Socialist Worker

Inside Bush's other 'rogue state'

Issue No. 1842

ONE IMPORTANT product of the worldwide anti-capitalist movement is that information is available as never before about events thousands of miles away. A new video, Un altro modo e' Venezuela (Venezuela, another way is possible), is an excellent example of this.

Twice in the last ten months the country's rich have tried to overthrow the democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez. Twice the US government has given them some support - while claiming it is going to bring 'democracy' to Iraq.

Twice the Western media have reported what has happened as a 'general strike'. And twice the mass mobilisation of the country's workers and poor has kept Chavez in power.

The video, in Spanish with English subtitles, tells the story through the words of many different participants in that mobilisation. People tell how they benefited from reforms carried through by Chavez after his election late in 1998. They describe the resistance to these reforms from rich owners of private property and the extremely privileged elite running the nationalised oil company.

Different views are expressed. Some see Chavez as a revolutionary, carrying through the first revolution in history 'through constitutional means'. They don't realise that this was exactly what was said about Chile 30 years ago. Others emphasise how reactionary the Venezuelan ruling class is by pointing out that Chavez's reforms were 'simply social democratic measures'.

Similarly, some see the struggle as one of 'the whole people' against external forces. Others see what is happening as 'a class struggle' in which the Venezuelan rich play a key part, supported by friends in the White House.

Venezuela is the third biggest supplier of oil to the US and it can't be long before it is in George Bush's list of 'rogue states'. This makes the video very relevant to all of us.
Chris Harman

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    Article information

    Sat 15 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1842
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