Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
After the Referendum
The voting is
over in Venezuela, and the U.S.-supported right wing lost
Over 60% of Venezuelans voted to keep President Hugo Chavez in power,
despite the opposition of the wealthiest segments of Venezuelan
is one of extreme contrasts of rich and poor. Sixty-seven percent
of Venezuelans live in poverty; 35% live in extreme poverty.
to Chavez came from those like owners and managers of Coca-Cola,
where workers were intimidated and fired for voting against an earlier
recall. The main economic supporter of the anti-Chavez movement
came from guess where? the man who owns Venezuela's
subsidiary of Coca-Cola, billionaire Gustavos Cisneros, the guy
who also owns the nation's largest TV network, which has been on
an anti-Chavez campaign for years.
Chavez has enemies
among the wealthy because he has supported using Venezuela's vast
oil wealth to try and rectify the nation's staggering social problems.
Some three quarters of Venezuelans are unemployed, or work on the
margins in the informal economy.
Among the very
wealthy, the resources of the nation should be privatized, and sent
along the usual routes north. They are not social resources,
but private ones, to be owned, and sold. They deeply oppose Chavez's
plan to share the wealth.
What Chavez is trying to do is deepen a kind of social revolution
among the poor, using the name and nationalist spirit of the greatest
Venezuelan of them all Simon Bolivar to rally and
mobilize Venezuelans for Bolivarianismo, a strong support of the
nation against the Imperialists to the North.
That's why he
is being demonized in the western and corporate media. Prepare for
more of it soon; for while the voting may be over, the battle
to exploit Venezuela's natural resources, ain't.
An early American
revolutionary, Tom Paine, wrote, in his 1791 classic, *Rights of
Man*, about the kinds of guys who stir up conflicts in nations,
for their own ends. Two hundred years later, he seemed to be talking
about Americans, when he wrote:
That there are men in all countries who get their living by war,
and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations, is as shocking as it
is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a
country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices
between Nations, it becomes the more unpardonable. [p. 6]
When Paine scribbled
these words, he was probably criticizing his birthplace, England.
He was always critical of what he saw as Imperial arrogance, and
England's attempts to stir up enmity between America and France.
What would this
radical writer, and anti-imperialist think of the American empire,
with its armies in over 120 countries?
What would Paine
think of the nefarious Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whose main
job is to "sow discord" among nations?
What would this
American revolutionary think of the Rebirth of Rome on the Potomac?
What would he
think about an America that tried, unsuccessfully, to spark a coup
in Venezuela several years ago, because oil companies and moneymen
didn't want that country to spend its national wealth on the nation's
Would he find
in Senor Presidente Chavez, and his struggle to empower the poor,
an enemy, or an ally?
consistently treated its neighbors in South and Central America
like something on the bottom of one's shoe as something repellent.
It has treated them as Rome treated Carthage, or Greece, or Britain.
This is not
an America that Paine would recognize, or support.
In fact, if
he were alive, he'd still be a revolutionary, but he'd be determined
to oppose this new Empire, the Empire of Wealth and Greed
the Empire of Capital.
Alvaro Michaels, "Chavez calls for struggle against imperialism",
*Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!* (August/Sept. '04), 10.; Tom
Paine, *Rights of Man*. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publ., 1999).]
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.