by Stephen Lendman
In America, money power controls elections. People have no say. Each party replicates the other. Venezuela is different.
Voters take full advantage. They choose real democrats over fake ones. It shows in how Venezuelans are governed.
On October 7, they reelected Chavez overwhelmingly. On December 16, they'll vote again in regional elections. At stake are 23 regional governorships and 229 local legislative positions.
Currently, Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) controls 17 of 23 states. Key opposition candidates represent the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition.
Small parties have their own candidates. On October 6, they didn't get enough support to matter. On December 16, they won't likely fare better.
Chavez heads PSUV. It looks strong. He's confident of victory. In early November, he said "the revolution will triumph in the great majority of states in Venezuela."
In America, campaigns never end. Money dominated politics decides everything. Venezuela is much different. Campaigning runs six weeks. Issues matter.
Voters choose what benefits them. National Electoral Council (CNE) vice president Sandra Oblitas said they'll be "space for ideas (to let voters) make their best decision in awareness, peace and calm, just as we've done in every electoral process."
It's true. Jimmy Carter called Venezuela's system "the best in the world." America's is one of the worst. It's money infested and controlled.
US voters get same old, same old. Not a dime's worth of difference separates parties. It shows in who holds high office. They mock democratic governance. America's electoral process has no legitimacy whatever.
Including Caracas (Venezuela's Capital District), Chavez carried 22 of Venezuela's 24 states. Local gubernatorial and legislative races will be more closely contested.
Ahead of presidential voting, Chavez's opposition was in disarray. Henrique Captiles' top aide was sacked for taking bribe money. His offense was getting caught.
Party defections followed. Internal dissension showed some members rejected extremist platform issues. Reports suggest it's happening again. Four opposition National Assembly (AN) members left the party.
AN member Ricardo Sanchez said:
"We don't want to continue under the tutelage of a political leadership which behaves in an abusive and arbitrary manner."
"We don't want to continue being part of an organization controlled by small power groups that ally themselves to ensure their bureaucratic positions in the state."
Internal dissension bodes ill for party unity and electoral success. In contrast, Chavez reasserted key PSUV goals. They include greater means of production social ownership, enhanced workplace democracy, and prioritizing social justice.
In contrast, force-fed austerity dominates US politics. Fiscal cliff hype is about destroying social America, prioritizing war-making, maintaining generous corporate handouts, and benefitting super-rich elites at the expense of popular needs gone begging.
Neoliberal harshness works that way. Prioritizing wealth, power and imperial interests means depriving most people of vital social services. Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger, and overall human misery are at record levels or close to them.
Bolivarianism is polar opposite. People needs are prioritized. Under Chavez, child mortality fell from 20 per 1,000 to 13. Unemployment dropped from 14.5% to 7.6%. Income inequality is Latin America's lowest. Poverty was cut in half. Extreme poverty fell from 23.4% to 8.5%.
Venezuelans value important benefits. They won't relinquish them easily. On December 16, Bolivarianism should emerge triumphant. PSUV candidates stand to gain. A November 9 Consultores VOP poll showed they hold strong leads in 11 states.
In 2008, PSUV candidates won 17 of 22 governorships. GIS XXI polling company head, Jesse Chacon, said voter preference shows they'll do better this time.
Hinterlaces polling company president, Oscal Schemel, said Chavistas have "a great opportunity in these regional elections."
"They are coming out of a strong and clear electoral triumph. That, evidently, sustains their enthusiasm, motivation, and the mobilization of their supporters."
"The socialist candidates are employing an important campaign concept: efficiency, follow-through, and results. These are key ideas in such a short election campaign."
Datanalisis head, Luis Leon said "the majority of governors will stay in the hands of the Chavistas. The success of the opposition doesn't depend on the number of states that it wins, but rather on the importance of those states."
"Miranda is vital." Henrique Capriles is governor. He's challenged by PSUV's Elias Jaua. Polls show a close race. Zulia and Merida states are closely contested. So are others.
Venezuela's Communist Party (PCV) plans running its own gubernatorial candidates in Amazonas, Portuguesa, Bolivar and Merida. Party officials will support PSUV in 19 other states.
Post-US elections, Chavez urged Obama to govern America and not invade or destabilize other countries. On November 8, he said:
Obama should "reflect, first, for his country, which lamentably has many social and economic problems. It's a divided country, a country with a social and economic fracture where poverty and misery are growing every day."
He said "super elites" run America. They're "exploiting the country and society." They're "poisoning it, cheating it, and manipulating it through a media war."
He also urged PSUV candidates "assume their responsibility with the revolution, not with local groups, or political groups inside the party."
He stressed "loyalty (with) the people and the revolution, whatever the cost."
The benefit is helping all Venezuelans by doing the right thing. Chavez prioritizes those most in need. They reward him with reelection. On December 16, expect Bolivarianism to emerge triumphant. Most Venezuelans want it no other way.
A Final Comment
Rumors about Chavez's health continue. They again surfaced when it was announced he'll return to Cuba for more treatment. He made clear he's cancer-free.
During weeks of presidential campaigning, he showed no ill effects. He's returning to Cuba for special hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
It enhances natural healing. It involves breathing 100% oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure. It's been used for centuries. It's used to prevent bone decay from radiation therapy.
It treats many injuries, ailments, and illnesses. It's not for cancer. Chavez will also receive physiotherapy. He said he'll "continue consolidating the process of strengthening (his) health."
He was last treated in Cuba six months ago. He received excellent care. He's "taking care of (his) health." He's "complying with the complementary treatment plan coordinated by the medical team which is supporting" him.
Since 2011, he had three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Last July, he said he's cancer free. At the same time, recuperating from chemotherapy and radiation treatment takes time.
On November 28, he arrived in Cuba. On November 15, he said:
"Six months after I completed the last radiation therapy treatment, It has been recommended that I begin a special treatment consisting of various sessions of hyperbaric oxygenation. Together with physical therapy, (this) will consolidate the process of strengthening my health."
Media scoundrels look for excuses to criticize him. They make stuff up doing it. They claim he's hiding the real state of his health. They misreported throughout the presidential campaign on that and much more.
They vilify him anyway they can. Since taking office in February 1999, Venezuelans supported him overwhelmingly. It's because Bolivarianism serves everyone responsibly.
It's about not wanting to go back to the bad old days. It's about assuring it doesn't happen. Venezuelans believe Chavez is their best chance. He proved it with equitable social policies. They're too important to lose.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.