the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Mar 18, 2013
The media were astonished at the enormous crowds that came out in Venezuela for Chavez’s funeral.
Chavez was one of the rare heads of state in an underdeveloped country who could say NO to the big powers, in particular the U.S., and to the representatives of the giant corporations that dominate the economy of these countries.
Moreover, he had a social policy which contrasted with that of most political leaders of Africa, Latin America and Asia. The other politicians pocket the crumbs allowed to them by the big corporations that pillage their countries, leaving nothing for their people. Chavez used a part of the oil money to create schools and health centers in workers’ neighborhoods.
Chavez knew how to oppose the U.S. multinational companies and to make deals that he wanted. But he didn’t go so far as to confiscate foreigners’ interests in Venezuelan oil. He was content to increase state control. But these actions were enough to make him hated by the U.S. rulers.
His courage in standing up to the main global power in the world made him popular at home.
Chavez’s popularity gives an idea, if only indirectly, of the hatred aroused in Latin American populations by imperialist domination, particularly that of the U.S.
These people have been exploited and oppressed for centuries, and their natural resources have been stolen. Slavery was imposed on them so that foreigners would profit from sugar cane and cotton. The memory of this pillage, oppression and exploitation survives, since it continues under other forms. The suffering of the victims of coup d’etats and dictators supported by the U.S. isn’t only written in the collective memory, it’s written on the skin of millions of men and women in bloody letters.
But Chavez didn’t really fight imperialism, for he didn’t fight the basis on which it’s established: capitalist property. The Venezuelan state took partial control of the oil industry, but it did not expropriate the wealthy classes. The rich continued to prosper and they still control the economy. And the “U.S. enemy” still continues to pillage the oil. It has been Venezuela’s top customer.
Despite social measures, the country remains underdeveloped. Redistributing a part of the oil income doesn’t get rid of inequalities, unemployment and misery. The country’s economy continues under imperialist domination.
There is no way out for the poor countries except by getting rid of imperialism. And it can’t be done by one man acting as a savior, for it’s not a question of replacing one man by another. It’s a question of transforming the basis of society, of eliminating capitalist property and making sure there are no longer privileges and privileged people.