“On November 23, we will not just be voting
for this or that governorship, we will be deciding the destiny of this
revolutionary process”, Stalin Perez Borges, a national coordinator of
the National Union of Workers (UNT) and United Socialist Party of
Venezuela (PSUV) militant, told Green Left Weekly.
mayors and hundreds of state legislative assembly members will occur —
a crucial contest between the revolutionary forces lead by President
Hugo Chavez (mainly grouped in the PSUV) and the US-backed right-wing
Perez Borges and militants from the different union currents that
are also in the PSUV have been organising in their unions and
workplaces to ensure a strong victory in these elections.
“Our position is that, despite some of the problems that exist, we
as revolutionaries will be participating not just on voting day, but in
the campaign. This is the best way to strengthen and deepen the
Asked about the possible outcome, Perez Borges stated that the
situation today is “contradictory”. These elections provide “an
enormous opportunity to deal a big blow to the right and imperialism”,
particularly given that the opposition candidates look bad.
“Yet, despite the high approval rating for Chavez, in the factories
and in some neighbourhoods there is a strong sense of malaise,
discontent against the government and apathy towards participating in
The reason, according to Perez Borges, is that “among some of those
in the PSUV and functionaries in the government, important errors are
Perez Borges said that while one of the problems is that the some
of the candidates do not want to work with all the different forces
within the mass-based PSUV, provoking discontent in the ranks, “what is
most grave is that there are problems that are not being resolved when
they could be, creating conflict”.
“Take the example of the contract workers in Sidor [steel factory,
nationalised by Chavez in April]: for three months, the government,
[basic industry minister] Rodolfo Sanz, the governor and the company
president have been breaking promises in regards to resolving the
problems of the 8000 contract workers.”
Angered by the lack of government response, the contract workers —
whose conditions are far worse than the smaller number of permanent
workers — went on strike for 90 hours on October 17, as tensions rose
to the point of exploding.
The situation further escalated after Sanz called two meetings for
October 29 and 30 with the contract workers — and then failed to show.
Fed up with the lack of government response, the workers set up
roadblocks and began burning tyres.
“This is just one of many examples. There are similar situations in
[aluminium plant] ALCASA, in the electrical sector, the car industry,
and that is without talking about the problems of the local
“All this is a problem not just from an electoral point of view,
but is a political problem because it weakens the worker and popular
base of the revolution, which is what sustains Chavez”, Perez Borges
“The people are not going to go against this process, and if Chavez
was the candidate, everyone would turn out to vote, but many of the
candidates are doing little to raise enthusiasm.
“Instead, Chavez — together with some good candidates and the
revolutionary bases — has once again had to mount the campaign on his
“There is no excuse for not winning. The crisis that capitalism is
facing today demonstrates that it is no alternative. We have time to
win everything, so that not a single governorship falls into the hands
of the enemy.
“But these candidates should also be clear: our votes are for
Chavez and the deepening of the revolutionary process”, insisted Perez
“And if because of their actions and state functionaries who don’t
listen to the people, the result are not as favourable as they should
be, they have no excuse for turning around and saying that the people
are not prepared to push forward.
“Everyone will have to assume their share of the responsibility for the result.”
[Federico Fuentes is part of the Green Left Weekly Caracas bureau. GLW is
the only Australian media outlet with a journalist based in Latin
America. To keep up to date with the ongoing coverage of the Latin
American revolutions, subscribe at subscribe now.]
From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #773 5 November 2008.