This Sunday, the 7th of October 2012, the 27 million citizens of Venezuela will go to the polls in a Presidential election that pits Henrique Capriles, the right-wing candidate of the Venezuelan elite, against Hugo Chavez, the popular socialist champion of the masses of Venezuelan working-people.
This Presidential election comes exactly 10 years ago after the Venezuelan elite attempted to illegally oust President Chavez from power in a military coup that had the blessings and support of President George W. Bush of the USA. The American backed coup plotters were able to arrest Chavez and temporarily remove him from office, but their evil plan was undone by the actions of tens of thousands of ordinary Venezuelans who surrounded the Presidential Palace and successfully demanded that Chavez be re-instated.
But that decade- old failure, did not stop the Venezuelan elite and their American backers from trying to remove Chavez “by any means necessary”, and even with this up-coming Presidential election, it is clear that plans have already been made to taint the widely expected Chavez victory with charges of electoral fraud, and to engage in post-election activities designed to delegitimise President Chavez.
Indeed, important American policy-making “think tanks”, such as the Heritage Foundation, are urging the Obama Administration to prepare the following policy response to a Chavez victory:- “visa denials, further treasury designations of corrupt Venezuelan officials, financial and trade sanctions, the designation of Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism…”
It is against this background, therefore, that a number of Barbadian civil society organisations recently came together and decided to issue a “Barbados Declaration of Solidarity And Support For Hugo Chavez”. These organisations included the Clement Payne Movement, Israel Lovell Foundation, Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, Peoples Empowerment Party, and Hamilton Lashley’s St. Michael South East Constituency. The text of the Declaration is as follows:-
“At a time when the world is enmeshed in a profound economic, political, environmental, cultural and ethical crisis, and the fate of small developing nations, such as those of the Caribbean, hangs in the balance, we have come together to publicly express our admiration, solidarity and support for President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the man whom we consider to be the indispensable world leader in this time of crisis.
We admire and support Hugo Chavez for the enlightened and courageous manner in which he led the campaign to defeat the neo-imperialist “Free Trade Area of the Americas”, and to establish the humane and visionary Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean in its place.
We salute President Hugo Chavez for coming to the assistance of struggling Caribbean nations with the Petro Caribe energy agreement, and for cementing the growing solidarity of the nations of our hemisphere with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
We laud Hugo Chavez for showing us the way forward and upward out of this era of crisis, with the establishment of such revolutionary institutions as BancoSur – the indigenous multi-national bank of the developing world that has been designed to supplant the imperialist IMF – Telesur – a television network of the South whose mission is to reclaim the sovereignty of our collective imagination from imperialist control – and the Africa – South America Summit – the new multi-lateral institution for harnessing and articulating the resources and power of two critical continents.
We have been witness to the truly revolutionary manner in which President Chavez has guided the Venezuelan people to take firm control of their national resources, and to use those resources for genuine and people centred development in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. And it is this historic Venezuelan success story that has given us the confidence that President Chavez can and will assist our Caribbean region to attain similar heights of genuine independence and development.
It is for these many reasons that we wish to thank the enlightened people of Venezuela for giving us such a critical world leader as Hugo Chavez. And as he approaches yet another Presidential election we hereby send him our heartfelt and brotherly love, solidarity and support, and our best wishes for an outstanding success at the polls.
* David Comissiong is the President of the Peoples Empowerment Party.