Building the Democratic Power of the People

By Hugo Blanco

Recent past and the current situation

In the recent past we have had 20 years of nightmare, of internal war between the Armed Forces and the police on the one hand, and the Communist Party of Peru-Sendero Luminoso (PCP-SL, Shining Path) and to a lesser extent the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA, Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement) on the other.

The result has been that more than 60,000 Peruvians, especially indigenous peasants have been murdered, above all by the forces of repression but also by Shining Path and to a much lesser extent by the MRTA. In addition, there has been torture, imprisonment and repression of non-participants in the war. There has been heavy and bloody repression of the popular movement under the pretext of “combating terrorism.”

With the activities of the PCP-SL and MRTA reduced, basically because of the democratic resistance on the part of the peasantry, we managed, thanks to pressure by the Peruvian people, to free ourselves of Alberto Fujimori, who had made himself into a dictator in the 1992 coup.

Encouraged by promises of democracy and of measures to counter neoliberalism, the people chose Alejandro Toledo as president. However, Toledo ended up supporting the policies of the World Bank and the Monetary Fund and obsequiously serving the international companies, just as Fujimori had done. However, thanks to the vigor of the popular movement, the degree of repression is not the same.

The single-chamber parliament is shared between the governing parties—Perú Posible (PP) and its ally the Frente Independiente Moralizador (FIM)—and those of the “opposition,” consisting of the even more right-wing Unidad Nacional (UN) and the Partido Aprista Peruano (PAP), which is also neoliberal. The number of left-wing representatives in parliament can be counted on the fingers of one hand. 
  
The political left was greatly weakened by the fall of the USSR, the activities of the SL and MRTA, the repression, and its own “verticalist” and generally sectarian behavior. Currently the electoral left is basically grouped around two currents. There are also some smaller groups connected to sectors involved in the popular struggles.
 
The Confederación de Trabajadores del Perú (Confederation of Peruvian Workers) (CGTP) has diminished in strength as a result of the organic weakening of the working class because of unemployment caused by neoliberalism, which favors the import of industrial products and the suppression of labor rights. Another reason for this weakening was the repression during the internal war and, finally, the lack of sufficient democracy within its ranks. Its leadership is in the hands of the Communist Party, which up to the collapse of the USSR, maintained a pro-Moscow line.  Within this confederation are grouped the most important and most combative sectors of the working class in Peru.  One of its most heavily represented members is the Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores de la Educación del Perú (SUTEP, Unitary Union of Education Workers of Peru), led by the Maoist Patria Roja—Unir—Nueva Izquierda (New Left), whose leadership is known for its verticalism. Within its ranks there is also a pro-Senderista opposition current as well as independent sectors. The same political current directs the university organization Federación de Estudiantes Peruanos (FEP, Peruvian Student Federation) which because of its highly bureaucratic, verticalist way of working, has been reduced to an empty shell. Among the core students there is, however, an active university movement.
 
The indigenous peasantry has been organized into communities since ancient times. A minority of the peasantry is grouped into the Confederación Campesina del Perú (CCP, Peasant Confederation of Peru) and the Confederación Nacional Agraria (CAN, National Agrarian Confederation).  Among the leaders of the first, the influence of the dissolved Partido Unificado Mariateguista (PUM) is still apparent, and, in the latter, Velasquista currents are still present. Other sectors of the peasantry also participate in the Coordinadora de Comunidades afectadas por la Minería (CONACAMI, Coordinating Committee of Communities Affected by Mining). The indigenous communities of the jungle, which have a much stronger sense of identity than those of the mountains, are grouped mainly in the Asociación Interétnica de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP, Inter-ethnic Association of the Peruvian Jungle). As a consequence of the internal war, the movement in the barrios is much weaker than in previous decades.

In recent years these organizations have been at the hub of the protests and marches against neoliberal re-structuring, in defense of union and democratic rights, and against unemployment and the rise in the cost of living. In the same way, these organizations play a very active role in the regional movements, which intensified during Fujimori’s decade (1990-2000) as a response to the intensified hyper-centralism of his government. This extensive anti-centralism is not limited to combating the centralism of Lima, but also fights against the departmental, provincial and district capitals. This has stimulated an upsurge of regional fronts, which, although not permanently active, have played a key part in important movements such as those opposing the privatization of the electric companies in Arequipa.

