Craig Brozefsky on Tue, 16 Apr 2002 19:45:01 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fw: More Wilpert on Venezuela

Ricardo Bello <> writes:

> Wilpert essay has a flaw, it fails to mention that April 11th march was
> one of the activities of an allready three days sucessful general national
> strike against Chavez and the reasons why such an strike was so sucessful
> and the issues involving such a protest. I agree with him, the new regime
> was more authocratic and came from the extreme right (Opus Dei members
> among the new ministers and so forth) and Chavez has definetely more
> legitimacy than Carmona, but I would like, in all due respect to hear his
> evaluation of the strike. 

Wilpert mentions this in a previous article:

        As I write this, on April 9, Venezuelas largest union
        federation, the Confederacisn de Trabajadores de Venezuela
        (CTV) has called for a two-day general strike. Venezuelas
        chamber of commerce, FEDECAMERAS, has joined the strike and
        called on all of its affiliated businesses to close for 48

        This was the second time in four months that the two
        federations, of labor unions and of business owners, decided
        to join forces and strike against the leftist government of
        President Hugo Chavez. What is happening in Venezuela? Why are
        these and many other forces uniting against Chavez?"

I have only second hand information available to me, but most sources
I have seen, including eye witnesses such as Wilpert, are of the
opinion that this "general strike" was anything but a general popular
uprising.  As the UK Independent tells it:

       "Rather than a spontaneous popular uprising to get rid of a
        despot, this was a carefully orchestrated effort,
        co-ordinating military dissidents with oil strikers and the
        leading business and labour organisations."

I myself, considering what you have said about the events, think that
the truth lies somewhere in between.  I'm sure that many share your
distaste for Chavez and his policies and that your involvement in such
a strike was motivated by a genuine concern for your own safety and

> inefficient administration of the last fifty years. It is probably
> the main cause of the civil unrest and disobedience that shook the
> country last week.

Bullshit.  To place all of this at the feet of a single administration
is ludicrous when you consider the opposition that administration is
facing, who is funding and supporting that opposition, and the history
of Venzuela.  Let us not forget that in the last week the head of
Fedecameras (the largest business lobby in Venezuela, not some right
wing extremist, but a "respected business leader" in your own words)
attempted to disband the national legislative and judicial bodies,
which is surely at least partially responsible for the civil unrest
and disobedience.

Ricardo, you have consistently presented a rather biased view of this
conflict, which is understandable since I am sure you have a very
personal stake in it.  At this point tho, I feel you have lost almost
all your credibility, not because you have an opinion, but because
over your last set of articles you have misrepresented recent events
as well as Venezuelan history in a systematic way.

You have consistently underplayed the role of Fedecameras and the CTV
as well as PDVSA management in the "general strike" and subsequent
failed coup, attempting to deflect it onto "extreme right wing groups"
and "military top brass".  Then you attempted to underplay the role of
both the rank and file military and the people of Venezuela in the
restoration of Chavez's administration.

Most importantly you have papered over the history of class conflict
in your country, the birth place of Simon Bolivar, in an attempt to
lay the blame for all of the recent events upon Chavez.  Your
characterization of Chavez as the bringer of disharmony and hatred is
ludicrous to anyone with the ability to read an encyclopedia and look
at the history of Venzuela.  

To quote a third party:

        "In the early 1900s, the conflict-ridden nation finally began
         to get on its economic feet with the discovery of oil, and by
         the 20s Venezuela was beginning to reap the
         benefits. Unfortunately, most of the wealth remained with the
         ruling class, and the plague of dictators continued until
         1947 when Romulo Betancourt led a popular revolt and rewrote
         the constitution. The first president-elect in Venezuela's
         history took office the same year, the novelist Romulo
         Gallegos. Unfortunately, he was ousted by another dictator
         and the country did not experience a non-violent presidential
         succession until 1963. For the next 25 years, things went
         comparatively well. An oil boom in the mid-1970s saw enormous
         wealth pour into the country, though, as always, the vast
         lower class benefited little. Oil prices dropped in the late
         80s and once again the country was thrown into crisis. Riots
         swept through Caracas and were violently repressed, and two
         coup attempts took place in 1992. Right now, the nation's
         stability and future are uncertain"

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that I support a
continuation of the Bolivarian Revolution and I hope that the courage
of the Venezuelan people to stand up to a coup eerily similiar to
others that have toppled S.A. governments over the last few decades
will bring hope to people all over the world in their struggle against
U.S. imperialism and the comprador states that carry out its inhuman
and destructive policies.

Craig Brozefsky                           <>
Free Software Sociopath(tm)
Ask me about Common Lisp Enterprise Eggplants at Red Bean!

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