Champion of the People, Champion for the Women of Venezuela

President Hugo Chávez
President Hugo Chávez

We salute our commandante President Hugo Chávez who was a valiant and fearless revolutionary and defender of socialism and for the masses of the people, not just in Venezuela, but also worldwide.

The significance of this leader to not only Venezuela, but to Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and to the world is underestimated today, but will be better understood and appreciated in years to come.

While many criticise him today, it is clear why President Chávez was so very popular with the masses of the people in Venezuela and worldwide. For all the criticism that his government receives, especially during the elections and post his transition, with claims of mismanagement of the economy, it was clear to the masses on the very bottom of the economic ladder in central and south America and especially to those in Venezuela that there was a noticeable reduction in poverty. This reduction of poverty was due to the Chávez government not just talking about poverty and campaigning on the reduction of poverty, but actually reducing poverty by taking back control of the national petroleum company PDVSA. And unlike the capitalist societies where the revenues of the oil production are largely spent on government cronies or the elite, these profits where spent on development of social programs and improvements of the badly needed infrastructure of the society! In Venzuela, government spending increased 60.6%, a whooping $772 billion dollars of the last 10 years.

Venezuela is a democratic society despite what the U.S. press tells us. They practice a different participatory democracy than America.

In their democracy, you don’t have to be a millionaire to run for office! You don’t need a million dollars to run a campaign and you aren’t expected to pay cronies and lobbyist to gain popularity of certain issues of a certain constituency. This participatory democracy allows a bus driver, who just ran and won office to become President! That is democracy, of the people, for the people.

And why have the women of Venezuela, of all of Latin America embraced Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution?

Women make up 70% of the 30,000 Communal counsels throughout the country. Women are also holding important government positions such as ministers, President of the Supreme court, Attorney General, and Vice President of the governing political party PSUV to mention a few.

It is because the Bolivarian Revolution has become a social and Cultural Revolution that has required the poor, thus the majority of its women, to become full partners in the transformation of the society! This is what socialism means to all societies, that the entire mass of the society participate in its development, its advancement and the benefits of its success!

This is what Venezuela has promised under the Chávez Government and it delivered on its promise.

How you ask? It started with its constitution in 1990.

In the constitution, it guaranteed, for the first time in their history, women would receive equal pay for equal work (article 91). The right to be free from all forms of violence according to the International Convention against Discrimination against women (article 21); the benefits of protection and support during maturity in all its forms (article 76); and the most famous article 88 the declaration and guarantee that women’s domestic work be considered productive economy activity entitled to public pensions. This is unique to socialism but unheard of in capitalist societies. In fact, many of the constitutional guarantees are unheard of in capitalist countries and would never exist because the profits of production go only to the rich top 2% of the elite and nothing but misery trickles to the masses.

Long live the Bolivarian Revolution! For it is the women who defended the Revolution with their lives when President Chávez was kidnapped and held in the early years of his Presidency. With these guarantees changing the lives of the masses and especially the women, they took it upon themselves to insure the Revolution they fought for would continue and so the military sided with the women and the masses in the end and Chávez was returned!!!

There are many accounts of the women who took control of the Women of the Revolution in Venezuela defending this revolution, which made promises to them that were fulfilled. There is the account of the girl who with her friends on motorbikes surrounded the government television station and took it back from the coup makers after they had tried to seize it. And the story of the older woman in the slums of El Valle who shamed the military at their own headquarters and diffused a potentially deadly situation and charged them to put their guns down. This is the power and support President Chávez had of the women of the Bolivarian Revolution. Why? Because he and the government kept their promises to the people as best they could.

Since then, some 13 years later, the lives of the poor and especially women have been significantly changed due to this social and cultural revolution which required re-education of both women and men, literally all of society.

Poverty was reduced from 49% in 1998 to 27% in 2011 and extreme poverty reduced to 7.3%.  Unemployment was reduced from 11.3% to 7.7%. The overall economy has grown 43% since 1998. Very few countries can boast of this accomplishment. Even the critics can not find a capitalist society where this progress can be found. In fact, europe’s and america’s economy is headed in exactly the opposite direction, which is why the miseducation and anti socialist propaganda has intensified. This example can not be demonstrated as an alternative to the world for capitalism!!! And the victories of Venezuela have been felt throughout Central and South America and throughout the world!

Women are not only the recipients of the socialist initiatives such as Ban Mujer, a women’s bank that offers micro loans and encourages women to start their own businesses, but they are also involved in the political planning and execution of the programs.

Women make up 70% of the 30,000 Communal counsels throughout the country. Women are also holding important government positions such as ministers, President of the Supreme court, Attorney General, and Vice President of the governing political party PSUV to mention a few.

The advances in health, education, homesteading, business and social development are astounding. The victory of the Chávez Revolution is that it has empowered the people to fight for the advancement of their society and they are winning. Women are probably the greatest benefactors of the Bolivarian Revolution and will be its greatest defenders!

We salute the life and contributions of Comandante President Hugo Chávez who defended the liberty and integrity of Women and thus has guaranteed the firm foundation upon which liberation of Venezuela will continue to be built and for that matter, the continuation of the Revolution throughout the region.

Long live the Bolivarian Revolution. Long live President Hugo Chávez!

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About the Author
Mzuri Pambeli

A long time organizer for African people, AAPRP militant, writer for and editor of Revolutionary African Women website: R.A.W., http://www.revolutionaryafricanwomen.net

Author Name: 

Mzuri Pambeli

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