Is Post-Chavez Venezuela Still Leftist?

In the aftermath of the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question for the left is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” has now stalled or, even worse, been thrown into reverse. The pressing problems that now beset Venezuela have convinced some Chavistas that President Nicolás Maduro is lacking in Chávez’s political acumen. These problems include chronic shortages of consumer goods and an annual inflation rate of over 60 percent. Both of these, according to Maduro, are part of an “economic war” waged by powerful interests to destabilize Venezuela. Another problem is the Chavista leadership’s intolerance toward internal criticism, including the significant number of critical Chavistas who have had their programs removed from state-run radio and television. Nevertheless, those who characterize Maduro’s rule as one of retrenchment fail to recognize that governments in the past never confronted the business sector by temporarily occupying commercial establishments and warehouses, confiscating trucks running contraband operations, encouraging community involvement in the denunciation of business abuses, or placing limits on profits. The radical Chavistas exaggerate when they point to the government’s errors and the problems the country faces as proof that revolutionary goals have been abandoned and that the process of change is fully in reverse.
With Steve Ellner, Dario Azzellini, Eva Golinger and Gabriel Fumero
Session 2, Room 1.114 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York | 524 West 59th Street | New York, NY 10019 | United States