The crisis in Venezuela: the proletariat suffers the misery, chaos and repression of capitalism

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We are publishing here an article written by our comrades of Internacionalismo, the ICC's section in Venezuela, in which our organisation takes a position from the viewpoint of the international proletariat on the serious crisis which is hitting the country. Within this we denounce the hypocrisy of the world's bourgeoisie and its complicity with both the Chavist clique and the opposition which have plunged the proletariat and the population as a whole into the most barbaric conditions. Our comrades analyse how Chavism, a product and expression of the decomposition of the capitalist system, uses an ideological swindle of "the socialism of the twenty-first century" which is set up on the basis of an attack against the living conditions, consciousness and combativity of the proletariat. Similarly, they analyse how inter-imperialist tensions are a factor which contributes to aggravating the crisis. The article gives the perspective that the only possible outcome to the barbarity of the situation of Venezuela and the entire world continues to remain in the hands of the proletariat which, through its conscious struggle, can aim to overthrow the capitalist system which is plunging us into chaos and despair.


Every day the world's press and an endless number of internet and social networks are drowning us with news of the dramatic situation coming from Venezuela: the aggravation of shortages, lack of food, medicines and basic products; uncontrolled increases in the prices of the few products which remain available, now reducing a part of the population to famine; death by the malnutrition of children and sicknesses caused by the degradation of the health and hospital system. To this situation add more than 120 deaths to date, thousands of wounded and those detained, coming from the confrontations between rival factions of Venezuelan capital in their struggle for power, caused by the brutal repression of police and military forces of the Chavist regime of Maduro during the demonstrations called by the opposition and the protests of the population between April and June this year.

The despair of the population is such that thousands of people are trying to flee the country. The governments of Colombia and Brazil are faced with the arrival of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, some of whom are living in miserable conditions on the streets of towns closest to their respective borders. The increase of political tensions with the accentuation of the economic crisis threatens to create a wave of refugees similar to that produced by the exodus of populations from Syria, Afghanistan or some African countries fleeing the barbarity and misery of war.

However, the media, conforming to its ideological role, conveys a totally deformed vision of reality by taking sides with one or the other, pro-Chavist or oppositional, bourgeois factions who are fighting each other for power in Venezuela. On one hand, a great number of Latin American other governments try to outdo each other by coming forward and denouncing the "humanitarian crisis" and the repression against the population and demanding that what they call the dictatorial regime of Maduro respect "democracy" and "Human Rights". They want us to forget that the majority of them, just a few years ago, enthusiastically welcomed and saluted the government of Chavez for "taking into consideration" the fate of the disinherited and marginalised masses and which, according to them, brought millions of Venezuelans out of poverty thanks to a so-called "redistribution of social wealth"; and that the UN paid homage to the successes of the Venezuelan government for having fulfilled the objectives of the Millennium. What these governments and organisations express is the immense hypocrisy of the bourgeois class at the world level: the same goes for the Venezuelan bourgeois factions fighting for power: the Chavists regrouped in the GPP, the Great Patriotic Pole, and the oppositional forces brought together around the MUD - Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, the Democratic Unity Roundtable[i]. The ruling classes at the regional, as well as at the global level, have a responsibility for the barbarity in which the proletariat and population of Venezuela have been immersed.

In order to stand up to this ideological campaign, it's necessary for the proletariat to get to the causes of this tragedy by, in the first place,  keeping in mind that it mustn't back any of the bourgeois factions confronting each other in their struggle for control of the state. This crisis is a pure product of the decadence and decomposition of the capitalist system which is no longer a factor in the development of the productive forces, in particular of labour power; instead of that, every day society sinks further into misery and barbarity. On the other hand, faced with this historic impasse the only thing that matters to the factions of capital (whether they defend the models of the pretend-left "socialists" like the Chavist/Maduro regime or the neo-liberal models of the centre-right that the opposition forces defend) is to maintain their power at any price; and in their thirst for power they couldn't care less that the working population that follows them in the circumstances, die like flies in their hundreds or thousands because of hunger and repression.

