Nicolas Maduro wins elections in Venezuela, but opposition is still growing

Nicolas Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela has won the elections in Venezuela. Maduro replaced Hugo Chavez, who died in March 2013. This however is not a great victory as some left-wing people would like to see. Maduro won 50,6% of the vote and his opponent Henrique Capriles got 49,4%. The capitalist opposition got 5% more votes compared to the elections in 2012! 

The Bolivian Republic of Venezuela stands divided. Even workers and poor people are switching side to the Democratic Unity Round-table, a coalition of anti-Chavez political parties led by the capitalist opposition. Henrique Capriles has been the face of the opposition, he is a member of Justice First, the main liberal capitalist opposition party. But the Democratic Unity Round-table also united center-leftist parties like A New Era, Democratic Action and Radical Cause. The last party Radical Cause claims to fight for socialism and workers rights. It shows that even leftist party have joined the opposition! 

This is a result of the bureaucratic rule of Hugo Chavez, who ruled Venezuela almost 14 years. Chavez won every election with ease. His main supporters were workers and poor people. The opposition made the error of using old pro-capitalist and anti-socialist rhetoric against him. But today the opposition had changed their rhetoric. Now Henrique Capriles is portraying himself as a leftist social democrat and a supporter of the social programs started by Hugo Chavez. By using left-wing slogans, Henrique Capriles is able to rally many workers who feel a big disillusionment with the supposed ''socialist'' government!

While the opposition may have lost another election to the Chavez camp, it shows that Venezuela is deeply divided. The poor may still support the legacy of Chavez, but the working class are losing faith. They know that the bureaucratic rule of Chavez has not led to socialism or any genuine changes in their lives. Workers also remember the authoritarian use of police forces to crush strikes, all under the government of Hugo Chavez. The nationalized enterprises are run by bureaucratic state-managers who behave just like their old capitalist bosses. There is also the feeling that Henrique Capriles may end corruption and crime. Because corruption and crime remain very high in Venezuela! 

But we revolutionary socialists know better. Henrique Capriles is a supporter of capitalism and the free market economy. He is born to a wealthy family of business people and never lived in poverty. Capriles belongs to the 20%, who enjoyed wealth and luxury in a nation were 80% of all people lived used to live in poverty. It was not until Chavez's reforms that extreme poverty dropped from 24% in 1999 to 4% in 2004. Capriles became a member of the Political Electoral Independent Organization Committee ( christian democratic party ) and was elected in 1998, as a member of Parliament! 

After Hugo Chavez became president it was Capriles who founded the political party: Justice First. Unlike the Political Electoral Independent Organization Committee, Justice First is a social liberal party with a economic liberal agenda. Capriles was elected mayor of the Baruta Municipality between 2000 and 2008. He was able to defeat the pro-Chavez candidate in his city likely do to his popularity with the rich and his good record on fighting crime. In 2008 he became governor of Miranda Province. It was then that he called himself center-leftist. A social liberal by choice and an opponent of state intervention in the economy!

Henrique Capriles and the capitalist opposition soon build the Democratic Unity Round-Table. A lose coalition of anti-Chavez political parties. At the head of this coalition was the Justice First party of Henrique Capriles. He would be the face of the opposition to Hugo Chavez. Capriles would like to see a market friendly government in Venezuela, a clear indication that he wants to return to the day's when capitalism ruled unopposed!

Nicolas Maduro and the Chavez camp offered no socialist alternative. The only reason many people supported him, was because many feared a capitalist victory. Also many poor people are still loyal to the legacy of the late Hugo Chavez. Hope for a socialist future is still dominating many people. But if Maduro does not make some radical changes the next time he stands in elections, it is likely that the opposition can win!

With Chavez now death, he is turning into a semi-god, just like many other  authoritarian leaders. Hugo Chavez is regarded as a great hero and there are dangerous signals, that a cult of personality is evolving. Maduro has even cursed all those who would not vote for him. Fear of losing power has led to many undemocratic quotes by Chavez supporters against the opposition. On the other hand, the opposition is also playing a dirty game. By using leftist slogans they try to brainwash the working class into voting for them! 

Conservatives and right-wing rhetoric would not be able to win any election anymore. This is why the capitalist opposition is now using social liberal or social democratic rhetoric. They knew that classic right-wing propaganda would not work in a nation were socialism is not a ideology for ''dictatorship''. They always used anti-socialist propaganda and that was not supporters by most people. Only the rich loved the lies about socialism spread by capitalist parties! 

But even with the victory of Maduro we revolutionary socialists are not optimistic.  Workers cannot trust the United Socialist Party of Venezuela ( PSUV ). This party has turned itself into a bureaucratic centralist group. For them Hugo Chavez is a god and any criticism of their ''great leader'' is branded ''counterrevolutionary''. There are no free debates, since all political debates are made by the party's leaders. Ordinary party members have very little to say. In a way the PSUV is build up like the Communist Party of Cuba. Build around the charisma of one leader. In Cuba it was build around Fidel Castro. In Venezuela it was build around Hugo Chavez! 

Revolutionary socialists think that socialism cannot be build by voting for the pro-Chavez camp. Workers must do it themselves and not rely on state leaders. The capitalist opposition is growing and the government is losing support. Only the working class is able to change the nation from a state-capitalist state into a socialist workers state. But in order to do that a new workers party must be build. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela does not seem to be a workers party, they are the party of the state bureaucrats and boli-bourgeoisie. Even they will use the state against workers and their families!

Nicolas Maduro stands next to a painting of 
Hugo Chavez who died in March 2013

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism