ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Setback in Venezuela

Embarking on the road to “21st century socialism” is not going to be easy.  

It was truly a photo finish defeat (49 per cent to 51 per cent many of whom had voted for Chavez in the presidential of the vote) for Hugo Chavez and the “Bolivarian revolu-elections a year ago – he said: “...we could not do it – for now”. tion” in Venezuela’s constitutional reform referendum The referendum was about the changes required in the 1999 held on December 2. Conceding defeat – a result largely due constitution to take Venezuela down the road to “21st century to a high abstention rate of 44 per cent of the electorate, socialism”.

The present constitution (the Bolivarian constitution) was ushered in after Chavez was elected to the presidential office in 1998, when a constituent assembly rewrote the constitution. The new constitution no doubt reflected the balance of class forces at the time; on the one hand, it was (and is) supportive of neoliberalism, while on the other, it spoke of (speaks of) human development and a “democratic, participatory and protagonistic society”. Coexistence of the two incompatible tendencies, which is what constitutes the so-called “third way”, was in fact what Chavez stood for at the time.

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