Solidarity statements: 'A vital victory for Chavez, Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution'
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network statement on the October 7, 2012, presidential elections
October 9, 2012 -- AVSN/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Three days after more than 3 million people took over the streets of Caracas in a huge show of support for Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez and his socialist platform, Chavez has won the October 7 Venezuelan elections with more than 55% of the vote, against right-wing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles’ 44%. A record 81% of the 19,119,809 registered voters in Venezuela participated in the election.
Participants in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 12th brigade to Venezuela, who witnessed the last week of campaigning and polling day itself, joined the mass celebrations in Caracas when the victory was announced. Brigade co-leader Coral Wynter summed up the brigade’s observations: “This result is a huge victory for Venezuela’s majority and the Bolivarian revolution. It expresses not only the massive public support for Hugo Chavez, but the absolute determination of Venezuela’s workers, farmers, Indigenous people, women and youth to push forward towards a democratic, peaceful and just society, to build their socialism of the 21st century. The election was another inspiring example from Venezuela of what grassroots people’s power can achieve when it takes on the corrupt elite.”
The defeat of the right-wing opposition, organised through the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), was a clear rejection by the people of the opposition’s neoliberal austerity program. Capriles has close ties with business leaders from Mexico to Europe, participated in the April 2002 coup against Chavez and, when elected governor of Miranda, launched a full-scale attack on the social programs at the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. On October 7, the Venezuelan people once again rejected that path.
Since Chavez’s election for the first time in 1998, Venezuela’s democracy has been transformed and expanded, with more elections held there than nearly anywhere else in the world. In the last 14 years, Chavez has been elected and ratified in over a dozen electoral contests, elections that have been consistently ratified by international observers as free and fair. The high level of electoral participation in Venezuela, alongside the participatory democracy being developed in the growing network of “communal councils” in the country, put the “democracy” of most advanced Western nations to shame.
Why Chavez won
A majority of Venezuelans, and especially the poor, support Chavez because he has challenged the ruling elite within Venezuela and in the imperialist North, and delivered tangible improvements in living conditions to the people. Under his leadership, the social missions are providing free health care for millions, have eradicated illiteracy and hundreds of thousands of people have gained access to the education system (college enrollment has doubled). Land reform, nationalisation of industries and the development of cooperatives has begun to put economic power back into the hands of the people.
Since 2004, when the Chavez government took control of Venezuela’s oil production, unemployment has been halved, GDP per capita doubled, infant mortality halved and poverty decreased by two-thirds. By contrast, during the two decades that preceded Chavez, real income per person actually fell by 14%.
For the first time in their lives, many Venezuelans can see that direct participation in politics can result in change, that the future can lie in their own hands rather than those of corporate CEOs, politicians and media moguls.
In this presidential election, Chavez ran on a 39-page platform to deepen the Bolivarian revolution. The platform for the next six-year presidential term, which was widely discussed in popular organisations across Venezuela, details plans for a radical transition towards socialism.
United States interference
The transformations being made through the Bolivarian revolution have enraged the United States government and their Venezuelan allies in the local oligarchy, who have repeatedly attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government through a military coup, an oil lock out, economic sabotage, a recall referendum (which Chavez won by 59% to 41%), hoarding of basic products, rioting in the streets, and using Colombian paramilitaries as proxies.
The constant attempts to destabilise Venezuela’s government, delegitimsie the revolution and isolate Venezuela internationally receive tens of millions of dollars every year from US bodies such as the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute and USAID. This presidential election campaign was no exception, with the Obama administration setting aside US$20 million to donate to the MUD's campaign against Chavez.
The Venezuelan revolution has placed the possibility of socialism back on the table, making it “enemy number one” for the world’s major capitalist powers. And they understand that the ramifications of Chavez’s and the Venezuelan people’s latest victory will flow well beyond Venezuela, strengthening the process of unity, progressive reform and revolution across Latin America that is beginning to free millions more people from the economic and political domination and exploitation of the imperialist powers.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) sends its heartfelt congratulations to the Venezuelan people and President Chavez. We look forward to strengthening the ties of Australian-Venezuelan friendship, mutual understanding and solidarity by continuing to tell the truth about and supporting in every way we can the achievements of the Bolivarian movement.
Viva Chavez! Viva people’s power! Viva the Bolivarian revolution! US hands off Venezuela!
Philippines: PLM congratulates Venezuelan people
Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines
October 8, 2012 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa sends its heartfelt congratulations to the Venezuelan people, President Hugo Chavez and the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) for the extremely significant electoral victory in last Sunday’s presidential elections. This victory is a clear demonstration of the people's support for the president and his program of "Socialism for the 21st Century'.
The Chavez government has provided free health care for millions, eradicated illiteracy, halved unemployment and infant mortality, and decreased poverty by two-thirds. The nationalisation of strategic industries, far-reaching land reform and the establishment of organs of peoples power through the system of communal councils, has shifted economic and political power back into the hands of the people.
These measures have won President Chavez the support and loyalty of the working people, the poor and the new generations of youth in Venezuela. The President has pledged to further deepen the socialist character of the transformations and the government programs.
The Bolivarian revolution has demonstrated that it is only possible to significantly eradicate poverty and improve the welfare of the masses, by taking political power from the elite and challenging their vast and entrenched interests in land, industry and in the economy in general. The experience of the revolution shows, in a very concrete way, that this can only be done within the framework of a socialist alternative.
Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan people have put the socialist alternative back on the agenda, and in doing so show us that there is no other alternative but socialism, to eradicating poverty, improving the welfare of the masses and having them control their own destiny through genuine popular power.
We also understand that this makes Hugo Chavez a real threat to the United States imperialist interests. We are aware of the dangers facing the revolution and are reminded of the coup attempt made by the US to oust Hugo Chavez from power in 2002. They were repelled then by a people's insurrection against the coup. While we are confident that the Venezuelan people will defend their revolution once again, we still understand that international solidarity in defence of the revolution is very important, to support them in this historic struggle. Their struggle for socialism is a part of our struggle for socialism. We pledge our solidarity to the Venezuelan people and their Bolivarian revolution for socialism of the 21st century.
Viva the Bolivarian Revolution!
Viva Hugo Chavez!