The crisis hitting Venezuela is the expression of the fact that no country or region of the world can escape the effects of the decomposition of the capitalist system. The reasons for this crisis are the same as those which provoked the barbarism which reigns in Syria, Afghanistan or in a number of African countries; or those which are expressed by the terrorist attacks which follow one another in a growing sequence in Europe, the United States and other central countries. The world finds itself in a situation of impasse, at the mercy of the actions of the most irrational factions of the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie.

The only way of really coming out of this situation is in the hands of the proletariat which, through its combat, its class consciousness, its unity and solidarity can serve as a reference point for the indignation of the despairing masses of the population who want to break out of poverty and suffering.

How did Venezuela come to this?

Some analysts and intellectuals, when asked for their opinion on the situation in Venezuela, try to explain why this country, having been one of the most rich and stable among the countries of South America, has fallen in such a brutal manner since the beginning of the century into such poverty and suffered a political chaos which threatens to make it ungovernable. Some see the Maduro regime as a failed state; others designate it as the retreat of another "Castro-communist" dictatorship. And as good defenders of bourgeois order they don't lose a trick in feeding the repugnant lie which assimilates the Stalinist-type totalitarian regimes with communism. They try to hide the fact that the regime imposed by Chavez, of which Maduro is a successor, is a new offspring of the decomposing capitalist system that they themselves feed with their so-called "analyses".

We have analysed the causes of the rise of the Chavez project in an article published in 2013, written after his death[ii]:

"Chavez first came to public notice when he led the attempted military coup against the Social Democrat Carlos Andrés Péres in 1992. From then on his popularity underwent a spectacular growth until he was elected President of the Republic in 1999. During this period he capitalised on the discontent and lack of trust across broad sectors of the population towards the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic Parties who had alternated power between themselves since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1958. This discontent was particularly marked amongst the most impoverished masses affected by the economic crisis of the 80s, who were the main protagonists of the 1989 revolt. The two main political parties were undergoing a process of disintegration, characterised by corruption at the highest levels and the neglect of government tasks. This was an expression of the decomposition that had engulfed the whole of society, principally the ruling class, which had reached such levels that it was impossible to cohere its forces in order to guarantee reliable governance and ‘social peace'.

Maduro has  inherited from Chavez a country and a political project affected by a terrible economic crisis and capitalist decomposition. Chavez and the highest civil and military executives always underestimated the weight of the world economic crisis while the price of oil remained high. At this time the repositories of state funds had not yet been emptied by the country's new proprietors and the state still had the capacity for debt and borrowing. Already in 2012, when Chavez was still in power and the price of a barrel of oil went over $100, shortages and lack of provision of different food and basic goods had begun. The reduction in the price of oil of 2013 aggravated the situation. Since then the government of Maduro, like other oil-producing countries of the region (Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, etc.), have used the lower price of oil as a pretext to accentuate the deterioration of the living conditions of the population and the workers. With the intent of giving a "socialist" colour to these measures, the Maduro regime opened up an ideological campaign, which continues up to today, which claims that the lower price of oil is due to an "economic war unleashed by 'North American imperialism'" allied to a bourgeois Venezuelan oligarchy whose intent is to attack the "Bolivarian Revolution". However, the world economic crisis and the fall in oil prices are not sufficient in themselves to explain the gravity of the situation in this country. The implementation of the political, social and economic measures required by the "socialist" plan of Chavez, in a context of accelerating  decomposition, has also contributed to such an outcome.    

Contrary to other governments of the left allied to Chavism (Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.), Chavez developed a Stalinist-type totalitarian state capitalist model. He progressively took measures to weaken and exclude private sectors of capital and the old state bureaucracy which controlled the institutions and enterprises of the state. Through expropriations in industry and agriculture, nationalisations and economic measures (price controls among others) the productive infrastructure of the country was dismantled. This economic policy, as in other countries where similar measures have been applied, created distortions in the economy which added to an irresponsible management of state funds and an unrestrained corruption which led the country into an economic collapse.