Recently there has been widespread sentiment against the signing of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty with the USA, especially among the peasantry, which would be the sector most affected. In past few months, the rise in cost of living and unemployment, the campaigns against the coca farmers, the concessions granted to the large mining multinationals, and the low price of agricultural products, have intensified popular resistance and action.

Building Power

These movements and uprisings, however, are not simply defensive, nor can they be reduced entirely to means of pressuring the neoliberal government or lesser authorities. They are movements which, in Zapatista terms, “create power,” or, if you like, “take power” on a small scale. They demonstrate a rise in consciousness. They are heralds of the future Peru and the democracy we aspire to. Since the 1960s the protest marches and popular organizations, especially those of the peasantry, have constituted the most important democratizing force in Peru.

The Fight for Land and Democracy

Until the 1960s the best lands for cultivation in the country were in the hands of the large estate owners (latifundistas). In most of the estates there was a system of feudal-style servitude. The estate owner granted usufruct of a plot of land to the peasant who, as payment, had to work for the owner for free; in addition there was a series of seigneurial relations.

In the area of La Convención, in the province of Cuzco, the systematic rebellion began; the peasants organized themselves into unions in order to ask for a reduction in the number of days they were required to work for the estate owner and the end of many other feudal relations. There were landowners who accepted, and others who refused to discuss the matter, had the leaders imprisoned, and tried to expel them from the plots of land they were occupying. The Chaupimayo union and others, as an extreme measure, declared a strike which entailed refusing to go to the landowner’s land and using the time instead to work their own plots. The strike was aimed at forcing the boss to enter discussions with their representatives. After 9 months of the strike, in the absence of a positive response from the landowner, the Chaupimayo union declared in an assembly that not going to work for the landowner would pass from being a strike action to becoming Agrarian Reform, that the peasants would be owners of the plots of land, and that they would have nothing to do with the landowner. After a time, they returned to work the landowner’s crops—not for him but for the group. This measure of stopping work for the landowner spread gradually to all the unions in the area, but continued to be called a strike.

The bosses’government responded with police repression. The peasants decided to defend themselves from the armed attack by also using arms, and entrusted me with the task of organizing and directing the defense, which we carried out under the slogan of “Tierra o Muerte” (Land or Death). After some months, the forces of repression managed to disband and capture us. But the government realized that while at the beginning of the repression ours had been an armed response, if it tried to force the peasants to return to working for free when they had become used to not doing so, or if it tried to force the peasants to abandon their plots of land, the result would be a general insurrection. Consequently, it opted for legalizing the main aspects of our Agrarian Reform, but only in our area.

Naturally the peasants in many other areas took possession of the lands. The response took the form of massacres, but not even these could contain the flood. The military decided to take over the government, there was a coup d’état, and the following year (1969) the military government of Velasco Alvarado issued the national Agrarian Reform law in order to calm the peasants in the country as they had done before in La Convención.

In this case the popular movement “created power” and gained possession of the land.

Democratic Adjustment to the Agrarian Reform

Velasco’s Agrarian Reform, together with positive measures such as abolishing the large estates and handing over the land to some communities, created gigantic bureaucratic production cooperatives, which in practice only benefited a handful of civil servants, and not the peasants who were supposedly the owners.

In various areas, the indigenous peasants, vindicating their age-old communal system of organization, having fought against successive governments, rose up and took the land from the bureaucratic production cooperatives.

The most notable case, thanks to its scale, is that of the region of Puno during the government of Alan García (1985-1990). I had the good fortune to participate in that struggle as leader of the CCP. The confrontation was with the repressive forces of the government, with the peasant organization created by Velasco (CNA), and with Shining Path. There was imprisonment, torture and murder, but we triumphed: the peasant communities “created power”; they introduced democracy into land ownership by implanting their communal ways.

Recovering the Land

Some years ago in Chumbivilcas, a highland area of Cuzco, former landowners and other usurpers were taking land from the communities. I spoke with some of the compañeros younger than myself and told them of the experiences of our generation, and they understood that their direct action could override the “law” which favored the usurpers, so they took back their lands and recovered “power” over them. This was only one of the many actions of this kind on a national scale.

A few days ago a community in my district held a rally in the provincial capital in order to reaffirm their power, having used collective force to crush a “legal” usurpation of lands under the auspices of the authorities.

It is thanks to struggles such as these that, with the exception of Cuba, Peru is the country in Latin American and the Caribbean which has the greatest proportion of arable land in the form of smallholdings.

