Fwd: [Viva_Cuba] Venezuela: New People's Army, Land to Poor

From: dashyaf@EASYNET.CO.UK
Date: Sat May 29 2004 - 11:24:58 EDT

I thought this might be of some interest to those following developments in 

David Yaffe

>Via Workers World News Service
>Reprinted from the June 3, 2004
>issue of Workers World newspaper
>By Berta Joubert-Ceci
>It was a wake-up call. On May 9 Venezuelan forces surprised 150
>Colombian paramilitaries who had been hired to assassinate President
>Hugo Chavez. They were apprehended on the farm of opposition leader
>Robert Alonso, architect of the "guarimbas"--violent street blockades
>staged by supporters of the Venezuelan oligarchy. Alonso is a counter-
>revolutionary who comes originally from Cuba.
>It was a reminder that U.S. imperialism, joined with the Colombian and
>Venezuelan oligarchies, has not ceased to conspire to oust President
>Chavez from office--both in the open, through a failing recall
>referendum, and in secret, as this incident reveals.
>The leaders of this paramilitary grouping are also leaders of the
>vicious Autonomous Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. To date 130
>Colombian paramilitary forces have been arrested in this operation.
>Their plan to kill Chavez has been brought to light through extensive
>They were to kill and decapitate the Venezuelan president. Then they
>planned to send his head to Cuban President Fidel Castro. As part of the
>assassination/coup process they would fire on Miraflores, the
>presidential palace, creating chaos in Venezuela.
>Only the vigilance of the Venezuelan police and National Armed Forces
>(FAN) prevented the counter-revolutionary plot from reaching its goal.
>But with so much at stake and given the relentless quest of the
>bourgeoisie to regain its previous power, the police and the FAN are not
>Beginning early in the morning on May 16, one week after the plot was
>brought to light and the paramilitary troops arrested, thousands of
>people poured onto the broad Bolivar Avenue in Caracas to participate in
>a March for Peace and Sovereignty and Against Paramilitarism and
>Terrorism. They were eager to hear Chavez himself address them.
>The march had been called by many different popular organizations with
>varied political affiliations and perspectives, including labor unions,
>political parties, and student, peasant and other social movements. All
>were united in their loyalty to and support of the Bolivarian Process--
>and all were intent on sending a message that the people themselves are
>not going to allow an assault against their revolution.
>So significant was this march that Chavez canceled his Sunday Aló
>Presidente television program to be at the demonstration. His speeches--
>really a dialog with the audience--usually last for hours and are
>listened to very attentively by the masses. They stay as long as he
>talks, and respond very actively with applause, cheers and loudly
>chanted slogans. This is because his talks are a combination of history
>class and presentation of action plans.
>The May 16 speech was a particularly important one. Chavez announced a
>new phase of the Bolivarian Revolution. While formally declaring the
>revolution to be anti-imperialist, he made a call to the masses to be an
>army for the defense of the revolutionary process.
>Stating that the revolution is "just beginning," Chavez encouraged the
>crowd to always think and reflect on the events that occur and put them
>in a historical perspective. Always ask, he urged: "Where are we? Why
>has it happened?"
>He explained the dangerous and unipolar character of U.S. imperialism
>after the fall of the Berlin wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union,
>and its viciousness after the Sept. 11 events. He differentiated
>neoliberalism from imperialist adventures by the United States, stating
>that neoliberalism--the effort to invade countries via economic measures
>like the Free Trade Area of the Americas, with the aid of the
>International Monetary Fund and World Bank--is not having the success
>the bourgeoisie hoped for in Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore,
>he said, Washington is reverting to old-style imperialist military
>Referring to the revolution's newly declared anti-imperialist character,
>he said: "And that gives it a special content, which forces us to think
>and act clearly not only in Venezuela but in the rest of the world,"
>adding that "with the Constitution in our hands, we have to take actions
>... for example, the expropriation of lands to put them in the hands of
>those who really need them."
>Chavez said, "We cannot permit [ourselves] to be absorbed by a
>conservative spirit; either we are or we are not." He went on to spell
>out the different laws that have been enacted and should be enforced,
>like the Land Law and the Supreme Justice Tribunal Law. This last one
>will allow, after careful review, the removal from the courts of counter-
>revolutionary elements who are still part of the justice system and are
>sabotaging the Bolivarian process.
>The strongest call was for forming a popular army to defend the
>revolution as part of the three lines of action of a newly created
>"Comprehensive National Defense" strategy.
>Saying that "the time has come to revolutionize the national security
>and defense, the time to reconceptualize and reorient," Chavez quoted
>Mao Zedong: "The people are to the army, what the water is to the fish."
>He added that "like the fish in the water, the Bolivarian soldiers
>should be together with the people."
>He went on to say, "I call on all the Venezuelan people to incorporate
>themselves into the national defense, the territorial defense, the
>defense of the national sovereignty; and of course I not only make a
>symbolic call to the people; no, as head of the state, as commander-in-
>chief of the armed forces I have already begun to give the orders to
>open the channels, in order to open the massive popular participation
>into an integrated national defense."
>The FAN has been ordered to select and summon retired military
>professionals as part of the active reserve to "incorporate them into
>the tasks for popular organization for the defense of the country in
>each district, in each ravine, in each island, in each field, in each
>university, in each factory, in each jungle, in each place where there
>is a group of patriots, there they must be organizing themselves."
>Explaining how this has already begun, Chavez said: "For example, in old
>Tacagua, I found one day, when I was there, a gentleman who came with
>his family to greet me, and he said to me: 'My Commander, how are you?'
>He turns out to be a retired sergeant of the National Guard. I told him:
>'Compañero, look throughout all this ravine for all the reservists,
>[and] in the first place organize a squad, organize a company, organize
>a battalion, make the list in a notebook.' A computer is not necessary
>because sometimes we are stuck with this technology. Simón Bolivar
>organized an army without computers and airplanes."
>The National Defense Strategy's other two lines of action are:
>strengthening the military by increasing the number of troops
>nationally, for which Chavez has already assigned 20 thousand million
>bolívares (approximately $1 billion U.S.) for the FAN and the National
>Guard, and weeding out counter-revolutionary elements in the armed
>In a display of compassion and understanding of the roots of the problem
>in Colombia, Chavez mentioned that some of the paramilitary forces were
>children who had been forced into the ranks of the paras by extreme
>poverty and lack of opportunities in their own country. He said these
>children are not in a military prison like the adults arrested, and that
>they will be returned to their parents. He added that after consultation
>with the National Council for the Defense of Children and Adolescents'
>Rights, it had been decided that these children could stay in Venezuela
>if they wish to, and receive free education in an effort to save their
>The Bolivarian Revolution is at a crossroads, with all the elements,
>particularly the strength of the peoples' commitment to it, in place.
>However, U.S. imperialism is fiercely advancing with plans to destroy
>it. As Chavez himself recently said, it is very strong but not yet
>irreversible, as the Cuban Revolution is.
>Venezuela, along with Cuba, is a beacon to all the dispossessed masses
>in Latin America and the Caribbean who are rising up for the first time
>in considerable unison, realizing that U.S. imperialism and its "free
>trade" will never be the answer to their needs and their misery. On the
>contrary, it is the health care, education and development of employment
>offered by these revolutions that give hope to the millions of people in
>deep poverty, not only in the region but worldwide.
>This is a huge threat to the bourgeoisie. They will not let it go on
>voluntarily. It is an urgent task for the people of the United States to
>not only offer unconditional solidarity to the Bolivarian Revolution,
>but to actively organize here and demand as loudly and clearly as
>possible from the U.S. government: USA, hands off Venezuela!
>- END -
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