“In Defense of Venezuela” Boaventura de Souza Santos, Telesurtv, 30 July 2017

What must worry democrats is the form in which the candidates are being selected. If, as is suspected, the bureaucratic apparatus has hijacked the participatory impulse of the popular classes, the objective of the National Constituent Assembly to democratically amplify the political force of the social base of the revolution will have been frustrated”.

Venezuela is living one of its most critical moments. The premature death of Hugo Chávez in 2013 and the fall of the price of petroleum in 2014 caused a profound commotion in the social transformation underway. The charismatic leadership of Chávez did not have a successor: the victory of Maduro in the following elections was by a narrow margin. The new President was not prepared for the complex tasks of the Government and the opposition (profoundly divided) felt their moment had arrived. The situation deteriorated until December 2015 when the opposition reached a majority in the National Assembly. The Supreme Court suspended four members for electoral fraud,which the National Assembly disobeyed; and from that moment the institutional confrontation worsened. It was also fed by the grave economic crisis and the lack of provisions which has since exploded. Meanwhile, Maduro has taken the initiative to invoke a National Constituent Assembly (NCA) elected on July 30th. This initiative looks to overcome the obstruction of the National Assembly dominated by the opposition. The mistakes of a democratic Government must be resolved democratically. The Government of the Bolivarian Revolution is democratically legitimate. Throughout many elections in twenty years it has never given signs of not respecting election results. It cannot be denied that President Maduro has constitutional legitimacy to call for a National Constituent Assembly. Nothing justifies the insurrectional climate the opposition has radicalized, and whose object is not to correct the errors of the Bolivarian Revolution but to put an end to it, impose neoliberal reforms (like in Brazil and Argentina), with what it would mean for the poor majority. Without foreign intervention, Venezuela would find a nonviolent and democratic solution. But what is underway is using all available means to set the poor against Chavismo, the social base of the Revolution. And, in concomitance, provoke a rupture between it and the Armed Forces and, as consequence, a military coup to depose Maduro.

 

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“In Defense of Venezuela” Boaventura de Souza Santos, Telesurtv, 30 July 2017

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