The previous state bureaucracy was replaced by a new hegemonic caste in which the military predominated but which had no experience in economic and administrative management. The Chavist nomenklatura practically abandoned economic management by the state and squandered the national resources, using it to get rich and create networks of corruption which amassed immense fortunes which were deposited in fiscal havens, showing the pathetic degree of decomposition achieved by the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie.

The left-populist character of the Chavist project, used to enrol masses of the poor and proletarians which served as its electoral base, transformed social programmes (called "missions") under the flag of "Bolivarian Socialism" with the pretended aim of "overcoming poverty". Maduro followed the same economic policy as his mentor by keeping up public spending, a determinant factor in sharpening the economic crisis which exists today in Venezuela[iii].

The high costs involved in the development of an imperialist policy aiming to make Venezuela a regional power within a multi-polar world which led to rivalry with the United States and other countries in the region. With this aim it developed a strategy of "selling cheap" to other regional countries, principally those of the Caribbean and Central America; it increased the purchase of armaments; it dedicated considerable resources to develop means of international communications for intervening in different countries of the region and the world with the aim of supporting parties and groups of the left opposed to the interests of the United States and other powers.

In order to strengthen its populist policy, on many occasions Chavez advanced the idea that his government wasn't going to "repress the poor who stole by necessity". On this basis, the regime developed a policy of impunity in certain areas: "laissez-faire" towards law-breaking by armed groups made up of lumpenised elements and formed by his own regime; he reduced police surveillance mainly through the night leaving the population at the mercy of bands of thugs who imposed their own laws. In this way, he used and accentuated the level of social decomposition which already existed before his arrival to power by implementing a curfew at night and part of the day which wasn't imposed by direct state terror but by the terror sown by lumpen elements. This policy multiplied the rate of criminality which made Venezuela[iv] one of the most dangerous countries on the planet; and this situation also contributed to the increase in the rate of emigration.

Chavism fashioned a state subject to decomposition: a gangster state dominated by lumpen behaviour  within sectors of the petty-bourgeoisie and the new "Bolivarian" bourgeoisie; it has established a state run by new mullahs who don’t pay the external or internal debts which they have contracted with their capitalist partners, and which also don’t pay past contracts with the workers through collective agreements. Lying and impunity are the norm within this state. Chavism, aided by the very mechanisms of the democratic bourgeoisie, has implanted a real mafia at the heart of the Venezuelan state.

The crisis in Venezuela: an international crisis

The Chavez project sees itself as a regional and global project. It's fed by the fact that since the collapse of the Russian bloc in 1989, the world has ceased to be ruled by the two great imperialist poles, the United States and the USSR: the world has become multi-polar. The regime developed with a vision of being able to constitute one of these regional poles by profiting from the strategic regional position of Venezuela in South America,  due to its oil reserves and the weakening of the United States as a world power. With this objective, Chavism developed an aggressive imperialist policy at the regional level, a policy  of confrontation with the United States and other countries of the region. For this it has used oil as a weapon to play a role in regional geopolitics, principally aiming at the Caribbean and Central America. Its policy is fed by a radical anti-Americanism and for that it has looked for alliances with other governments of the region, as well as at the global level, who reject the imperialist policies of the United States.

With this aim, it has tightened links with Cuba which has need of oil and capital after the collapse of the imperialist bloc around the USSR. With Cuba it has formed the group of countries of ALBA to compete with ALCA[v] which is promoted by the United States; it has strengthened its alliance with Lula in Brazil, Kirchner in Argentina, the Indigenists of the Cordillere (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador), the Sandinista Movement of Nicaragua, etc. It has largely opened the door to Chinese capital, to Russia (mainly through armaments purchases), to Iran and even to the representatives of the so-called "Arab Socialism" of North Africa and the Middle East.

