Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pounced his opposition winning
re-election on December 3 with 61 percent of the vote.
Minutes after the announcement of his victory, Chavez appeared
on the balcony of the presidential palace singing the national
anthem. As he stood before the thousands of Venezuelans who
were waving flags and wearing red shirts in the pouring rain,
he pledged to deepen his effort to transform Venezuela into
a socialist society.
Chavez shouted, "Long live the socialist revolution! Destiny
has been written.”
He continued, "That new era has begun. We have shown that
Venezuela is red! No one should fear socialism… Socialism
is human. Socialism is love. Down with imperialism! We need
a new world!"
Chavez has been a critical force in the forward motion in Latin
America since he won Venezuela’s presidential election
in 1998. Since then, he has survived a U.S.-orchestrated coup
in 2002 after masses of people overthrew the coup and reinstalled
him. Following the 2002 coup, there have been various attempts
to eliminate Chavez including an attempted coup in 2004, a recall
referendum and sabotage of oil facilities by the Venezuelan
All this time, the government of President Hugo Chavez used
Venezuela’s rich oil industry to build social programs
providing free higher education to the millions of Venezuelan
high school drop-outs, free medical clinics throughout the country,
thousands of homes to those with inadequate or no housing, cheap
oil to other countries throughout Latin America and the world
and even cheap heating oil for poor people in the United States.
Leading up to the electoral process, Chavez made it clear that
in this election, his opposition was not just the slated opponents,
but also U.S. imperialism which supported Manuel Rosales, his
Chavez’s victory is the victory of the people of Venezuela,
and his declaration to deepen Venezuela’s move to socialism
seems to be another nail driven into the coffin of imperialism
that is being buried by the resistance of colonized peoples
around the world.