Venezuela

Bolivarian revolution in trouble

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The right is on the attack against President Maduro of Venezuela, the successor to Hugo Chavez and his project of socialism in the 21st century. While attempts to topple him must be opposed, it is the contradictions of Chavismo that have laid the basis for the current crisis, writes Joseph Choonara.

What can be learnt from Venezuela, currently witnessing a deadly struggle to topple its president, Nicolás Maduro? Over 100 have been killed, and the upheaval has added to the hardship in a country that has seen its economy shrink by one third since 2013.

The media and the political establishment in Britain have derived a simple lesson: misery is the only possible outcome if you elect a government promising, as Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez did, “socialism in the 21st century”. In other words, this is what will happen if you elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

Letter from Venezuela

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In response to recent right wing attacks, workers are organising to put pressure on Hugo Chávez to deepen the revolution, reports Luke Stobart.

On the afternoon of Friday 11 September, in Caracas, word spreads that Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has returned from an 11-day tour of the Middle East.
Soon large numbers of red caps and T-shirts appear in central Caracas and a powerful current of people heads towards the presidential palace, where thousands would wait several hours to hear their leader.

The Farc, Chavez and the Colombian dilemma

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The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Farc, has existed since the late 1940s. But it has rarely received the kind of worldwide attention it has today.

In part, that is the result of an international campaign for the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-born presidential candidate, who has now been a Farc hostage for a number of years. But the real reason for the new focus on the Farc is more sinister and more far reaching.

No saviours or substitutes

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The words of the Internationale strike a chord for all socialists who believe society can only be transformed from below. It is a message that could not be more urgent than for today's working class in Venezuela and Bolivia.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer.

So runs the second verse of the socialist anthem the Internationale. It is rarely sung in Britain. But the message is very important.

Unlikely partners

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The peculiar marriage between Hugo Chavez and Bush's man in the Americas - President Uribe of Colombia - has onlookers scratching their heads.

The once tense relationship seems now to be blossoming with the unprecedented courting of Chavez as a mediator for the Colombian armed conflict, and now the energy cooperation between the two countries is far from the Bolivarian principles of grassroots revolution.

Shaping the future in Venezuela

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As town square debates on Hugo Chavez's constitutional amendments rage in Venezuela, Mike Gonzalez considers whether they will deepen democracy or further centralise power.

It is Saturday afternoon in La Candelaria, a working class district of Venezuela's capital Caracas. A huge awning covers the main square (it's the rainy season) to shelter the 200 or so people sitting in groups of 12 at round tables. They are all wearing the red T-shirt of the Bolivarian revolution, and they are spending this Saturday, and many to come, discussing reforms to the constitution proposed by the president Hugo Chavez. In December these 120 or so amendments will be put to referendum.

'Workers' control in Venezuela cannot be implemented by decree. It has to be built and it advances as a process.'

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Steve Mather talks to Venezuelan workers and activists who are attempting to shape the unfolding revolutionary process and looks at those who are determined to stop them.

It is only a matter of days until the presidential elections, and Venezuelan society is in a state of suspended animation with all other political battles on hold. The ruptures within President Hugo Chavez's camp have been bandaged up for now. The energies of those who are against Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution" have been channelled into the campaign of Chavez's opponent, Manuel Rosales. Rosales, who supported the defeated coup against Chavez in 2002, is the only opposition candidate with significant popular support.

Venezuela: The Struggle after the Vote

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In the latest test for President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelans are voting in a presidential election that will decide the future of the country's radical reforming government. Michael Lebowitz talks to SR about the nature of the "Bolivarian Revolution".

Hugo Chavez is the most prominent symbol of a far-reaching revolutionary process in Venezuela, which has provided inspiration for those fighting corporate globalisation and imperialism across Latin America and around the globe. A hero to millions, he is a thorn in the side of George Bush.

Michael Lebowitz, a leading Marxist writer currently living in the capital, Caracas, has just published a new book entitled Build It Now, which examines the potential for this process to lead to the creation of a new "socialism for the 21st century". He answered questions from SR.

Bolivarian Perspectives

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Rory Hearne finds that no matter where you go in Venezuela, people are desperate to talk about 'their revolution'. Here are a few people who shared their thoughts with him.

Nene Guijano
Social worker in the barrios

'I am a former guerrilla who fought in the Nicaraguan mountains in the 1960s. Today I work in the barrios to defend the Venezuelan revolution.

Contrary to what the right wing opponents of Chavez are saying, there is no totalitarianism here. Chavez has even allowed those who tried to violently overthrow his government to go free.

Factory Occupation at Invepal

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'In this factory there are no bosses. We believe that we should all be leaders.'

Invepal is a paper factory about 100 miles outside Caracas. Workers there have taken over the factory and forced the state to finance its day to day development. It is currently in co-management, whereby the workers own 49 percent of the company and the state 51 percent. Not content with this, the workers have declared that they want to reach 100 percent worker ownership. I spoke to two Invepal workers - Alexis Pereira, who is an electrician, and Alexis Polanco, who works in the chemical sector of the factory:

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