[Marxism] VENEZUELA: Oppositionist Rosales Outlines His Plan for Government

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 1 06:15:09 MST 2006

The Venezuelan elections are a fascinating crucible as we witness
the former leftist Teodoro Petkoff, who had been a leader of the
Venezuelan Communist Party, later on a guerrilla, then dramatically
escaped from prison, and these days has positioned himself as a
critic of the Bolivarian Revolution and its leader, Hugo Chavez.
Petkoff, who briefly made a micro-run in this race, but withdrew.

Like most Venezuelan oppositionists, Petkoff is backing Rosales,
the united rightist candidate. It's a sort of anti-popular front. If
Rosales's campaign generates any serious discussion and debate,
it may in the end prove useful. As this report indicates, Rosales is
trying to obscure from discussion the fact that he signed on to 
the April 2002 coup against Chavez.

Some in the Trotskyist world, whether self-designated as such or
not, refused to support the election or re-election of the leader of
the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez Frias. THE MILITANT, for 
example, characterized Chavez as a "Bonapartist", as is once did:

"Chávez is a classic Bonapartist politician — a figure who, in times 
of sharp crisis, presents himself as the "man of destiny" who can 
stand above social classes and the muck of traditional politics to 
rescue the nation and bring social peace, even at the expense of 
parliamentary democracy. Such figures, who are often tied to 
sections of the military, especially the elite forces, try to whip up 
popular consent through occasional plebiscites and referendums. 
The job of the Bonapartist leader, however, is to stabilize the rule 
of the dominant social layer — in this case the Venezuelan 
capitalist class."
"The Venezuelan president has co-opted leaders of leftist organ-
izations into his government, and has publicly cultivated his 
personal contacts with Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro."

While this was written some time ago, and THE MILITANT guards
its tongue these days, it has never seen fit to correct this highly
negative and hostile characterization. It's almost on the level of
THE MILITANT's notorious lead editorial declaring that "The main 
danger to the Cuban Revolution is in its own leadership."

The Spartacists have a similarly dubious assessment of Chavez:
"Like Peronism in Argentina or the rule and institutions established 
by Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico in the 1930s, Chávez, a former colonel 
who led a failed military coup in 1992, is what Marxists call a bona-
partist ruler. The term refers to a regime usually headed by a strong-
man, typically a (former) military leader (like the original Napoleon 
Bonaparte), which in a period of crisis or stalemate between the 
irreconcilably opposing class forces of labor and capital elevates itself 
to a position of “leader of the nation,” seemingly above competing 
class interests. In Argentina and Mexico, such bonapartist rule was 
combined with corporatism, whereby political, social and even trade-
union organizations are directly tied to the state."

Though they don't speak in these terms today, In Defense of Marxism had
a similarly dubious assessment of the Cuban Revolution once upon a time:

"As a reprisal to the blockade, the Cuban regime seized American
assets in Cuba. This meant that nine tenths of agriculture and
industry was in the hands of the state, so the Cuban regime then
proceeded to nationalise the remaining tenth. They had the model of
Yugoslavia, China and Russia, and established a regime in that image.
At no stage was there workers' democracy in Cuba. The Bonapartism of
the regime is embodied in the rule of Castro and the meetings in the
Square of the Revolution where the sole contribution of the masses is
to say 'Si' to Castro's exhortations. Cuba has remained throughout, a
one party state, without soviets and without workers' control of
industry or the state."

QUESTION to Socialist Action supporters and to Carlos Petroni:
What is the position of your tendencies on the Venezuelan elections
coming up next month? Will you be supporting Chavez or will you be
supporting a revolutionary proletarian alternative to Chavez? 


Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles


Via NY Transfer News Collective  *  All the News that Doesn't Fit
Venezuelanalysis - Oct 30, 2006

Opposition Candidate Manuel Rosales Outlines His Plan for Government
By Steven Mather

Caracas, Venezuelan, October 30, 2006 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Manuel
Rosales, the opposition candidate for the Venezuelan presidential elections
on December 3, presented his plan for government last week.  He is
proposing a program he says will produce a new social democracy in
Venezuela, which will be a fairer and more equal society.

Rosales divided his plan into 5 different policy areas.  These are
political-institutional, social, economic, foreign and environmental
policy.  In the political-institutional field he promised to reform the
National Assembly incorporating a system of proportional representation, so
deputies from minority parties would have a voice in the body.  He also
plans to reduce the presidential term from 6 to 4 years with only one
re-election permitted for any president.

He said the proportional representation was the essence of a democratic
system, and added that, from there we will advance in the transformation of
powers in Venezuela, in their autonomy, so that nobody has doubts about 
the public ministry, about the judicial power, electoral power and the rights
of the people.  Regarding the reduction of the presidential term he said
that, Eight years of governing is sufficient for a government to complete
its programs and proposals.

If he is elected, Rosales said his social policy would be carried out with
the aim of providing Venezuelans with the physical and intellectual
capacity to overcome their poverty.  This will require the integration of
health, social security, housing, personal security, culture and sport.

His economic policy will be based on respect of private property, which
will act as a stimulus for private investment and will promote a strong
industrial policy to develop the electricity, agricultural, gas & petroleum
and tourist industries.

He was equally vague about his foreign policy proposals saying that he
would consider Venezuela's involvement in all international schemes but
would not enter into anything that would, damage our country, or that
brings us close to terrorism of the axis of evil, he said.

Finally, he said he wanted to preserve the environment through policies
that, will concentrate our effort on improving the environment, whether it
is water, air, or waste disposal.  We will apply strict policies to manage
the mining areas and in the protection of the national parks, which we will
carry out with the promotion of ecotourism.

His campaign manager, Teodoro Petkoff, praised Rosales for providing a
solid set of policies that give Venezuelans a clear choice on December 3,
One of the distinct aspects in the campaign of the democratic leader
[Rosales] is that it is not a campaign of empty slogans or a campaign of
Out with Chávez, he has said Here I am and Here is what I will do in
government, said Petkoff.

However, the Vice-President of the National Assembly, Desirée Santos Amaral
says his policy of creating a new parliament was tinted with hints of a

This may point to a strong criticism of Rosales which damages his
democratic credentials.  In 2002 President Chávez was briefly overthrown in
a coup.  The following day those involved signed the infamous Carmona
Decree which dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.
Rosales was one of the signatories to the decree and although he maintains
this was an honest mistake and that he had the good of the country in mind,
he remains tainted by his actions.

Rosales remains way behind in the polls, most of [which] put him at
least 30 points behind President Chávez.

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