This statement from YCL General Secretary Zoe Hennessy on today, March the 5th, marks the first anniversary since the passing of Hugo Chavez.
Under Chavez’s presidency, the Bolivarian revolution brought significant advances for the majority of poor people living in Venezuela, who had previously been ignored and oppressed by the ruling elite. Wealth from Venezuela’s oil economy which had previously only profited the rich few was for the first time invested in education, health, raising the minimum wage significantly and subsidising food. He engaged a whole generation in politics, their right to health, education and the wealth they create.
Chavez was a true internationalist in all senses of the word. He created Petrocaribe, aimed at providing cheap Venezuelan oil to countries dependent on imports. He created ALBA, a trading block in South America and the Caribbean that was geared towards social progress, and was hugely popular. Next came a development bank to combat loans provided by the IMF with the usual neo-liberal strings attached. He always stood by the poor, stood up to US imperialism, and was loved not only by the majority in Venezuela, but by anti-imperialists all over the globe. It is little wonder that the Venezuelan people kept on re-electing him.
Maduro, the democratically elected successor of Chavez, deserves all our support at this time. The right wing elite in Venezuela, realising it is unable to win at the polls, has stepped up its aggression against Maduro’s presidency. They have used their influence to create shortages and electricity blackouts, and are now leading violent demonstrations on the streets, attacking pro-government supporters and government buildings. The rich have access to the internet and are able to spread lies, propaganda and false evidence regarding government violence against the protesters.
As internationalists , we must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Venezuelan people, the continuing Bolivarian revolution under President Maduro and their fight for social equality, justice and socialism. We must combat the anti-Maduro propaganda in our own press and on the internet. We must support the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and win support for Venezuela in our trade union movement.
Long live the Bolivarian revolution and the people of Venezuela!
YCL General Secretary