The following is a re-print of a March 5th, 2013 Liberation News statement by Steven Argue associated with the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party:
On the Death of Hugo Chavez
by Steven Argue
“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
― Malcolm X
Hugo Chavez just died.
Many brain dead Americans who were taught by the capitalist media to hate him will cheer. Despite being repeatedly elected by the Venezuelan people, the propagandists of U.S. imperialism portrayed Chavez as a dictator. This is just another typical lie of U.S. imperialism.
Hugo Chavez stood up to U.S. imperialism in limited ways that included refusing to privatize Venezuelan oil and spending some of that oil money on the needs Venezuelan people. This cut into imperialist profit. As a result, the United States helped organize a coup in 2002 that installed a capitalist dictatorship and no doubt would have killed Chavez and much of the leftist opposition, as CIA organized coups have a tradition of doing in Latin America. Yet, that didn't happen because the Venezuelan people rose up, splitting the military rank and file from the military brass. In the end, the military brass knew that they had lost their grip on power and that there would have been a revolution if they didn't bring Chavez back. So they did.
The people had won against U.S. imposed tyranny. Yet the fact that Hugo Chavez never tried to abolish the capitalist state or the capitalist system has kept the limited gains won through his leadership in a precarious position. Those gains must be defended against U.S. imperialism and the Venezuelan capitalist class as those enemies of humanity will try to use Chavez's death to push Venezuela backwards.
Yet, Venezuela needs far more than Chavez's reforms of an otherwise capitalist system, Venezuela needs a proletarian revolution that socializes the economy and smashes the capitalist state. A revolution which among other things will include eliminating the abusive capitalist police forces and guaranteeing full employment, housing, education, and health care.
U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!
Defend the Gains Won Under Chavez!
Smash the Capitalist State!
Forward to Workers Power and a Socialist Economy in Venezuela!
End U.S. Imperialism Through Socialist Revolution in the United States!