Thursday, November 29, 2007

Venezuela: hammer, anvil and pliers.

Entirely predictable and unshocking revelations about the CIA's anti-Chavez campaign have emerged, as I'm sure you've all seen. Chavez is to be assailed on all fronts through violent subversion, electoral chicanery, and the CIA is even looking for a left-flank in Trotskyist opposition to some of Chavez's policies. Bad news for the CIA: the polls (not those from the guys who want Chavez killed), suggest that socialism is supported by most Venezuelans; Chavez is still very popular; and he will probably overwhelmingly win the vote on his constitutional changes. Not all of Chavez's changes are to the good - it is a complex mix, with some measures to consolidate the ten percent of the economy that is common property and bolster grassroots democracy, and other centralising measures that militate against this. Yet, only in the CIA's condescending analysis could it be the case that left-wing criticism of government policy will turn the masses into a despondent, apathetic bloc. Far more worrying is the call for coordinated action with military attaches. This is unlikely to lead to a successful coup on the model of 1973, since Chavez has much of the military on his side. Yet, it can destabilise the society enough, along with contrived economic chaos, to derail the society and force Chavez into a bunkered, bureaucratic corner. As ever, only the combined power of the Venezuelan working class can save the situation: Mike Gonzales has a sharp analysis of the broader political issues here.