Chavez starts land redistribution

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at
Sun Sep 9 09:10:39 MDT 2001

En relación a Re: Chavez starts land redistribution, 
el 8 Sep 01, a las 22:07, Eduardo Enriquez dijo:

> like most latin american leftists i was also expectant
> to see what Chavez will do with so much power the
> people gave him. as the times advanced he really
> started to make me doubt whether he really was really
> going to push important reforms in venezuela or
> whether he already got drunk with power and vanity.

"Already"? Could you expand on this, er, queer adverb here?

> it is definite that he could have followed a smarter
> course if he really was serious in his "revolucion
> bolivariana" so as to not let the right wing hurt his
> popularity. with his silly direct confrontation with
> the catholic church the only thing he was going to
> achieve is to alienate some religious people and this
> being such a religious nation and the poor thus will
> very likely defend religion traditions since it is one
> of the few things that gives them hope for the future.

Would like to have more particulars on Chávez's confrontation with the Church. 
I would like to add, however, a couple of general comments on this issue. 

The Church in Latin America is usually progressive and even "revolutionary" 
when the secular power lies in the hands of imperialists or their local 
representatives (usually, there is an obvious "native" representation of 
foreign expoliators in a _semi_-colony), but it becomes madly counter-
revolutionary when a true representative of the best desires of the masses 
comes to power. 

If we come to think of it, this is quite logical: in the end, the road towards 
national liberation implies both an ever higher degree of social liberation 
(which weakens the Church's system of alimonies) and of individual liberation 
(which weakens the grip of Faith on the minds, suggests that making love when 
and with who you want may _not_ take one to Hell, and that even there might be 
NO Hell at all...) One may feel that social injustice roars to the Heavens (as 
a right-wing "patriotic" Catholic told me, to my surprise, long ago: he was the 
son of Ramiro de la Fuente, then head of the Censorship Bureau of the military 
regime in 1973) and thus pray for an end of the soul-less regime, but it is an 
entirely different matter when the sheep become full persons and begin to take 
life in their own hands, thus throwing these "Catholic populists" to the 

Thus, the Church -as a whole, of course there are valid and heroic exceptions- 
becomes a conveyor belt for imperialism against revolutionary governments. 
Probably the most striking example of this can be the role that the Church had 
in the overthrowing of Perón. This was a surprise for all Peronists, Perón 
himself in the first place, since the Church and its ideological backwardness 
had had an essential place during his ten years of government since 1945. But 
this should be no surprise to whoever could foresee -and the Church can foresee 
a lot of things- that the revolution that Perón had begun in 1945 was beginning 
to face the alternative of turning socialist (thus, anti-religious) or crying 
"uncle". The Church had no qualms in subjecting herself to the command of the 
"Protestant" American government against the "Catholic" Argentinean working 

> his too close friendship with Fidel Castro also only
> serves the right wing to scare some people more
> convingcingly that he was going to turn the country
> commie like cuba and of course impose a personal
> dictatorship with the suspension of civil liberties.

On this we may agree. But the fact is, Chávez needs to deploy a great Latin 
American politics which includes agreements with Brazil in the first place. How 
can he counterbalance this if not by displaying the highest comradeship with 
Fidel and Cuba? Let us think of the relative weight of Brazil and Venezuela. A 
material force such as the economic and demographic size of Brazil can only be 
counterbalanced by another material force, such as the prestigious Caribbean 
friend. And, in the end, Chávez is ruling the South Eastern end of the great 
American Mediterranean, where he, as a military man, cannot fail to realize 
that the great battle between the North and the South will take place. He can't 
live that side of the puzzle uncovered.


> hes a person who really enjoys this leadership role.
> his big rallys, his many long television and radio
> speeches, and the symbolism hes developed around his
> movement with those red hats he and his followers use
> and all the constant dropping of Simon bolivar's name.
> it is definite that he has developed a strong
> personality cult around him. then there is no doubt
> that his movement is as much leftist as it is
> populist. his speeches and his speaking style as
> melodramatic as they are and his power to hypnotize
> the masses. all of this has led a few to make of him a
> new Alberto Fujimori. there has been many accusations
> from the press of some harrassing. i really dont think
> he is innocent of disliking seriously when sections of
> the press critizise his regime.

Most great leaders of peasant movements (and the problem of peasantry has been 
one of the most important ones of Venezuela for decades, only that obscured by 
the revenues from oil and the Punto Fijo agreement) are "charismatic" in this 
sense. I would not care too much about this. Of course, sections of the press 
will criticize his regime. But this is in fact a good thing. If I ever came to 
power in Argentina and the press did not criticize me (before I give the 
newspapers away to the workers, of course) I would be very disappointed. The 
press, in Latin America, is a major mainstay of the system of oppression and 
loot. One must count on their opposition if one is decided to bring some light 
to this valley of darkness.

> its is thus how his regime will probably fall short of
> his pretensions. him taking steps towards land
> redistribution can gives us hope that hes serious in
> his wanting to help the people improve their lives
> radically. but no doubt his enjoyment of his celebrity
> status will always be a limit into what we can expect
> of him. he feeds the right wing constantly of easy
> ways to bring his popularity down. 

Among whom? Maybe there is a bias in Chávez against the illustrated petty 
boureoisie of Caracas and, of course, of the citadel of imperialism in 
Venezuela, that is Maracaibo. But what are those illustrated petty bourgeois 
doing except opposing a regime that will take the dark skinned, sweating, 
vulgar mass of Venezuelans to enjoy at least some of the benefits that were 
reserved for them and only for them?

> but anyway lets keep our attention on his actions. the
> USA has already an eye on him. a similar situation as
> the Venezuelan one could develop soon in Nicaragua and
> El Salvador since the sandinista and the FFMLN are
> very likely to win the next elections in those
> countries which will happen soon. the old political
> class leading most latin american countries are
> perceived  as very corrupt and incompetent by the
> people and also their neoliberal reforms not improving
> things are bringing this new wave of left movements
> such as the very popular and large indian movements in
> mexico, ecuador and bolivia and seems even
> resucitating old ones such as APRA in peru and the
> central american ones. 

This is a very insightful observation. Let us not only  keep an eye on them, 
however. Let us wash our dirty rags in the intimate atmosphere of our own 
revolution and give full support to people such as Chávez on international fora 
such as this one. The only reason why I would debate on the shortcomings of 
Chávez on an international list would be to bring the will of the members of 
the list to support him as the best way to force him to overcome his 
shortcomings. This is all that _critical support_ is about: prodding into the 
thick wall of history so that through that small hole we can create an outlet 
for the immense forces that have taken the current leadership to power. 

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at
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