Democratic Production Management

In La Convención in the province of Cuzco, in the district of Huayopata, you will find the peasant cooperative “Té Huyro,” which specializes to the industrial processing of tea produced by the peasants. For 30 years it was in the hands of a mafia of bureaucratic and corrupt managers. The peasant cooperative which was its supplier had not been properly paid for three years. Meanwhile, the corrupt men ran up incredible debts in the name of the company, and the money went directly into their pockets.

The peasants rebelled. The corrupt men bought off the judicial and fiscal authorities, the chiefs of police, most of the press, and the educational and health authorities; they all coordinated action in defense of the mafia against the peasants, who suffered calumny, physical aggression, and an infinite number of judicial proceedings (which demanded both time away from the fields and money), detentions, hostility in educational and health centers, etc.

The compañeros asked for my collaboration. I asked my organization, the CCP, to commission me to support this struggle. The CCP agreed.

Thanks to their hard work and protest marches and with the support of the Federación Departamental de Campesinos del Cuzco (FDCC) and the CCP, after a long, painful and courageous struggle, the peasants achieved their basic aims, gaining official recognition for their elected leadership, and with that the right to use the industrial installations. However, the authorities, together with private tea processors, are trying illegally to delay the turnover of all the installations and are using various means to obstruct the cooperative enterprise; among other things, they attempted to steal the prestigious brand name.

The cooperative is run by its general assembly. The peasants have gone back to attend to their tea plantations which had been abandoned, and with the part of the machinery that they retained, they started the industrial processing and decided that manufacturing would be done on a rotating basis by young people. The peasants receive a weekly payment for their agricultural products, the local economy picked up again, and the small local markets recovered. However, they have to pay the astronomical debts run up through contracts and theft by the corrupt ex-director, who never went to prison even for a minute, while the main leader elected by the peasants was sent to prison and only freed after a popular protest march. In addition, these debts, which rose to 2 million dollars and now have been reduced to a million and a half, mean that no large transactions can be made because the funds would be confiscated by the tax office (which had not been paid for years) and by other creditors, all of them very greedy. This is delaying the recovery of the enterprise. The peasants in the cooperative hope to find someone willing to pay the money it owes, with the guarantee that the lender will co-administer the enterprise until the debt and the interest have been paid.

I mentioned that some of the aggression against the cooperative came from private capital. This is not just because they dislike cooperatives. It reflects the fact that the district of Huayopata is the most extensive area for tea production in Peru, and that this is the best quality tea in the country. If the peasants themselves manage the production, package and sell it with their brand name (which, dating from 1913, is the oldest and most prestigious in the country), the private company will find itself without the raw material and will have to resort to buying it in Argentina or some other producing country. For now this is not happening; the small amount of machinery retained by the cooperative works slowly; the cooperative, after it has processed the tea, has to sell it in bulk, and this is bought indirectly and packaged by the capitalists. It is for this reason that they put money and influence into hindering the progress of the cooperative, because they know that if it prospers and pays its immense debts, it will buy modern machinery and will pack all its own production, leaving the capitalists in a tight spot. In the case of tea production, the revolution will not need “the confiscation of industry”: capitalism in this sector will die peacefully of natural causes.

Now that I am old and my compañeros have less need of my experience of combative action, the cooperative have given me the job of dealing with public relations, and I have accepted because, although I know nothing about business, I do know about public relations in its political form (I don’t receive a penny in compensation; I know the economic circumstances of the company).

As you see, in Té Huyro we are “building power” on a small scale.

Rosa Luxemburg said that the cooperative is a “socialist island in a capitalist sea.” It is no more and no less than this.
 
We know that bureaucracy and corruption can return. If this happened in the first workers’ state, the USSR, then it can happen even more easily in a cooperative. In the period when people talked of “socialism in one country,” we disagreed with that idea and knew that revolution is a worldwide process. It would be stupid, then, to believe that socialism could be established in a single cooperative in these times of increasing globalization of the economy.

This is understood by the compañeros of the cooperative who attended the Peru Social Forum in Tambogrande, visited the combatants in Ilave (both of which are discussed below), and offer lodging in Cuzco and Lima to the brother coca farmers who march to those cities as part of their struggle against the empire and its servants, for their right to cultivate the sacred leaf. 

