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Venezuela: Class Conflict and US Intervention

by Karmen Selis Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2002 at 2:15 PM
eco@andeslibre.zzn.com

The upper class and US CIA are a problem in many countries. Combined with a corrupt media they use protest tactics to cause disruption and chaos with staged media events and lock-outs masquerading as popular general strikes.

"It's time to show the Bush Administration and its marionette "mediator" in

Venezuela - Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American

States (OAS) - what Authentic Democracy sounds like!” Al Giordano, Narco News

"The national and international media have been the most important instruments of thia coup d' etat orchestrated by the wealthy elite classes with the direct support of the United States." - Maximilien Averlaiz, Caracas April, 2002. [Here we go again…]

(www.anncol.com/april/1304EYEWITNESS-THE-PLOT.htm)

CLASS CONFLICT AND LESSONS FROM VENEZUELA

– Hugo Chavez y La Gente v. Spoiled Brats and US-Global Corporate Hege-Money

– By Karmen Selis, reporter at large, Andes Libre News Service.

The attempts against Venezuelan democracy by the upper class and the US intelligence agencies may become a problem in other countries like Brazil and Ecuador. Just as the right wing in the US has adopted the get-out-the-vote tactics of the US left, similarly in Latin America, the middle and upper classes there can use protest tactics to cause disruption and bad publicity for leftist governments with staged media events and hyped-up lock-outs masquerading as popular general strikes.

Read Their Lips:

Sixteen members of the US Congress want Bush to say he “opposes any attempt to remove the democratically elected government of Venezuela by a military coup or other unconstitutional means … the White House should affirm that the United States would not have normal diplomatic relations with a coup-installed government.”

They are concerned that the US is again deeply involved in a Venezuelan coup much as it was in April – and historically all over Latin America.

Bush says: “We note the Secretary General's recent public warning on the need to negotiate soon, in the next few days, or risk further polarization that could erupt into violence… The United States is convinced that the only peaceful and politically viable path to moving out of the crisis is through the holding of early elections.”

Early elections are not constitutional or legal.

Chavez says: "I will not give in to blackmail nor pressures of any kind. I swear to you

that I will be with the people my entire life. You brought me here and you

are the only ones who can get rid of me. Nobody else is going to take me out

of here." December 7, 2002. (www.narconews.com/)

Uruguayan congressman, Jose Nayardi, says that he has information implicating the CIA in a long planned coup attempt against President Chavez. He says that the Venezuelan media is full of lies and the whole situation worries him and reminds one of Chile in 1973. December 12, 2002 (www.vheadline.com/0212/14248.asp)

The CIA has nothing to say.

My girlfriend in Maracay, Venezuela says:

“Chavez is winning on all sides and the longer the Paro (phony strike) goes on, the

longer the people suffer and dirty the name of the opposition. Chavez saw it all coming and is sticking it to them hard by doing nothing now… just letting the spoiled ones ruin the country. We'll see if it works. It’s all really fun and exciting to see the CIA, media oligarchy and the multinationals lose.”

What does Lula have to say?

History in an Age of Immediacy

When Hugo Chavez was kidnapped by US-backed billionaires in April 2002, former Venezuelan President Andres Perez said: "The fall of Caracas will be violent. Today the firearms spoke. The mask of dictatorship was removed, but Chavez is going to jail… he destroyed the institutions and divided the country between rich and poor."

(www.narconews.com/venezuelacoup1.html)

The next day a million Venezuelans came down from the hills and Ranchos to rescue Chavez and return him to power.

When Perez tried to give the country away to the rich in 1989 the poor complained and Perez had 1000 of them gunned down in the riots called the Caracazo. Chavez led a coup against Perez in 1992. Perez was impeached for corruption in 1994 and Chavez was freed from jail.

Chavez was elected President in 1998 and 2000 by landslide votes.

In 1998 Chavez had the luxury of a mandate to purge and restructure the judicial, military and administrative branches of the government. Even the right wing in the US applauded some of these efforts. Voters overwhelmingly endorsed Chavez's new constitution. Cleaning up the vastly larger bureaucracy of Brazil will cost Lula some time and many resources (money, personnel, headaches, strife and political favors).

Once Chavez passed a moderate reform package of 38 laws the US and its wealthy friends in Venezuela – went literally ballistic and decided that Chavez had to go.

Social Peace Versus the US Development Model: Death Squads, Corruption, And Money-Coated Fake Democracy

There are death squads working for corrupt businessmen in Venezuela. There are US spies, spooks and provocateurs cruising the avenues of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. (The Portuguese sniper arrested on Friday, December 6 - who arrived in Venezuela the same day - confessed he was hired by right wing coup leader General Medina Gomez (www.aporrea.org) another sniper was seen with the right wing mayor of Caracas, Mr. Pena ). The dishonest media blamed the shooting on Chavez and had "prepared programming" ready before the shootings even happened! Just like the generals on April 11 had prerecorded audio tapes decrying the shooting before it happened.

There are many confused white-collar management types on strike against Chavez and his efforts to clean up and reign in the state oil company, PdVSA. Many of these strikers don’t understand democracy and they have been fooled by their bosses to support a strike and an elite group of coup plotters. They may very well end up losing everything: their jobs, their wealth and their country. The US AFL-CIO must sharethe blame since it refuses to denounce the reactionary strikes as phony and clearly not based on the interest of the workers.

