[Marxism] Venezuela update... and ALERT (fwd)

Tony Tracy tony at tao.ca
Tue Nov 25 10:21:47 MST 2003

enclosed is a note from Mike Lebowitz on the current situation in
Venezuela. i thought that comrades would be interested in his report.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 12:41:48 -0400
From: michael a. lebowitz <mlebowit at sfu.ca>
Subject: Venezuela update... and ALERT

Dear Friends,
         Yesterday ended the 4-day period for collection of signatures to
recall 38 anti-Chavist legislators (a number of them elected as
supporters), and it seems to have gone quite well. The process was quite
smooth and peaceful (praised by international observers), and initial
reports suggest that the petition drive was successful in 37 of the cases.
Among the Chavists, there was an air of celebration, with several rallies
around Caracas and fireworks last night.
         In fact, there is an eery calm here. Chavez was interviewed on
private TV for the first time in a very long period, and the state TV
channel for the last week has had opposition figures on live interviews
and discussions. (Among the highlights here were a leader of the
Marxist-Leninist Bandera Rojo explaining why he was allied with the
parties of the oligarchy against Chavez--- it was because Chavez was
insufficiently supportive of endogenous development--- and an interview
yesterday with the leading editor (a former guerrilla) of an opposition
newspaper, who ended up fielding questions in a telephone call from
Chavez.) Next Friday, though, the opposition recall petition drive against
Chavez and 30 of his legislators begins. Chavez has been very clear that,
although it is quite possible that the opposition will get the necessary
signatures to produce a recall referendum, he is confident that he will
win any recall referendum--- that, in short, the internal struggles can be
resolved peacefully.
         Will that peaceful atmosphere continue? It is important to
remember that there have been many indications of a plan for a coup in
this upcoming period by portions of the opposition--- including calls for
this from a group which has broken away from the coordinating group of the
opposition. (See the most recent article by Gregory Wilpert on
venezuelanalysis.com as well as early reports there with evidence on
this.)  It is impossible, too, to forget the intensity of class hatred and
racism prevalent here--- something that Greg Palast writes about in
today's venezuelanalysis. Despite the outward signs of reconciliation,
there is no question that the government and Chavez supporters are on the
alert against another coup.
         Supporters outside the country should be prepared as well,
prepared right now to do everything possible to support the elected
government of Venezuela. As Wilpert writes today:

>It is thus of utmost importance that the world pay careful attention to
>what happens in Venezuela between November 28 and December 1, when the
>opposition is collecting signatures in favor of a recall referendum
>against President Chavez. They will have to collect over 2.4 million
>signatures in just four days, a task which, if successful, will probably
>represent a milestone in the history of petition drives. If the radical
>opposition has its way and manages to create disturbances and to convince
>a large part of Venezuela's opposition to go along with its plans, it
>will probably disguise its real coup-oriented activity very well with the
>help of a supportive private mass media.

         I'd add to that only that you remain alert right now--- even
before the start of the signature campaign.

                 in solidarity,

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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