In response to our letter of solidarity to the Venezuelan embassy, we received this reply.
Dear Revolutionary Communist Group
Thank you very much for your kind message.
During this difficult time for us as Venezuelans, your words were greatly appreciated.
In spite of Chavez’s absence, we will always carry with us his example, perhaps the most important of which was his true dedication and constant perseverance to realise his dreams of independence, sovereignty, justice and solidarity.
Thanks again for your support.
Original letter of Solidarity:
Dear Ambassador Samuel Moncada and all staff at the Venezuelan Embassy in London
On behalf of the Revolutionary Communist Group and our newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Britain, we send our heartfelt condolences to the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its Embassy in London. The death of Commandante Hugo Chavez, represents a huge loss to the revolutionary movement worldwide.
We will be working hard alongside other solidarity groups in Britain to counter any propaganda against the Bolivarian Revolution, challenging the myth that that without Hugo Chavez there can be no revolution. We know that nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to the mass popular support, admiration and indeed love Chavez enjoyed as the living embodiment of the aspirations of the Venezuelan people, we know that the Bolivarian Revolution has never been about just one man. It is a revolution being built from below, by the conscious organisation of the Venezuelan working class to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty for the majority, to one moving towards collective, socialist organisation and production.
We will publicise any activities and events you are organising in memory of Chavez. Please keep us informed through our contact details below.
We stand with all those defending the Bolivarian Revolution and mourn with them the loss of a great socialist and revolutionary, and defend the continuing struggle for socialism. Nicolas Maduro is correct to say 'Those who die for life, can’t be called dead' Chavez lives, the struggle continues.
In solidarity on behalf of the Revolutionary Communist Group
[RCG 06.03.12] Whilst millions worldwide morn the death of the great revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez, Rory Carroll, Guardian correspondent, simply can't wait to use the opportunity to promote his book 'Comandante' slandering the contribution of the Venezuelan President. Writing as an 'authority' on Venezuela, his contributions have appeared in several newspapers in the last few days, some of which we address below:
Letter to the Guardian and Rory Carroll in response to his article: ''Hugo Chavez: poor boy from the plains who became leftwing figurehead'
Unfortunately for Rory Carroll and his supporters who are desperate for Venezuela's failure, Hugo Chavez is not leaving behind a country 'falling apart' on the road to economic ruin.
In September 2012, the International Monetary Fund estimated Venezuela’s fiscal deficit at only 7.4% of GDP and its interest payments at 3% of export earnings. Venezuela’s ‘swollen’ public sector is actually around 18.4% of the workforce, lower than in most European countries; and Venezuela ended 2012 with GDP growth of 5.5% and an inflation rate of 19.9%, which although high, is a significant reduction from 27.2% in 2010, not to mention its peak of 103.2% in 1996, prior to Chavez’s first presidency.
Indeed as Mark Weisbrot reported in this self same Guardian newspaper 'As for Venezuela's public debt..a better measure is the burden of the foreign part of this debt, which in 2012 was about 1% of GDP, or 4.1% of Venezuela's export earnings.' From the perspective of crisis ridden Britain where austerity is clearly not working, Venezuela's economy is robust in comparison. No Rory, Hugo Chavez leaves behind a Venezuela in control of its sovereign oil wealth, committed and determined to build a society geared to meeting people's needs, rather than lining the pockets of the few.
Also in response to a book review of Rory Carroll's 'Commandante' carried in The Independent on Sunday 3 March I would seriously like to question the assertion that Rory Carroll is a diligent journalist who fact checks all his sources, perhaps you haven't seen this critique on his lack of fact checking, sloppy journalism and sweeping generalisations: 'Fact Checking Rory Carroll on Venezuela' http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7649
I was in Venezuela in October during the presidential elections and we spent two weeks interviewing Venezuelans from various sections of society, many of the reports you can read at www.vivavenezuela.co.uk
Rory Carroll dropped into Venezuela for a couple of days, wrote several derogatory articles then returned to his embedded position in the Republican party election campaign in the US. I reprint a copy of the letter our delegation sent to Rory Carroll and the Guardian at this time:
'If Rory Carroll wants to out himself (and by extension The Guardian) as a hardline supporter of the neoliberal Capriles Radonski in the Venezuelan elections, he is entitled to do so. What he is not entitled to do is tell outright lies to back up his tendentious arguments.I have been in Caracas during the election period.
I was on the march last week (which dwarfed that of Capriles) when over a million people sang and danced in the torrential rain while waiting to hear Chavez speak; I was at Barrio 23 when they waited for two hours in the baking sun for him to arrive to vote, and I was at Miraflores Palace when the results were announced and thousands went wild with joy.
Yet it was clear from everyone I spoke to, from street vendors to police officers to lawyers, that this support was not about Chavez’s ‘charisma’ but about a solid appreciation of everything that has been achieved for the poor – health care, education, housing, independence, food security – by the Bolivarian revolution he embodies, and the understanding that this process would have been destroyed had Caprlles come to power.
Chavez did not, as Carroll suggests, ‘dominate the media’. The media in Venezuela is 90% owned by the opposition; in fact according to Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian on 4th October, state TV has between 5-8% of the country’s audience.
Carroll says ‘some opponents have cried foul’. His friends, maybe, but the official opposition has made no such claims, accepting defeat and praising the smooth running of election day.
Carroll gives us a brief history of Chavez, but not curiously of Capriles. Is that because he would have had to tell us that Capriles participated in the 2002 coup and was involved in an attack on the Cuban Embassy in his home state of Miranda?
Finally, he tells us that Chavez uses the fact that he has a majority as a ‘pillar of his legitimacy’. Excuse me, Mr Carroll, but that’s what democracy’s all about.
Cat Allison - Posada de la Vida, Caracas, Venezuela'
(Sam McGill, Editor of www.vivavenezuela.co.uk)
How fitting that this utterly reactionary piece dancing on the freshly dead corpse of world renowned and respected President Hugo Chavez is written by David Usborne the US editor of the Independent.As the director of the website vivavenezuela.co.uk and our 2012 delegation to Venezuela, I urge readers to seek out a more informed perspective on the process in Venezuela.The fact that Usborne quotes Republican Foreign Affairs committee leader Ed Royce as declaring '"Hugo Chavez was a tyrant who forced the people of Venezuela to live in fear," shows his political allegiances. Of course no mention is made of the series of tyrants who ruled Venezuela in the interests of the US economy, from military dictator Pérez Jiménez who ruled via military junta between 1952 and 1958, nor president Carlos Andrés Pérez, who in response to the 1989 Caracazo uprisings against IMF imposed austerity measures, unleashed the full force of the army and police force to assassinate between 300-3000 citizens in the most impoverished barrios of Caracas.Nor is any mention made of the tyrants who have governed from the White House during Hugo Chavez's presidency who are responsible for sending in US troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, presided over drone attacks in Libya, Pakistan and Somalia, murdering millions in the Middle East and North Africa. In reality, Hugo Chavez has given his life to improving the lives of ordinary Venezuelans, In the last ten years, Venezuela has achieved the lowest levels of inequality in the region (excluding Cuba); under the presidency of Chavez, it has wiped out illiteracy, brought infant mortality down from 25 per 1,000 to 13 per 1,000 live births, slashed levels of extreme poverty, provided free health care and education for all, built hundreds of thousands of units of social housing and ensured that no child goes to school hungry in the morning.Chavez built anti-imperialist alliances, first with Cuba and then, through ALBA and other trade and cooperation treaties, more widely across Latin America and the Caribbean, to challenge the hegemony of the United States and begin to create a new anti-imperialist bloc on the world stage. The ALBA alliance has been central to eradicating illiteracy in no less than four countries, providing millions with free cataract operations and providing subsidised oil and funding for infrastructure across the continent. Hardly the actions of a tyrant.We only have to look to the example of Haiti to understand the very real human impact of Chavez's drive for Latin American development. In stark contrast to centuries of colonialism followed by US-backed coups and exploitation, ALBA has been a beacon of solidarity in Haiti, playing a vital role following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Cuban medical brigades have been working in Haiti since Hurricane George in 1998 and Haitian medical students have been studying on scholarships in Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine since 1999. By 2007, Cuba was providing 75% of Haiti’s health care: infant mortality dropped from 80 per 1,000 live births to 33 and life expectancy increased from 54 to 61 years.In 2007 Venezuela funded agreements including $80 million for an oil refinery, $56 million for three electricity plants, $4 million for a liquid gas plant, and $3 million for a waste collection programme. Following the earthquake Venezuela cancelled all of Haiti’s $400 million debt with PetroCaribe and pledged $2.4 billion in reconstruction and relief