Venezuela: the Referendum and the Revolution

The following contributions reflect a partial cross-section of the rich and complex discussion taking place in the Venezuelan and international left just before and immediately after the narrow defeat of the Constitutional referendum. Undoubtedly the discussion will continue among all of us who view the social process in Venezuela as a beacon of hope in the resistance to savage neoliberalism and U.S. imperial domination.

The editors of Against the Current felt that we should present at least some of the diversity of opinion around the referendum, but the shortage of space in our new issue (#132) did not allow for this. Instead we are posting the material here for our readers. Thanks to Dan La Botz and Paul Lefrak for translations, Meleiza Figueroa for her efficient transcribing of Suzi Weissman’s interview with Mark Weisbrot, and to Suzi for making it available to us!


Constitutional reform supporters fill the streets of Caracas.

For ongoing coverage and perspectives on the revolution, check out Aporrea.org (in Spanish) and VenezuelAnalysis.com. Be sure to read "Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform: An Article-by-Article Summary" on the latter, which gives a background of the content of the proposed reforms. Suzi Weissman is a journalist who hosts the political news program Beneath The Surface on KPFK. Mark Weisbrot is an economist and the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. Biardeau is a Marxist sociologist at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. This article is a translation from an essay that originally appeared on Aporrea. Stalin Pérez Bórges is a labor leader in Venezuela and one of the founders of the UNT (National Union of Workers), which formed in 2003 as a response to the CTV support of coups against Hugo Chavez. Orlando Chirino, Miguel Ángel Hernández, Emilio Bastidas, Armando Guerra, Rafel Ruiz are union leaders and members of the Movement for the Construction of a Workers Party. Éric Toussaint is a Belgian socialist and president of the the Coalition for the Abolition of Third World Debt.