovereignty of the Latin American and Caribbean states. Towards an economic cooperation benefiting the people of the region and not the profit interests of the large corporations.

Under the leadership of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela managed to implement these aims in an exemplary manner and on the way offered great solidarity and assistance to many of its Latin American neighbours.

We are convinced that the PSUV and the left in Venezuela in general will honour, maintain and continue the legacy of Hugo Chávez. They can count on our solidarity and support.