by Stephen Lendman
With or without Chavez, it's institutionalized. It greatly improved the lives of most Venezuelans. It's become part of the national culture. It won't wane and die.
It reflects Simon Bolivar's vision. He defeated the Spanish, liberated half of South America, and advocated using national wealth responsibly, fairly and equitably.
He strove to overcome what he called the imperial curse "to plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty."
Chavez is his modern-day incarnation. Chavismo reflects Bolivarian principles. He instituted them. They've become hardwired and institutionalized. Venezuelans won't tolerate returning to their ugly past.
Why should they? Constitutional law mandates what Americans can't imagine.
Venezuelans get free education to the highest levels and quality healthcare, subsidized food and housing, land reform, respect for indigenous rights, job training, micro credit, affordable electricity and cooking gas, gasoline at 7 cents a gallon, and other social, economic, and political benefits.
Americans get force-fed austerity, growing poverty, high unemployment, unaddressed homelessness and hunger, and a government beholden solely to business and privileged elitism.
Venezuela's far from perfect. Major problems remain. Positive steps are taken to overcome them. Under Chavez, great strides have been made.
America is polar opposite. Class war rages. Wealth is redistributed up. Business and super-rich elites benefit at the expense of most others. Social benefits are on the chopping block for elimination.
For growing millions, America isn't fit to live in. Bipartisan complicity plans much worse ahead. Venezuelans are governed by officials who care. Chavez leads them.
He's struggling to recover from his fourth cancer surgery in 18 months. He hopes to be cancer-free. He overcame earlier post-operative problems.
On January 4, Granma International called his condition "complicated by (a severe) pulmonary infection." Venezuelan Communication and Information Minister Ernesto Villegas confirmed it.
On national television, his official communique said the following:
"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is fulfilling its duty to inform the Venezuelan and sister peoples of the clinical evolution of President Hugo Chavez."
"In the wake of the delicate surgery of this past December 11, Comandante Chavez is facing complications resulting from a severe pulmonary infection."
"This infection has led to respiratory insufficiency, requiring Comandante Chavez' strict compliance with his medical treatment."
"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its confidence in the medical team treating Comandante Chavez, which has constantly monitored the clinical evolution of the patient and has acted with utmost rigor in response to every difficulty presented."
"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela warns the Venezuelan people of the psychological warfare that transnational media networks have unleashed in relation to the health of our head of state, with the intention of destabilizing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, repudiating the popular will expressed in the presidential elections of last October 7, and destroying the Bolivarian Revolution led by Chavez."
"These attempts have come up against the resolute unity of the Bolivarian government, the organized people and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, around the leadership and political ideology of Comandante Hugo Chavez."
"Hasta la victoria siempre."
"¡Que viva Chavez!"
On January 4, Prensa Latina headlined "Venezuelans Deplore Distortion of Chavez Health Reports," saying:
Western media scoundrels "manipulat(e) reports about" his health. Print and broadcast media do it. Social networks spread unease.
"Executive Vice President Nicolas Maduro warned about scurrilous campaigns in relation to the supposed deterioration of (Chavez's) health."
It continues despite "27 (official) communiques in the last 23 days."
The most recent one warned "about the psychological war that the transnational media network has unleashed in relation to the head of state's health, with the objective of destabilizing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."
Manipulative psyops aims to "disregard the people's will." It wants Bolivarianism destroyed. It wants neoliberal harshness established. It wants pro-Western puppet leadership replacing Chavez.
Venezuela Analysis discussed psychological warfare. Maduro told Venezuelans to "trust the national authorities." They're "more united than ever."
They tell Venezuelans what they need to know. They prioritize truth.
Maduro accused Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition executive secretary, Ramon Aveledo, of fear-mongering rumor campaigns.
He falsely accused government officials of "hiding more information than" they give. Western media proliferate fear-mongering.
On January 3, the Washington Post headlined "Venezuelans demand answers on Chavez's health." Government officials were accused of being "tight-lipped."
"(S)uspense is killing Venezuela."
On January 3, the Spanish newspaper ABC turned truth on its head. No corroborating evidence was cited. Unnamed sources were used.
They claim Chavez is in an induced coma on life support. Cancer spread to his lower spine, bladder, and other organs.
His death could be imminent. The Global Post covered the story. It said "The right-leaning ABC doesn't have an entirely solid record of reporting on Cuba." Its stories are notoriously unreliable.
Its claims about Castro's "imminent demise" proved false.
Maduro calls ABC "Franco-ist."
On January 3, the Los Angeles Times headlined "Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez's status questioned by opposition," saying:
They "demand to know whether (he'll) "return for his swearing-in Jan. 10."
"The uncertainty over whether Chavez's cancer is terminal and whether he is incapacitated has increased signs of instability."
Venezuelan officials dispute scurrilous reports. Maduro condemned "right-wing" journalists. They spread fear-mongering rumors about Chavez's imminent death.
He's conscious and stable, said Madur. At the same time, his condition is "complex and delicate."
