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(en) US, California, The dawn* #3 - Concerning Hugo Chavez: Authority in Venezuela by Rocco Katary

From <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(Erik egh-A-the-dawn.org)
Date Wed, 15 Sep 2004 08:35:51 +0200 (CEST)

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In Venezuela, there are two groups of people that fly the
black flag. The anarchists and the people. The anarchists
fly it because it is their symbol. For the people, the
black flag is basically an outcry. For example, the true
meaning of an upside down American flag is “distress.”
When an American ship flies an American flag upside down
that usually means they need help of some kind. The black
flag in Venezuela basically means the same thing. The
people are crying out. The country is in horrible shape and
the people need help. This does not mean that “help” is
needed from the United States. It means that Venezuelans
have to unite and proceed with the development of a free
and just society.

Perhaps my interest in Venezuela is because I am
Venezuelan. Or perhaps it's because I most admire
anarchists from Venezuela. Right now there is a lot
going on down there, that many people don't know
about. It's a terrible place to live. Not because of
the violence, the terrifying realities of Hugo Chávez,
or the U.S. habitually poking at the country. No, it is
because Venezuelans are divided.

Venezuelans are rarely divided over such issues. It
seemed that finally, the country was moving forward, and
now Chavez wants to bring back a dictatorship? Why? The
country went from ultra right wing to ultra left wing
pretty quick.

Continually we hear of the problems in Venezuela, but we
never hear of a solution from either side that is going to
do anything good for the country's people. If Chavez is
replaced, then he will be replaced with a person just like
him. Possibly worse. The laws that Chavez has passed have
dangerous totalitarian views. Chavez's opposition -
which are both from the left and the right - has not
expressed, as far as anarchists have read and seen,
a solution to the problems in Venezuela.

Anarchists take the side of neither the left nor the
right. They believe that all Venezuelans have to work
together to build up a just and free society. Collectively
the country must say no to Chavez and no to the
opposition because neither will provide anything good
for the country. Dissolve the power that has plagued
Venezuela for so long - an authoritarian government based
on institutionalized capitalism. Both sides have decided
that power is more favorable than the people's interests.

Hugo Chavez has had an interesting run up the ladder
of the Venezuelan political system. He began as a
paratrooper. Then after becoming a Marxist, he and some of
his fellow officers formed a group called the Revolutionary
Bolivarian Movement. They took their name from the great
Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar, who fought to gain
independence for Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama
from Spain. A decade after their formation, Chavez and
his comrades led a coup on the then current government
of President Carlos Andres Perez. Under Perez's rule,
the economy suffered a great deal, and Chavez accused
the President and his administration of hoarding money
from oil revenues, sharing it with American business men,
and leaving very little for the workers of those oil rigs.

Before Chavez gave himself up during the February 1992
coup, 18 people died and 60 were injured. Nine months later
while in prison, his comrades tried again, and again they
failed. But before they gave themselves up, they seized
a broadcasting station and televised a video of Chavez
stating that the coup was a success. After spending two
years in a military prison, Chavez was released. He joined
up with his party again and renamed it the Movement of
the Fifth Republic. In 1998 he was elected President of
Venezuela in a landslide victory.

A man with a plan, indeed. As president, Hugo Chavez has
passed totalitarian laws and claimed land from Guyana. He
decides what corporations enter into the country's
borders. He has attacked the small business man, the
libertine (anarchist), and the common worker. What happened
to his promises about helping blacks and the indigenous
people of Venezuela? What happened with that? There has
been little development in that area. His supporters have
said it is because of conspiracies from the opposition. Yet
the only proof presented was a failed attempt to oust him,
and that evidence can no longer be held up. (The proof
being evidence of a coup set up by the United States
and certain members of the opposition that failed two
days later.)

Chavez has claimed land from neighboring Guyana. This is a
problem because there has rarely been a border there. For
many years the two countries have shared the border,
rarely making any uproars about it; at least until Chavez
was elected. Creating borders is not progress. The last
thing Venezuela needs is an armed conflict with Guyana's
people. This is already happening with Colombia. Chavez
has been said to fund and even send troops to Colombia to
fight alongside Marxist rebels. War is rarely the answer
and Chavez does not seem to do much talking. Surely war
will not solve the problems of the future. For if the
Colombian government, backed by the United States, goes
to war, then Venezuela will find itself in a terrible
situation. Worse than any of us could imagine. This now
seeps into the so-called drug war.

Chavez has also passed a law stating that anything
portrayed as anarchist is punishable up to three to
five years in jail. Although this law is known to many
Venezuelans, what is unknown is the meaning. What does
“anarchist” mean to Chavez and his lawmakers? This
is unclear. Even more important, what does this mean for
fellow anarchists in Venezuela?

Granted, not everything the man has done is bad. One
favorable thing Chavez has done is piss off the Bush
administration, which isn't very hard to do in the first
place. Chavez is part of a large South American community
resisting United States government intervention. Every
South American deserves the right to decide their own
destiny. The Venezuelan destiny, the Brazilian destiny,
the Bolivian destiny, etc. They should not have to settle
for imposed American beliefs on how a democracy should be
run. South American destiny should be in South American

Yet Chavez is making this extremely difficult. How can
Venezuelan people decide their own destiny if one ruler
is doing it for them? It cannot be done.

The answer is not centralized leadership. People should
be allowed to control every aspect of their own lives. No
hollow, nihilistic view can change this fact. If Venezuelan
people want to be truly free, just as all people in
the rest of the world, then they must decide it for
themselves. We must decide it for ourselves. Dismantle
the authoritative governments that bring empty promises
from both sides. We shall resist all of them in order to
bring about a society that was intended in the hearts of
men women who believe in peace and justice.

For more information on Venezuelan anarchists, visit the El
Libertario website. >http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/
>From The Dawn, September 2004

* [Ed. note: The Dawn is an anarcho-communist journal]

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