Sunday, October 08, 2006

'Mass' Anti-Chavez Demonstration in Caracas

Some of the right-wing press could barely contain themselves when they saw the news about demonstrations in Caracas. Some seem to believe that this is the emerging of a mass opposition movement against the leadership of Chavez. According to that bastion of conservative thought Fox News, there were as many as 10,000 demonstrators in Caracas. Yes, 10,000. The population of Caracas is around 4 million, meaning that 0.25% of the population came out to demonstrate against Chavez. This compares to the recent demonstrations in Mexico City where 6.7% of the population came out to demonstrate against the recent election. Hardly an indication of a mass opposition movement.

The fact is that the American right are eager to jump on any band wagon that seeks to destabilise Chavez. They have tried to overthrow him before and they are eager to do so again, particularly after his performance at the UN. What a lot of the media fail to mention is the fact that the candidate in opposition also supported the US backed coup through his signing of the Carmona Decree. The fact is that Chavez is incredibly popular in Venezuela, particularly with the poor. His approval ratings are somewhere around the 70% mark on a regular basis, substantially higher than Bush (currently 33%). Furthermore, he has also brought down the amount of people living below the poverty line (60.94% in 1997 to 43.70% in the last quarter of 2005). Of course, to a party that protects the interests of the rich, this is deeply worrying and any sign of opposition is warmly received.

There is no doubt that the American administration are deeply troubled by the successes of the Chavez government. The idea of putting the people before the interests of big business is an anathema to them. That is why prominent Republicans call for Chavez to be assassinated and why Chavez has legitimate concerns about his own safety. As far as the administration is concerned, a leader who represents the poor is a clear and present danger and they will seek to remove him from power by any means necessary. Observers will watch the upcoming elections with a very close eye.

Further Information: Alvaro Vargas Llosa Sends Hugo Chavez to Dante's Inferno
by Stephen Lendman
at ZNet