It's funny to think about the way Chavez's rhetoric has evolved over the years. I think the periodization goes something like this.
1998-2000: Radical people power. "The people are sovereign and they exercise that sovereignty directly, through the ballot box."
2001-2003: The Oligarchy did it. "Any problem we have, some rich Venezuelan is to blame."
2004: The Gringos did it. The Fidel speech cut-and-paste period.
The funny thing is that the guy gives a speech like this, then JVR blows a gasket when someone like Bill Nelson says the plainly evident, that it's not exactly a friendly line to take with the US.
Chavez is subtle. He shifts rhetorical lines gradually, almost imperceptibly. And you can learn a lot by looking at the rhetorical lines that have been discarded. For instance, have you noticed how the phrase "el pueblo soberano" ("the sovereign people") - which he used at least once per paragraph in 1998-2000 - has entirely disappeared from his lexicon? Instead, these days, we get an impassioned defense of the USSR - not a line the guy was using in 1998.
Six years it's taken for Chavez to just own up and admit he's a Communist...or, at least, sees the world in exactly the same terms as communists...
Sorry for the length - I wanted to repost in full, to give the foreign readers a sense, just a sense, of what a complete Chavez speech is like. Bear in mind, queridos gringos, that we've been watching speeches like this at least once a month, on cadena, for years...
Translation of Hugo Chavez's meeting and national broadcast (Cadena) from Avenida Urdaneta.
April 13, 2004.
I would like to give a very warm greeting. In a special and exemplifying way, I wish to greet my fellow citizens who have come today. Welcome to Bolívar's country. A welcome hug. Today, we will open the second event of solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution.
In these caribbean lands, Bolívar's flag has been raised, Bolívar being the leader of this revolution, yesterday, today and forever.
I believe there are many things we have to say here, in this Caracas, in April of 2004.
A true demonstration of courage, of consicience, of popular strength that the Venezuelan people gave, the people of Caracas, right here. This street, this very street, is a witness. These trees, these mountains, are witnesses of that unprecedented fact in the history of this continent. How a nation harassed, under a real terrorist media bombardment, who were denied all their rights, had to confront a tyranny of elite Venezuelan oligarchs ... a true example of conscience.
Ali Primera sang a song, "innocence does not kill a nation, but neither does it save it".
It is important to study the cause of the entire historical process, much more important for us, here in Venezuela and in the world, especially for those of us who are fighting to transform the world, on april 11, 2002 ... and also the causes of what happened on april 13.
Those two days have to be studied. We have to look at it. We cannot disconnect what has happened here. Those who believe themselves to be the owners and lords of the planet and we who cry out the slogan, let us be free, the rest is not important, what we want is to be free, we who want a world of just people.
What happened on april 11 has to be viewed in retrospect, because after the second world war, when the pretension of the fascist movement was beaten and the United States' imperialistic movement was imposed, every day we know it more clearly. Recently it was commented.
Some original documents, and I recommend always doing that, going to the original documents, because there are too many lies in the history books. The winners write the history books and they deceived us for a long time. I have always said, friends of the world, who are visiting us, recalling my tender youth, when we were cadets, it was never explained to me why we had to honor Christopher Columbus. To present arms to him and honor him. We were ordered to adore our invaders. Those who massacred our Indians, the owners and masters of our lands.
Today, the true history is emerging on this continent. We have nothing against Europe, but they have to recognize the historical truth. The people of Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia were colonized for so long.
To build the roads we should search for our roots, so that we can know who we are, where we come from and why we have to fight this battle. We who are alive must talk about it.
