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Hugo Chavez: Legacy Red T-shirted, empowered, politically conscious and active working people in their millions, demonstrating their support for the transformational measures effected in Venezuela, are the images most workers in Britain would associate with Hugo Chavez. These images do in fact reflect a deep reality. In the 14 years of his presidency Venezuela has shown defiance of imperialism, developed Latin American solidarity and incurred capitalism's deep hostility. Chavez' electoral success, in what is now acknowledged to be the most transparent electoral system in the world, came despite a coup against him which was defeated by the people and economic sabotage in the oil industry in a so-called 'strike' by oil workers, employed and incited by the multinationals. A great revolution has taken place, done peaceably by the deep involvement of the people in the transformation. The opposition, supported especially by the US and others abroad, were unable to deny the democratic legitimacy of Chavez and so described him as 'populist'. They say he used Venezuela's oil wealth to invest in health, education, housing and employment to 'buy' votes. Any policy where resources do not end up in the pockets of the multinationals, the world financiers and the local elite is called 'unsustainable' and considered not economically viable - ie not capitalist. In glaring contrast to 'austerity' throughout Europe and the US, the steady expansion of the public sector in Venezuela has led to accelerated growth in the private sector. The 5.6% GDP growth this year is mainly accounted for by diversification of the economy, the
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stimulus to public housing (600,000 built by last year) and the increase in demand due to greater employment, poverty reduction and increasing equality. The leading role of the public sector which grew by 3% had a multiplier effect on the private sector. Oil only grew by 1%, being more dependent on international trade. A banking sector dedicated to serve production is a key enabler in Venezuela and contrasts with the parasitism of the capitalist speculative banks, which siphon public money while threatening to 'leave' the UK if their bonuses are cut. Banca Mujer, for example, which specializes in financing small projects and enterprises by single parents, mainly women, has transformed the lives of millions of mothers and their children. Read Part 2 Download the entire article