Cooperating with Chavez would have been safer and more profitable for the upper classes and the multinationals; now the potential for civil war increases. Almost everyone loses in a civil war and afterward the poor will still be angry and foreign aid no longer really exists. In 1998, Chavez led the way for Latin American nations to reclaim a popular democracy that listens to the vast majority who are poor and getting poorer every day. Now he must lead the way in the defense of democracy and Lula, Gutierrez, Castro and hundreds of millions of people are watching anxiously. Bankers too…

Angered at these repeated interventions by the US in support of the Venezuelan upper classes, some radical community organizations want to move beyond Chavez into open revolutionary conflict against the rich. "It is time to mobilize the full force of the masses… this time the movement must not stop half way. It is necessary to destroy the social and economic base of the counterrevolution. This means expropriating the land, the banks and the big businesses, along with all the property of known counterrevolutionaries and that of US imperialists," said Marina Salvatore of Caracas.

Is this what the middle class wants? - if not, then they should switch sides quickly and support the moderate - Hugo Chavez.

The reactionary behavior of some oil union workers in Venezuela and factions in the military has complicated politics and increased tensions unfairly. In Brazil, Lula needs to cut back the military budget and direct resources to social investments, but this is a large problem to tackle as well and the military in Brazil is tied into a vast military-industrial complex. Brazil is a major weapons and fighter aircraft producer.

Chavez has shown remarkable ingenuity and patience in his confrontations with the US-backed upper classes. Rather than confront them directly he allows them to throw temper tantrums and expose themselves as the spoiled brats they are. The first day of the bosses' fake strike, December 2, the Venezuelan government trumped the right wing by announcing an open-air market day on the main boulevard. Many thousands showed up to enjoy the vendors and repudiate the rich. Chavez turned a protest strike into a carnival fiesta!

The right wing coup plotters are afraid that they will lose badly if they follow the legal means of a referendum to removes Chavez from office. They are desperate to get rid of Chavez before his new laws take effect in January. Their fanatical drive to protect their wealth, has become terrorism and also treason, using snipers to kill their own followers and paying tanker-ship captains to hijack ships. Tensions mount and Chavez will be forced to move quickly and decisively to jail many opponents and replace hundreds of white-collar workers in the state oil industry.

Wear Them Down, Threaten and Make Them Eat Our Exports - A GW Bush Wet Dream -"Watch out for his big stick and the BIG LIE!

Hoping to wear down the downtrodden, the US plays the Sandinista Game as it prods the Venezuelan business class to extend the bosses-strike indefinitely. The tactics of the right wing strikers and their media-mogul buddies are often illegal and would never be tolerated if the left did them. A small minority is promoting violence, sabotaging the PdVSA and desperately trying to create chaos in this poor country. They want to subvert democracy and the will of the people – just as they proposed to do in the April US-supported coup when they took Chavez hostage. They hope that the military intervenes, intimidates the people and restores law and order for profitability. Fascist one and all they have climbed into bed with Colombia’s crooked ex-president Cesar Gavaria – the OAS Chief – and are sleeping with the US intelligence community (and Jimmy Carter) who now owns them lock, stock and soul (well the first two anyway – the rich can’t have souls can they?).

Once again the poor of Caracas vote "a pies" - by their feet - and on December 10, thousands surrounded the corporate media stations in noisy but disciplined protest against the constant lies of the coup plotters who are in alliance with the major media in Venezuela.

This is a good example of a public good: the airwaves and the right to complete information in a democracy. If broadcasts are to be private then a large collective editorial board should run them who are held responsible to present the unbiased news. A democratic media would show a diversity of programming with slots on all channels for unedited commentary and video presentations from all sectors of society.

The only evidence given by the right wing for wanting to depose Chavez is that he gives long and lousy speeches. He has been a popular leader for four years and listens to the poor majority who expect him to help them. The crime which Chavez has committed was the 39 laws he passed. These laws include increased spending on education, health care, modest land reforms, free elections for unions and higher oil royalties. The interventions of the US, the silence of the world and the CIA will come back to haunt the rich one day.

The threat of coup, sabotage or assassination remains as long as Gavaria is at the helm of the OAS and GW Bush remains the illegitimate president of the US. Watch out and prepare Ecuador and Brazil… you are surely next.



- "The PdVSA oil company is the heart of our country. Nobody stops Venezuela… I call on all the people to defend our industry." Hugo Chavez, December 14, 2002

- One of the losers of this week's skirmishes is U.S. State Department fixer

Otto Reich. (We note that Secretary of State Colin Powell was, surprisingly,

not accompanied by Reich in his trip last week to Colombia, an indication

that Reich's extremist brinkmanship in South America is increasingly viewed

as counter-productive even among moderates, like Powell, in the Bush

administration.)

The events of the next few days could accomplish the "two-fer" of putting to

rest delusional coup fantasies by anti-democracy forces in Venezuela and

also be the final nail in the coffin of Reich's reign over U.S. Latin

America policy.

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