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Hugo Chavez Political Legacy
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Hugo Chavez always thought that the Bolivarian revolution was a continuous process in two senses – 1) the contemporary revolution was a continuation of the historic national liberation struggle led by Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century. 2) The political and national revolution begun with his election in 1998 must, of necessity, advance to a socialist transformation.

Chavez understood that political power, involved more than winning elections and entering the Presidential Palace; the strategic political objective was transforming the neo-colonial state, in order to advance the national liberation revolution, which in Venezuela meant ,creating anindependent nation. In a petroleum state, national liberation meant taking total control over the petrol industry and redistributing the revenues to the majority of the working people. For Chavez the nationalist revolution was a necessary step toward advancing the socialist revolution.
For Chavez the nationalization of strategic industries was a step toward socialization of the economy – the decentralization of control into the hands of communal councils. For Chavezeither the revolution advanced from the political and economic to a social, cultural and ethical transformation or it would stagnate, reverse and be defeated.

In every major crises, the coup of 2002, the lockout of 2003, the referendum of 2004, the decade of military threats and sabotage from Washington and Bogota, Chavez responded by radicalizing the revolution, mobilizing the masses and internationalizing the revolution.

At every point of class confrontation, Chavez never retreated; instead of compromising with the bourgeoisie, he intensified his efforts to raise national and socialist consciousness among the masses.

Chavez waged a two front struggle; 1) against the ‘external enemy’ – US imperialism, the Colombian terrorist state and the Venezuelan capitalist class, 2) against the internal enemies, those leaders and officials in the Bolivarian state and PSUV who were part of the rentierlegacy and engaged in corruption, abuse of power and who failed to respond to popular demands. Chavez declared war on bureaucratism and conciliation with the bourgeois.

Chavez understood that the capacity to resist the ‘external enemies’ depended on conscious, organized, mass movements. Chavez detested bureaucratic, incompetent and corrupt leaders who wanted to prevent the revolution from advancing .Those officials who sought to stifle the advance of popular power, to marginalize the communal councils, to concentrate power in the hands of a bureaucratic elite in order to negotiate a compromise with imperialism and the local bourgeoisie which would leave the basic institutions and privileges of capitalist society intact.

Chavez’s basic political legacy is his recognition that the dialectal relation between the external and internal enemies of the continuous revolution, required the deepening of the spiritual, cultural and political consciousness through the radicalization of the class struggle and audacious mass action.

Faced with capitalist sabotage of the economy, Chavez declared the need to nationalize all the major industries. Faced with financial swindles by private and public officials, Chavez demanded the socialization of the banking system.

Faced with imperial blockades, Chavez sought new international allies: he deepened ties with Latin American, Islamic, Russian and Chinese nationalists.

Today Venezuela faces its biggest crises since the election of Chavez.
President Maduro faces two choices – either to pursue the road detailed by Chavez, the road of continuous revolution, or to seek the path of conciliation, surrender and defeat.


Chavez identified the five interrelated historical objectives of the Venezuelan people on the path to revolution. He established the national framework, put socialism on the immediate agenda, successfully promoted South American unity, participated in the creation of a multi-centered world and raised the issue of climate change.

President Chavez advances are in mortal danger today from external and internal enemies. The continuation and realization of Chavez historical objectives rests in the hands of the advanced sectors of the revolutionary masses over the next few months.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy, Ideology • Tags: Hugo Chavez 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    “Faced with capitalist sabotage of the economy, Chavez declared the need to nationalize all the major industries. Faced with financial swindles by private and public officials, Chavez demanded the socialization of the banking system.”

    US is an a**hole in the world, but Chavez was a clown. He should have diligently worked on building his country, but like Gadfly on Libya, he decided to play top revolutionary of the world.

    He lacked the mind and calculation of the leaders of Russia, China, and even Iran. Admanidiot was more sober than Chavez.

    It’s all very good that Venezuela sought greater independence, but Chavez just got drunk on of oil money and wasted his energies on the wrong priorities.

    Also, the reason why Latin America is so backward is because the people there too corrupt, confused, dependent. No way to build an economy.

  2. Jim says:

    By some estimates Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. It also has a huge expanse of tropical rain forest. Tropical rain forests are the richest ecologies in the world. Venezuela should be a very wealthy country. But Chavez and Maduro can’t even seem to be able to supply their people with toilet paper.

    Japan is a mountainous country with only about 3% of its land arable, with hardly any natural resources and subject to frequent devastating earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Yet it has today and has had for 1500 years one of the highest standards of living in the world.

    The average IQ of the Japanese population is 107 and the average IQ of the Venezuelan population is 90. This is far more important than differences in political ideology.

  3. I’m reminded of Tass’s annual report that for the nth year since the Revolution the USSR’s grain crop was poor due to bad weather. The year after the collective farms were broken up the weather miraculously improved and Russia once again became a net exporter of grain as it had been before the Revolution.

    The USA suffered from gasoline shortages that were exacerbated and continued under the price controls of Nixon, Ford and Carter. Miraculously, soon after Regan eliminated price controls gas became once again abundant.

    Argentina was a free-wheeling capitalist paradise in the early twentieth century. It’s per capita GDP was projected to overtake that of the US within a few decades. Since the fascist/socialist Peronists have had a lock on the country’s politics the economy has been a disaster. It is tanking under the current socialist government.

    Chile’s economy tanked under Allende’s socialist regime. When the military junta that overthrew him accepted the free market advice of Milton Freedman Chile’s economy became the dynamic envy of the rest of South America.

    Before Chavez Venezuela had a booming economy. Milk, eggs, toilet paper, etc., etc. were readily available for all, even the poor. Now for some inexplicable reason — the weather, global warming, wreckers ??? – the economy is a shambles.

    I leave it to Mr. Petras to explain this odd, recurring pattern.

  4. Sadly Chavez “revolution” was simply a retread of policies that failed elsewhere. Just a few hundred miles away those same policies reduced Cuba to grinding poverty. Chavez advanced nothing.

  5. Hepp says:

    I will never for the life of me be able to understand why Ron Unz thinks this guy is interesting enough to be included on this site, next to names like Gottfried and Sailer. What does he say that can’t be said by a software program that’s able to put together Marxist buzzwords and slap a title on it?

    • Replies: @Santoculto
  6. @Hepp

    Because you are an American conservative and do not know the enormous influence that the US and its beautiful Isisrael has in cultural, political and economic of Latin American nations.

    But more than just a liberation against neo-colonialism, a nation of free people can only be made in two ways. One that is very important and know: power. The second can be very effective: the intelligence.

    Socialists make consecutive errors, first, because they are too arrogant to throw in the trash the oligarchic collectivism that they confused with real socialism. Second, because they are too stupid to realize they are making the same mistakes. Third, that they are too alienated to realize that no working class is able, alone, both to provoke a revolution (without brains in command) and not to sustain the society that crave during subsequent processes.

    Eugenics on own Venezuelan people would be a good weapon against colonialism these two primitive and entropic beasts.

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