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Venezuela and Russia Voting on December 2 – Worlds Apart

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The recent election was run as a personal referendum on Vladimir Putin and his party, United Russia, won 64 % of the vote. It has been described by European monitors though as being neither free nor fair and has been referred to as the 'stage-managed' Russian election. [2]

The West sees Putin as a dictator-to-be (if not already one that is) and it is a certainty that in the geopolitical power game, Russia (as well as China and other big powers) stands out as a powerful opponent to the United States, which still seems to see itself as the unipolar behemoth. In this power play, there is also the European Union, which does not play to the tune of Washington as faithfully as some media seem to make us believe. 'Old Europe' is just basically looking out for its own piece of the pie and is not about to risk losing its stake in the Middle East where they too have economic interests.

Venezuela and the December 2 referendum

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez Frías, probably made a few diplomatic errors when he included all the 33 articles in the list of constitutional reforms that his people voted on last December 2. However, by far the majority of the articles were aimed at improving the people's quality of life. The fact that he submitted all these points of reform to a referendum speaks volumes for his determination to let the people be heard in the carrying out of his plans for reforms. However, the reform concerning the appointment of regional governors by the central government instead of by regional vote, seems like a needless challenge to those numerous powers (the U.S. in particular) who see in him a dictator who is set on redrawing all of Latin America in his own image. This image is of course in stark contrast to the way the predators have forever been planning to put Latin America's wealth into their own pockets. This new and quaint idea of making the native people profit from the riches of their own country is against all colonial history, where Latin America was seen as the mountain of wealth that was there for the undisputed profit of the colonial masters.

Hugo Chávez has turned the tables around. The greedy former colonial masters will now have to pay for getting their share of the riches that are bountiful in several Latin American countries. The bourgeois opposition supported by the neocon administration in Washington and the CIA beat the drums loudly to give the entire world the impression that Chávez ' government was in for a bad fall. However Chávez supporters also showed up in huge numbers to defend their man. The privately owned media obviously kept raving against Chávez as the tyrant who was ruining the country, but their vicious U.S.-supported attacks only let them win the referendum with a 'photo-finish' victory of 1%. Chávez took the poison out of the sting by graciously conceding defeat even before all the votes were counted.

The opposition, however, clearly managed to get some of their lies about Chávez' plans for reform to be accepted by large numbers of his own base. People were made to believe that their children were going to be taken away from their homes and be brought up by the state away from their families. The rumor was also spread that private property was going to be attacked and that even poor people were to be deprived of their homes. There was also an engineered food shortage carefully planned by the producers to make it look as if there was a dire shortage of food in the country. Thus, proof of the incompetence of Chávez and his government.

One of the articles in the constitutional reforms was about doing away with presidential term limits. This was of course misrepresented by the opposition as implying a life-long mandate for Chávez. Since all Chávez was asking for was for the people to be able to vote for him to be re-elected after the end of his second term, this deliberate misinterpretation was obviously cooked up to give him the appearance of a ruthless dictator.

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And these are just a few examples of the lies spread around before the referendum.

The legally elected President

Hugo Chávez Frías came to power through an election victory in 1998 as the defender of the poor people's right to a decent livelihood. He was re-elected in a landslide victory in 2006. He has been enormously popular among the majority lower income people and has managed to vastly improve the lives of peasants and the working classes in spite of violent opposition from the bourgeois part of the population.

The oligarchs own most of the media

The opposition parties own most of the media and run a never-ending campaign to paint Chávez as a dictator and a tyrant who is set to ruin the economy of the country by putting an end to the neoliberal domination of the oil wealth. This same system had impoverished most Latin American countries as the big corporations had sucked the blood out of the continent while gaining enormous wealth for themselves. According to the neoliberal credo, however, it is perfectly normal and even desirable that there must be poor masses who survive on a bare sustenance level, while the leaders of Corporation Planet amass ever more wealth in their never-ending greed and lust for power.

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Chávez is changing the landscape of Venezuela

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil producer in the world and when Chávez nationalized the oil industry, it was obviously a blow to the U.S.-backed plutocrats and to the world that saw oil everywhere as the property of the huge oil companies to profit from as they saw fit.

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Siv O'Neall was born and raised in Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout the U.S, Europe, and other continents, including several trips to India. (more...)

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Venezuela is a Democracy. Corporations and th... by Ty on Monday, Dec 24, 2007 at 5:05:55 PM