March 27, 2013
Comandante President Hugo Chavez
Special to Rebel Youth
Now that most of the post-mortem hatchet-jobs have been expelled from the bowels of the western corporate media, I thought would present a brief tribute to one of the great heroes of the century so far, Comandante President Hugo Chavez.
Actually I just had to write something, or I'd burst. The past few days have seen the most outrageous torrent of abuse directed at Chavez and his legacy, courtesy of the degenerate ultra-right criminals that own and operate the press in the imperialist countries...
Hated from the start by the largely fascist-orientated Venezuelan bourgeoisie, Chavez was in their eyes, a dirty mixed-race mongrel, and not just a socialist (which is clearly bad enough all on its own).
That some jumped up, "part-Black" army officer should have the temerity to challenge their plutocratic rule must have come as a gut-wrenching shock; as much as it came as a great inspiration to those of us looking to a progressive future for a continent plagued for so long by CIA-led coups and death squads carrying US-bought guns, murdering and torturing their way through any man, woman or child suspected of being left of centre.
Those days are gone for good now, and Comandante Chavez leaves behind him a continent more united in a progressive and anti-imperialist direction than ever before. There are still those who cling to the blood-soaked past, of course, most notably the various governments of Columbia over the decades, against whom many brave men and women have fought and died in the mud and hardship of the jungles for almost fifty years - their attempts to take the peaceful path and form an electoral party in the 1980s met by a hail of bullets from those governments and their paramilitaries in black masks.
But the inevitable tide of history cannot be halted or turned back, and the masses of Venezuela, behind the PSUV with Chavez at their head, have proven this. The Communist Party of Venezuela recognized early on the genuinely popular and progressive nature of the movement led by Chavez, and so proudly stood with him against the interminable domestic and foreign imperialist attempts to sabotage, slander and even overthrow his Presidency. The short-lived, US-backed coup of 2002 demonstrates how utterly bankrupt, spineless, and without support these cowards and mercenaries were then and continue to be now.
The record of Comandante President Chavez, the PSUV and its allies speaks for itself (info taken from Ted Snider's article, rabble.ca):
- Chavez has cut unemployment amongst Venezuelans by more than half. In 1999, the year Chavez took office, unemployment was 18 per cent. By 2011 it had dropped to 8.2 per cent and by last year to about 6 per cent.
- Poverty has dropped from 42.8 per cent when Chavez took office to 26.7 per cent. -- a vast improvement of 37 per cent. However, according to economist Mark Weisbrot, Chavez did not really have control of the oil industry or the economy until 2003.
- When measured from that date, when Chavez's policies began to have an effect on the economy, the improvement in poverty increases to 49.7 per cent. When extreme poverty is considered, the results are even more impressive. In 1999, 16.6 per cent of Venezuelans lived in extreme poverty; by 2011 that number had dropped to 7 per cent: an improvement of 57.8 per cent. And again, if you only look at the period that Chavez could realistically affect, the improvement was an incredible 70 per cent.
- Venezuela's economy continued to grow by 5.5 per cent. Though in the 20 years prior to Chavez's presidency, Venezuela had the worst performing economy in South America. Since 2003, when Chavez's policies began to have an effect, Venezuela's economy has grown by more than 94 per cent.
- Chavez won four consecutive elections and submitted many important decisions to national referendums. In every case, Chavez honoured the will of the people: even the one time that he lost, by the slimmest of margins, in the December 2007 referendum.
- Chavez has consistently won a majority of the vote. In 2006, he was re-elected by 63 per cent of the people. Thirteen years into his presidency, he still attracted over 54 per cent of the vote. Jimmy Carter said in 2012 that "of the ninety-two elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world."
This is the kind of mandate that governments in the West can only dream of, yet they regularly accused Chavez of being undemocratic! To provide one of many possible examples, the ultra-right corporate gangster that currently claims the title of Prime Minister of Canada was elected with the support of just 24% of the overall electorate (thanks, in large part, to the extraordinarily anti-democratic nature of the first-past-the-post constituency system inherited from Britain); and yet he regularly lectures other countries and their leaders about democracy!
In reply to all those who slander Chavez and what he continues to represent, we say...
Long Live Comandante President Chavez, the PSUV, and the Communist Party of Venezuela!
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