The Venezuelan revolutionary process has developed on one unique and indispensable pillar: popular sovereignty. Attempts to topple this pillar have been incessant: coup d’etat, oil industry sabotage, dirty media war, international financing, electoral crimes and so forth. Nevertheless, and to the surprise of the elite and to the strategists from the North, the pillar remains firm and intact. The recall referendum, far from becoming a successful attempt at toppling it, will be transformed into the reinforcement and the definitive consolidation of the pillar.
Thus we are beginning an unprecedented democratic contest. We have been presented with two options: on the one hand to maintain and consolidate our popular sovereignty by means of constructing a democratic, humanistic path to social inclusion; on the other hand, to be casualties in the game of the powerful, to destroy the pillar, and to return to a time of submission and the absence of sovereignty, deepeing the inexplicable social exclusion in our society. The media will be the tip of the spear for the second option, trying, as they have been for the last 5 years, to gain supporters by morally damaging the government and the President through a foundation of lies, slurs, and above all, terror.
Many opponents have felt cheated by the position of President Chávez in accepting the challenge of the referendum. Many of them wanted to continue playing democrat versus the tyrant. But the supposed dictator gave them a lesson in democracy, showered them with tolerance, and carried them directly to the terrain of the vote. At this point the media are confused, trying to exagerrate strange violent events in the center of Caracas, desperate because already the image of tyranny that they have tried to saddle the Venezuelan popular government with has remained absent from the headlines of the international press. They know they are playing their last card, that if they lose this match they lose it all.
As Venezuelans we have in our hands and our will the possibility to put an end, once and for all, to the fourth Republic. President Chávez’ imminent victory in the recall election will be inexorably projected in both time and space. In time because it will signify, not only a triumph in 2004, but as a consequence it will assure victory in the presidential elections of 2006. In the physical space of the nation it will guarantee surprising results in the regional elections in September that will further entrench the revolution at the state and municipal levels. And likewise in the international arena, for many governments are analysing events in Venezuela in order gain direction toward autonomy and inclusion for their own nations, as well as the millions of latin-americans that see in the Bolivarian Revolution a point of reference that can be repeated in their countries.
The process of change in Venezuela is fed, nourished, and strengthened with votes, with democracy, and with equality. Although to some it may seem a manichean juxtaposition, the Venezuelan opposition has placed various dilemmas before the people: future or past; inclusion or exclusion; equality or inequality; power of the majority or power of the minority; sovereignty or submission; national plans of development or transnational plans of dependence; Caracas or Miami; Chávez or Bush. And with those votes supporting ‘el proceso’ Venezuelans will deliver a conclusive answer to each one of these dilemmas. The referendum will be nothing more than the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution, and the reaffirmation of the leadership of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Latin America.
Now every Venezuelan who is an integral part of the pillar of popular national sovereignty must maintain utmost vigilance, take firm steps forward and work hard to guarantee that the avalanche of votes in the recall referendum leaves behind the past, the elite, their plans of destablization, and their attempts to sell the nation. Every one of us should act as a multiplier of the principles and achievements of “the process,” a defender of the Constitution and an active agent in the coming referendum campaign. It will not be the people who destroy dreams and hopes. Victory must be overwhelming so that never again will they dare to raise their voices or their arms against the Republic, against the Bolivarian ideal, against justice, against peace.
*Editor’s note: “The Process” is a common term used in Venezuela to refer to the Bolivarian process of social transformation that the Chavez government is working to implement.
Jorge Arreaza is a political talk show host on the state run television station VTV.
Translated from Spanish by Jonah Gindin.