The cooperative has decided to start a newsletter in order to publicize their struggle and their achievements, and to defend the much-maligned struggles of the people of Peru, of Latin America, and of the whole world. It will give central importance to the struggle of the Peruvian people to build up their democratic power. We hope that solidarity will also manifest itself in the drive to commercializing the tea produced by the agricultural and industrial work of the peasants for their own benefit.

In opposition to the FTAA agreement which the US intends to impose in order to swallow up the whole continent, the Venezuelan government proposed the formation of the Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas (ALBA, Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). The cooperative hopes that this project goes forward, especially now that the Cuban National Assembly has declared 2005 the Year of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. In Venezuela people talk of “building ALBA from below,” and we understand from this that there will not only be dealings between governments, but that it will promote the sale of products directly by the workers themselves, as is the case with various agricultural products, with the output of the 120 factories in the hands of Argentine workers, and with our own cooperative. We hope that Venezuela, which apparently buys tea with a English-language trademark, will then buy our tea with its trademark in Quechua.

Defending the Pachamama (Mother Nature)

Peru, a country of great biodiversity with an ancient and highly developed agriculture, was converted by the European invaders into a mining country. After having exported some agricultural and other products required by our masters during a certain period, we have again become a mining country, as in Pizarro’s time. Government, parliament, press, police, judges, and most of the authorities have become servants of the multinational mining companies in their task of pillaging the environment and agricultural lands, mainly in the mountains and the jungle, ferociously attacking in particular the indigenous peoples of those zones, including groups that have deliberately sought isolation.
 
In addition to the mining companies, there are those extracting hydrocarbons, those that aim to steal water, wood, etc.

This assault is conducted by trampling on the international treaties which Peru has signed (such as agreement 169 of the International Labor Organization, recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples) and on Peruvian laws.

Every day, with increasing enthusiasm, they are poisoning the rivers, the air, the earth, the plants, the animals, the people. They are quickly stripping the Amazon jungle, the largest in the world. This is what the enemy calls “progress.”

Against this, our people rise up vigorously and confront the police, judicial power, the press, etc. At each stage they respond to the attack. Sometimes they are defeated. In addition to the despoilment, there is murder and imprisonment. But there are also triumphs: the people impose their power against the ravagers and their servants. They “take power” in defense of Mother Earth.
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Recently there have been important victories in defense of the environment and natural resources, which I will now mention.

Tambogrande

Tambogrande is a very fertile agricultural area with a broad range of products, especially lemons. This rich valley and the village located there are being threatened by destruction and poisoning because there is gold under the village and the agricultural land and forest. With the support of large power groups and the central government, the Canadian mining company Manhattan Minerals obtained authorization to start exploitation of these mineral resources. The village rose up against the mining company. In suspicious circumstances, not yet explained, the agricultural expert and farmer Godofredo García, who from the beginning had denounced the negative consequences of the project for agriculture and the local way of life, was killed. This death, and the brutal repression which followed the protests, enraged the people even more. They then set fire to the company offices, besieged the police, and prevented the landing of helicopters bringing reinforcements. These were battles in a long war in which Tambogrande received national and international support. In the end Tambogrande won. The Manhattan Company had to withdraw.

Cajamarca

Cerro Quilish was about to be stripped by the mining company Yanacocha, as always with the support of the big mining magnates and central government. The peasants blocked the roads and later obtained the active support of the population of the region, which paralyzed activities until the company and the government had to withdraw.

Huamanmarca

This community in Ayacucho risks having stolen from it the water that feeds the flourishing grazing and agricultural land in the mountains. The threat comes from a Swiss company “Pampas Verdes,” which aims to steal the water in order to irrigate the coastal desert and cultivate asparagus for the US market. Their plan is supported by regional leaders and parliamentarians.

The people have decided, in numerous meetings, to reject this theft. The company has not dared to set up an office in the area. Its agents are acting in secret.

Huancabamba

The peasant population is opposing the start of operations of the British mining company Monterico Metals. On one occasion 1000 peasants attacked and destroyed their camp with rifles, machetes and sticks.  For now the company has suspended operations. The effect of Tambogrande’s example, which like Huancabamba is in the province of Piura, would seem to be spreading.

Building Democracy from Below

Throughout the nightmare of the 500 years since of the European invasion, Peru has suffered the dictatorship of foreign powers: Spain, England, the United States, international companies. The great majority of the governments were and are merely viceroys or foremen of these masters.

