by Danny Haiphong
The stunning defeat of the Socialist Party in Venezuela is a threat to leftist governments and movements around the world, especially in Latin America. “The oligarchy would undoubtedly move to dissolve the ties of solidarity the Bolivarian movement has institutionalized with Palestine, Haiti, China, and numerous African nations.” Hugo Chavez’s party “will have to return to the streets to defend the movement's gains and move forward with the objectives of the revolution.”
Venezuela's Election Results Hold Global Significance
by Danny Haiphong
“The right wing oligarchy sees the recent election victory as a ripe opportunity to destabilize the country and make it a client of US imperialism.”
Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution experienced a setback on December 6th, 2015 when National Assembly elections yielded a super majority to the US-backed opposition. Venezuela was vulnerable to political transition due to goods shortages and high inflation rates, caused largely by US meddling and opposition-waged economic warfare.
While the oligarchy-led opposition represents a minority in the country, the election results reveal the extent that the rich have gained ground on the Bolivarian movement. Venezuela's 21st century socialist movement of regional integration has been confronted with a challenge. The way the masses of Venezuela respond to the right’s resurgence will have implications not only for the continent, but the world as well.
There is no doubt that the Venezuelan people have been given the task of defending the gains of the movement from a National Assembly now firmly in the hands of the right wing. The right wing oligarchy sees the recent election victory as a ripe opportunity to destabilize the country and make it a client of US imperialism. Destabilization would allow the oligarchy to return to its familiar position as leeches of the Venezuelan people. Wealthy Venezuelans occupied this position to a much greater extent prior to the Bolivarian government's rise to power in 1999.
Since 1999, the Bolivarian revolution has been a prime example of what can be done when the thrust of the poor and working class leads society. Venezuela's vast housing, healthcare, and education initiatives have greatly improved the conditions of ordinary Venezuelans. Venezuela has reduced extreme poverty more than any other country in Latin America. It has also eliminated illiteracy and significantly decreased infant mortality for the majority of Venezuelans.
“The election results reveal the extent that the rich have gained ground on the Bolivarian movement.”
These gains were made possible by the broad participation of the Venezuelan masses. "Chavistas" organized themselves at the trade union and community level to transform the living conditions of millions Venezuelans. Workers also developed an internationalist perspective, which gave popular support to Hugo Chavez's idea for an integrated Latin America. This inspired much of the region to emulate the Bolivarian movement. Institutions such as ALBA and UNESUR were erected to set the course of the continent in a unified direction independent of imperialism. The right wing desperately wanted to overthrow this process from the outset.
The Bolivarian movement has been under attack by the US-backed oligarchy ever since its formation. The movement's latest setback must be placed within the context of the neo-colonial oligarchy's recent advances toward the objective of destabilization for the continent as a whole. Argentina's ruling class recently scored a presidential victory and the oligarchy in Brazil is currently in the process of staging a coup to oust President Dilma Roussef. The recent loss of a majority in the National Assembly election is yet another challenge for the progressive forces of the region. However, the war for the future of Latin America has yet to be determined.
As of this writing, the class war between the oligarchy of the continent and the poor and oppressed is set to drastically intensify. Venezuela's Bolivarian movement was built at the grassroots level. It will have to return to the streets to defend the movement's gains and move forward with the objectives of the revolution. Venezuela's oligarchy has already promised that it will use every bit of power gained in the National Assembly to restore neo-liberalism. The right wing has set its initial sights on the repeal of the nation's labor and consumer law protections.
“Argentina's ruling class recently scored a presidential victory and the oligarchy in Brazil is currently in the process of staging a coup to oust President Dilma Roussef.”
This is just phase one of the plan to depose of President Nicholas Maduro. The oligarchy is laying the basis for a historic confrontation between the oligarchy and the masses. The overthrow of the Bolivarian government would send a shock wave throughout the world. The oligarchy would undoubtedly move to dissolve the ties of solidarity the Bolivarian movement has institutionalized with Palestine, Haiti, China, and numerous African nations, They would be replaced with a relationship of dependence on the imperialist powers
The left in the US and West needs to respond to the most recent setback in the Bolivarian revolution in the same way it should in any struggle against imperialist war. Venezuela's right-wing is seeking to destabilize the region in the same way that imperialism seeks to destabilize the entire planet in the interests of monopoly capital. It is of utmost importance for the left to develop links with all peoples of the world struggling against the common enemy of imperialism. A central component to solidarity is the formulation of demands that speak to the oppression of the exploited in the US and the oppression of the people of the world. In this context, that means demanding an end to US support for the oligarchy in Venezuela. Terrorism won on December 7th, but the ultimate goal of liberation will be determined by the Venezuelan people.