The article was originally published on the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) website. It has been translated by Fight Back! staff.
They are fighting against a socialism that does not exist. They are fighting against an anti-utopia that does not relate to anyone. They imagine a world without families, without order, without markets, without freedom. The right-wing liberals of the world invented a ghost, they draped on the label of socialism and now they find it everywhere, among all, and every time they look at Venezuela. Enough with this.
Because this socialism against which they struggle is not the one that our inclusive democracy exists in, full of people that live in the 21st century. Our socialism is particular, popular and profoundly Latin American. As we clearly said during the UN General Assembly last September: Ours is an autonomous project of democratic revolution, of social assertion, it is a model and a path of our own, based in our own history and culture.
And clearly, our democracy is distinct because it was neither founded by nor for the elite, as the liberal democracies of Europe and the United States were. We rebelled against this model and that is why, 20 years ago, we proposed our own democracy, founded in the sovereign heart of the Venezuelan people.
What happened is that, at the end of the 20th century – when Latin America exited the period of dictatorship imposed by the United States – they tried, with their idea of liberal democracy, to wrap us in a gift package, some Trojan Horse, with all of the values of their own concept of modernity. But we want to say to them that here in Latin America we also have an identity and values, and we want to involve our own values before all others in our democracy. Not just those values of capital and the individual. But also those of solidarity and community. For us, the homeland is the latter.
We learned our lesson – well, it happened to us for centuries. Over time, by adding to our own culture with that from afar, the Latin American elite and their liberal modes tried to permanently re-found Europe in the heart of América. Destroying step-by-step everything that seemed different. Elites for whom the “other” – the native and the black – were more monkey than human.
We fervently believe in our own Latin American democracy, because in Venezuela we believe in and adhere to three fundamentals as essential and necessary: First, we hold elections systematically, regularly and peacefully. Over the past 20 years we have held 25 elections, each one observed by national and international institutions and political figures. Some we have won overwhelmingly, others we have lost. Second, in Venezuela the citizens – by mechanisms of direct democracy, fundamentally the neighborhood organizations and political parties – have access and control over public resources. And third, in Venezuela the people rule, not the elite. Before me Chávez governed, a soldier descended from blacks and natives who became the father of the homeland. For six years now, Venezuela has been governed by a modest trade unionist and bus driver. In Venezuela it is the people who govern, because it was their Constituent Assembly that conceived and wrote their constitution.
We are not nor do we want to become a model of democracy. We are, instead, a democracy defined and defended by its people, who gather in a daily effort against lies and false claims – an imperfect democracy, working every day for everyone and to be more just.