However, throughout this time, the indigenous agrarian community, which is a basically democratic organization, has survived, although it is not immune to generalized corruption. Despite this damaging influence, it continues to be the most democratic type of organization in the country.

Against the monumental corruption of the so-called “representative democracy” which dominates the country, there are different expressions of real democracy which are coming to light in various places. The disinformation put out by the major press channels means that the general public does not see them as they really are: seeds of the democracy of the future. In the case of Peru, they embody the sense of community, which seeks to gain more ground every day. It comes to light in the cases I touched on earlier, but also in other forms, as we shall now see.

Peasant Patrols (Rondas Campesinas)

This is a democratic organization which started in Cajamarca in the 1980s. It rose up in the face of the corruption of judicial and police authorities who were receiving bribes from the livestock thieves or cattle rustlers, so that there were cases where the authorities themselves were leaders of bands of thieves.  Although this was the original reason, because of the absence in the area of an existing indigenous community in most of the mountain and jungle territory, it was soon converted into a peasant organization for all purposes, including internal justice.

When it extended into areas where there was an indigenous community, it took on the form of a committee within the community.

The national authorities protested loudly against this institution, clashed with its members and put them in prison, accusing them of “usurpation of authority.” Later, faced with the astonishing growth of the patrols in the north of the country, they found themselves obliged to legalize them with the aim of putting limits on their autonomy. Naturally the peasants in general rejected these restrictions. The public powers continue to clash with the patrols, imprisoning their members for capturing thieves, but they continue to be strong.

The peasant patrols are a clear example of “peasant power.”

Democratic Municipalities

In most municipalities in the country, the mayor decides how the public money is to be spent, and in general this does not meet the needs of the people. Corruption rules; when something is bought or a service contracted, the seller or provider has to pay a bribe to the mayor, with the result that the products and services are of the worst quality. Jobs are filled by relatives, friends, or someone who has paid a bribe. There are employees who have had to promise to pay half their salary to the mayor in order to get the job. His personal domestic servicants are listed as public employees.

However, there instances of another kind of democracy, where the authorities are inspected and controlled by the community. One of these is the municipality of Anta in the province of Cuzco. Its mayor, Wilbert Rozas, was elected on the “Ayllu” list, which is the Quechua and Aymara name of the peasant community. We might say that this municipality is the extension of Ayllu democracy on a broader scale.

Each community and each neighborhood holds an assembly in which they decide their most pressing needs and elect delegates to transmit their decision to a later assembly of delegates. It is this assembly which determines how the municipal budget will be allocated. The function of the mayor and the body of officers accompanying him is to carry out the mandate of the assembly. Quarterly assemblies take place in which the municipality presents an account of its management, including a financial report. The people participate in the planning, control and management of the municipality.

Ilave

In this Aymara village in Puno, the people, tired of the corruption and crimes of the mayor, removed him from his post and, in confused circumstances, put him to death.  As a consequence of these events the officers and the journalists who had fought against the corruption were sent to prison. The legal apparatus of the system named successive mayors who were rejected by the people. One of them had to be sworn in amidst strong police protection but could not exercise any power because of the generalized repudiation. The people of Ilave wanted to install their own democratically elected mayor and organized protest marches against the imposition, including a roadblock. The police aggression was unable to crush the people. Church leaders asked the government to “see democracy respected” with more repression.

The people did not want so-called “democratic elections” in which the one with most money for campaigning wins, and which serve to divide the population. The people wanted to elect a mayor according to the customs of their community.

In the end force prevailed and the “democratic elections” took place, that is, there were three lists, the candidates gave handouts of food and clothing, and rival bands were formed, hostile to each other.

However, the winner was the mayor who had been elected previously through the communal process, without having done any campaigning or making any gifts. Most of the people voted scrupulously for the person they had voted for in the communal voting. Naturally the people have learned that they must exercise control over the mayor.

The events in Ilave, denigrated by the press, nonetheless inspired various uprisings against corrupt mayors and direct action on the part of collectives against the thieves who corrupt judicial and police authorities with total impunity. Just as the struggle of Tambogrande in defense of the environment serves also as an example for other battles, so Ilave serves as an example of the struggle against corrupt mayors.

Gradually, little by little, people’s power (poder popular)is being built up.

What is the Current Form of “Democracy” in Peru?

