By Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter
CARACAS, VENEZUELA - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the program of the opposition presidential candidate Henriques Capriles Radonski, running for the right-wing Roundtable for Unity (MUD) coalition, as "an aggression against the Venezuelan people," the September 3 Diario Vea reported. Chavez has launched a "crusade" against the opposition program in the lead-up to the October 7 presidential elections.
Speaking to the media on September 2, Chavez declared that "the true program of the bourgeoisie is to suspend the investment of resources of the National Development Fund (FONDEN).... This would mean the immediate suspension of more than 100 projects now in process, with a general huge loss of employment immediately," Diario Vea reported.
Chavez said that the suspension of investment would freeze more than US$20 million for the construction of essential infrastructure for the productive development of the nation. Projects affected would include expansion of the Caracas Metro, the increase and maintenance of the free health care Barrio Adentro program, and the project for provision of clean water to all the country's schools.
Speaking on Union Radio the following day, Chavez said: "The opposition leader lies without embarrassment. His plan is blatantly neo-liberal. He wants to re-privatise the ports, the airports, the roads and highways. I'm making a call so that people listen and understand," the September 4 Ultimas Noticias reported.
Chavez further explained that the MUD program would mean the privatisation of the social missions, the elimination of the government-owned Mercal supermarket system, the freeing up of prices, the privatisation of the public oil company PDVSA, and the destruction of the state sector, the September 4 Caracas City Revolution Daily noted.
President Chavez launched a final campaign offensive for the weeks leading up to October 7 with a major speech to a mass rally of tens of thousands of workers and trade unionists at La Guaira, in the state of Vargas, on August 30. During the speech, broadcast live on the public VTV channel, Chavez declared:
"We have to deepen the transition fo socialism in the economic, political and cultural spheres. Workers have to play a fundamental role in this process.
"The working class will deepen its role in the transition to socialism against the culture of capitalism and its corruption.
"This means not just the formal workers, but also the informal sector -- the taxidrivers, the stallholders etc. The right wing call them businesspeople, but they are really part of the working class. The new law on social security now applies to them also," Chavez explained.
"The MUD neoliberal program based on privatisation caused disaster in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The plan of the counter-revolution now is to take away all the rights of the people we've won over the last 10 years or more.
"The hidden agenda of the opposition is to privatise the Bank of Venezuela, the CANTV public telecommunications company, and the SIDOR steel plant. They want to sack all the public servants, stop public spending and create a minimum state.
"Behind this, they have a plan for violence and military intervention with the backing of imperialism. But we warn the opposition: our revolution is peaceful, but it is not disarmed. It is an integral revolution; the last revolution of the 20th century, leading into the 21st," he said.
"The Venezuelan revolution is also part of an international struggle. That's why there is so much interest worldwide in the Bolivarian revolution.
"People know we are fighting for the future of humanity. Capitalism is in world crisis. It is seeking to take back all the spaces it has lost.
"The question is now socialism or rapacious capitalism. But it's the poor who will reign over the future.
"The workers have to be conscious of this battle. The capitalists have no limits, no codes, no respect for the people... I ask you to dedicate yourselves completely to the fight. We need to consolidate our struggle, to organise better, more scientifically. We must organise the electoral patrols, street by street, town by town, being ready for any moves by the opposition," Chavez stated.
"On October 7, we need to show the world that the Venezuelan revolution is strong. We need to put the right-wing in the dust bin of history. From then, we launch a new stage of the socialist struggle," Chavez declared.