The US government and Presidential candidate John Kerry have announced that President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is a threat to the United States. What is most ironic is that while using a different framework through which to analyze this statement, this is true. The vision of Hugo Chavez and the strong community organizing of the Venezuelan people little by little destroys the corrupt, imperialist, and repressive vision and practice of the US government and its capacity to intervene in the affairs of the people, minimizing their efforts to control the beloved nation called Venezuela. In fact, it transforms their framework while resisting it- that is why recently Colin Powell announced after the referendum that the US, while in “disagreement” over policies and ideology, will find ways in which to cooperate with the Venezuelan government. The work of the people makes it even more impossible for the US government to execute its plan to rule by a foreign hand, buying officials within while foreign banks come to partake in the fruits of the capitalist machine of globalization that has destroyed so many lives and so many countries. However, they continue to sing the cry of threat and danger, their fingers pointed toward Hugo Chavez, the leader of the resistance against neoliberalism and imperialism.
The importance of Venezuela as a political theme has increased as the long awaited elections near in November in the United States. Of course, both candidates George Bush and John Kerry are so similar that really there is no difference; they are figures representing the same interests of domination. The differences over which they continue to squabble are miniscule, yet magnified in an effort by the private media to create more drama and to maintain the power of the two-party system. They fundamentally agree in many areas, but one in which they both agree particularly strongly: the threat of Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan people. Of course strategically, Venezuela means one thing to them- oil. They don’t see a people, a beautiful land rich with history and culture and principled politics from which they could most certainly learn- they see dollars and an opportunity, under the right conditions, to snag the resources that belong to another people. But there’s just one problem- the determination and struggle of a people and a revolution that has already firmly planted its roots, with a leader that will never ever sell his people nor his country nor their sovereignty as a people. What’s more, is that the beautiful and fierce example of the Bolivarian Revolution doesn’t just remain closed within the borders of Venezuela. Each day it grows and extends itself throughout Latin America, in Ecuador, in Bolivia, in Brazil, in Argentina, blossoming and creating a more united people and a consciousness of the power possible in the roots of community over empire. This is the threat which they actually describe, the threat against them themselves and their project to conquer the world.
Of course, what they mean to say is that Chavez is a terrorist threat, that he ideologically supports terrorists through his anti-imperialist resistance, which means danger for the US homeland in the light of the September 11th attacks. But in reality, it is that little by little, this resistance, in combination with the empowerment of the Venezuelan people, damages their own terrorist campaign and domination, and that they fear that this process will empower and inspire other oppressed people to rise up, to organize, to reclaim their humanity and their society. Because no longer does it work to pour billions of dollars into opposition groups in hopes of generating another coup, as they did through the NED, the National Endowment for Democracy, a right-wing group that in the name of democracy funds opposition groups that promote US imperialist interests in other countries throughout the world. This was one of the great lessons of the August 15th referendum, that the power already belongs to the people and it is impossible to take that away. That no longer can billions of imported dollars save your oligarchy. The people have sung their message. They have said, “No Volverán!”, that they won’t go back. And this is the threat.
KATHERINE LAHEY is a student at the University of California. She is spending six months in Venezuela studying the revolutionary process. She can be reached at: email@example.com