Latin America is a region of turmoil. Its history is defined by the oppression brought onto it by the Bourgeois powers that be, and the valiant struggle for freedom that the people have fought for over a century. From Bolivia to Columbia, to Argentina to Chile, the peoples of Latin America have suffered some of the harshest right wing dictatorships in history, and each time, the strength and resolve of the revolutionary masses have liberated themselves from the tyranny of Militarism. However, each time a dictator is felled, the revolution does not complete itself. The nation is restored to a bourgeois democracy, a democracy where the business elite and foreign powers hold the real power, where every political party stands for the same thing, Capitalism. In order for any nation to be a true democracy, to be truly free, the people must play an active role in the running of their own nation. With the people’s freedom, government and live hood controlled by an elite upper class, this is an impossibility. Therefore there is but one logical solution to ensure lasting peace and liberty, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Today we see this necessity manifested in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In 2000, Hugo Chavez, a leader a newly formed Socialist movement was elected as president of the nation, to the obvious dismay of the upper class. The business elite were terrified at Chavez’s reforms, he started public heath and housing programs, raised wages and, most frightening of all, strengthened Trade Unions nation wide, particularly on Venezuela’s valuable oil industry. The aristocracy saw its control over the people slipping away as they began organizing for a People’s Democracy. The elite would not allow this to happen, and in 2002 a coalition of business and military leaders launched a coup against the Chavez government. This bourgeois dictatorship revered all the reforms made by Chavez and put the owning class squarely in power. However, following the revolutionary spirit of their history, the people of Venezuela spontaneously revolted against the new dictatorship, overthrowing it and restoring the democratically elected president into power. Despite the power and wealth of the upper class, the will of the people overthrow the great coup in less than 48 hours.
Once he was back in power and the aristocracy was temporarily defeated, Chavez should have seized this opportunity to complete the Venezuelan Revolution. He should have nationalized the major corporations and put them under workers control, this would have broken forever the power of the Venezuelan upper class. However, Chavez did not take this path, his mind squarely set on Social democracy and a “reformed capitalism”. As history shows, Capitalism cannot be reformed, and the upper class was given the opportunity to rebuild their power to again try and seize the nation away from the people.
In 2003, in an attempt to grind to a halt the Venezuelan economy and force Chavez to abandon his reformist program, the aristocracy commenced a “bosses lock out” of the oil industry, the heart of the nation’s economy. Workers were locked out of their jobs and production ceased. Once again the people would take control of the situation and bring down the upper classes attempt to control the country. Oil workers seized the refineries and oil derricks, putting them under workers control. With no orders from above, the revolutionary masses had nationalized Venezuela’s largest and most important industry. This was a major blow to the owning class and again Chavez was presented with the opportunity to continue the Revolution, to put all industry under national control and give power to the people. But Chavez again stuck to his reformist nature and did not take serious action.
The American bourgeoisie had seen Chavez as a threat since he came to power. It is very likely that agents of US imperialism assisted both the coup and the lock out. But with internal methods failing, a more direct method was needed. In collation with the Venezuelan Bourgeoisie and the hard-line militarist government of Venezuela’s neighbour, Columbia, US imperialist hatched a plan to invade Venezuela. Using the pretext of fighting communist guerrillas operating out of Venezuela, Columbian military forces have begun building up on the boarder, and the US has sent large numbers of military “advisors” to the area. Tension is running very high in the area.
In a last ditch effort to seize power the Venezuelan business elite have begun a petition to demand a referendum calling for Chavez’s dismissal. The required number of signatures was presented to the official electoral office of the Venezuelan government. The referendum was approved to be held in mid-August of 2004. However, in recent days, the Electoral commission had reported a great deal of inconsistencies in the signatures presented. Some of the people on the petition deny ever having signed it; others are signatures of deceased citizens. The referendum is being held of fraudulent terms and although it will still go ahead, the Electoral commission has vowed that it will allow absolutely no tapering with the ballots. According to polls, Chavez carries an overwhelming majority of the votes, and it is extremely likely that this effort to oust Chavez will again end in failure for the bourgeoisie.
But once Chavez is victorious, will he finally complete the revolution? With the military pressure becoming ever more acute from the boarder with Columbia Chavez is faced with a difficult situation. If the Revolution carries on, he risks facing the onslaught of war with Columbia. However if the nation does become a “People’s State”, it would certainly give rise to other revolutionary movements in all nations throughout Latin America and end aristocratic and imperialist rule over the continent. If he does not complete the Revolution, then the counter-revolution will rebuild its strength and with the aid of the US, will eventually topple the People’s government and restore Bourgeois rule. Chavez must pursue the path of freedom and not falter in the face of reactionary movements. The Revolution must be carried on to its logical conclusion. The people must be in control of their own destiny and their own nation. The Revolution must and will move forward.