Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Venezuela Between Ballots and Bullets

Venezuelan Democracy, the Presidency of Hugo Chavez and the Great Majority of Popular Classes Face a Mortal Threat


"Venezuela's democratically elected Present Chavez faces the most serious threat since the April 11, 2002 military coup.

Violent street demonstrations by privileged middle and upper middle class university students have led to major street battles in and around the center of Caracas. More seriously, the former Minister of Defense, General Raul Isaias Baduel, who resigned in July, has made explicit calls for a military coup in a November 5 press conference which he convoked exclusively for the right and far-right mass media and political parties, while striking a posture as an 'individual' dissident.......

President Chavez is correctly 'evaluating the high command' and states that he 'has full confidence in the national armed forces and their components.' Yet the best guarantee is to strike hard and fast, precisely against Baduel's followers and cohorts. Rounding up a few dozen or hundred military plotters is a cheap price to pay for saving the lives of thousands of workers and activists who would be massacred in any bloody seizure of power.

History has repeatedly taught that when you put social democracy, egalitarianism and popular power at the top of the political agenda, as Chavez has done, and as the vast majority of the populace enthusiastically responds, the Right, the reactionary military, the 'Centrist' political defectors and ideologues, the White House, the hysterical middle classes and the Church cardinals will sacrifice any and all democratic freedoms to defend their property, privileges and power by whatever means and at whatever cost necessary. In the current all-pervasive confrontation between the popular classes of Venezuela and their oligarchic and military enemies, only by morally, politically and organizationally arming the people can the continuity of the democratic process of social transformation be guaranteed.

Change will come, the question is whether it will be through the ballot or the bullet."

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