By Laura Bécquer Paseiro
APPROXIMATELY 19 million Venezuelans are convened to vote in the October 7 presidential elections. On that day, the candidate who wins the majority of valid votes cast within a system of universal, direct and secret suffrage, as established in the Article 228 of the Constitution, will be responsible for leading the country for the next six years.
The nation’s future is in the hands of Venezuelans: to continue the revolutionary process or hand the country over to the oligarchy and the transnationals. In the power equation, a win for the right would not only signify a retrogression in terms of everything attained in the 14 years of Bolivarian Revolution, but also the possibility of the return of a large counterrevolutionary wave in the region.
At the external level, the country’s electoral process represents another key decision, as to whether there will be a continuance of the politics of integration on the basis of cooperation among the peoples, a politics in which the Bolivarian government has played a leading role, or whether this line is broken in Our America.
Running for the October 7 elections are the Gran Polo Patriótico (GPP), a coalition of parties and organizations supporting the candidacy of current President Hugo Chávez Frías, and, on the opposition, the right-wing Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD), whose candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, is backed by powerful economic groups among the bourgeoisie, closely linked to the United States. The remaining candidates are María Bolívar, Partido Democrático Unido por la Paz y la Libertad; Orlando Chirino, Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL); Rafael Uzcátegui, Patria Para Todos (PPT); Yoel Acosta Chirinos, Movimiento Vanguardia Bicentenaria Republicana (VBR); Luis Reyes, Organización Renovadora Auténtica (ORA); and Reina Sequera, Poder Laboral
HOMELAND PROGRAM V. NEOLIBERAL PACKAGE
The GPP candidate Comandante Hugo Chávez’s program for Bolivarian socialism in Venezuela 2013-2019 was presented by the President when he registered for reelection in June. It contains five principal strategic objectives, which will become the Simón Bolívar 2nd Socialist Plan of the Nation. The proposals – put to the population – include consolidating national independence, continuing the construction of Bolivarian socialism, converting Venezuela into both an economic and political power, contributing to the development of a new international geopolitics defending a pluripolar world, and preserving life on the planet and humanity’s survival.
This is a broad outline of the government proposal for the next six years, formulated in order to continue the revolutionary process, which has promoted major social projects based on larger investments in the fields of health, education, housing, public services, increased pensions and the development of missions.
The opposition "counterpart" is attempting to implement a neoliberal package which would destroy efforts directed at the equitable development of Venezuelan society. The economic program presented by Capriles, known as Guidelines of the Unidad Nacional Government Program, "is an attempt to reedit neoliberal formulas in counter to the well-being of the population," according to Jesse Chacón, director of the 21st Century Social Research Group (GIS XXI).
The right-wing formula is the same installed in Venezuela years ago. Under the slogan "progressive," it contains measures directed at the privatization of public assets to the benefit of private capital and, as part of this attempt, to re-channel state priorities.
It is a project which overtly proposes to dismantle state economic power and, if that were little enough, the gradual elimination of the social programs under the pretext that they are a too great a cost for the state.
In this context, Chacón warns that "as a classic neoliberal economic prescription, the program seeks to create the conditions for the gradual dismantling of social rights, taking the route of financial austerity spending cutbacks." This is why many analysts are calling Capriles the Caribbean Rajoy.
The equation has been posed in the political plane of contemporary Venezuela: two development models, one based on popular participation and the other comprising politics linked to the old exercise of bourgeois power. Venezuelans will decide which direction to take.
September 20, 2012