Thus, as Cuba did some years ago, Chavez developed a strategy of posing as the victim of the United States, which is permanently accused of wanting to expropriate Venezuelan Oil and conspiring against the "Bolivarian revolution" since the time of George Bush. In effect, since the beginnings of the Obama administration, the United States has developed a policy against the Chavez regime and against its influence in the region through the OAS[vi], which hadn't been able to obtain advantageous conditions. However, Obama was able to weaken the influence of governments of the left in the region (through its strategy of "the fight against corruption and drug-trafficking") which is shown in the changes towards governments of the right in Brazil and Argentina and the policy of rapprochement with Cuba.

Before the latest US election and after the triumph of Trump, there was a period of several months of blockage of the US policy in the region, concentrating mainly on the question of the construction of a wall on the Mexican border; during this period there wasn't a clear position from the new government towards the situation in Venezuela. In mid-July, before the call from Maduro to vote for a new National Constituent Assembly[vii], the Trump administration again took the initiative in actions against Venezuela through an aggressive policy aimed against the regime by declaring that it would use all means to confront it, including the recourse "to military force if it was necessary", which showed a change in relation to the more prudent policy of Obama. The Maduro government has profited from Trump's declarations and his international unpopularity in order to pose as the victim and try to rally support domestically as well as from the outside.

Today, the regional geopolitical configuration has changed and the influence of Chavism has been significantly weakened: Argentina and Brazil are no longer its allies; it looks like the new government in Ecuador will take up a different policy than its predecessor of Correa who openly supported the Maduro regime. At the same time, important states of the region, like Mexico, Peru and Colombia, have taken a more active part in the region by supporting American policy. The tendency is towards the isolation of the Maduro regime. Much more than the actions of the leaders of these states have been the sanctions of the Trump government for the violation of human rights, narco-traffic and money-laundering. Similarly Spain and the countries of the European Union have pressured for the "return of democracy" to Venezuela. The support of the countries of the OAS is also weakening bit by bit.

Everything seems to indicate that the Maduro regime has no other outcome than to bow to domestic, regional and international pressures. But that's not quite the case. The regime has picked up the challenge: it has profited from the threats of Trump in order to look for international support. Maduro has declared that he was ready to fight "imperialist aggression" and he claims to have concluded military alliances with Russia in order to ensure his defence. Even if it looks difficult for China or Russia to directly intervene in an armed conflict in America's "back-yard", these states have certainly intervened for some years now in support of the Chavez and Maduro regimes through arms supplies, financial aid, provisions, etc. , and through blocking any action of the Security Council of the UN against Venezuela,  all in the name of the "self-determination of the people"

 

The radicalisation of the Maduro regime is about to create a situation of destabilisation in the whole region through the emigration of Venezuelans to other neighbouring countries. On the other hand, the unpopularity of the Trump administration at the world level could allow radicalised elements of the left, including some partisans of jihadism, to come into Venezuela to support the Maduro regime by perpetrating terrorist actions or supplying the guerrillas.

The situation in Venezuela is unpredictable. The Maduro government has declared that it will use armed force to impose itself and, on the other side, it is possible that sectors of the opposition could again call for demonstrations in the streets, knowing that the government would respond to them with increased repression. All the competing cliques of the bourgeoisie in Venezuela are caught up in a cycle which is inciting them in their strategy of confrontation up to its ultimate consequences. Up to now they have shown that they haven't the will or the capacity to reach a minimum agreement to be able to govern.

Apparently, international pressure has had no effect on the Maduro regime. Worse, it serves him as a pretext to intensify his repression of the opposition and the population in general. An important factor which increases the uncertainty even more is the unpredictable imperialist actions of Trump whose engagement in a unilateral military action would be an aggravating factor of the crisis (in some way similar to his trial of strength between the US and the North Korean regime).

