05 December 2005
Landslide for Venezuela's socialists
Parties allied to President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuala have won all 167 seats in country's unicameral National Assembly. The BBC is reporting that people queued to vote in the working class districts, but in middle class areas the polling stations were empty.
The parties representing the middle class boycotted the poll, although whether this was at Washington's behest is still unclear. In 1984 the Americans organised a boycott of the Nicaraguan elections when it became clear that the Sandanistas were going to stuff the middle class parties. As Noam Chomsky pointed out:
. . .the U.S. tried to disrupt the election in every possible way. The contras, who were just a terrorist force run by the U.S., did what they could to disrupt it. And did. They attacked polling booths and so forth. There was a U.S. candidate, a banker who had spent most of his life in the U.S. According to the press here, he was the popular candidate. There was no evidence for that. When it was clear he wasn't going to win, he was induced to withdraw. He was on the CIA payroll, it later turned out. And then the press here says, "Oh, there was no election, the major candidate withdrew." It was pooh-poohed as not a real election, which made it legitimate to go on attacking Nicaragua. Somoza didn't bother us, but this bothered us.
Will the Americans try to delegitimise the elections in Venezuela using the same methods? Probably not, because they need to ensure a regular supply of oil from their main supplier, which just happens to be Venezuela. The fact that their army is tied up in Iraq is the icing on the cake. Basically the Americans are stuck with the reality of the situation in Venezuela whether they like it or not. That reality is that Chavez Frias has united and then mobilised the working class of his country in favour of his socialist policies.
As for the middle class, it is to be hoped that they will be taxed until they squeal and then a squealing tax can be introduced to squeeze the last drops of income out of them. With luck, many will leave the country and never return, rather as los gusanos cubanos did before them. It is so important that the survivors not be left with any of the influence that money can buy once the Americans' war against Iraq comes to an end. Of course it is possible that the Americans will remain bleeding in Iraq for many years to come, but that is not certain at the time of writing. If Chavez Frias can move quickly to pauperise, marginalise and export the class enemy, then he will manage to avoid a lot of trouble in the future.