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January 2016
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In Venezuela Chavismo-Fidelismo Failed, Not 21st Century Socialism

In Venezuela Chavismo-Fidelismo Failed, Not 21st Century Socialism /
14ymedio, Pedro Campos
Posted on January 15, 2016

14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 15 January 2016 – Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez was the result of a political and economic crisis of
capitalism, driven by opportunists and embezzlers. His first speech
about 21st Century Socialism sustained by a model of economic
development beyond oil, in a participative and progressive democracy
with production through self-management and cooperatives, was very
encouraging for Venezuelans and for the people of the region.

However, during Hugo Chavez’s government, these project cores were
abandoned, intensifying the actions of the paternalistic state, the
growth of the bureaucracy, movements, leftist institutions and
mobilizations, cronyism and corruption, along with medical and education
missions, organized by Cuban professionals in order to finance, with the
Venezuelan oil received in exchange, the obsolete monopolistic
capitalism of the Cuban state, in crisis since the fall of the USSR and
the “socialist camp.”

With the oil boom, the ability to purchase from abroad all kinds of food
and supplies to counter private national capitalism and to use these
riches to promote regional solidarity with the political processes of
Venezuela and Cuba, “under siege from imperialism,” was concentrated in
the actions of Chavez and his government.

The abundant money coming from Venezuela’s oil and the tightening of
ties with Havana led the Chavista leadership to believe it could forget
the economic and social foundations of the 21st Century Socialism it was
promulgating. Chavez kept talking about 21st Century Socialism, but
assumed the bureaucratic and interventionist practices of Fidelismo.

The ability to expand the “new socialist model” with the support of the
then powerful Venezuelan economy, based on rising oil prices, was
designed by the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) founded in response to the
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the United States based alliance
to create a free trade area in the Americas that would support the
economic development and integration of the continent.

The fear of imperialism from the powerful north, fomented especially
since the Triumph of the Revolution in Cuba in 1959, the traditional
influence of Western Europe in the Caribbean and in much of South
America, and a regional lack of self-esteem prevented the idea of a
continental trade integration taking shape. And ALBA, initiated by Fidel
Castro and Chavez, was the catalyst for the rejection.

The Bolivarian Alliance could have been a project of revolutionary
integration if it had considered involvement from below, from the social
and economic bases of the countries involved, unification of the
currency, free movement of people and capital, and the expansion of
ideas to finance the development of a solidarity economy led by equal
exchanges, on the basis of cooperatives and self-management. The issue,
with all its implications, was addressed in February 2007 in “Some
Tactical and Strategic Issues of the Bolivarian Integration”

That opportunity was lost, as the original Chavista project was lost,
because state development and relations between states prevailed, and
“socialism from above” prevailed over real socialism from below.

Heinz Dieterich, the leading international promoter of the ideas of 21st
Century Socialism who initially advised Chavez, on January 4 told the
newspaper El Nacional:

“I was disappointed when my friend Hugo Chavez did not impose, for many
reasons, this combination of possible Latin American developmentalism
and the scientific-political paradigm of 21st Century Socialism, which
would have put Venezuela in the vanguard of the global society. However,
he only used the term 21st Century Socialism, not the respective
institutions. Therefore, no sane person can say that there is 21st
Century Socialism in the country. What failed in Venezuela was a poorly
executed Latin American developmentalism. My disappointment, however,
was continental. I spoke to almost all the progressive presidents of
Latin America and the Caribbean and none of them had a serious intention
to transcend the capitalist system with a new civilization.”

The death of Chavez left Chavismo without its leader’s charisma and
without having developed the original program. Chavismo fell into
irreversible crisis and the pro-Cuban policies of President Nicolas
Maduro ended up sinking it. The situation created in Venezuela with the
triumphant arrival of the opposition in the National Assembly can be
considered the failure of Chavismo influenced by Fidelismo; but not the
failure of 21st Century Socialism, which never managed to develop, not
even during the life of Chavez himself.

With the failure of Chavismo-Fidelismo in Venezuela, ALBA, which never
developed the 21st Century Socialism alternative, could also quickly
succumb as a political alliance. The states that benefited from this
project will soon begin to suffer its effects because of their own
inability to develop an integration from below, which would have meant
the consistent application of 21st Century Socialism, ideas abandoned by
Chavez and rejected by Fidel Castro.

The governments of Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia took part in some of
the original ideas of 21st Century Socialism and were careful not to
embark on the previous statism of Chavismo, essentially maintaining
their traditional capitalist development projects, with a State
deliverer in the social-democrat style. So they would be less affected
by this situation.

What happened in Venezuela was not the failure of 21st Century
Socialism, but rather of a development model of state monopoly
capitalism, inspired by the obsolete neo-Stalinist Cuban experience,
which also failed. It was Chavismo-Fidelismo that failed there.

Source: In Venezuela Chavismo-Fidelismo Failed, Not 21st Century
Socialism / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos | Translating Cuba –

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