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If We Were Venezuelans...

We Would Vote for Hugo Chavez

by TARIQ ALI, PERRY ANDERSON, WALDEN BELLO, Et Al

IF WE WERE VENEZUELAN, ON AUGUST 15TH, 2004, WE WOULD VOTE FOR HUGO CHAVEZ

We, the signers of this manifesto, wish to express our solidarity with the struggle that, alongside President Hugo Chavez, the majority of the Venezuelan people are waging in defense of their right to freely determine their future.

At the same time, we wish to denounce the disinformation campaign that is being orchestrated by the major media and that attempts to characterize as a tyrant, a President who has consistently respected the rule of law and the country1s Constitution.

In the democratic elections of December 1998, and all of the elections that have taken place since, Hugo Chavez won landslide victories. In accordance with the promises made during his campaign, he is in the process of carrying out fundamental political, economic and social reforms in a country that, for decades, was subjected to the dictates of an oligarchical minority. As a result of this program of reforms, he has been targeted by Venezuelan and international corporations and financial institutions, and the media organizations that defend their interests

Hugo Chavez has become the defender of his country1s poor majority and has dedicated himself to promoting the principles of Venezuela1s new Constitution adopted by popular referendum in 1999, following a process of vast democratic participation. This extraordinarily progressive Constitution contains a provision that allows for a referendum on the mandate of any elected official, half-way through his or her term in office. As a result of this provision, on August 15th of this year, a popular referendum will determine whether Hugo Chavez will remain President of Venezuela until the end of his 5-year mandate.

This sort of constitutional mechanism is unique in Latin America and perhaps in the rest of the world as well. How many heads-of-state would have the courage to put their popularity to the test before finishing their term ? Hugo Chavez has demonstrated this courage and has thus given a democratic lesson to the sectors of the Venezuelan opposition that have, in the past, resorted to coup d1Etats, economic sabotage, lies and managerial lockouts in an attempt to undermine the country1s constitutional order. They are now obliged to act within a legal framework that they had previously chosen to disregard.

We are certain that, on August 15th, the Venezuelan people will celebrate a new victory that will allow them to continue building a freer and fairer

society ; the country that Simon Bolivar dreamt of.

This is why we reaffirm that : IF WE WERE VENEZUELAN, ON AUGUST 15TH WE WOULD VOTE FOR HUGO CHAVEZ.

 

Tariq Ali ( Pakistan-Great Britain): Writer
Perry Anderson (Great Britain): Historian
Walden Bello (Filipina): Economist, Awardee, 2003 Right Livelihood Prize

Tony Benn (Great Britain): Politician
Robin Blackburn (Great Britain): Sociologist
Victoria Brittain (Great Britain): Journalist
Atlio Boron (Argentina): Economist
Chico Buarque (Brazil) musician
Jose Bove: ex spokeman of la Confederation Paysanne, member of Via
Campesina.
Bernard Cassen: Founder of ATTAC
Luciana Castellina (Italy): Journalist
Manu Chao (Spain-France): Musician
Jean Pierre Chevenement (France): Politician
Alexander Cockburn (Ireland/USA): Journalist
Alex Cox (Great Britain): Film Maker
Celso Furtado (Brazil): Economist
Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay): Writer
George Galloway (Great Britain): Politician
Richard Gott (Great Britain): Historian
Eric Hobsbawm (Great Britain): Historian
Mike Hodges (Great Britain): Film maker
Francois Houtart (Belgium): Centre Tricontinentale
Saul Landau, (USA), author, film Maker
Ken Livingstone (Great Britain): Mayor of London
Naomi Klein (Canada): Journalist
Ken Loach, Film Director
Fernando Morais (Brazil) : Writer
Sami Nair (France) : Sociologist
Oscar Niemeyer (Brazil): Architect
Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina): Nobel Peace Prize
James Petras (USA): Sociologist
John Pilger (Australia): Journalist
Harold Pinter (Great Britain): Playwright
Ignacio Ramonet (France): Writer
Emir Sader (Brazil): Sociologist
Jeffrey St. Clair (USA): Journalist
Joao Pedro Stedile (Brazil): Landless Peasant Leader
Rudy Wurlizer (USA): script writer