[News] Venezuela: the Campaign of the Opposition is Provoking a Revolutionary Backlash

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 10 14:28:46 EST 2013

  *Venezuela: the Campaign of the Opposition is Provoking a 
Revolutionary Backlash*

Jan 9th 2013, by Jorge Martín - In Defence of Marxism

Taking advantage of Chavez's ill health, the Venezuelan oligarchy and 
imperialism have renewed their campaign of destabilisation against the 
Bolivarian Revolution. They risk unleashing the wrath of the workers and 
the poor.

January 10th is the date on which Hugo Chavez has to be sworn into 
office as the re-elected President of Venezuela. However, as the day 
draws nearer, complications in his recovery from surgery in Cuba make 
this unlikely. Since the beginning of the year, and even before, the 
Venezuelan right wing opposition has unleashed a vicious and disgusting 
campaign of rumours and lies about President Chavez's real condition 
with the aim of removing him from office.

The Spanish newspaper ABC has played a particularly prominent role in 
this campaign, announcing in front page headlines that Chavez was in an 
"induced comma" and his days were numbered. According to this papers' 
unnamed "intelligence sources" he would soon be disconnected from a life 
support machine. This was combined with a barrage of propaganda and lies 
on social media networks, in a campaign organised directly by prominent 
members of the so-called "democratic opposition".

The aim of this campaign is to achieve what the oligarchy could not get 
through the ballot box (nor through previous coups, conspiracies, 
lockouts, etc): the end of Chavez's presidency which would deal a 
serious blow to the Bolivarian revolution.

The hypocrisy of these "democratic" ladies and gentlemen knows no 
limits. They now insist that the Constitution must be respected and that 
if Chavez is unable to be sworn in on January 10, then he is no longer 
President and new elections are automatically triggered. These are the 
same people who first opposed the Bolivarian Constitution in 1999, 
mobilised against it, burnt copies of it on their demonstrations, and 
then, at the first opportunity they had, during the short-lived coup in 
April 2002, abolished it. Now their only concern is that the Bolivarian 
Constitution be respected. They are joined in this chorus of hyenas by 
the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference -- which also played a key role in 
supporting the April 2002 coup.

Even from a narrow constitutional point of view, they are wrong. The 
Constitution clearly says (Art. 231) that if the President is unable to 
take an oath on January 10th at the National Assembly, he can do so in 
front of the Supreme Court of Justice (with no date specified). From a 
legal point of view, President Chavez requested permission from the 
National Assembly to leave the country to undergo surgical treatment in 
Cuba in December, which was granted.

This is precisely the Constitutional mechanism which was activated 
yesterday, January 8, when Vice President Maduro informed the National 
Assembly that president Chávez was unable (on medical instructions) to 
be sworn in on January 10th and asked for the legislative body to refer 
the matter to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).

Only in the case of an "absolute absence of the president" (Art. 233), 
new elections would have to be called within 30 days. Absolute absence 
of the president would be in cases of death, resignation or "permanent 
mental or physical incapacity" certified as such by a medical team 
appointed by the Supreme Court and ratified by the National Assembly.

Clearly, none of these cases yet apply.

Pueblo Pa' la Asamblea. January 5 Rally Photo: TeleSurTVThis, of course, 
will not stop the opposition in its vociferous campaign. Opposition 
leaders have declared that they have the "right to know" what is the 
"real state of health" of the President and have organised a commission 
of "men of proven reputation" to go to Cuba to investigate directly. 
They also said they would make an appeal to the "international 
community" (What they mean is Imperialism). All of those they have 
appointed to this commission were directly involved in the April 2002 
coup and where they really belong is in jail.

The same capitalists, landlords, media owners and cardinals who 
organised the undemocratic coup which removed the democratically elected 
President from office in 2002, are now raising a hue and cry about a 
"coup" organised by the Bolivarian leaders. They insist that unless 
Chavez is sworn in on January 10, then he is no longer President.

In reality, leaving to one side the constitutional details (a field in 
which they have no moral standing and in which they are wrong in any 
case), the central fact they want people to forget is this: President 
Chávez was re-elected on October 7th, when he received 8.1 million votes 
(55%) on an astonishingly high 80% turnout. The opposition was soundly 
defeated and the people voted once again to ratify the project of the 
Bolivarian revolution, led by Chávez. The oligarchy now wants to undo 
their defeat at the polls, revealing, once again, their true 
undemocratic character.

Just in case anyone thinks that the opposition leaders are really 
concerned about constitutional rights, their campaign has been 
accompanied by calls for a "national civilian strike" (ie.  a bosses' 
lock-out like that of December 2002 -- January 2003) and a systematic 
campaign of hoarding of and speculation with basic food products.

This despicable campaign has now turned the mood amongst the 
revolutionary masses from one of worry, sorrow and praying for the 
recovery of Chavez, which dominated over Christmas and the New Year, to 
one of anger and militancy. Once again, the whip of the 
counter-revolution has spurred the revolution forward.

On January 5th, the day on which the National Assembly elected its 
presidency, thousands of workers and poor gathered in the centre of 
Caracas to show their support for Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution. 
That mobilisation came from below and it was initially called for by 
rank and file revolutionary activists. Representatives of the militias 
were also present.

