re Rakesh's information about Venezuela

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 14:10:06 EST

At 14:05 02/01/2004, Rakesh wrote:

>2. Chavez's popularity has dropped. His rallies have attracted fewer
>people over time.

FALSE ON BOTH ACCOUNTS. Even the capitalist press acknowledges his growing
popularity and say he is 'buying support' (eg., the Economist's 'if you
can't beat them, buy them'--- ie., buy them with rent) with social
programmes for the poor (eg., the literacy campaign, the doctors in the
neighbourhoods, the grants and loans for the development of the social
economy--- coops, etc). As for the rallies, I was there at the 6 December
march (which, incidentally, went through the right-wing stronghold of
Altamira unopposed and seized the square--- something never dared before),
and several of my trade union friends were ecstatic, saying they had never
seen a larger demonstration. It was certainly the biggest I've ever seen.
So, comrade, please be frank and tell us YOUR source of information on both

>3. Chavez's popularity was strongest among street vendors, not any part of
>the industrial working class.

         Is this something like saying that his popularity is strongest
among the poor? Given that 50% of the labour force is in the informal
sector, one would certainly hope for high support there. But, again, let's
have the evidence for your claim about the industrial working class--- not,
incidentally, historical evidence (eg., the actions of the CTV some time
back) but, eg., the industrial working class during last year's lockout and
since. Evidence, please!
PS. for those who are looking for information on workers in Venezuela, you
can check out (it's in Spanish but you can use Babelfish
from altavista to get a sense of the content); less specifically on this
but in English, I can't tell you where Rakesh
gets his opinions. He'll have to tell.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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