Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, won a clear victory in last month’s recall referendum, called by the country’s US-supported right-wing opposition in yet another attempt -- albeit a constitutional one this time -- to remove the popular left-wing leader.
Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, won a clear victory in last month’s recall referendum, called by the country’s US-supported right-wing opposition in yet another attempt -- albeit a constitutional one this time -- to remove the popular left-wing leader. The country’s electoral commission reported that 58 percent of voters have opposed recalling Chavez -- i.e. dismissing him from office -- and 42 percent had supported the initiative. Despite loud protests of electoral irregularities from the defeated opposition groups, international observers, including former US president Jimmy Carter, reported them to have been largely fair, which is more than could be said of the US’s own elections in 2000. Carter also described turn-out at the polls as the largest he had ever known.
For Chavez, however, the poll does more than just confirm the general popularity of his programme of reinvesting the country’s oil revenues in social programmes designed to help the country’s poor masses; it is also indicative of the fact that the opposition groups are capable of mobilising -- by fair means or foul -- considerable support for their plans, within the country as well as in Washington. Even before the poll results had been officially announced, defeated opposition leaders had been promising to continue their fight against Chavez by extraconstitutional means if constitutional ones failed. Former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, who is based in Miami, said: “I am still working to remove Chavez. Violence will allow us to remove him... Chavez must die like a dog because that is what he deserves.”
Two years ago the opposition attempted to overthrow Chavez in a coup planned in Washington and openly supported by the Bush regime. It was foiled by the anger of the vast majority of the Venezuelans, who took to the streets to defeat the coup. However, the US has a long record of interference in Latin American countries, which it regards as as part of its ‘sphere of influence’. The fact that Venezuela is a substantial oil-producer makes it all the more important to US plans.
The Venezuelan peoples’ resistance to US plans for their country and resources, however, is yet another blow to US claims to represent freedom and democracy around the world. The fact is that ordinary people around the world, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, recognise the US for what it is: a greedy, exploitative power dominated by an oligarchic elite determined to pursue selfish materialistic interests at all costs. That this is so widely known is proof that the US cannot succeed, despite the hard power at its disposal.