Gregory Wilpert, a freelance writer based in Venezuela’s capital Caracas, has written a very useful study of the history and policies of the Chavez government in Venezuela. He examines its governance policy, economic policy, social policy and foreign policy. He looks at the opportunities, obstacles and prospects facing the Venezuelan people, and explores Chavez’s ideas of 21st-century socialism.
In 1998, the people elected Hugo Chavez President, with 56.2 per cent of the votes. In the 2004 recall referendum, he won 58 per cent of the votes and in the 2006 election, 62.9 per cent.
Wilpert notes that the previous ruling class’s counter-revolutionary acts against the Chavez government have each radicalised the government. He also notes that between 2001 and 2005, the US state sent $27 million to opposition groups.
The government is promoting micro-credits, cooperatives, worker co-management, efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, and skills training and logistical support to help people to start coops and social enterprises. Its social programmes have cut poverty from 44 percent to 38 per cent.
Wilpert shows how the Chavez government is trying to move from representative democracy to a more participatory democracy.
This is an excellent introduction to the history and policies of the Chavez government, joining Eva Golinger’s The Chavez code, and Bart Jones’ Hugo! The Hugo Chavez story: from mud hut to perpetual revolution.
In response to Changing Venezuela by Taking Power
by Gregory Wilpert