The North American Empire began to articulate the domination mechanisms, to impose an economic, political and amoral model. The pretension of dominating this continent is not new. During the 19th century, right here, in this Caracas, in Lima, Simón Bolívar put himself in front of the imperialist pretension. Monroe's slogan: America for the Americans. Bolivar had, like san martin, artigas o'higgins and many more, who would form a league of latin american nations, in order to balance the colossus of the north, so that they could negotiate on equal terms ... The union of the south and already, from Washington, they called Simón Bolívar the dangerous mad man of the south. They tried to kill him on several occasions ... And behind the killers was the hand of general Santander and behind him was the United States embassy in Colombia. Simón Bolívar said, for example, in 1825, when Spain recognized the freedom of Gran Colombia and of these countries of the south ... He actually said: "what kind of brothers are those from the north? They do not recognize our sovereignty."
Bolivar wrote this prophecy: "north america seems to be destined to infest the america with misery in the name of freedom". It has been fulfilled, sadly.
Thus, the intention of the North American elite to impose their will is not new. When I mention the elite, I mean exclusively the elite that governs the United States, that pretends to massacre the world. I want to clarify that.
We, as we love the Venezuelan people, the colombians, argentineans, mexican, salvadorians, nicaraguans, hondurans, cubans, in that same way we love the people of the united states, its men and women, children and hopes. And with them we share the hope, god willing, the conscience of the people of the continent, also flourish the people of abraham lincoln, the people of martin luther king, that assassinated fighter, people of how many? I always say this but I wish to clarify it. Our greetings to the people of north america are sent in this message, to the people manipulated by the tv networks, suffering the bombardments of the media elites, cnn, which only says what is convenient to the governing elites, or the main newspapers of usa, who lie.
They failed here because here the people are free. Who awoke and are right here, in their humility, but with a historical greatness. Their rebel blood, indian, black, caribbean. Writing a new page in history. Another battle of their long struggle for equality.
Freedom without equality is false. It is null. They pretend to sell us the idea of liberty. But, what is it? The liberty of the powerful who oppress the weak? That is not liberty. Between the strong and the weak, freedom oppresses. The uniting of the people ... Of the groups who struggle ... For that real freedom. Only together can we be free.
What happened here is part of the global scenery. They pretended to impose it to the world especially after the second world war.
It started briefly after the third world war or the cold war ... And we know how that contest between the northamerican superpower and the ussr ended. The dream could not be accomplished in the ussr ... And that degenerated into what "che" used to say. The soviet union was not going to copy the methods of imperialism. The soviet union fell and the madness was unleashed. Capitalism entered its expansive, accelerated and rational phase ..clearly, The capitalist elites do not know how to count, in spite of its equipment, technicians and its advanced technology. Something fails in the elites numbers. They decided to conquer the world. They used the thesis of the end of history, of the last man, the global village ... And the ones who have suffered most from that mad globalizing race are us, the underdeveloped countries.
One of the examples that is worth mentioning is our brother people from argentina ... To the argentinans, like to most of our countries in this continent. For different reasons, they applied over there an extreme dose of neoliberalism. That was a common factor. Here came the neoliberal fever. The privatizing wave. The thesis that the state should be reduced to the minimum expression ... That the military forces should disappear, because only the civilian police should patrol the streets. The thesis of the international monetary fund.
Only here, in Venezuela, it very soon started giving signs and responses and that is how there was a popular anti-neoliberal uprising on february 27, 1989. The people went to the streets and left the streets full of blood, in opposing the neoliberal project, the imf ... And later we know what happened ... I reached palace because of the will of these conscientious people, a government with a project. It is now more than five years.
At the end of the century, the Venezuelan people brought out from the depth of its soul, from its history, the conscience to bring a government that represents them, as it has, with dignity. Five years and 69 days to be exact.
The reason most powerful of those events that occurred here on april 11, 2002. That pretended on some occasion, said cynically by churchill, referring to the experience that was going on in the soviet union, the socialist revolution that was advancing. A phrase from king herod. We have to strangle the baby before it grows, referring to the ussr. That herodian, fascist phrase is traveling around Venezuelan lands now.
The elites, not only those who govern the usa, but the Venezuelans from the savage and gross oligarchy that dominate this land since a long time ago and who intended to continue governing it, they will never again come back.
Not only the Venezuelan elite has circulated that phrase, but also the elites of other american countries for whom the success of this project is not convenient ... And that is the reason why they celebrated with champagne and good whiskey on that april 12th.
