What is Chavismo?  

 

Ignacio Ramonet - Cubadebate.- Is it pertinent to consider 'what is Chavismo' when, for several decades, it has been practiced every day in Venezuela ...? The answer is yes. Because although it is true that Chavism has been practiced for more than fifteen years and that it is done with complete naturalness, there comes a time when, from practice, we must necessarily move on to theory. And moving to the theory - in political science - means that, from a concrete experience, through analysis, we are able to deduce the objective equation that can make this practice universal. To extract it from the 'here and now' and make that experience possible 'anywhere, anytime'. Without theory, all practice, particularly in the political field, ends up folklorizing ... before disappearing. Also, keep in mind that chavism that we do not study will be studied against us. What is Chavismo?
 
Chavismo is the meeting of several paths opened by the Liberators and the meeting of several searches initiated by many social dreamers that converge at a nodal point: the thought of Hugo Chávez.
 
Like all revolutions, the Bolivarian Revolution is an architecture that combines a series of important diverse forces that, reunited and merged, form a radically innovative political dynamic.
 
When Hugo Chávez comes to power - in 1999 - he does not have a big party; He arrives at the head of a very diverse popular movement that includes the military, ex-guerrillas and very diverse lefties. And it manages to gain popular support with a refoundation speech: the refoundation of Venezuela, which is the very basis of Chavismo. Because in the hard core of Chavista philosophy we find ourselves recovering the concept of nation, and restoring and defending national pride.
 
Chavez invents for Venezuela and Latin America what we might call a "liberation policy," as we say there is a "theology of liberation." With a preferential option for the people, the poor and the humble. With his exceptional capacity for political pedagogy, Chávez promotes a massive popular politicization and conceptualizes a policy of the liberation of the people in which the people, endowed with political conscience, are the authors of their own destiny.
 
Proving an unheard-of discernment and guided by a very acute political sense, Chávez intuits that the time allows new roads to be opened, never before crossed. And achieve to elaborate in that way and transmit to the demoralized Venezuelan people, a new story of hope.
 
In that sense, Chavismo is a narrative that explains to Venezuelans who they are, what they can aspire to and what their rights are. It is a new explanation that answers old questions: what is Venezuelan society? What are your problems? Who are the victims? Who are the guilty? What solutions? And that new story was narrated, day after day, speech after speech, with enormous communication efficiency, by Hugo Chávez who became an intellectual and charismatic reference.
 
In such a way that Chavism constitutes an innovative Latin American political path that is liberated and emancipated from the eternal European conceptual tutelage. A policy that, for the first time, is original, source, spring, and not a mirror or copy of what has been done in other continents, in other cultures.
 
In that sense also, Chavismo is a revolutionary option. It is the most innovative and daring project that Venezuela has had since Bolívar. It is the only project of peace, development, justice and prosperity for the Venezuelan people since 1810.
 
What is being a Chavista? To be a Chavista is to be Bolivarian, as an option of life because it means being anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, and truly republican. It also means being a Zamorano and being a Robinsonian. That is, it is to approach the political thought of the founders of the Republic. Because the "Tree of the Three Roots" is a capital concept of Chavism. What Chávez defined as follows: "First there is the Bolivarian root because of Simón Bolívar's approach to equality and freedom, and because of his geopolitical vision of the integration of Latin America; then the Zamora root, by Ezequiel Zamora, the general of the sovereign people and of the civic-military unit; and finally the Robinsonian root, by Simón Rodríguez, the teacher of Bolívar, the 'Robinson', the sage of popular education, and again freedom and equality ». Although to those three roots, Chávez adds others: for example, Miranda and Sucre. And later others like José Martí, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro ...
 
But being Chavist is also being deeply Christian. Comandante Chávez left us true Christianity as part of our life, our essence and our values. Adding all that, one could say: I am a Chavista because I am an independentist, because I am a democrat, patriotic, Christian, revolutionary, anti-oligarchic, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. All this is true, all this is true, but none of those parts makes sense if we do not remember who gave ideological and political coherence to all these concepts: Hugo Chávez is the author of that revolutionary synthesis.
 
That is why, when we say "I am a Chavista" we are giving absolute coherence to an entire project, to a whole system of ideas, to a whole political program that is the bible of the future for Venezuela, a future of prosperity, peace, justice social, of ethics. And above all of socialism as a way of life.
 
Being a Chavista also means assuming our Bolivarian, Latin American and revolutionary status, which is the most dignified and highest condition on the human scale. To assume as a Chavista is to assume oneself as a 'socialist of the 21st century', that is, a Christian socialist, a humanist socialist and a democratic socialist. It is to have our feet in Venezuela and to project ourselves, as an authentic internationalist, in the universal.
 