aid. Furthermore, the February 2012 ALBA summit produced a ‘roadmap’ for sustainable reconstruction focusing on building infrastructure and increasing independence in energy, agriculture, health care and education in Haiti.The distinction couldn’t be clearer. On the one hand we have US-led initiatives in the region, pushing free trade, monopoly capitalism, military bases and sweatshops whilst paying lip-service to development, freedom and democracy. On the other, ALBA and the recently created Community for Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) have already demonstrated their outstanding commitment to meeting the needs of people south of the US border.The Venezuelan people will not allow these vital gains and achievements to be lost and it is clear that the majority not only supported Chavez as a charismatic leader, but actively support and participate in consolidating the policies of his project to build socialism. The tremendous popularity of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) was demonstrated again in December’s regional elections, where the party won 20 out of 23 states. Under the stewardship of vice-president Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello, Bolivarian revolutionaries in their own right, the Venezuelan government has begun to implement the Programa Patria manifesto on which Chavez was elected.No wonder that Usborne and his friends in the Republican Party can't wait even one day to undermine the revolutionary legacy of Chavez. They are quaking in their boots as they realise their hopes of the fall of the Bolivarian Revolution will not materialise.......that far from the fate of Venezuela riding on the life and death of Chavez, this has never been about one man.As my friend and long term community activist Rafael Angulo in La Salinas, Vargas State, Venezuela stated this morning ''Chavez's death, without a doubt overwhelms us with great pain by physical separation but we are happy to have his spiritual presence in the hearts of millions and millions of us Venezuelans, we are grateful for him teaching us the way of relating to each other in order to consolidate this Bolivarian revolution. Lots of love, discipline, passion will continue the path we've been travelling for many years. Chavez lives in each and all of us!Sam McGill director of solidarity website www.vivavenezuela.co.uk
[RCG 05.03.13] The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from complications following surgery for cancer, is a huge loss to the revolutionary movement worldwide, and the Revolutionary Communist Group and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joins with the people of Venezuela in mourning the loss of a great socialist leader.
Hugo Chavez was first elected to power in 1998, following a military coup in 1992; elected again in 2000 under the new, progressive constitution of the Bolivarian Revolution. In 2002 a US-backed coup against him was defeated as working class Venezuelans poured out of the barrios in their hundreds of thousands to defend their president. He was re-elected as president with sweeping majorities in 2006 and again in 2012.
Hugo Chavez was a political giant, under whose leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution and vision of ‘socialism for the 21st century’ the lives of ordinary working class Venezuelans were transformed. In the last ten years, Venezuela has achieved the lowest levels of inequality in the region (excluding Cuba); it has wiped out illiteracy, brought infant mortality down from 25 per 1,000 to 13 per 1,000 live births, slashed levels of extreme poverty, provided free health care and education for all, built hundreds of thousands of units of social housing and ensured that – unlike in Britain – no child goes to school hungry in the morning. Chavez built anti-imperialist alliances, first with Cuba and then, through ALBA and other trade and cooperation treaties, more widely across Latin America and the Caribbean, to challenge the hegemony of the United States and begin to create a new anti-imperialist bloc on the world stage. On the international stage, he challenged the hypocrisy and brutality of a world dominated by the interests of imperialism.
Inevitably, he has attracted the unswerving hatred of Venezuela’s middle classes and their backers in the US and Europe; the vitriol of the international bourgeois press has been relentless. The vultures of reaction have been circling ever since the seriousness of President Chavez’s condition was made public, with counter-revolutionary forces attempting to foment the destabilisation of the Bolivarian Revolution. They perpetrate the big lie - that without Hugo Chavez there can be no Bolivarian Revolution – that it lives or dies with him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the mass popular support, admiration and indeed love Chavez enjoyed as the living embodiment of the aspirations of the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian Revolution has never been about just one man. It is a revolution being built from below, by the conscious organisation of the Venezuelan working class to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty for the majority, to one moving towards collective, socialist organisation and production.