BBC is UK owned, operated, and controlled. It lacks credibility. It's manipulative and unreliable. It proliferates state propaganda. It notoriously misreports on Venezuela.
On January 2, it headlined "Venezuela opposition demands 'truth' on Chavez health," saying:
"(T)ell the whole truth," demanded opposition leader Aveledo. He "accused the government of acting irresponsibly."
BBC accused Maduro of "giv(ing) very little further detail about the condition of Mr. Chavez."
On January 3, the Australian headlined "Venezuelan oppn wants 'truth' about Chavez." It joined other anti-Chavista fear-mongerers. So did London's Guardian.
On January 4, it headlined "Hugo Chavez fights for life as supporters pray in Venezuela."
Bolivian President Evo Morales was quoted saying "The situation for our brother Hugo Chavez is very worrying." Saying it doesn't mean he's dying. Official reliable medical reports will have final say.
Western media reports are manipulative, speculative, and distorted. They reflect political pornography. Uncorroborated claims have no basis in fact. Media scoundrels feature them. Truth and full disclosure are suppressed.
On January 3, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "We don't have any way to evaluate what's being said, but we have seen concern within Venezuela that the government's not being transparent."
Throughout Chavez's tenure, he's been Washington's main regional bete noire. Donald Rumsfeld once compared him with Hitler. Multiple attempts to depose him failed. Chavez said Washington wants him dead.
Funding opposition forces went on for years. They continue. So do covert destabilizing efforts. Plots occasionally surface.
CIA/National Endowment for Democracy (NED)/International Republican Institute (IRI)/USAID/National Democratic Institute, and other subversive US groups are involved.
So is the AFL/CIO. It's record is longstanding and disturbing. It's an instrument of US domestic and foreign policy. It represents imperial and capital interests. It spurns its own rank and file. It's done it for decades.
These and other anti-democratic groups charged with destroying it where it emerges. Venezuela is regional enemy number one.
Venezuela Analysis (VA) quoted opposition Caracas Metropolitan District Mayor Antonio Ledezma. He demands a commission be sent to Cuba. He wants "professionally reliable and morally recognized doctors" included. He wants them to "verify (Chavez's) state of health."
"I am not asking permission to go to Cuba," he said. "I think we have the right to go there and see what is happening. We should go and that's it. Enough of the mystery. Venezuela isn't a colony."
Earlier he said Chavez should resign. He should "separate himself from his position and dedicate himself to recovering from the illness that he has had for over 18 months."
VA said a false twitter account was created in Rosa Virginia Chavez's name. She the president's daughter. She's with him in Cuba. False information proliferates about her father's health.
On January 4, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Chavez's Appointed Heir Prepares for Battle," saying:
"Critics" suggest Maduro isn't up to the challenge. He'll "struggle to control often feuding factions within (Chavez's) political movement."
His charisma doesn't match Chavez's. His ability to galvanize support "could be tested soon."
Speculation grows that Chavez's illness "will force him from power (despite) having been re-elected in October."
"New elections would likely pit (Maduro) against opposition leader Henrique Capriles."
Despite is commitment to Bolivarian principles, the Journal called Maduro "an unknown." So was Chavez before 1999.
Maduro is known "more for his loyalty to (Chavez) than for his own ideology or talents."
Maduro's Bolivarian credentials are impeccable. His ideology is strongly left of center. He's a former union leader, legislator, National Assembly Speaker, and foreign minister.
He's called Chavez's most capable administrator and politician. He prioritizes stability and fair-mindedness. He'll rise to the occasion if called on.
His leadership experience prepared him effectively. The Journal belittled his "lower-class" background. It criticized his ties to Cuba. It's concerned about his relations with China, Russia and Iran.
It denounced his recent comments on Obama. He condemned him for calling Chavez's policies authoritarian.
It quoted a former unnamed Mexican diplomat. He "met" Maduro. He "wasn't impressed."
"He lacks experience, and will have a hard time holding things together," he said.
In 1998, Chavez was largely unknown. He accepted the challenge. The rest is history. If called on, Maduro understands what's at stake. His Bolivarian commitment motivates him to carry the torch responsibly.
On January 4, the Havana Times headlined "Hugo Chavez Battles for Life in Cuba."
Report content belied the above headline. It quoted Maduro saying Chavez retains "the same fighting spirit (and) strength with his usual energy and confidence."
A serious lung infection slowed recovery. It caused breathing difficulties. It requires sticking with "strict medical treatment."
A press release was quoted, saying:
"The government of Venezuela reiterates its confidence in Chavez's medical team, which maintains an ongoing monitoring of the evolution of the patient and has acted with the utmost thoroughness with each difficulty presented."
Maduro sharply criticized manipulative opposition fear-mongering. He called it "righ-wing necrophilia." They "long for a disastrous announcement." They invent their own.
Chavez's vital signs are stable, said Maduro, in spite of challenging respiratory problems that "affected him seriously."
Venezuelans pray for his full recovery. So do millions of global supporters.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
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.