To be a true Chavista is to be an integral, radical Bolivarian and to hope that the ideas of Simón Bolívar will transcend in future centuries. And the only way to assume as a Chavista militant is to take on the revolutionary project that Comandante Chávez bequeathed to us.
 
Hugo Chavez was a pragmatic leader who knew how to adapt the modalities of his action to historical circumstances, who never forgot the goals to be achieved and who always kept his principles intangible. He was convinced that if Venezuela could make glorious feats in the past, becoming one of the leading nations of Latin America, it was because it was mobilized by a high ideal towards a common destiny. Conversely, Chavez knew that Venezuelans are constantly tempted to fall back on their internal disputes and divisions (political, social, intellectual), which -according to the Chavista vision- make them constantly risk falling and sliding down the slide. The decadence.
 
Consequently, in order to give the best of itself and put itself at the head of Latin American nations, Venezuela must be unified by a historic leader and a grandiose project, and articulated (in an effective balance of powers) by political institutions, military, economic and social determined to avoid internal strife. 
We must insist on the fact that, within Chavismo, there is a patriotic philosophy of humanism, heir to Christianity and liberation theology. Chavista humanism is, at the same time, a goal of the greatness of Venezuela, because the message that Venezuela addresses to the world is profoundly humanistic. And a consequence of the social policy whose first objective is to cohere the nation.
 
Chavism has different dimensions: historical, philosophical and political. From the ideological point of view, the Chavismo collects and synthesizes, as already said, the political action of Hugo Chávez and also his political thoughts, that is, the doctrine that is deduced from his speeches and his writings.
 
As a political action, Chavismo is characterized by the following major guidelines:
 
sovereignty and national independence; rejection of the domination of any imperialist superpower, in particular the United States. Chávez said: "He can not understand the country or defend it, who does not know that his main enemy is US imperialism";
 
rejection of any economic and financial pretended super-power (IMF, World Bank, WTO). Independence is defended, not only in the political field, but also in the economic, geopolitical, cultural, diplomatic and even military sectors.
 
solid state institutions, such as those of the Republic Go instituted by the 1999 Constitution;
 
a strong executive and a certain personalization of politics to oppose the impotence of the party regime;
 
a strong and stable executive power that gives the president of the republic a primordial role;
 
a direct relationship between the leader-president and the people that passes over the intermediary bodies, thanks to a 'participatory' conception of democracy, with frequent recourse to referendum and elections, and to the leader-people interactive dialogue through a use singular of the mass media;
 
a civic-military articulation whose mechanism is constituted by the President himself who coordinates the best of the progressive civil movements and the patriotic intelligence of the military apparatuses; the Armed Forces are intimately associated with the national development project within the framework of the civic-military unit;
 
the national independence and the greatness of Venezuela;
 
the national union of all Venezuelans - beyond the traditional political or regional differences that were once the cause of division and decadence - in a direct relationship between the leader and the people, united by the social policies of inclusion and social justice ;
 
the priority of the policy over other considerations (economic, administrative, technical, bureaucratic, etc.);
 
respect for the authority of the State;
 
deep will for social justice;
 
State intervention in the economy;
 
anticolonialism and the right to self-determination of peoples;
 
the reactivation of OPEC and a coordination of the oil policies of the producing and exporting countries;
Latin American integration as a constant horizon and ideological imperative dictated by Simón Bolívar himself; and creation of concrete entities for integration (ALBA, Unasur, Celac, Petrocaribe, TeleSUR);
 
the conception of a multipolar world without hegemonies; which requires defeating the project of unipolar imperial hegemony to guarantee planetary peace and the "balance of the universe". We must promote a multicentric and pluripolar world. Chávez pointed to it as the fourth major historical objective of the 'Plan de la Patria', his government program for the period 2013-2019;
 
a South-South diplomacy with multiplication of ties with the countries of the South through the Movement of non-aligned and horizontal alliances: South America / Africa (ASA) and South America Arab countries (ASPA). Chávez also supported the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and an alliance of Venezuela with that group was proposed to consolidate a multipolar world;
 
national solidarity between citizens and territories; and Latin American solidarity;
 
respect for nations, which are cultural entities sculpted by history and bastions of peoples against imperialism;
 
the rejection of the doctrine of economic neoliberalism, and the preference for an economy oriented by the State with a view to a voluntarist and structuring development (with ambitious public projects, nationalization of strategic sectors, food sovereignty, etc.);
 
build a 'Mission State' to respond more directly to the diverse social demands of the people;
 
move towards the cornering of capitalism (the exploitation of one class by another) and the definition of a Bolivarian and humanist socialism, in democracy and freedom, which in addition to granting workers advanced social protection, empower them by giving them access to both decisions of the company as to the benefits of it.
 
