The sixty-three day “general strike” (in reality a lock-out) engineered by the oligarchic opposition to reformist President Hugo Chavez came to an end on February 2 without achieving any of its stated political goals.
Although the lock-out came nowhere near expelling Chavez from office or forcing an end to his reform program, it did succeed in causing widespread shortages, street violence, and in fostering a mood of tension and panic throughout the South American nation. In a statement carrying more than a whiff of “sour grapes,” Timoteo Zambrano, speaking on behalf of the comprador bourgeoisie’s main organizational body, The Democratic Coordinating Committee, claimed that the end of the lock-out was merely a “new phase” in their struggle against the Chavez government and that “(the) struggle will now assume new forms, and we will now pursue our goals at the negotiating table.”
President Chavez stated that the end of the lock-out was a victory for his reform government, and that oil production was rapidly returning to pre-lock-out levels. Referring to the so-called “strike,” Chavez announced: “There is no strike here. We faced a terrorist coup plan, and we’ve already defeated it.” Chavez called on oppositionists to abandon their plans to oust him from office saying, “You’ve been defeated. Recognize it.”
The former paratrooper then warned that he would “. . . Demand in the name of the people the application of implacable justice against the traitors of the nation.”
That imperialism and its handmaidens, the oligarchy and comprador bourgeoisie will never give up their privileges without a struggle could have been safely predicted. President Chavez, however, seems to have underestimated the tenacity, resilience and resistance to change of the traditional elites of his country. It’s a lesson his fellow reformers Gutierrez in Ecuador and “Lula” in Brazil would do well to assimilate.
In the absence of a genuinely
revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist leading center, the struggle against imperialism
and oligarchic rule will be even more protracted and arduous.