On Jan. 3, as part of its regular condition updates of President Hugo Chávez following his Dec. 11 surgery, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela alerted “the Venezuelan public of a campaign of psychological warfare unleashed by the international media regarding the health of the head of state,” as the Jan. 10 date anticipated for the oath of office for his new six-year presidential term nears.
“This campaign aims ultimately to destabilize the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, ignore the popular will expressed in the presidential elections last October 7, and end the Bolivarian Revolution led by Chávez. These aims clash with the ironclad unity of the Bolivarian Government, the organized people and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces with the leadership and political ideals of Commander Hugo Chávez,” the statement continued.
“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is complying with its duty to inform the Venezuelan public and our sister nations about the clinical progress of President Hugo Chávez.
“Following a delicate surgery on December 11, Commander Chávez has faced complications as a result of a severe respiratory infection.
“This infection has led to respiratory deficiency that requires Commander Chávez to remain in strict compliance with his medical treatment.
“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its confidence in the medical team that is attending to the commander and that has permanently monitored his clinical evolution and acted with the most absolute rigorousness in the face of each one of the difficulties presented.”
The Venezuelan National Assembly opened Jan. 5, electing incumbent Diosdado Cabello to lead the assembly as thousands of Chávez supporters demonstrated for their beloved but seriously ill president. Cabello is first vice-president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which expanded its electoral domination, winning 20 of 23 provincial elections. Together with Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nicolás Maduro, the PSUV is well positioned to weather any hurdles that may appear in the days to come.
Since Chávez won the election in 1998, the Bolivarian revolution improvements for the people have been amazing. Illiteracy was eradicated. Undocumented people — including those born in Venezuela — were counted and provided with papers. A 2002 coup attempt and kidnapping of the president was reversed by the Venezuelan masses. The rights of women, Afro-descendents, Indigenous and lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are expanded.
The new labor law, in part, reduced the workweek, ended discrimination in the workplace, expanded retirement pensions as a right, including informal sector workers, and put the responsibility on the bosses to prove that a worker should be fired before a dismissal.
But the growth and benefits extend beyond the national borders.
Initiated in response to the imperialist “free trade” agreements, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) coordinates international development among member states and others in the region based on solidarity, without relying on the international capitalist banking system.
Begun with Cuba and Venezuela, ALBA now includes Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda. ALBA initiated the Bank of the South — a development bank for the region and a currency that frees trade from the imperialist dollar economy.
Eighteen countries are in PetroCaribe, “the first energy agreement of a solidarity nature, with a purpose of social development and justice … created to supply Venezuelan oil at fair prices and easy payment.” (http://www.petrocaribe.org/)
It includes development of renewable energy alternatives. These initiatives, which are hallmarks of the Chávez-led Bolivarian revolution in alliance with Cuba, continue to produce tangible benefits for literally millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean in the relatively short time since 2005.
It is no wonder that the capitalist press is attempting to sow confusion in these uncertain weeks instead of sending heartfelt solidarity for the recovery of President Chávez and continuation of the unity, solidarity and independent development underway, countering the global austerity drive.
Workers World Party joins with the PSUV and Venezuelan people when they say, “Toward victory forever. Long live Chávez!”