VENEZUELAN president Hugo Chavez has won a historic fourth term in an election that has demonstrated the strength of the Bolivarian Revolution and its unquestionable popular support. The reactionary opposition, which had launched a mammoth campaign to unseat him has conceded defeat.
Chavez won in a free and fair election that nobody can deny. His landslide victory has confounded the cheerleaders of imperialism in the bourgeois media who were predicting a close race or even an opposition victory in the run up to the vote. The clear 10 per cent lead over his right-wing opponent and the record 80 per cent turn-out for the poll showed continued mass support for Chavez and a determination to continue along the road of social justice and socialist orientation.
Chavez provided moral and material support to Cuba to help overcome the US economic blockade against the socialist island and the Venezuelan government stands shoulder to shoulder with the countries of the Third World struggling for economic and political independence in defiance of Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism.
The new life for Venezuela’s working people began when Hugo Chavez was first elected president in 1999. His United Socialist Party of Venezuela has paved the way for the implementation of colossal social reforms that use the country’s oil wealth to transform the country for the benefit of the working people. The development of public health and education and the nationalisation of key industries have been part and parcel of the Bolivarian Revolution has inspired the masses of the whole of south America to close ranks around platforms based on “21st century socialism” to challenge the oligarchs and landowners who have long oppressed them and to defy the American imperialists who have long regarded the South American continent as their own backyard.
At the same time the Chavez government constantly works to counter the imperialists’ “new world order” with south-south co-operation, that includes Russia and People’s China, to reduce the dependency on the imperialist money markets and the industries that they control.
Though the capitalists cannot deny the depth of the slump we’re in at the moment they consistently claim that it has nothing to do with the system itself. They say that that capitalism is the only economic system that works but they cannot point to any capitalist country where it does. They say there’s no alternative but austerity, which puts most of the burden of the crisis on the backs of working people to ensure that the rich can continue to live their lives of leisure and luxury unscathed.
There are many difficult days ahead for Venezuela. Chavez says that the next six years should take Venezuela into socialism “beyond the point of no return” and we can be sure that the opposition will fight tooth and nail to block it. The opposition, which represents the interests of the Venezuelan capitalists and landowners and their stooges, can always rely on the helping hand of Uncle Sam.
American imperialism has long provided open and covert support to the reactionary forces that are working to take Venezuela back to the dark days when it was a pawn of Washington and its oil was used to line the pockets of the big oil corporations.
The Bolivarian Revolution, on the other hand, can rely on the support of the Venezuelan masses and the progressive forces across the world. That has proved, so far, to be decisive in the struggle for power in the country.
The Bolivarian Revolution has inspired millions upon millions of Venezuelans, and many more throughout Latin America and the rest of the world, to defy the imperialists and their local collaborators and take the road to socialist advance. Their victory is our victory too.