Venezuela is in the midst of the difficult task of constructing the path to socialism. Like any living process, it does not go forward in a straight line. It instead has advances and setbacks, mistakes and corrections. The important thing is the continuous effort of the people in propelling the construction of a fair system to once and for all supplant the violent capitalism still prevalent in Venezuela.
Since the tragic death of President Hugo Chávez in March 2013, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution has been immersed in a battle against a constant, immense destabilizing campaign that the right-wing opposition has initiated, exploiting the profound grief of the people after the death of their beloved leader. This opposition, which the U.S. has always aided and promoted, has organized street blockades called “guarimbas,” murders, street violence, media campaigns hostile to the government, smuggling, speculation and shortages of necessities, and attempts to assassinate leaders, including President Nicolás Maduro, who has inherited the difficult task of succeeding an immensely popular and charismatic world leader.
When the news media in the United States reported the violence last February that left 43 people dead, they used disinformation to blame young chavistas while promoting the “right to peaceful demonstration” for youthful opponents of the Bolivarian government. Now even the Colombian government has exposed this big lie, when on Sept. 4 it deported two young Venezuelans. The two were in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, obtaining weapons and ammunition and receiving training from Colombian paramilitaries linked to rightist former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, infamous for his criminal links.
“The video reveals plans to hire snipers and explosives experts to carry out terrorist activities in various regions of Venezuela, in addition to executing a series of assassinations and setting off explosives in public and private spaces.” (Telesur, Sept. 26)
With this evidence of videos and photos, the Venezuelan government has once again succeeded in breaking up this latest violent attack from the rightist opposition.
The Colombian government’s cooperation is important because it sets back U.S. plans to use Colombia in its intervention to destroy the Bolivarian Revolution. Remember that during the administration of Álvaro Uribe, who was a close U.S. ally, 100 paramilitaries went to Caracas in order to kill then-President Hugo Chávez.
Under the Juan Manuel Santos administration in Colombia, however — who we should not forget is also a rightist, and was the defense minister under Uribe who ordered the bombing of the Colombian revolutionary FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army) camp on the border of Ecuador — there has nevertheless been more cooperation with the Venezuelan government.
Until recently, many of the staples used in Venezuela and significant amounts of gasoline were smuggled across the border from Colombia. This illegal smuggling increased the food shortages that the Venezuelan rightists fomented in order to sow unrest and dissatisfaction among the Bolivarian people. The rightists hoped to stir rebellion against the Maduro government. Now joint action by both governments at the border has helped to reduce the smuggling.
Destabilizing acts aren’t stopping
But the destabilizing activities have not stopped. If anything, they are expected to increase. The U.S.-backed media campaign includes the rumor that Venezuela will default on its foreign debt in early October. On Sept. 5, Ricardo Hausmann, an economics professor who directs the Center for International Development at Harvard and was former reactionary planning minister for Venezuela and chief economist at the Bank for Inter-American Development, raised this in an opinion column in Project Syndicate. Using half-truths and conjecture, under the title “Should Venezuela Default?” Hausmann sowed doubt that Venezuela is able to pay its international obligations.
To this attack, President Maduro answered Hausmann: “I have directed the Attorney General, and I’ve spoken to the prosecutor to initiate charges against you because you are engaged in a campaign to harm our country. … We have the evidence in your statements and articles. … [Y]ou are the advisor, Ricardo Hausmann, of all these groups that want to do economic damage to Venezuela.” (elnuevoherald.com)
Another campaign has been to plant rumors of an epidemic, perhaps of Ebola, which, according to the opposition media, has shown up in the state of Aragua and which the government is hiding from the population, putting them at risk of contamination.
The Bolivarian government and the organized population have unmasked both campaigns. It is no secret that there are problems in the economy. The excessive use of foreign exchange at low cost by Venezuelan oligarchs who are still the owners of marketing organizations is one big one. This is the great challenge for the revolution and its people, which have the task of solving it.
However, that same Venezuela — threatened by the international right, whose leader and its media are headquartered in Washington — has given a lesson in international solidarity with its assistance to the Palestinian people of Gaza.
Within Venezuela, the popular struggle to wrest power from the transnational corporations was expressed when workers, with government help, took over the U.S.-based Clorox Company. Clorox had closed its doors on Sept. 22 without prior notice to either the workers or the government. The workers received the following voice message from Clorox’s president: “We’re leaving Venezuela, and have deposited the liquidation settlement in an account, whether you like it or not, because the factory is not going to function any longer; that’s all I have tell you.”
In response on Sept. 26, YVKE Mundial reported, “The workers themselves chose the administrative board which the government will assist with a plan to reopen the factory, in order to boost productivity and ensure the right to work for the human capital that is integral to this company.”