American imperialism, not socialism is the root cause of the economic and political crisis in Venezuela

ASSEMBLYMAN CHARLES BARRON | 1/31/2019, 12:48 p.m.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected president of Venezuela by an overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan people.
Charles Barron Bill Moore photo

In 1998, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected president of Venezuela by an overwhelming majority of the Venezuelan people. He immediately launched the “Bolivarian Revolution,” named after the great Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar, and renamed the country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

President Hugo Chavez replaced the American backed right-wing capitalist oligarchy and returned Venezuela’s rich oil revenues to the people for social programs and combating poverty.

Chavez’s government achieved the following: reinforced a constitutional ban on privatization of oil companies; enrolled more than 1 million students in school who were previously excluded; increased the minimum wage and public sector salaries; introduced a credit program for women and the poor; reformed the tax system to benefit the poor; reduced unemployment; redistributed land from the oligarchy to the struggling people; lowered infant mortality; lowered illiteracy; halted the privatization of the Venezuelan Social Security system; and established a new progressive Constitution with grassroots peoples’ participation, among other accomplishments.

We must remember that it was Chavez, by way of his Citgo Petroleum Corporation in America, who provided extremely low-cost heating oil for the struggling families in New York (Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn), Boston and numerous cities across America. It was Chavez who provided free cataract eye surgery for families in America.

America’s response was to impose economic sanctions against Venezuela and finance a coup by the racist right-wing capitalist opposition in April 2002 that briefly ousted Chavez from the office of president.

However, after just two days out of office, Chavez was returned to the presidency because of millions of his supporters demonstrating in the streets and strong support from his military. Chavez was elected for another term in December 2006 and re-elected for a third term in October 2012.

Sadly, after a nearly two-year fight with cancer, Chavez died March 5, 2013 while in office.

Nicolas Maduro was democratically elected president by a majority of the Venezuelan people April 14, 2013 to fill the vacancy left by his longtime beloved comrade in struggle. Before being elected president, Maduro served as minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2012 and vice president from 2012 to 2013 under Chavez.

Despite claims by the capitalist oligarchy opposition and Trump that the election of Maduro was unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Venezuela validated the election and so did the Venezuelan Congress (Asamblea Nacional). There is only one president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and that is Nicholas Maduro.

Trump’s attempt at creating civil unrest and regime change in Venezuela for capitalistic, imperialistic, hegemonic greed must be condemned and defeated!