As in other conflicts around the world, it would be the Venezuelan population who pay the costs of military confrontation. Already, it's suffering from a vociferous ideological campaign against "North American imperialism". Anti-Americanism is the scapegoat that the factions of the left use at the global level in order to sow confusion among the population and within the proletariat; that serves them as an alibi to support other, also despotic and imperialist, regimes such as China, North Korea or Cuba. It allows them to mask the imperialist policies of the regimes of the left, like Chavez and Maduro, who, in their turn, impose their own local model of a system of exploitation and reduce the population to conditions of misery that are identical, or even worse, than the regimes of the right.

Chavism: an attack against the living conditions, the combativity and consciousness of the working class

The Chavist project rests both on an ideological attack and on an attack on the living conditions of the proletariat. Like other plans of the capitalist class, the so-called "Socialism of the 21st century" is fed by the pauperisation and the precarious position of the workers. The regime has systematically worked to reduce wages and the social advantages that workers were receiving under contract; it began with the workers of the oil sector and commodity-based primary industries and then moved to the public sector. The social plans of Chavism, used to share out some crumbs to the "people", were principally financed by cuts in the wages and social conditions of the workers under contract. After the death of Chavez, he left a mass of impoverished workers and a greater number of people still more miserable and betrayed, each month receiving less state subsidies. Similarly, on the economic level, Maduro has only impoverished even more workers up to the point that wages and social payments do not even cover basic needs and each month the poor who receive sacks of provisions that the government sells them cheap are less and less numerous, while the members of the Chavist nomenklatura live like lords.

The political bi-polarisation has been a strategy permanently maintained and fed by the Chavist regime up to today; this has constituted a decisive factor whose effects reverberate on all social life and has led to the situation of disorder. Chavez was able to stoke up his policy of bi-polarisation because of the support of the most deprived masses, pariahs excluded from society, who saw in him a new Messiah who would offer them the gifts of a benefactor state as, decades before, the Social-Democratic and Social-Christian parties had offered them. But Chavism needed to dragoon the mass of workers who were constituted during these years behind him, while at the same time he began to put in place a political strategy of division and the bi-polarisation within the Venezuelan working class. Through the ideology of the "Socialism of the 21st Century", he developed an attack against the consciousness, combativity and solidarity within the working class of Venezuela. As the noxious campaign of the world bourgeoisie proclaimed "the death of communism" after the collapse of the Russian bloc, he proposed the building of "Bolivarian Socialism". Chavism, with the help of parties of the left in other countries, principally the Cuban Communist Party, developed a real laboratory of pitfalls against the proletariat: self-management, workers' control, etc., while in an increasing and systematic manner they accentuated the divisions in the ranks of the workers and made the living conditions of the most advanced sectors of the working class more precarious. 

Despite this ideological attack the workers have, since the beginning of the Chavez regime, developed important struggles against the state on their class terrain. But these same workers have been systematically confronted by the unions controlled by Chavism and, when these weren't sufficient, came the repression from the police and military forces (in the same way that preceding governments had done, with the parties now opposed to the regime at their head), or those of armed lumpenised bands formed by Chavism. Up to today there are an incalculable number of expressions of struggle and of discontent of workers from different sectors, but these struggles appear sectoral, atomised and they remain strangled by the political bi-polarisation. This situation has allowed the petty-bourgeoisie to play a political role, from its radicalised sectors on the left, most of which supported Chavez and encouraged greater control by the state, up to those who have openly defended neo-liberal measures.

Because of the gravity of the economic crisis, shortages and lack of supply of basic products and ever-increasing prices, the popularity of the Maduro government has gradually dwindled. This situation was shown in the parliamentary elections of December 2015, in which the opposition largely triumphed and took control of the National Assembly, which represented the most stinging electoral rout that Chavism had received during the course of its sixteen year existence. Since then the political confrontation has sharpened due to the fact that the regime sees itself as under the threat of losing power. Its reaction, like a wounded beast, has been to look for the means to keep itself in power at any price.