But, as a good Venezuelan diplomat said, over there in bogotá, ... When the orchestra was arriving, a helicopter was landing here ... The orchestra did not have time to play. They could not take the second drink. Just as the Venezuelan oligarchy who came to fill the palace ... They left by the back door, to the dungyard of history. The Venezuelan people put them out of the palace.
In order not to lose the thread of the reflection that I tried to bring to you today, to the Venezuelan people… keep in mind what I was saying that what happens here is part of the global battle. I have said it several times.
The Venezuelan oligarchy and the elites of other countries, seeing the Bolivarian triumph in year 1998 and the arrival to the government in 1999, at the beginning applied the principle of 'if you can't fight them, join them'. As one of the oligarchy's spokesmen called me a bug, that I had to be dominated, they had to go after him to dominate him, and they came here to try to dominate the bug, but as I have said, the bug was more bug than they expected.
An operational siege was activated around me, especially during year 1999 and 2000. A real siege. But this heart that beats never stopped feeling the beats of the heart of the people. I did not come to betray the Venezuelan people. The Venezuelan people have been betrayed many times. I did not come to betray the people of simon Bolívar. From that chain of traitors. I did not come to negotiate principles - to surrender into the arms of the oligarchy. I came to be of help to the Venezuelan people, in their hopeful dreams of freedom. I will never forget those nights of april 11 and 12. At around this same time, around 8.05 P.m.
(Side commentary - off track salutations to noted visitors, etc.) Here is jose vicente rangel. A special greeting on this day. Of memories. General acosta carles. Bernal is around there, juan barreto, simón pestana, next mayor of baruta, secretary ana elisa osorio and with her the Bolivarian women. A kiss to you. There are the governors, jesus montilla, antonio rodríguez, to all of you my greetings, mayors, secretaries, congressmen. Tarek william saab, the next governor of anzoategui. Hero of this occasion. The Venezuelan people are the real heroes. Long live the Venezuelan people. Heroic, conscientious and united strength and exemplary ... And if the despotism raises its voice follow the example that Caracas gave (part of the national anthem).
Every day we have realized what is going on in the world scenario. The global battle ... Fighters from the rural paths … of the latin american brethren. We have so many that I cannot name them all because the meeting will be too long. You know, because you come here regularly. Feel at home. We love you;. We love you and want to share your battles that are the same as ours.
Now I want you to know that every day, these Venezuelan people have come after year 2002, after april 11, and all that happened that year. We are conscious, but have not lost our humility, and we do not feel indispensable. The history can only be made with the people united. We do not believe in predestined men, in solitary stars. Here we believe in the multitude, in the strength of the people. These Venezuelan people, everyday have realized and we, who have leadership roles, direction, have increased our conscience of the modest, small but very important role of the Bolivarian revolution.
These days, since we have a bigger conscience we have made the decision to take care of this process and what we do, the direction of the project, the strength, the originality of the project and especially the viability and success of the Bolivarian project. We know it can play an important role in awakening of the masses and the people, of the movements that are constructing and struggling in the four cardinal points.
Here we are and we need to be here always, fellowmen, very clear about the world's surroundings. The fascist coup of april 11th in Venezuela was not designed here in Venezuela but in washington. It has the white house's signature and the signature of the dominant elites in the usa.
I must repeat so that the world knows about it.
On april 12th, war ships landed at maiquetía. They violated the sovereignty of the caribbean and they were in paraguana. Planes flew within the Venezuelan airspace. From here, I raise my voice again ... And it is the voice of millions of men and women ... Saying that we will not permit any interference from the us government in Venezuela..
I have recently challenged the usa. I repeat it again. I make a bet with bush to see who lasts longer in government, he in the white house or me here. Now watch this, the threat.
Over there in Washington, they say that fidel castro and myself are a menace to the continent ... The destabilizers of the continent ... The bad boys.
