By Arthur Shaw

Granma, the highly regarded proletarian newspaper in Cuba, reports:

“CARACAS.— Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced February 21 that he is about to undergo surgery in Havana ….Chávez underwent a medical check in the Cuban capital on February 18, during which a lesion of close to two centimeters in diameter was detected in the same area from which a tumor was removed in June of last year. He explained that he would be treated by the same medical team who performed the earlier operation…. The President stated that he is to continue working with members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), as well as his ministerial team and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.”

This is not good news for Pres. Chavez, for the electoral prospects of the PSUV in the Oct. 7 presidential election, and for the continued passing of state power from the Venezuelan bourgeoisie to the working class in Venezuela.

Lenin defines revolution as a passing of state power from one class to another class. In Venezuela, less than half of the power of the state has so far passed from a pact of Venezuelan bourgeoisie/US imperialists to the working class.

The revolutionary leaders, the party, class, and masses reacted with poise to the bad news about Chavez’ medical condition. The revolutionary forces are confident that they will prevail in the Oct 7 presidential election with or without Hugo Chavez as their candidate.

Since so much depends of the contingent outcome of the surgery to be performed in Havana on Chavez, the planning for the presidential campaign should assume a similar contingent character. The campaign should make plans for all political operations with Chavez as one contingency and without Chavez as another contingency.

There is nothing disloyal about contingency planning.

If Chavez pulls through, that will be great. But if he is unable to run for re-election, then the revolutionary forces will still be ready to fight and win.

In the contingency that Chavez is unable to run for re-election, how will the PSUV candidate be chosen?
A selection by Chavez, a party convention and a primary election are the three main choices. In this very contingent situation, a primary election may be the best choice because the whole of the revolutionary forces, liberals, populists, social democrats, patriots, and socialists, etc., will be able to demonstrate their superior electoral ability by the magnitude of the turnout of voters in the revolutionary primary. In addition, Chavez can endorse whomever he wants in the primary election.

The reactionary primary on Feb. 12 used massive vote fraud to balloon the actual turnout of about 1.5 million voters to a fraudulent turnout of 3 million voters. The bourgeois media all over the world, especially the vile bourgeois media in the USA, were carried away with joy and delirium when Venezuelan reactionaries alleged their big lie about a 3 million turnout. These reactionaries burned 100% of the voter notebooks, important electoral documents related to the turnout, in violation of and in contempt for a court order issued by the supreme court of Venezuela.

The results of a revolutionary primary will exceed the actual reactionary turnout of 1.5 million and even exceed the fraudulent reactionary turnout on Feb. 12 of 3 million.

Most likely, all or most of the candidates in the revolutionary primary will be current cabinet ministers.
Again, if Chavez recovers, the campaign can continue with the existing plans.