Every five years elections are held. In order to be a candidate, you have to fulfill a great many requirements, such as the collection of an astronomical number of signatures accompanied by other data on special paper and in specific formats. This, in a country where the majority of the people are illiterate and semi-literate, makes it practically impossible for a popular movement to qualify. Inscription is reserved for those who can count on huge amounts of money and can hire an army of people who are specialized in collecting signatures.

The electoral campaigns also require a lot of money. Advertising on television, radio, in the press, leaflets, posters, setting up rallies, all cost a lot of money. The right-wing parties hire people to scrawl on walls and to work throughout the campaign. We end up having to choose among the representatives of big capital, who naturally make grand promises in their campaigns.

If, on the day after assuming office, the person breaks all his campaign promises, we have to wait five years in order to remove him, since the only constitution in the world which includes the right of recall is that of Venezuela. The Peruvian people have been fighting for a true democracy for some time (“revolutionary democracy” Chávez calls it) against the dictatorship of capital disguised as “representative democracy.”

The dictatorship of big capital which governs the country fights this democracy, which has to defend itself with marches, rallies, strikes, walkouts, takeovers of public offices, roadblocks, and sometimes with arms, as occasionally happens with the peasant patrols or as happened when the government sent in violent repression against the agrarian reform which what taking place peacefully and democratically in La Convención in 1962.

The Democratic Way or Armed Struggle? This is a false dichotomy invented by the enemy. But it has been accepted by some sectors of the left — both those that opt for armed struggle and those that opt for elections.

From our day-to-day experience, we can see that Peru fed up with this totally rotten “representative democracy.” It is looking for other ways to resolve its problems. It is looking for a true democracy. To be sure, the struggles are isolated and sporadic for now, but as neoliberalism plunges us increasingly into unemployment, hunger and misery, with corruption flourishing, the social movements will necessarily become more numerous and will begin to join together. It is our duty to push forward the unification of the different sectors standing against the system—unions, electoral parties, left-wing groups and social movements. When we are more united, stronger and more experienced, we will naturally intensify our struggles and make them stronger.

The process that we begin to discern through the democratic struggle and direct action of the masses has nothing to do with the “guerrilla experiences” that we lived through in the past. The great difference is that those armed situations were not democratic movements, but arose because of a political party, which, as can be seen from the results, did not reflect the feelings of the people. In such cases, however correctly they might conduct themselves, the people, seeing them as outsiders, withdraw, and the enemy uses the existence of the guerrilla force as a pretext to repress the popular movement.

It is quite something else when the people make the democratic decision to defend themselves using violence against the anti-democratic violence of the oppressors.

The Electoral Path

There will be elections in Peru in 2006. There is no sign of the left-wing currents coming together by that date. Even if they achieved this, it looks unlikely that they will get as much as 20%. So, we will have to wait until 2011. Naturally I am in favor of electoral participation with the forces that we have now. We should not leave the right in command of the field. Even supposing that by some miracle the left should win in 2006 and be allowed to take office, we have many bitter experiences in Latin America and Europe.

There is a widely heard adage in Latin America: “The government is like a violin, you take it with the left hand and you play it with the right.”

There is no need to mention the traitor Gutiérrez in Ecuador; we can simply look at the case of Lula in Brazil.

The honorable exception that proves the rule is Hugo Chávez. He says: “There are those who confuse government with power. They arrive in government and they allow themselves to be absorbed by the existing power” and they behave the same as or worse than a right-wing government, in order that the real power, in the hands of big international companies, will allow them to continue in government.

In Venezuela the government is in the hands of the people, but the power is still in the hands of the enemy. Fortunately, the existing people’s power (poder popular)was able to defeat the coup, defeat the counterrevolutionary strike, and salvage the petroleum. It won in the referendum and also in the following elections.

But this is not enough: the right has the press in its hands, and, apart from the petroleum, it owns the economy. It is inside the apparatus of government.

Fortunately, Chávez is intelligently and swiftly promoting the organization of people’s power — a central element for the defense of true democracy.
 
In this globalized world, however, the struggle is also global, and this will not end until the enemy is defeated on an international level. We are part of humanity and our destiny is intimately linked to it.
 
Our struggle is not only for social justice; it is for the survival of the human race, given that the rule of the world by big capital is leading to its destruction. If within 100 years humanity has not freed itself of its current rulers, these rulers will have put an end to humanity.

 

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