The bad boys are they. They are the great destabilizers. If not, look what is happening in mesopotamia, in those lands where the code of hamurabi (021600) was born. There is a culture. I have had the joy of knowing the culture of the arab and persian countries. I have visited them. I studied its history, customs. I knew leaders, directors. It is a profound culture. More ancient than the anglo-saxon one. They are people who have fought during centuries and centuries. Look at what is happening now. Violence starts that no one knows when or where it will end.
And whose fault is it? Is it sadam hussein's fault? Is it the islamic fundamentalist's fault?
All the fault has a name george w. Bush!!! He is the culprit. So many children dead just two days ago. One day ago a missile fell and blood was shed in bagdad streets ... Faluya and many other towns. From here we send our hearts to the iraqui brethren ... And to the arabs in the middle east who are fighting against imperialism.
Recently, a writer called hans british gave me some books - and I look for time, especially in the early morning, to read. He discusses in one of his books the issue of the fourth world war ... And it is not his thesis ... But of a group of world thinkers. Wars, invasions, deaths, economic war, silence. You don't listen to bombs or machine guns. They are the silent bombs of hunger that kill thousands of children daily. The condemning neoliberalism.
Here there was a third world war. September 11 2001.
With those attacks. With the excuse, using the deaths and sorrow, the families and the terror. The government of the united states declared war practically on the world, and threatened those people and governments who did not align with their interest. He said that those who were not with the usa were against the usa.
We are not kneeling and we are against them. We are projustice. What happened here could be classified in this same framework. From that new stage, the so-called war against terrorism was launched into the world. Once the elite took, as an excuse, the fight against terrorism, in order to defeat nations as they did in guatemala, nicaragua, república dominicana, haiti and so many other brother nations.
They overthrew our comrade allende. They launched terror in chile, to overthrow that dignified president who preferred to die than lower his head.
Within that same framework is april 11 in Venezuela ... Part of this phenomenon called the fourth world war ... Afghanistan, iraq, cuba, and haiti.
See what happened there in haiti, it is there to see, as christ said, hypocrit pharisees. The elites are full of hypocrisy. It was nothing more than the kidnapping of a president.
One can ask, therefore, from here, where should we show our faces and we ask ourselves, how can we respond to the catholic religious elite, to the human rights commissions, to the oas, to the interamerican press society (who are permanently declaring that my government is a dictatorship, that there is no free press).
When you see aristide's kidnapping, you ask yourself, where is the oas, where is the un? ... They are saying nothing. Where are those international organisms? Those who say they defend democracy?
No less than north american troops invaded haiti and kidnapped president jean bertrand aristide. And, now. They are implementing a government and they recognize a transitional government.
We have stated we neither recognize nor will we recognize a government in haiti which is produced by a coup d'etat. We are very sorry. We call for international solidarity with haiti. Bolivar was helped a lot from over there. First to miranda, when he returned bringing the flag. It was haiti, the free black republic ... And then to Bolívar.
But let's get back to the global framework. To the empire, it is not convenient that this Bolivarian project, an alternative to the neoliberal model, be successful ... And it is being successful, against all odds. It continues advancing. It will continue advancing. Especially supported by the strength of the people and by the cooperation of many friends in the world.
Well, now, the second part of this reflection, seeing it globally, has to do with the causes, not of april 11th, the global war, the Venezuelan oligarchy, and the owners of private mass media, the ecclesiastic elite, and the corrupt union elite. The elites of those parties that governed for half a century ... All these elite groups: political, religious, social... The media elite, joined together, following orders from the white house.
But this is not a recent fact, in our countries, groups within the military sector forget their compromise with their countries and flags, and they knelt before the special interests.
Part of the high command of the armed forces, more than 60 generals and admirals and other groups, added themselves to the coup. They sent out all the force they were capable of concentrating. A social mass, that they managed to concentrate, poisoned by media terrorism, were sent against the palace.
The media bombardment, how funny, however, did not last even for 48 hours. All that strength concentrated at one moment, with all the advantages that power can give them, with the support of usa and other governments of this continent and europe. From a whole bunch of elites, an uninformed population because they had no way of knowing what was happening, but I will never forget, I said it a while ago, I am going to repeat what I once said.
I ask for forgiveness, my fellow citizens. I ask for forgiveness, because on that night of april 12th, after they took me prisoner and took me to bahía de turiamo, where they wanted to execute me before a firing squad, I was really exhausted ... And I committed a grave sin. I did what peter did when he denied christ. I, for an instant, denied that I had lived. I started to think that it had not been worthwhile to live. Nevertheless, from the bottom of my soul, a strength came out that told me "over there you have a people, hugo… a conscientious people! I must tell you that when I rose from that terrible doubt, I was planning to return. Thinking from a prison cell, I calculated about 6 months or one year to return. I never thought that, a few hours later, I would be back in this palace, in this street. How did that happen? ... And this is important… how could a people, without mass media, without clear and certain information, whose most important leaders were in prison, being persecuted? How could it be, that in less than 48 hours, we left this place around 3 a.m On april 12th, , the sun rose on april 13th , and we came back to this same place, almost exactly 47 hours later, we returned. What happened here?
We have to evaluate this especially because, comrades of the world, out there, in any place, where there is a popular transforming force, they will immediately start to feel the impact of the oligarchical forces of their own countries, and of the world.
How is it, that in Venezuela, the national elites and the imperialist forces could not overthrow a government? And they struck a strong blow at a vital point?
I will go through it, in order to contribute to the analysis that could be useful for those who are fighting against those elites in a country. Whatever its name, from any continent.
Here, in latin america, the awakening of the people. We have a group of governments that each day, has been assuming positions in defense of the interest of its people. Now, those governments, as I have said in a private meeting with some latin-american presidents, I told them "we, those who are governing our people, have a great dilemma in front of us, we either reinforce our engagement with our people or we slacken and we betray their hope." Here, we will not give up one millimeter. We will not betray the hopes of the Venezuelan people.
Now, this is important. Take a look to what happened on april 12th. I remember a first sign that the wind brought. I was a prisoner at fuerte tiuna ... Inside a room ... And there was a young officer watching the door. That young man had his doubts. He did not know what was going on. Suddenly I heard a rumor, not very far away ... Outside the walls, from the woods ... And I asked the young man, "do you hear that?" "What can that be?", I ask him. He looks through the window and tells me, no, those are soldiers jogging ... Doing physical training. On april 12th , in the afternoon, I told him, "no; I have years listening to soldiers jogging. Look son, those are not soldiers jogging. Those are people concentrating at the gates of fuerte tiuna. Who called them? The people themselves! Because they went there, or over there in maracay, the people went to the parachute brigade, why did they come to the palace, knowing that there were soldiers here? What triggered the people, no doubt many things! Second part
those conscientious people, the ones with their national leaders in the barrios, and a group of leaders, like iris varela and many others, went to fuerte tiuna and surrounded the military buildings.
There is an important element to be analyzed ... And I recommend the documentary (video) "the revolution will not be televised". On april 12th, Venezuela awoke with an electrified climate, while the oligarchy was possessed by the demon. Even the archbishops have the demon within. To god that which belongs to god and to ceasar that which belongs to ceasar. If christ was alive, here in person, I am sure he will cross the faces of some of them with a whip, and being each day more compromised with being a christian, christ did not believe in the elites.
Now, while the oligarchies were celebrating, as if possessed by the demon. [Chavez is distracted by the appearance in the crowd of general carneiro].
In history someone called a person "the brief". I am looking at a comrade of many years, general-in-chief jorge garcía carneiro, and for the Bolivarian soldiers of Venezuela, ... An applause for him. In Venezuela, for each military traitor that leaves us, we have one thousand patriots.
Here is something else to be analyzed in the Venezuelan case. We could imagine several scenarios. Those people who came here could have been massacred by the soldiers, ... But the people went without fear, confident ... And the soldiers filled with their Bolivarian essence ... And they hugged. And for life's reasons, I am a soldier and a citizen. I will never forget how proud I feel to be a soldier.
Now, one could also speculate that the people could have stayed in their houses, that the people could have been confused. The mass media, the media dictatorship ... They were informing all the people that I had resigned, and they repeated it a thousand times "chavez resigned". It would not be the first one who resigned in latin america ... And the people had believed that huge lie ... And also that we massacred the peaceful demonstration.
Nevertheless, a few hours later, in the barrios, and in the fields, there was silence ... And like 10 million tigers, or better yet, like indians, the Venezuelan people did like the good soldier who listened, or like the peasant who listens to the wind in order to see if it is going to rain. The people took a long time to react, but they left no place for any doubt, long before that patriot soldier left the prison where they had me, long before, without anyone speaking, the people knew hugo chávez had not resigned.
The people knew that "pedro the brief" had no legitimacy, despite what was being told on tv. All those thesis and theories of the fifth hell to confuse the Venezuelan people ... And the people knew the truth immediately ... And fought for their dignity.
It is also to be considered ... The role that the Venezuelan soldiers played. More than 60 generals and admirals called the armed forces saying that I was a killer.
My greetings to baduell. They threatened the officers, many young men from the armed forces ... They offered millions to baduell, and a position overseas.
They did the same with garcía carneiro. Together with the people and a group of leaders, they retook the palace of miraflores, at this very hour.
At this hour, the Venezuelan paratroopers went to la orchila island to rescue me.
Today, two years after that historical day, a day that even acquires epic features, that popular military rebellion against the media and the oligarchy rescued me.
What happened here is a main part of the project that is in action ... And, everyday, we fight more and more for unity and conscience. We must strengthen the unity and the conscience ... And these days are extremely important ... Now, when the battle is still open, when the oligarchy is still trying.
No, they will not be successful. They will not take over the power, not by the good way nor by the bad one. They will be defeated. The mathematics of the oligarchy is not good. Anything can happen with their mathematics, despite the signatures and the fraud intent, and the pressures.
That is why they do not want to validate their signatures. They failed in the test. They were recalled in order to validate, and now they want to put the college on fire. They cannot approve. They are conscious that they were not able to collect not even 20% of the signatures with the support of the mass media and the usa.
Eva brought a document that demonstrates how the american government supports the coupsters and we are going to publish it ... So that the public gets acquainted with the names and surnames of politicians who charge in us dollars. Mr. Bush has persons employed in this country. He is losing money. So many Bolivarian schools to be built, and so many people that could be taken care of with that amount of money.
We, with Venezuelan money, while mr. Bush uses millions of dollars. We have the proof even to whom they are giving it. While he pays, we are giving money to help u.s. Citizens with citgo. We employ thousands and thousands of workers in the u.s., .and That company supports at least one hospital in the usa, because citgo pays those expenses ... And bush feels proud. And, now, I want to tell the whole world that Venezuelan money helps to diminish the pain of the poor in the usa.
In bush's government there are millions of unemployed. The corruption has quintuplicated. On april 11th , the dictatorship was installed in Venezuela ... And, on april 13th , the soldiers wrote a memorable page in history.
Today, two years after that page was written in our history, I am saying many things, as I have mostly always said during this national broadcast, and it could sound like bad taste and simplistic, but it comes from the deepest part of my soul ... "Each day there is a crowd of people. For you men and women of the country". Thank you.
And I came to welcome this army of men and women, to ask for them the applause and recognition of this Venezuelan crowd.
And the battle has not ended.
It will be long; but, we have no option. And, now, when the rains are starting, I came to tell you that we are going for the governors' and the mayors' elections ... And I came to remind you that we, in this battle, cannot opt between life and death. We are obliged to succeed ... And long live Venezuela.
We will double the march, we will increase our stride, and our unity ... And we will continue the big march towards definite victory ... And "gloria al bravo pueblo": (a piece of the national anthem) "glory to the brave people"