MILICIA POPULAR! #EVENTO elección y juramentación de la nuev... on 
Twitpic. People's Militia at Jan 5 RallyOn the day, both the 
vice-president Maduro and the president of the National Assembly Cabello 
made radical speeches and issued stern warnings to the opposition. To 
the assembled masses Diosdado Cabello declared: "with sadness but firmly 
we tell you, gentlemen of the bourgeoisie, don't make a mistake. You 
would pay dearly" and vice president Maduro added: "there is only one 
transition here, from capitalism to socialism, with President Chavez at 
the head, elected, re-elected and ratified".

There was even a clear statement to the effect that the rank and file 
was going to be consulted in the selection of candidates for the 
forthcoming municipal elections. This is significant as the appointment 
of candidates from above was a major source of criticism from the 
revolutionary rank and file during the December regional elections.

In the following days different official bodies, partly relying on 
intelligence supplied by revolutionary organizations on the ground, 
carried out a series of operations against hoarding and speculation, 
which Maduro warned would be dealt with by "an iron fist".

Sugar seized in AraguaIn Carabobo, 494 tons of pre-processed maize flour 
(a key product in the Venezuelan staple diet) were found in a warehouse 
in La Yaguara belonging to the private food monopoly POLAR. Similarly, 
237 tons of maize flour were found in a POLAR plant in Cumaná, Sucre. In 
Nueva Esparta, 26 tons of the same product were seized from a POLAR 
warehouse, when the product had been missing from private shops in the 
Margarita Island for weeks.  In La Victoria, Aragua, 8,000 tons of 
refined sugar were found in a raid on a private warehouse.  Similar 
raids took place in Táchira, Zulia, Anzoategui, Bolivar, and other 
states across the country. These are just some examples which show how 
there is an orchestrated campaign to artificially create a scarcity of 
basic food products in order to provoke malaise and unrest amongst the 

Now, a massive national rally has been called for on January 10, the day 
on which the president is supposed to be sworn in. Already people are 
mobilizing to attend what could be yet another huge show of support for 
the revolution. This is the correct step. This issue cannot be solved by 
lawyers and experts looking at the Constitution with a magnifying glass, 
but through the mass mobilization of workers and the poor.

The mood amongst the people is clear: the opposition, again, wants to 
steal the votes which gave Chavez a clear victory on October 7, and the 
people will not allow them to do so. A revolutionary activist from the 
communal councils of the working class neighbourhood of 23 de Enero put 
it this way when interviewed during the rally on January 5: "The 
Venezuelan people will continue to set the pace of this revolution, even 
if we lose the leadership," and he added that in such a scenario "the 
people, the oppressed classes would take the reins" to continue forward.

It is clear to all that the state of health of the President is very 
delicate. This has clearly posed the question of what next in the minds 
of millions of Bolivarian supporters. The answer that is coming loud and 
clear is "/we/ are the people, this is /our/ revolution, and it is up to 
/us/ to take it forward."

The most far sighted sections of the oligarchy and imperialism are 
acutely aware of this and are attempting to play a more cautious role. 
The Spanish newspaper El Pais, as well as publishing vitriolic attacks 
on Chavez and the Venezuelan people, pointed out that the opposition had 
been caught unawares by the situation and was impotent and unable to 
take the initiative. The defeated opposition presidential candidate 
Capriles has been surprisingly silent throughout, not giving public 
backing to the calls from more extreme sections of the opposition for a 
"civic strike." However, they are not in control, even of their own ranks.

The momentum is being created for a situation in which the revolution 
could be completed. The wrath provoked by the crass opportunism of the 
oligarchy should be used to strike decisive blows against the 
property-owning class. Faced with speculation and hoarding workers at 
POLAR and other companies, which monopolise food production and 
distribution, should organise workers' control committees in conjunction 
with the communal councils and demand the expropriation of the saboteurs.

US awaits fate of Chavez. Illustration: Latuff 
<http://latuffcartoons.wordpress.com/>This would mean, as a matter of 
fact, the expropriation of the Mendoza family, owners of the POLAR group 
of companies. This family played a key role in the 2002 coup, in the 
2002-03 bosses lock-out, their lorries were used to blockade the roads 
during the guarimba riots of 2004, and they have played a decisive role 
against the revolution in every attempt to sabotage the food 
distribution chain in the last 10 or 15 years. Many in Venezuela are 
asking themselves how much longer they will be allowed to continue with 
their undemocratic actions against the will of the majority.

The Minister of Information also issued a strongly worded letter to 
Globovision, demanding that they should stop referring to Maduro as 
"acting president", when he is in fact the Vice President. Again, 
revolutionary activists are demanding that finally this is used to 
revoke the broadcasting license from a channel which played a decisive 
role in the April 2002 coup and in all counter-revolutionary 
conspiracies since.

Faced with the threat of a bosses lock-out (under the guise of a 
"national civilian strike"), workers' control committees should be 
organized in all factories and workplaces to exercise revolutionary 
vigilance and act under the slogan of the struggle against the 2002 lock 
out: "Factory closed, factory occupied".

This struggle can only be won if the revolutionary working class puts 
itself at the head of the Bolivarian people showing a clear way forward 
to implement what the people voted for on October 7: Socialism!

*Source URL (retrieved on /10/01/2013 - 2:08am/):* 
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