The Venezuelan people will not allow these vital gains to be lost. The tremendous popularity of the governing PSUV was demonstrated again in December’s regional elections, where the party won 20 out of 23 states. Under the stewardship of vice-president Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello, Bolivarian revolutionaries in their own right, the Venezuelan government has begun to implement the Programa Patria manifesto on which Chavez was elected, ‘developing socialism beyond the point of no return’. The battle lines are drawn as the Venezuelan people prepare to fight tooth and nail to defend and develop that revolutionary process. We stand with all those defending the Bolivarian Revolution, mourn with them the loss of a great socialist and revolutionary, and defend the continuing struggle for socialism.
Official statement from the Venezuelan government
Translation by Rachael Boothroyd for www.venezuelanalysis.com
The Bolivarian government is informing the people of Venezuela, and our brother peoples, of the development of President Hugo Chavez’s health.
Today will be two weeks since our president returned to his Venezuelan homeland, a decision which he made himself, following the surgery which he underwent in Havana, Cuba, on December 11 last year.
From today, there has been deterioration in his respiratory performance, related to the immunodeficiency of his current clinical condition. At present he is suffering from a new and serious respiratory infection.
The president has been receiving intense chemotherapy, as well as other complementary treatments, with the dosage according to the development of his clinical state.
His general state of health continues to be very delicate.The president is taking refuge in Christ and in life, conscious of the difficulties that he is facing and strictly following the programme designed by his medical team.The Bolivarian government continues to accompany the comaandante’s children and his other family members.
In this battle of love and spirituality, the president calls on our people to remain on the front-lines, unscathed by the psychological warfare spread by foreign laboratories with their spokespeople in the corrupt Venezuelan rightwing, which is attempting to bring about a violent situation in order to create the pretext for a foreign intervention in Bolivar’s homeland.
Additionally, the Bolivarian government rejects the hypocritical attitude of those historic enemies of Hugo Chavez, who have always lavished him with their hate, insults and disrespect, and who now try to use the situation of his health as an excuse to destabilise the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Fortunately, with Comandante Chavez the Venezuelan people were awakened, and those sectors from the corrupt right will never again return.
At this time, unity and discipline are the bases which will guarantee the political stability of our homeland.
Caracas, March 4 2013.
First published by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013
‘All of us here are Chávez, the people in the street are Chávez, the lady who cooks is Chávez, the soldier is Chávez…the farmer is Chávez, the worker is Chávez; we’re all Chávez.’
Elias Jaua, Minister of Foreign Relations, 10 January 2013
On 10 January, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez still recovering in Cuba from post-operative complications following surgery for cancer and unable to attend his inauguration ceremony, tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in his place. With their symbolic tri-colour presidential sashes and rallying cries of ‘Yo soy Chavez!’ – ‘I am Chavez!’ and ‘Chavez is the people’, the vast crowd was proof once again that the power of the Bolivarian Revolution lies not in the hands of a single revolutionary but in the vast mass of that same Venezuelan working class which swept Chavez to a fourth presidential term in the elections of October 2012. SAM MCGILL reports.
In the midst of a flurry of media hype about inflation and economic crisis, Norberto Bacher, political analyst writing on the left wing Rebelion website, offers us a critical framework in which to understand the recent currency devaluation in Venezuela. Translated by Tamara Pearson and Ewan Robertson for www.venezuelanalysis.com
We are happy to report that president Hugo Chavez has today returned to Venezuela following his surgery in Cuba. We publish below a letter from Fidel Castro and send our solidarity wishes for his continued recovery.
Translated by www.venezuelanalysis.com
I am extremely satisfied that you have been able to return to that piece of American land which you love so much, and to our brother people who support you so much.
A long and agonising wait, as well as your astonishing capacity for physical resistance and the total dedication of a team of doctors, as has been the case over the last 10 years, were necessary to achieve this objective.
It would be totally unfair not to mention the insurmountable dedication of your closest family members, your colleagues in the revolutionary leadership, the Bolivarian Armed Forces, who were re-armed and re-equipped by you, and the honest people of the world who have shown their support.