One of the primary objectives of Chavismo is to reconcile the Venezuelans with the country, to bring them together and to build a State with greater sovereignty, greater administrative efficiency, greater justice and greater equality.
 
Chavismo brings together men and women of all political origins around a great 'power country' project and the volunteer action of a leader. To achieve the intended objectives, the Chavismo method is pragmatism and the rejection of ideological corsets. Its two main axes: internal unity at the service of an ambitious patriotic and social project; and independence and projection of a 'Venezuela power' in Latin America and in the world.
Chavism is therefore a system of thought, will and action. Part of the facts and circumstances; it does not act predetermined by a doctrine or an ideology. Voluntarism against fatalism; action against passivity, against abandonment and renunciation.
 
For Chavez, the first thing is Venezuela. Its political action consists in creating the conditions so that the country can give the best of itself. And this can only be achieved if the Venezuelan people are united around a project of social progress defined by a charismatic leader that propels it towards its great historical ideal.
 
Chavism is not only an original political doctrine but it is the lived history and the thought of an exceptional man that has marked Venezuelan society to its deepest structures.
 
Chavista thought has as its ideological bases several roots that intermingle with each other to form a new Venezuelan progressive ideology. Which is characterized by the absence of dogmatism, to differentiate from the failed socialist experiments in the Europe of the twentieth century. That is why, to distinguish it from the one that was rejected by the working class in Poland in 1980, or that collapsed with the Berlin wall in 1989, or from the one that imploded in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union, Chavez spoke of "socialism of the XXI century". It is a socialism that emerged in Latin America, which must fit our time, and that is why Chávez added fundamentally: participatory democracy, feminism and environmentalism.
 
This "socialism of the 21st century" is considered compatible with private property, although it encourages other forms of socialist and solidary property such as co-operative and co-management. It is also declared compatible with patriotism and economic nationalism. Chávez did not hesitate to nationalize large companies in strategic sectors in the hands of foreign capital, and placed patriotic and competent Venezuelans at the command post of these de-privatized companies.
 
"Socialism of the 21st century" is also compatible with social Christianity. Chávez endorses the slogan of the Sandinistas: "Christianity and revolution, there is no contradiction." Starting from the postulate that the true identity of Christianity is what confers the theology of liberation. Not in vain, Chávez affirmed that Jesus Christ was the first socialist of the modern era and that the "kingdom of God" had to be built here on Earth.
 
From all this it follows that Chavismo has the vocation to naturally exercise, in Venezuela, a hegemony. For its ability to lead the intellectual and moral direction of society. And because it has allowed the political recovery of a democracy in which now government, Armed Forces and people participate in the expansion of social rights and in the fair redistribution of the country's wealth.
 
We must insist on the fact that, within Chavismo, there is a patriotic philosophy of humanism, heir to Christianity and liberation theology. Chavista humanism is, at the same time, a goal of the greatness of Venezuela, because the message that Venezuela addresses to the world is profoundly humanistic. And a consequence of the social policy whose first objective is to cohere the nation.

Chavism has different dimensions: historical, philosophical and political. From the ideological point of view, the Chavismo collects and synthesizes, as already said, the political action of Hugo Chávez and also his political thoughts, that is, the doctrine that is deduced from his speeches and his writings.

As a political action, Chavismo is characterized by the following major guidelines: sovereignty and national independence; rejection of the domination of any imperialist superpower, in particular the United States. Chávez said: "He can not understand the country or defend it, who does not know that his main enemy is US imperialism"; rejection of any economic and financial pretended super-power (IMF, World Bank, WTO). Independence is defended, not only in the political field, but also in the economic, geopolitical, cultural, diplomatic and even military sectors. Solid state institutions, such as those of the Republic Go instituted by the 1999 Constitution; a strong executive and a certain personalization of politics to oppose the impotence of the party regime; a strong and stable executive power that gives the president of the republic a primordial role; a direct relationship between the leader-president and the people that passes over the intermediary bodies, thanks to a 'participatory' conception of democracy, with frequent recourse to referendum and elections, and to the leader-people interactive dialogue through a use singular of the mass media; a civic-military articulation whose mechanism is constituted by the President himself who coordinates the best of the progressive civil movements and the patriotic intelligence of the military apparatuses; the Armed Forces are intimately associated with the national development project within the framework of the civic-military unit; the national independence and the greatness of Venezuela; the national union of all Venezuelans - beyond the traditional political or regional differences that were once the cause of division and decadence - in a direct relationship between the leader and the people, united by the social policies of inclusion and social justice the priority of the policy over other considerations (economic, administrative, technical, bureaucratic, etc.); respect for the authority of the State; deep will for social justice; State intervention in the economy; anticolonialism and the right to self-determination of peoples; the reactivation of OPEC and a coordination of the oil policies of the producing and exporting countries.
 

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