Steve Ellner — The war on Venezuela, along with other unfavorable conditions, lent itself to Maduro’s defensive strategy. However, that approach was not without a major risk.
By Chris Gilbert May 23, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Counterpunch —What does Chavism really stand for? What are its main accomplishments and its main failures? What was the soldier-become-president Hugo Chávez trying to achieve, and how far did he go in achieving it? Most often it is taken for granted that Chávez, who was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, began with an anti-neoliberal project that became, with time, anti-imperialist and then later aspired to socialism. It is also usually argued that, unfortunately, Chávez went very little of the way to achieving the latter goal. Chávez’s project suffered, this story goes, because it was only discursively socialist; that is, it proposed socialism as a goal but could not really begin the transition, being unable to go beyond mere discourse to concrete social and economic facts. That being the case, a part of the Left praises the Venezuelan leader for what it sees as an essentially verbal achievement. This group contends that Chávez fulfilled an important task for humanity by merely recovering and promoting the word socialism after the fall of the Eastern bloc. Others, generally from the so-called Hard Left, are more skeptical. They highlight Chávez’s failure to significantly alter the structure of the society or the economy.
By Steve Ellner May 13, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NACLA — With the intensification of political conflict and economic deterioration in Venezuela, harsh all-encompassing criticism of the government is originating not only from the right side of the political spectrum, but also from the left. Gone are the days when late President Hugo Chávez could boast of having unified the nation’s notoriously fragmented leftist movement, ranging from Trotskyists and Communists to social democrats.
May 12, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / Green Left Weekly — Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government. While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an authoritarian government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro. Federico Fuentes interviewed Steve Ellner, a well-known analyst of Venezuelan and Latin American politics and a retired professor at Venezuela’s Universidad de Oriente, to get his views on recent events.
Is South America’s ‘progressive cycle’ at an end? Neo-developmentalist attempts and socialist projects
By Claudio Katz, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler