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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - Chavez, a caudillo end (fr) [machine translation]
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 17:02:57 +0200
Venezuela's president is dead, the Latin American left and the cries European model, who
claimed to achieve a "socialism of the XXI century" and that, in fact, has mostly sought
to build a national capitalism, hand in hand with a employers patriot. If put oil revenues
to the service of social programs, the Chavista regime has, for the rest, always strangled
dissident voices on the left, any manifestation of an autonomous social movement. Chavez
was a caudillo, in the Latin American tradition: a charismatic leader supported by the
masses. This is an opportunity to review that Alternative libertarian wrote about it:
"Venezuela: The Two Faces of chavismo"* in the pages of International January 2007. "1992:
ChÃvez coup of the caudillo"** , pages History February 2012.
* Venezuela: The Two Faces of chavismo
President Chavez is the new darling of the European radical left. But he deserves more
than, in their time, Nasser and Gaddafi? Against the duplicity of its policy (neoliberal
macroeconomic social micro level), it is crucial to build social movements independent of
December 3, Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela in the first round with over
62% of votes. The same evening, he gave a great speech on the balcony of Miraflores Palace
in Caracas, to proclaim "victory of the revolution," before launching: "The kingdom of
socialism is the future reign of Venezuela! '
Thus saith the President Chavez, a former colonel coup, the caudillo exceptional charisma
and nationalist left has obviously "a certain idea of Venezuela" . The character is
certainly nicer than bloodthirsty and corrupt puppet guided from Washington ... It does
not necessarily new flagship global socialist revolution, contrary to what one might
imagine hearing the eulogies of men and women those who abroad have made ââChavez - after
Lula - their new idol.
Its undeniable popularity does not fall from the sky and not based on any "populism" can
be written as lazily Liberation , but tangible social programs funded by oil revenues,
which really changed the life of the popular classes. Poverty has declined, a health
system that previously did not exist is seeing the day, and 1.5 million people were
literate in two years.
However, if the words and deeds have meaning, there is obviously no question in Venezuela
"transition to socialism." Do not see anticapitalism thundering declarations in an
anti-imperialist Chavez to defy Bush, do not hesitate to get in bed with prominent
supporters of the labor movement such as the Russian Putin, Lukashenko of Belarus
Ahmadinejad or the Iranian ...
For a national capitalism
The "Bolivarian revolution" [ 1 ] is not socialist, but it is a desire to takeover by the
state of natural resources far looted western multinationals. This project is not an easy
task since Chavez has won several attempts at destabilization coup in 2002, fomented by
the comprador bourgeoisie [ 2 ] supported by Washington and the major private media. It is
the uprising of the people who every time he saved the day.
Chavismo is not a new phenomenon in history. It is in line with the left nationalists like
Mossadegh in Iran in 1952, the Egyptian Nasser in 1956 and the Libyan Gaddafi in 1977.
Each time the ambition behind the rhetoric of "socialist" is shaping a real national
capitalism, combined with a strong state and "master with him."
So is it the oil sector - the alpha and omega of the Venezuelan economy. Rather than take
the risk of nationalization, the government is committed to a policy of alliances with
capitalistic Western multinationals. Since April 2006, all foreign companies operating in
Venezuela had to form joint ventures with the state company PDVSA owns up to at least 60%.
So is it also the inclusion of Venezuela in the project Integration of Regional
Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), launched in 2000 in Brasilia by the twelve South
American governments. IIRSA is a vast neoliberal project of adapting the subcontinent to
capitalist globalization, which will exacerbate regional and social inequalities ... but
may allow the propertied classes in Latin America to rise to the level of their
counterparts in the North [ 3 ]
So is he still cherished by mammoth project Caracas, Buenos Aires and Brasilia a "Super
Pipeline" which goes to the Caribbean to Rio de la Plata through the Amazon on a course of
7 000 to 9 300 km. Project aberrant social point of view, and even environmental
technology, and denounced by environmental groups.
So is he finally announced in 2003 tripling of coal production in the region of Zulia, in
partnership with U.S. multinationals, Dutch and Brazilian. A decision which led to strong
resistance from local people saw their living promised destruction.
"Ample sectors of the Venezuelan people ignore the implications of this energy strategy
IIRSA, explains Lusbi Portillo, an anthropologist at the University of Zulia and destroyer
of the mining project. government has not convened before a decision as transcendental
life for the country, debate on the subject, not even the National Assembly or in
universities, to mention only the traditional areas of discussion. " [ 4 ]
This is the double face of chavismo. If the State encourages popular participation at the
microeconomic level (takeovers co-managed microcredit, community media, citizens'
committees, etc..), It is quite different at the macroeconomic level. Everything about the
interests of national capitalism is untouchable.
Subjugated social movements
Who opposes it? Certainly not right and racketeering bourgeoisie since, on this point, it
is consistent with Chavez. Social movements? This is the most problematic in the current
Committed observer, the Uruguayan journalist RaÃl Zibechi believes that "there is no
organized movements in Venezuela like the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of
Ecuador (CONAIE in Ecuador), or to neighborhood committees (juntas vecinales) or cocaleros
Bolivian or Argentine piqueteros to, not to mention the case more structured such as the
Landless Movement of Brazil or the Zapatistas in Chiapas. In other words, there is no
movement in Venezuela with large structures to ensure their visibility, strategies or
tactics, leaders and known characteristics of these movements organized and structured. "
[ 5 ]. While the process "Bolivarian" has encouraged the emergence of a plethora of
committees and associations involving the public in the implementation of social programs,
education and health. But they do not play a role against powerless. Meanwhile all of the
state, social movements have no specific strategy. At least for the moment.
Same as union level. To compete with the ConfederaciÃn de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV),
the old central bureaucracy beholden to employers, the government funded the launch of a
new confederation: the UniÃn Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT), which in a few months has
exceeded actual CTV. Anarchist trade unionists, Trotskyists, or simply independent, strive
to live a critical current in the UNT, against Chavez who would like to make a simple
transmission belt of the government.
Popular organizations actually feed ambivalent feelings. Some see in him the Messiah and
Chavez are blind loyalty. Others console their frustrations by explaining that the
president wants only the happiness of the people, but it is "bad advisers" [ 6 ].
Most critics believe that it is necessary to develop a social movement independent of
power, but it can not be done outside of the "Bolivarian process" or against him, under
penalty of being cut masses. Few are those who dare to wear a head-on anti-Chavez
speeches, especially as the regime does not tolerate any criticism on his left.
Sometimes, however, the conflict of interests between the state and local communities
became public. At the World Social Forum in Caracas in January 2006, the mining policy in
the region of Zulia was denounced by a protest gathering of peasant organizations,
environmental groups, associations inadequately housed and community media all - and c is
crucial - regardless of their sensitivity pro-or anti-Chavez [ 7 ]. Libertarian groups
have realized by supporting and participating in this event.
What revolutionary voice?
On the far left, there are different assessments of posture to adopt. A party believes
that it is crucial to fight against chavismo - this is for example the case of the
anarchists Relations Committee (ARC), which publishes the periodical El Libertario .
Another part thinks otherwise must be tactically enroll in motion "Bolivarian" to have a
minimum population of hearing - this is the case of a libertarian group appeared this
year, the Front of shares libertarians (FAL). Despite their differences, these groups
agree on the need to strengthen critical areas of social movements. One of the most
interesting attempts to sustain this orientation was the Alternative Social Forum (FSA),
connected in parallel with the World Social Forum held in Caracas in January 2006 - and
where Chavez was of course omnipresent. The FSA explained in his profession of faith he
wanted to "discuss the meaning of the revolution" and indicated that he was cautiously
critical of both the opposition that "the contradictions that exist in the Bolivarian
If the contradictions of "Bolivarism" become too strong to free up space on the left for
the anti-capitalist currents. They will be heard as if already, social movements
independent power may emerge.
William Davranche (AL Montrouge)
[ 1 ] The "Bolivarism" doctrine tote wielded by Chavez refers to General Simon Bolivar
(1783-1830) who fought against the Spanish crown for the independence of South America.
[ 2 ] That is to say, a bourgeoisie dependent on the wishes of foreign capitalists.
[ 3 ] Read about RaÃl Zibechi, "IIRSA: Integration tailored to the markets," on
[ 4 ] Quoted by Alain Cassani, "The petrochemical revolution of Hugo Chavez raises
resistance" on http://risal.collectifs.net
[ 5 ] RaÃl Zibechi, "Hugo Chavez and the social movements of the time ambiguities" on
http://risal.collectifs.net . The author has published, in French, Genealogy of the
revolt, Ãditions CNT-RP, the Argentine uprising.
[ 6 ] This is the speech of some people, and some of Zulia "If Chavez knew he would never
allow mining projects! '
[ 7 ] The Chavista officials have spewed their bile against these troublemakers in
circles, qualified arrears, "cons-revolutionaries" even CIA agents ...
** 1992: ChÃvez coup of the caudillo
Venezuela, February 4, 1992, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, led by Hugo Chavez
launched a coup. Despite its failure, this date marks the Venezuelan leader to the
beginning of his "Bolivarian Revolution." Twenty years later, when he came to power in
1998, Chavez has unconditional support from a part of the Western anti-liberal left.
Political action, however, is far removed from the myth of a "socialism of the XXI century".
February 4, 1992, at 6:00 am, a group of mutinous soldiers launched a civil-military
insurrection "against the incompetence of power" of the Social Democratic President Carlos
AndrÃs PÃrez, and "against corruption and poverty." The attempt fails but ChÃvez spends 10
seconds on television and managed the feat of transforming the military defeat, which saw
19 deaths and a thousand soldiers arrested in political victory. This message will work in
depth the Venezuelan people in the following years and from 4 February 1992, Hugo ChÃvez
is the face of a caudillo, in the Latin American tradition, that is to say, a charismatic
leader carried by the masses.
February 4, 1992 This is a milestone in Venezuelan politics, and especially in that career
ChÃvez decreed thereafter February 4th national holiday.
Son of teachers, no doubt influenced by the Communist Party, Hugo ChÃvez entered the
Military Academy of Venezuela. After his studies he joined the army, where he became soon
a lieutenant colonel-. On 24 July 1983, the 200th anniversary of the birth of SimÃn
BolÃvar, one of the fathers of the independence of Latin America vis-Ã-vis Spain, ChÃvez
creates, within the army, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR-200) sort of
military housing socialist orientation which includes young officers with long teeth.
During his period of detention after the coup d'Ãtat of 1992, ChÃvez gained considerable
popularity. He managed to broadcast a video in which he calls the Venezuelan people to
insurrection. A coup d'etat is then initiated by the MRB-200 once again defeated, but
points to the bankruptcy of the Venezuelan government and especially its president. In
1993, PÃrez was indicted for embezzlement, and on 21 May he was deposed. In the 1994
elections, the Christian Democratic Rafael Caldera was elected to lead the country. Among
his campaign promises include the amnesty for political prisoners linked to the coup of 1992.
ChÃvez was released on 27 March 1994. He then began a long political campaign which
presents him as the "scourge of the oligarchy and the hero of the poor", which is
accompanied by the creation of the Fifth Republic Movement (MCR) [ 1 ]. In 1998, finally,
ChÃvez became president of the Republic with 56% of votes.
A country under guardianship
During the 1970s, Venezuela has become the "face" of the United States in Latin America,
their support against Cuba. Successive governments, social democratic or Christian
Democrats have launched a fierce liberal in perfect agreement with the IMF. This caused
such a wave of insecurity and misery popular uprising that began on 27 February 1989.
Political power has ordered the army to fire on the crowd, killing several thousands of
deaths. This tragedy was instrumental in the formation of future MBR-200 by leftist
officers, including ChÃvez.
When it wins the elections in 1998, the country finds itself in an economic and social
The Bolivarian Revolution
Upon his arrival in power ChÃvez continues to proclaim loud and clear that Venezuela has
launched a "Bolivarian Revolution." It attempts to anchor his political action in history
by continued references to Bolivar and resuming his speech numerous references to the
fight against Spanish colonization in the eighteenth century.
Since 1999, ChÃvez decided to convene a Constituent Assembly. A new constitution was
approved by referendum in December. For Chavez it is called "Bolivarian Constitution"
considering that it is directly inspired by political ideology and philosophy of SimÃn
Despite the phrasing revolutionary "Bolivarian Revolution" aims above the takeover by the
state of natural resources to promote a better distribution of wealth, and the emergence
of a truly national capitalism, which is no longer beholden to the powers Foreign .
Anchoring popular ChÃvez is real, even though from 2001 confrontations are becoming more
frequent part of the population.
On 11 April 2002 a demonstration of 50,000 people towards the presidential palace. Clashes
between antigovernment protesters and pro-ChÃvez leave 15 dead. Subsequently, the military
managed to kidnap the President. Immediately after the new government is challenged by
popular mobilization of great importance. The Chavez government takes, from April 13th
place in a particularly tense atmosphere, paving the way for mobilization of more frequent
Twenty-first century socialism
His "Bolivarian Revolution", ChÃvez does not want to identify only the borders of
Venezuela. Proof of this is the creation in 2005 of the Bolivarian Alliance for the
Peoples of Our America (ALBA) which aims to develop economic, political and social
so-called "socialist" in South America.
ChÃvez has a unique vision of socialism that does not base on the class struggle, but he
wants to build hand in hand with employers in a national framework. Funny socialism that
ChÃvez hue of a social Christianity that Jesus would be seen as the first true socialist
and capitalist Judas the first [ 2 ].
The political and patriotic socialist Chavez is not a new phenomenon and is in line with
the prÃcdents left nationalist governments around the world, such as Mossadegh in Iran
(1951-1953), Nasser in Egypt ( 1956-1970) or Gaddafi in Libya, in the early days of his reign.
This political and ideological line brings Chavez diplomatic relations more or less
intimate with all that the world has anti-imperialist. Besides his admiration for the
Cuban regime, he established links with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Lukashenko of
Belarus, supporting Gaddafi against his people in 2011, or in December 2011, sent his
"deepest condolences" after the death of Kim Jong-il.
Oil for the poor
Oil plays, since the second half of the twentieth century, a central role in the political
life of Venezuela and ChÃvez gives weight a weapon against the United States.
The oil economy has been originally captured by multinationals, particularly American. A
policy of nationalization was initiated in 1975, but oil revenues remained reserved for
investors and clients of the state.
Enzo Del BÃfalo, a Marxist economist critical of the regime summarizes the policy
implemented by Chavez came to power: "The number one goal is to use the oil as a source of
tax revenue and try to maximize these revenues to finance increased spending, poorly
organized, characterized by a huge waste and a very low efficiency, but high returns
policy. [...] Venezuela is again a country virtually mono-exporting and domestic
industries base [public] that weighed a considerable weight, represent only a small share
of exports. '
The oil industry therefore finance social programs that significantly increase at the
beginning of the mandate of ChÃvez, but decreased from 2002 due to changes in oil revenues.
It would be wrong to believe that ChÃvez and his allies have done nothing for the poor. It
is difficult to obtain precise figures on the country's social reality. Official
statistics are unreliable, as well as the figures put forward by the catastrophic
antichavistes. It does seem that poverty has declined since ChÃvez came to power. Three
major sectors have been particularly targeted: education, health and social security, the
government ensures, in theory, free school system and health. These social policies for
the poor led to ChÃvez a real and genuine popular support. But the management of these
social reforms lead to the conclusion that the financial revenues of oil are used to "buy"
through a system largely linked to clientelism, the support of the masses [ 3 ].
