Chavez is Always With Us


Chavismo faces the task of deepening the changes of the last fifteen years

Alí Rodríguez Araque
Translated by Tortilla Con Sal

The electoral victory of last October 15th highlights the identification of the great majority of the Venezuelan people with the series of transformations begun by Comandante Hugo Chavez and carried on by Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela’s people, so long ignored by the corrupt, bureaucratic cliques of what is known as the Fourth Republic, from which at that time the people had not managed to unburden themselves, woke up one February 4th to an insurgency led by a young military officer who, in contrast to the dissimulation typical of old-style political leaders, took full responsibility for the insurgency.

That February 4th marked a break with the era of collusion and farce of the Fourth Republic. From then on, Venezuelan politics took on another character, face to face with the people, realizing the democracy which before was so much talked about but just as often stolen away. The traces of those changes stand out now, for example a political economy that champions full sovereignty over our oil resources, the redistribution of the income created by the oil sector among ordinary people, turned into mass education, eradicating illiteracy and into a general improvement of the Venezuelan people’s living conditions.

The active participation of Venezuela’s people in political decisions and the close relationship between new people’s organizations, like the communal committees and communes, has turned into a process with a new political vision and a new vision of how to organize the State.

The death of the historic leader, founder of our Fifth Republic, was a political blow and a blow to morale of such proportions that it sparked hope among reactionaries inside and outside Venezuela. They hoped fondly to restore the Fourth Republic. But, before his grievous departure, Hugo Chavez had the foresight to propose designating Nicolas Maduro to the country’s political leadership in case of some unwanted event. And he was right.

In the middle of the tragedy of Chavez’s death, popular and revolutionary forces united around the leadership of a young man from an ordinary people’s barrio. He was and is one of them, having grown up and learned from a very young age under the tutelage of Hugo Chavez.

So Nicolas Maduro became the country’s leader at a time of economic difficulties and the attempts by reactionary forces to overthrow him, thinking that, in the vacuum left by Hugo Chavez and at the very moment of a severe drop in oil prices, Nicolas Maduro would be a push over. They were wrong

With a political party and a people united by Chavismo’s historic strength, helped too by the changes that have taken place throughout Our America, Nicolas Maduro has been able to live up to the complex responsibility Chavez bequeathed him. Last October 15th represents a ratification of the Venezuelan people’s trust in what we call generically Chavismo and, in particular, in the policies of Nicolas Maduro.

One notable fact of the October 15th elections is embodied in the appearance of new young leaders alongside seasoned veterans of years of struggle. They are the guarantee that the changes at work in Venezuela will continue being projected into the future.

Now Chavismo faces the task of deepening the changes of the last fifteen years. Doing so means responding positively to the demands of the most disadvantaged, continuing to defeat the oligarchies of Venezuela and Latin America along with the imperial forces trying to ruin the Venezuelan revolution with all that might mean for Our America.

The consciousness of the Venezuelan people, their unity and their appropriate political expression, as has been borne out so far, guarantee the Bolivarian Revolution’s sustained progress towards a realization of the dreams of Simon Bolívar and Hugo Chavez. That was demonstrated by the convincing victory on Sunday October 15th in the elections for the 23 regional governorships.

That victory prefigures the great challenge of next year’s presidential elections. Numerous internal and external challenges have to be overcome. But rising to meet them is a people and a leadership who know how to overcome those challengesand advance along the path set out by Bolívar, Zamora and Hugo Chavez.

Alí Rodríguez Araque is ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Republic of Cuba.