For its part, the opposition grouped in the MUD today presents itself as the real defender of the Chavist Constitution of 2000 that it rejected years ago. Like the governing party it presents itself as the real defender of democracy. The two factions fight each other to show who will be the most democratic: everyone knows very well that the slogan "the struggle for democracy" represents a very powerful ideological weapon for the control of the population and of the proletariat, as well as  a key to gaining recognition at the international level.

The two rival bands say to the population that we are at the final stages of the confrontation between the "dictatorship" and "democracy". The reality is that each one of these two cliques defends the dictatorship of capital through democratic republicanism or by the democratic totalitarianism of the Chavist regime. On the other hand the Venezuelan opposition and those of other countries say that the failure of the Maduro government represents the setback of "Castro-communism"; and they advocate neo-liberal policies with a human face, that's to say the old recipe of implementing "capitalism with a human face". They say that Maduro has set up a "communism" similar to that of Cuba. Left Communism has shown since the beginning of the so-called "Cuban revolution" that the regime in this country for more than 50 years is a Stalinist-styled state capitalist regime. Maduro and his allies are trying to apply the same model with their "Socialism of the 21st century".

The millions of people who are today protesting against the Maduro regime show the indignation, despair and anger of a population which doesn't want to just "survive" in such miserable conditions. Although many of them have illusions in the proposals of the MUD, many others are calling for demonstrations in order to express their discontent, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are partisans of this bourgeois oppositional regroupment; this is expressed mainly through the resistance movements formed mainly by young people, many of whom have been cowardly assassinated by the regime's forces of repression or by thugs in the pay of the regime, while others have been imprisoned after being taken to military tribunals. Hypocritically, the leaders of the MUD present these as "martyrs for the democratic cause", seeking to use them as cannon-fodder with the aim of imposing their neo-liberal capitalist model which also offers no solution to the crisis hitting the population.

What is the perspective?

The dangerous and difficult situation in Venezuela is the expression of the decomposition of the capitalist system as a whole which is expressed in a caricatured manner in this country. Different ruling factions in this region and the wider world are today pointing the finger at the Maduro regime as an example of how not to run a government. In the present situation of capitalism in Venezuela there are no guarantees about what could happen; a handful of spiteful and lumpenised adventurers, whether of the right or left, could assume control of the state and submit the population, including the proletariat, to chaos and barbarity. In fact, the United States, the main economic and military power on the planet, has as its Commander-in Chief, a populist adventurer of the right whose sole difference with Chavez is that the latter proclaims himself of the left and that he puts forward an imperialist policy marked by "amateurism".

No nation can escape the effects of decomposition, in which the future is seriously threatened by wars, poverty and famine. This impasse is the consequence of a situation in which the two principal classes, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, have not been capable of imposing their respective "solutions": either humanity submits to a new world war on the side of the bourgeoisie, or a world communist revolution in the perspective of the working class. Such an impasse plunges society into a growing loss of reference and a decay of the whole social body.

Venezuela, like Syria or other countries of the Middle East, Asia or Africa are the mirror in which is reflected what we, the proletarians of the world, have to see; they show us what capitalism has in store if we don't finish with this system. For some years now decomposition has been knocking at the door of the most developed countries of Europe, Asia and America through the advance of terrorism.

The populist leftist regime put in place by Chavez is the demonstration that neither the left of capital, nor its right, nor the most extreme sections of these bourgeois expressions, can represent any sort of escape from the exploitation and barbarity of capitalism: from the right to the left both must be rejected and consciously fought by the proletariat and by the minorities of the class who are fighting against the existing order. The "Socialism of the 21st century" and the so-called "Bolivarian revolution" have nothing to do with socialism. They are one and the same patriotic and nationalist movements. As defenders of socialism, we stand before everything with the spirit of the Communist Manifesto, the first political programme of the proletariat put forward in 1848, which says that "the proletarians have neither country nor national interests to defend".

