The truth about Venezuela

January 21st, 2003 – 10:12 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

“Walking around Caracas late last month during Venezuela’s ongoing protests, I was surprised by what I saw. My expectations had been shaped by persistent U.S. media coverage of the nationwide strike called by the opposition, which seeks President Hugo Chavez’s ouster. Yet in most of the city, where poor and working-class people live, there were few signs of the strike. Streets were crowded with holiday shoppers, metro trains and buses were running normally, and shops were open for business. Only in the eastern, wealthier neighborhoods of the capital were businesses mostly closed.

This is clearly an oil strike, not a ‘general strike,’ as it is often described. At the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, which controls the industry, management is leading the strike because it is at odds with the Chavez government. And while Venezuela depends on oil for 80 percent of its export earnings and half its national budget, the industry’s workers represent a tiny fraction of the labor force. Outside the oil industry, it is hard to find workers who are actually on strike. Some have been locked out from their jobs, as business owners — including big foreign corporations such as McDonald’s and FedEx — have closed their doors in support of the opposition.

Most Americans seem to believe that the Chavez government is a dictatorship, and one of the most repressive governments in Latin America. But these impressions are false.”

So begins an excellent piece from the Washington Post about what’s really going on in Venezuela. Simply put, the same people who supported the coup attempt against Caavez last year are now behind the “opposition” attempts to oust him now. These people don’t really want democracy in Venezuela, they just want a return to the power they had before Chavez was elected.

Read the whole article here, and read about Jimmy Carter’s attempts to broker a deal between the two sides here.

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