Nicolas Maduro is set to win Venezuela’s presidential election on 14 April, not because of his manipulation of Chavez’s death, as the opposition is shamefully claiming, but because of his record as a committed socialist.
Maduro’s political career started as a union leader while he was a Caracas bus driver. He even drove himself in a bus to and from registering his candidacy for the presidency on 11 March, mocking the opposition who have attacked him for not having a university degree.
When Hugo Chavez was imprisoned after the failed 1992 coup, Maduro was part of the successful campaign for his release and in 1997 Maduro and Chavez were founding members of the Movement of the Fifth Republic (MVR), forerunner of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
Chavez won the presidential elections in 1998 on an MVR ticket. Meanwhile Maduro was elected to the Venezuelan chamber of Deputies in 1998 and, in 1999, to the National Constituent assembly that drafted Venezuela’s new constitution. He was subsequently elected to the new National Assembly in 2000, becoming its official Speaker.
From 2006 to 2012, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maduro strengthened Venezuela’s international links. During this time Venezuela supported Libya, Syria and Iran against imperialist aggression and deepened Venezuela’s crucial role in Latin American and Caribbean cooperation agreements ALBA, Unasur, Celac, and Mercosur. In 2012 he was elected Vice President.
Chavez described Maduro as ‘a complete revolutionary, a man of great experience despite his youth, with great dedication and capacity for work, for leading, for handling the most difficult situations’, urging Venezuelans to vote for Maduro as the next President after his death.
At his official registration as presidential candidate on 11 March, Maduro presented Programa Patria, the programme for socialist development on which Chavez was elected in October 2012.
The death of President Hugo Chavez on 5 March has prompted fresh presidential elections in Venezuela on 14 April. Former Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, whose candidacy was proposed by Chavez, is widely expected to win. On 19 March, results published by private poll Datanalysis gave Maduro a lead of 14% over Henrique Capriles, the candidate of the opposition’s Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition.
Capriles himself has recognised his minimal chance of a victory, comparing his candidacy to being ‘led to a slaughterhouse and dropped into a meat grinder’. Despite winning 44% of the votes in October 2012’s presidential election (the opposition’s best electoral result to date) the coalition lost all but three of Venezuela’s 23 states in December’s governor elections and has become increasingly divided.
Sam McGill reports.
Upcoming public meetings organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI)
Join us as we reflect on the legacy of Hugo Chavez and analyse the current situation in Venezuela, including the April elections.
Wednesday 17 April @ 7.30pm
The Apple Tree pub
45 Mount Pleasant,
Clerkenwell, WC1X 0AE
Speakers from the FRFI delegation to Venezuela, October 2012:
• Cat Allison, editorial board, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
• Ihtisham Ul Haq, director of Viva Venezuela! documentary
Inevitably, the international capitalist press is declaring the end of the Bolivarian Revolution; that it died alongside Chavez. This is a lie. It has never been about just one man. Whilst we celebrate the immense contribution of Hugo Chavez to the struggle for socialism, we recognise that it is a process being taken forward by millions of Venezuelans.
The organisation of the working class continues, to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty, and to build a society that meets the needs of its people.
On 14 April, Venezuela will hold fresh presidential elections and the United Socialist Party candidate, Nicolas Maduro, the previous vice-president supported by Chavez, will stand against the neoliberal reactionary Henrique Capriles Radonski. Maduro has stated his commitment to Programa Patria, the programme that swept Chavez to victory in the October 2012 election.
As the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are mobilising behind Maduro to defend their revolution proclaim 'Chavez Vive! La Lucha Sigue - Chavez lives! Thefight continues!'
Wednesday 17 April @ 730pm
The Vine Inn
42-44 Kennedy Street,
M2 4BQ Manchester
Venezuela After Chavez: The Revolution Continues
Following the death of Hugo Chavez, the charismatic and inspiring leader of Venezuela's 'Bolivarian Revolution', his country holds elections on 14 April. This is an important political event that will affirm the struggle for socialism by the majority of Venezuelans. Despite the 'uncertainty' talked about by the BBC and
other pro-capitalist media groups, Nicolas Maduro of Chavez's United Socialist Party (PSUV) will win the election and carry on building the revolution, in alliance with Cuba and other revolutionary forces.
At a time when the British government is deepening austerity and punishing working class people for the economic crisis of the rich, Venezuela is on the front line, showing there is an alternative.
Thursday 18 April @ 7pm
22 Leazes Park Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
FILM: The Revolution Will Not be Televised
The imperialist-backed coup attempt in April 2002, against Chavez, was overwhelmingly defeated by the people. This brilliant documentary captures the unfolding events.
Join us as we reflect on the huge regional and international legacy left by Hugo Chavez and analyse the current situation in Venezuela, including the April elections.
Inevitably, the international capitalist press is declaring the end of the Bolivarian Revolution; that it dies alongside Chavez. This is a lie. It has never been about just one man; whilst we celebrate the immense contribution of Hugo Chavez to the struggle for Socialism in Venezuela, we recognise that
it is being built from below.
The organisation of the Venezuelan working class continues, in order to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty, to build a society that meets the needs of its people.
Saturday 20th April @ 2pm
The Black E,
1 Great George Street,
L1 5EW Liverpool
Life and Legacy of Hugo Chavez: What next for the Bolivarian Revolution?
A documentary showing followed by speakers including Rachel Boothroyd from Venezuelanalysis, followed by a general discussion.
The death of Hugo Chavez robbed the people of Venezuela and Latin America of a great revolutionary leader. This meeting is a celebration of his life, of the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, and a discussion of its future following the presidential election on 14 April.
Sunday 21 April @ 1pm
In the last week, there have been several denunciations and accusations in Venezuela in the lead up to the presidential elections this Sunday 14 April. Nicolas Maduro, the candidate of the Bolivarian Revolution, is widely regarded as holding a 10-20 point lead over the opposition's MUD coalition candidate Henrique Capriles. Below are some excerpts from articles published on www.venezuelanalysis.com
First published 5 April Russia Today
In a secret US cable published online by WikiLeaks, former ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to infiltrate and destabilize former President Hugo Chavez' government.
Dispatched in November of 2006 by Brownfield -- now an Assistant Secretary of State -- the document outlined his embassy’s five core objectives in Venezuela since 2004, which included: “penetrating Chavez’ political base,” “dividing Chavismo,” “protecting vital US business” and “isolating Chavez internationally.”
You can read the full document here. The memo, which appears to be totally un-redacted, is plain in its language of involvement in these core objectives by the US embassy, as well as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), two of the most prestigious agencies working abroad on behalf of the US.
Paul Dobson Correo del Orinoco
Following Chavez’s call in December for “unity, unity, and unity”, a multitude of leftist parties threw their weight behind the Presidential candidature of Nicolas Maduro this week.
Maduro will go into the April 14th elections with the formal backing of 14 political parties, two more than Chavez had in October 2012.
Maduro’s own party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) was joined by its major allies, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), as well as others such as REDES, Tupamaro, MEP, PPT, and Podemos in backing Chavez’s political successor this week.
These parties, which conform the alliance ‘the Gran Patriotic Pole’ (GPP), proved vital to the electoral success of Chavez in October, and are expected to play a significant role in both campaigning and votes for Maduro.
Published by Center for Economic and Policy Research
On Tuesday 5 March 2013, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez passed away after 14 years in office. Below is a series of graphs that illustrate the economic and social changes that have taken place in Venezuela during this time period.
1. Growth (Average Annual Percent)
Source: Banco Central de Venezuela
This graph shows overall GDP growth as well as per-capita growth in the pre-Chávez (1986-1999) era and the Chávez presidency.
From 1999-2003, the government did not control the state oil company; in fact, it was controlled by his opponents, who used it to try to overthrow the government, including the devastating oil strike of 2002--2003. For that reason, a better measure of economic growth under the Chávez government would start after it got control over the state oil company, and therefore the economy.
Above you can see this growth both measured from 2004, and for the 1999-2012 period. We use 2004 because to start with 2003, a depressed year due to the oil strike, would exaggerate GDP growth during this period; by 2004, the economy had caught up with its pre-strike level of output. Growth after the government got control of the state oil company was much faster.
Following our solidarity delegation to Venezuela to cover the 2012 Presidential elections in October, correspondents for Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! have contributed to this article analysing the international significance of the accomplishments of Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution. Published by the weekly English edition of Venezuelan newspaper Correo del Orinoco, the article clearly demonstrates that the fight continues, both inside and outside Venezuela's borders.