Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Western Media Cheer Venezuelan Electoral Results

Western Media Cheer Venezuelan Electoral Results

by Stephen Lendman

Bolivarian social justice suffered a major body blow in Sunday’s legislative elections. How it affects Chavismo going forward remains to be seen.

Distinguished Latin American expert James Petras gave disappointed Chavistas hope, saying “(P)aralysis, and even retreat and electoral defeats of the center-left regimes, do not mean the return to the neo-liberal 1990’s, a period of privatizations, pillage and plunder, which had plunged millions into poverty, unemployment and marginality.”

“(C)ollective memory” is hard-wired. “Any attempt by the newly elected officials to ‘unmake and reverse’ the social advances of the past decade will be met with (1) militant resistance, if not open class warfare; (2) institutional and political constraints; (3) and low commodity prices drastically limiting export revenues.”

Petras believes any attempt to shift hard right “will abort the neoliberal cycle.” Chavismo is wounded, not defeated. It’s faced tough struggles throughout its 17 year history.

Washington fears its good example. It’s tried virtually every dirty trick in the book to subvert it, including two aborted coups, an oil management lockout, and a failed Chavez recall election. 

Chavismo now faces its stiffest challenge going forward - attempting to rebound after suffering a humbling electoral defeat. Whether it’s a super-majority as opposition MUD party officials claim remains to be seen.

The New York Times cheered Chavismo’s defeat, “handing (it) a significant setback.” Saying MUD’s “victory significantly alters the political balance, (likely) augur(ing) a (left-right) power struggle…”

The Times quoted MUD secretary general Henry Ramos saying “(w)e are entering a period of transition. The government is very weak.” He anticipates a 2016 recall election, removing President Maduro by “constitutional means” or forcing him to resign.

It’s a long time from now to next April, the mid-point of Maduro’s six year term, the earliest point at which a recall election can be held. Whether Venezuelans will want him replaced with a candidate supporting neoliberal harshness remains very much uncertain, despite his low approval rating.

Times editors, correspondents, columnists and contributors bashed Chavismo throughout its 17 year existence. It’s way too early to celebrate its defeat.

Venezuelans clearly want change, an end to economic hard times, high inflation, shortages of basic commodities and other major problems. 

In the cold light of day, perhaps they’ll realize the neoliberal right’s agenda is polar opposite their own. Chavismo lives! One electoral defeat, no matter how stunning, won’t subvert it.

Washington Post editors reacted as expected - on the one hand, hailing neoliberal victory; on the other, expecting Maduro to “react…with autocracy…(perhaps) seek(ing) decree powers” to combat measures MUD legislators likely have in mind.

Washington remains a wild card. Will it intervene more subversively than already or aggressively? It’s worked hard to abort Chavismo. Sunday’s electoral results provide the best chance.

The Wall Street Journal said Chavismo opponents won a 112-seat super-majority, letting them “effectively challenge the rule of President Nicholas Maduro, raising the prospect of a protracted power struggle that could plunge the economy deeper into crisis.”

It depends entirely on whether three indigenous legislators support MUD’s neoliberal agenda, harming the interests of native Venezuelans they represent.

More severe crisis conditions than already hinge on if Washington wages greater economic war on Chavismo than already, hugely responsible for orchestrating disruptive food and other commodity shortages, as well as violent street protests, solely in a handful of well-off communities, resulting in deaths and injuries.

The Journal outrageously accused Maduro of tweeting “Stalin(ist)” messages to supporters, demanding “no whining” about electoral defeat.

“The counterrevolutionary right wants to take over this country… We won’t let it,” he said, indicating he’ll rally party faithful to defend Chavismo lawfully, his responsibility as Bolivarian leader.

He intends restructuring his cabinet, at the same time accused Washington of wanting to turn Venezuela into a US colony. “This revolution is for 500 years,” he said.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Chavismo’s 43% electoral support won’t stray from its ideological roots.

Ruling PSUV deputy Oswaldo Vera said “(o)ur line on socialism is unbreakable. We lost an election because of the economic war, but the electorate doesn’t want neoliberalism.”

PSUV campaign manager Jorge Rodriguez said Sunday’s defeat was because Chavistas ran an election campaign. Opponents “waged war.”

In a nationwide address, Maduro promised “times of victory for the revolution will come again.” He called for a return to the “original spirit” of the revolution, saying he’ll support the right of public workers to keep their jobs, challenging neoliberal parliamentarians wanting many eliminated.

A major struggle lies ahead to prevent US-supported dark forces from instituting neoliberal harshness. There’s no time for mourning. Defending Chavismo is top priority.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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