fix articles 499771, episcopal conference
Venezuela: The referendum defeat - What does it mean? (tags)
At about 1am, after a long delay, the Venezuelan National Electoral Commission announced the results of the referendum on constitutional reform. The proposals for constitutional change were defeated by the narrowest of margins, with 4,504,354 votes against, (50.70%) and 4,379,392, (49.29%) for the YES. Soon afterwards, president Chávez was on the television accepting the results. He said that the proposed reforms had not been approved "for now", but that he would continue to struggle to build socialism. The result, as could be expected, was greeted with jubilation by the right wing opposition and all the reactionary forces. For the first time in almost a decade they have secured a victory. There were scenes of jubilation in the well-off middle class areas of Caracas. "At last we have shown that Chavez can be defeated! At last the slide towards communism has been stopped! At last we have given the rabble a lesson!" The joy of the reactionaries is both premature and exaggerated. A glance at the results shows that the voting strength of the opposition has barely increased. If you compare these results (after 88% of the votes had been counted) with the 2006 presidential elections, the opposition has only increased about 100,000 votes, but Chávez lost 2.8 million. These votes did not go to the opposition but rather to abstention. This means that support for the counter-revolution has not significantly increased from its highest point one year ago. How the bourgeoisie "informs" public opinion
Venezuela: the counter-revolution raises its head (tags)
In Venezuela the forces of the counterrevolution are engaged in an all-out offensive against Chavez and the Revolution. Right-wing students stage armed provocations on the campuses and the streets. The bourgeois media, nationally and internationally, are whipping up a campaign of hysteria against "tyranny" and "dictatorship". US imperialism, with the help of Juan Carlos and the Spanish bourgeoisie, is striving to isolate Venezuela and create an anti-revolutionary bloc in Latin America, based on Brazil and Colombia, Chile and Argentina. As on previous occasions - the coup of 2002, the bosses' lockout, the recall referendum and the elections of 2005 and 2006, the reactionaries are using the slogan of supposed "defence of democracy" as a means of mobilizing the counterrevolutionary forces, creating a climate of fear and instability in order to prepare the ground for a right-wing coup. In the present battle who is opposed to the reform of the Constitution? Fedecamara, that is, the landlords, bankers and capitalists, the Episcopal Conference, representing the reactionary hierarchy of the Church, the right-wing media and imperialism. On the other side of the barricades are the workers and peasants, the poor and dispossessed, the revolutionary youth and the progressive intelligentsia: in other words, all the living forces of Venezuelan society. Why does the ruling class hate the constitutional reform? They say it is because Chavez wishes to introduce a dictatorship, to be a President elected for life and so on. But the reformed constitution does not concede such powers or anything like them. It merely removes the restriction on standing for President more than twice. In Europe there is no such limitation. Sarkozy and Merkel can stand as often as they like. So can Gordon Brown. And in any case, the reformed constitution only allows Chavez to stand for election. It will be up to the people whether they elect him or not.
Venezuela: another coupe in the works? (tags)
On Monday, November 5th, the campaign for the constitutional reform referendum in Venezuela was stepped up with the call by retired general Baduel for a NO vote. General Baduel was a close collaborator of Chávez and remained loyal to him during the April 2002 military coup which briefly ousted him. In July of this year he resigned from his position as Defence Minister and retired from active military office. His attacks on the constitutional reform are part of a concerted campaign by the ruling class to prevent it from being approved in a referendum which will take place on December 2nd. The amendments to the 1999 Venezuelan revolution were announced by Chávez after his election victory in December 2006 with the stated aim of bringing the Constitution into line with "Socialism of the 21st century". They were then formally proposed by Chávez in July, discussed throughout the country and passed with a whole series of modifications and additions by the National Assembly on November 2nd.