In addition to funding the social policy, the oil also allows ChÃvez to play a major
diplomatic. He strives to make the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) a
geopolitical role of the first order, put in place economic aid to Cuba, developing
economic relations between the countries of the South, etc..
What place for cons-powers?
One particular aspect of the "Bolivarian Revolution" is the space occupied by the
population in the democratic process, local councils being established throughout the
country. But these tips correspond to the slogan "All power to the people" brandished by
ChÃvez? In practice, they are even more the role of transmission belt of government
decisions and "militia" defending their political caudillo costs.
Also in this context of "participatory democracy", the Bolivarian Constitution provides
revocability of all elected officials, including the president. The latter possibility has
been used by the opposition in 2004, but once again, ChÃvez won the support of the
population by collecting 58% of the vote [ 4 ].
On the union to compete with the ConfederaciÃn de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV) near the
Christian Democrats and subservient to the bosses, power ChÃvez is funding the creation of
a trade union, the UniÃn Nacional de los Trabajadores. Inside the plant, possible
transmission belt of the regime's political, trade union struggle, as Trotskyists and
libertarians, trying to live a workers' democracy, and constitute a force of opposition to
Side of the extreme left and libertarian movements, there are different approaches battles
to fight. For example, the anarchists Relations Committee which publishes the newspaper El
Libertario considers that the struggle against chavismo is required. Other groups prefer a
tactical entry, and critical in the Bolivarian movement. Their place in the Venezuelan
political landscape is still very marginal, and hardly influence on social movements.
These movements, however, suffer repression by the central government as well as the PSUV
[ 5 ] and the militias it has made ââsince its inception in 2007. Many unionists arrested
oppositionists are indeed even murdered each year in Venezuela [ 6 ]
Mediatically Finally, ChÃvez has never been saved. Televisions, radios and newspapers, the
majority in terms of audience, for example, have called and openly supported the coup
against him in 2002. If there are laws to prohibit insults against the person of the
President, in reality there is not really censorship.
Supports in France
In France, as elsewhere, ChÃvez has benefited from its accession to power of broad support
in a part of the radical left and anti-globalization taking place in some sort of
Brazilian Lula in the heart of the statist left. Among his supporters, there are Le Monde
diplomatique and especially its former director, Ignacio Ramonet, also honorary president
of Attac brings to length papers, totally uncritical support ChÃvez and sees in him a "
apostle "in the struggle against neoliberal globalization.
More anecdotally, the presence on the web site Pastoucheauvenezuela.com hosted by La
Riposte, a Trotskyist group engaged in the PCF.
Besides this political displayed, Jean-Luc MÃlenchon is probably the most perfect
representative of what could be a Chavism the French, with the establishment of a social
statism shape who wants a "good" national capitalism, and therefore points to the "bad"
finance capitalists and transnational.
Between the position of the Liberals, who see Chavez a threat against the market economy,
and supports blind Venezuelan caudillo, there is an alternative: consider that it is the
Venezuelan people to make their own revolution, making table shaves bureaucratic and
undemocratic socialism Chavez without "falling into the arms" of Americans.
Guillermo (AL Angers)
[ 1 ] Chavez MCR and receive the support of some left-wing organizations, including the
very orthodox Communist Party of Venezuela, different social democrats converted by ChÃvez
Bolivarism, popular groups such as People's Union Venezuela, activists, trade union, etc..
[ 2 ] Marc St. UpÃry "Eight eight questions and tentative answers to the" Bolivarian
revolution "," Movements , May 2006.
[ 3 ] Marc St. UpÃry "Eight eight questions and tentative answers to the" Bolivarian
revolution "," Movements , May 2006.
[ 4 ] This is comparable with a score of 60% that ChÃvez was re-elected in December 2006
[ 5 ] The United Socialist Party of Venezuela was created in 2007 by Hugo ChÃvez to
consolidate forces in the coalition since 1998. Some organizations have refused to
participate in the creation of this party as the Communist Party of Venezuela.
[ 6 ] Read about the appeal "against the criminalization of social movements in Venezuela"
on Communism-ouvrier.info .
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