Some excellent "ranting" by Chavez on current conflict

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Dec 20 03:44:50 MST 2002


Note Reuters' highly objective description of  Chavez' "typically ranting"
speech plus the absence of such comparatively trivial details as the size of
the rally.  As some readers of the media coverage of the transit
negotiations must have noticed, most of the U.S. media isn't much better
than their counterparts in Caracas.

Rebuilding the staff of the oil industry -- a measure that was clearly posed
from the time of the officials's involvement in the coup in April, even
before their current attempt to impose their will on the country by
strangling the economy with an apparently permanent bosses' strike -- is a
big challenge for Venezuela, but one that is necessary and, in the current
relationship of forces in the world and Latin America, possible.

Chavez also indicated that he will continue the effort to clean up in one
way or another the brutal
and hated Caracas police force.

Although the national revolutionary process in  Venezuela is quite different
in its origin and course than the Cuban revolution, there are some
experiences that may be relevant to what the
Venezuelan government and working people face today.

In many areas, the Cubans did not begin with nationalization of industries
which were being used by owners to further sabotage of the changes being
made by the great majority.  They began with intervention -- the imposition
of government and workers' management as a temporary measure. In most cases,
this ended with nationalization.  In the different context of Venezuela, of
course, the possibility exists that some capitalists would agree to stop
wielding ownership of the means of production as a weapon against the people
of the country and their property could be returned to them depending on the
good behavior of the capitalist

Another step taken in many factories was measures of workers' control aimed
at stopping sabotage, theft, and reactionary misuse of equipment, funds, and
so forth -- and also providing some assurance of the jobs, safety, and
living standards of workers.  I believe there have been some instances of
Venezuelan workers keeping factories open against the will of the owners.


Another useful measure of workers' control, was the demand of workers in the
media that the truth be printed, written by the workers, in response to the
lies of the publishers about the revolution.  They did not refuse to print
slanders or suppress the papers, but demanded and won the right to publish
counter-opinions in the newspapers.  This sounds like a very good idea in
which the people are being surrounded and, in some ways, drowned out by a
wall of lies.

Of course, the oil industry in Venezuela was formally, more than really,
nationalized.  But clearly the oil industry responded to government
direction only to the extent that the government obeyed the dictates of the
Venezuelan and U.S. rich who really ran the industry.  I think some measures
of workers control and more thorough government management in this emergency
may be worth considering.

Of course the Venezuelans will figure out their own ways of dealing with the
confrontation.
But I think this historical background is useful to have in mind.
Fred Feldman



Reuters. 19 December 2002. Venezuela's Chavez vows to defend his
'revolution.'
CARACAS -- Shrugging off a Supreme Court ruling to give up military control
of the Caracas police, Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez on Thursday
vowed to defend his "revolution."

Chavez also vowed to purge state oil firm PDVSA from what he called "coup
plotting oil elites" as he intensifies efforts to crack down on an
18-day-old
strike that has blocked shipments from the world's fifth-largest petroleum
exporter.

"Behind the attempt to stop PDVSA there's nothing but a new coup attempt to
topple the legitimate government," the pugnacious Chavez told government
sympathizers at a rally that stretched into the early hours of Thursday.

"Now
the time to clean up PDVSA has arrived."
Chavez made his remarks hours after the Supreme Court ordered the government
to relinquish its military takeover of the Caracas metropolitan police and
return the force to the leadership of anti-Chavez

Mayor Alfredo Pena.
In a typically ranting speech peppered with references to Jesus, 19th
century
independence hero Simon Bolivar and Christmas messages, Chavez on Thursday
pledged before thousands of enthusiastic supporters to defend his rule, due
to end in 2007, from he called a "coup plotting oil elite."

"Nobody can stop Venezuela. The people is on the street and will continue on
the street, defending its revolution, defending its democracy, defending its
legitimate government," Chavez said to the crowd's chants of "They Shall Not
Pass!"

"I swear to you by Baby Jesus and Jesus Christ that I will be with you until
the last day of my life."

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