||HUGO CHAVEZ AND THE BOLIVIAN REVOLUTION ITS IMPORTANCE TO THE GLOBAL STRUGGLE AGAINT NEO-LIBERALIM (PART 1 & 2)
HUGO CHAVEZ, A hero to many Venezuelans, Almost unknown outside Latin America. Hated by the USA. But what exactly is Chavez
Bolivian Revolution about? This series will discuss Chavez, his Bolivian Revolution and its relevance in the Global struggle against Neo-liberalism
Venezuela is middle income developing county, Rich in natural resources Oil, Aluminuim, Iron Ore and plenty of fertile land. Yet many of its people live in poverty
Venezuela's 19th and early 20th century history was one of political instability and dictatorial rule. Following the death of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935 and the demise of caudillismo (authoritarian oligarchical rule), democratic struggles forced the military to withdraw from direct involvement in national politics in 1958. Since that year, Venezuela has enjoyed an unbroken tradition of democratic civilian rule, though not without conflict.
From 1958 Venezuela had relatively progressive economic policy.The Oil & Aluminum Industries was nationalised in the 1970s and a state oil Company PDVSA formed. However in the 1980s the government was under increasing pressure to impliment Neo-Liberal reforms
Chávez was born July 28, 1954 to a mestizo(mixed Native American, African decent) family At the age of 17, Chávez joined the army as paratrooper he also studied at the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences. Graduated in 1975 in military sciences and engineering. Did further graduate work in political sciences at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, but
left without a degree.
From an early age, Chávez was fascinated by Simón Bolívar, an important independence figure in Venezuela and Latin America.
In 1983, he founded the Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario 200 (MBR-200, Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200).
In 1989,President Carlos Andrés Pérez announced a series of very unpopular IMF-inspired austerity measures, This lead to mass protests (Caracazo riots) and the deaths of hundreds of people by the army
On February 4, 1992, Chávez and the MBR-200 led a failed military coup against President Pérez, Chavez read a statement on television in order to tell his co-conspirators to stand down. He said that they had not achieved their goals por ahora (for now).After spending two years in prison, Chávez was pardoned by President Rafael Caldera. He reconstructed the MBR as a political movement called the Movement for the Fifth Republic (Movimiento Quinta República,or MVR)
Chávez justified the coup by citing the evident discontentment of the majority of the population in the economic measures adopted by Pérez. The Pérez regime never recovered from the aftermath of the riots.
Chávez was imprisoned but his coup was used by former President Rafael Caldera, the head of the Christian Democratic party, COPEI,to critisize the situation in Venezuela. Later Caldera and supporters removed Pérez fromthe presidency on charges of corruption in 1993.
Caldera left COPEI, to form a new political party, Convergencia, which,in a coalition of many small leftist parties, forced Caldera to presidency in December 1993. This was a fatal blow to the traditional parties,leaderless and demoralized, got few votes .
Chávez,who was pardoned by Caldera in 1994 used a similar platform as Caldera to promote his candidacy for president of the Republic. He campaigned on a populist agenda, calling for an end to corruption and poverty. Chávez skillfully used his charisma and communication abilities to achieve what he was not able to do seven years before; becoming the president of the country peacefully
Here is part 2 of the article
Chávez was sworn in as president on February 2, 1999.A event that got
little publicity in the rest of the world. Among his first acts was the
launching of Plan Bolivar which included road building, housing
construction, and mass vaccination. Privatization was halted , Oil
extraction reduced to increase revenues from the higher oil prices OPEC
was lobbied to do likewise. The tax system was reformed increasing its
fairness and efficiency.
In response to the stalling of his legislation in the National
Assembly, Chávez scheduled two fresh national elections for July 1999,
including a referendum for and elections to fill a new constitutional
assembly. The Constitutional Assembly was created when the referendum
passed with a 71.78% yes vote, while the pro-Chávez Polo Patriotico
(Patriotic Pole) won 95% (120 out of the total 131) of its seats.
In August 1999, the Constitutional Assembly's Judicial Emergency
Committee declared a legislative emergency whereby a seven-member
committee conducted the National Assembly's functions
The Constitutional Assembly drafted the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution,
In December 1999, the new constitution was approved in a nationwide
election with a 71.78% yes vote.
Elections for the new unicameral National Assembly took place on July
30, 2000. Chávez himself stood for reelection. Chávez's coalition won a
two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, while Chávez was
reelected with 60% of the votes.
On December 3, 2000, a referendum (backed by Chávez but condemned by
international labor organizations) were held. The referendum which
passed, forced trade unions to hold state-monitored elections.
After the mid-2000 elections, Chávez backed passage of controversial
measure the Enabling Act, which allowed him to rule by decree for one
year. In November 2001, he used it to enact 49 decrees, including the
Hydrocarbons Law to reform the oil industry and land reform and
The Fedecámaras business federation, began a general strike on December
10, 2001; this failed to influence Chávez, allowing him to enact
policies such as a government-funded free healthcare system and
education up to university level. The Private media became increasing
critical of the government
By late 2001, Chávez policies began to benefit Venezuela, inflation
dropped from 40% to 12%, economic growth increased, primary school
enrollment increased by one million.
The media increased its campaign against Chávez. While previous
governments in Venezuela had censored the media Chávez allowed not
only legitimate criticism, but also what would be considered slander in
most other countries.
By April 2002presenters on the private TV stations were calling for
Chávez to leave resign or be removed. Yet still no action was taken
againsted them even when army offices appeared on TV threatening to
overthrow the government.
Chavez was aware of this and tried to counteract the private media
propaganda through the use of the state TV channel 8. He had a program
Alo, Presidente where the public could phone him a about their
problems. However the mass media( radio, TV, newspapers) was dominated
by anti-Chavez elements
On April 11 the Anti-Chávez opposition (opposition parties, Fedecámaras
business federation and the trade union CTV ) organized a mass
demonstration They were supported by the private TV Stations
broadcasting continuous anti government propaganda. Soon hundreds of
thousands of people were gathered outside the (PDVSA State Oil Company)
They didnt know that they were to be part of a sinister plan