We must be conscious of the strength of the working class because it is the producer class whose exploitation produces all social wealth. The indignation of the proletariat and the majority of the Venezuelan population who are fighting for a decent life, impossible under the reign of capitalism, must serve as an encouragement to develop this feeling among the proletarians of the entire world, to become conscious that the proletarian revolution is the sole way out of the barbarity that capitalism is reserving for us all. To finish with this barbarity threatening the whole of humanity, it is necessary to destroy the bourgeois state apparatus, supported by an exploitative minority which increasingly is showing its incapacity to manage and which, day after day, strengthens and imposes its terror on the whole of society. Only through its consciousness and international solidarity can the proletariat put an end to this dramatic situation.

It is a reality of the present time that the world proletariat hasn't the capacity to break this advance of barbarity. However, despite the political bi-polarisation by the factions of the bourgeoisie, whether of the right or the left, there exists in Venezuela and other countries, an immense number of the population, who do not believe that "we are coming out of the crisis". Many of those who march in an honest fashion behind one or the other of these cliques are confronted by the reality that they can see no solution to the situation. Similarly, even if they only represent a minority of the working class, elements exist who are looking for a proletarian perspective faced with the barbarity in which we are living.

It is for that reason that it's urgent that we, as a revolutionary minority of the working class, intervene with the aim of of recovering the revolutionary consciousness and class identity of the proletariat. We must take up the road of the struggle for real communism  like the Bolshevik Party and the Soviets a hundred years ago, protagonists of the first great attempt at the development of the world revolution: the October revolution.

Neither the "Socialism of the 21st century", nor democracy, nor the right populism of Trump or the left populism of Chavez and Maduro.  The proletariat must find its own perspective outside of capitalism by returning to the struggle for its own class interests.

Internacionalismo, section of the International Communist Current in Venezuela, September 25, 2017.

 


[i]  The Great Patriotic Pole, GPP, regroups the political forces which have given their support to the project led by Chavez. It is formed of several parties among which the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) founded by Chavez predominates; it is also composed of other minority parties of the left as the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), the Country for All (PPT), etc; the Mesa Table of the Unidad Democratica (MUD) is a coalition of parties which oppose the GPP and is made up of the Social Democratic, Social-Christians of the right and of the centre, and the liberals.

[ii]  http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201305/7636/chavez-legacy-defense-capital-and-deception-impoverished-masses

[iii]  Economic indicators today show a collapsing economy. An economic recession has hit since 2014 with strong falls year on year to such a point that between 2014 and 2017 the economy has lost a third of GDP, the budget deficit has increased by 15% in 2016, one of the highest in the world whose financing has engendered an overproduction of monetary mass which has increased the rate of inflation estimated this year to be 1000% and 2000% for the year 2018; the payment of public debt is estimated around 95% of GDP making it pay an important part of foreign exchange earnings in a country which is 96% dependent on oil exports which lessen each year because of production falls; the policy of the government is to reduce imports which have fallen by 75% during the last 4 years in a country where 70% of products of consumption are imported and this has accentuated the deficit in raw materials which assures the maintenance of state production at a minimum operational level and has increased shortages for agricultural and industrial inputs.

[iv]  The Venezuelan Observatory on Violence gives the figure of 28,479 violent deaths in 2016, a rate of 91.8 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. According to this report "Venezuela comes in second in the world for the most violent deaths behind Salvador". The number of homicides is estimated to be 28,000 during the course of the Chavez and Maduro governments. The NGO COFAVIC has estimated the impunity rate for this criminality at 98%. See our article on our Spanish website:   http://es.internationalism.org/cci-online/201206/3417/incremento-de-la-violencia-delictiva-en-venezuela-expresion-del-drama-de-la-d.

[v] ALBA: Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which also includes among others Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba; ALCA: Area of Free Trade for the Americas, a plan born from the proposition to enlarge free-trade for North America taking in other countries on the continent with the exception of Cuba.

[vi]  The Organisation of American States, created in 1948 allowing the guardianship and control of the US continent by the White House, particularly over the countries of Latin America Translator's note.

[vii]  This sudden move by Maduro allowed him to exclude, purely and simply, the opposition parties from this institution. Translator's note.