Hugo Chavez, the leftist Venezuelan President, has developed a very friendly relationship with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian Islamist President. Iran even awarded the Venezuelan President its highest state medal for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff against the international community. This alliance was discussed a couple of months ago among Iranian left-wing bloggers. Let’s look at how they've been are looking at Chavez and his relationship with the Iranian government.
History lesson for Chavez
Chape No (which means “new left” in Persian) published an open letter written by Leftwing Students of Iranian Universities [Fa]. In this letter, the importance of Venezuelan-style revolution for Iranian workers was highlighted and Chavez was informed that Iranian regime has already executed thousands of left-wing militants.
In this letter we read:
This blog also tells us that any kind of union or worker syndicate is illegal in Iran, that workers do not even have right to strike and Islamist fundamentalists regimes have already deceived many left wing governments. At this moment, the blogger says, billions of victims of capitalism are looking at Venezuela; it will be a great gift for imperialism to put Venezuela's name beside Iran and Syria.
In Javaan, the Iranian Revolutionary Socialists’ League, we read that the Iranian government has invested in Venezuelan oil industry and other businesses [Fa].The blogger explains how the Venezuelan President's behavior can put Iranian workers in a much more difficult position:
while we appreciate the need of every government to have good diplomatic and trade relations with a large and varied number of governments throughout the world, we are, nevertheless, highly critical of the Chavez government's extraordinarily close and fraternal relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). We believe that this is based on a misconception of the IRI as a ‘revolutionary’ and ‘anti-imperialist’ regime. This relationship, which has included Mr Chavez calling Dr Ahmadinejad his “brother” on a number of occasions, helps boost the regime and weaken the mass movements in Iran – particularly the struggles of workers for their basic trade union rights. We therefore urge all Venezuelan revolutionary, socialist and labour activists to publicise the true nature of the Iranian regime among the masses of the Bolivarian movement. The IRI is one of the world's most repressive regimes:
– workers have no right to set up trade unions, to go on strike or elect their genuine representatives;
– women are second-class citizens with half the legal rights of men;
– young people are forced to abide by a medieval ideology down to the smallest details of their lives;
– national minorities are deprived of their most basic rights;
– the whole population is robbed of genuine democratic rights and free elections.
The leftwing government never limited women’s rights or violates minorities’ rights, in Iran they — the government — did. In any country where a left-wing government is in power, you do not have the large number of executions and political prisoners we have in Iran. But it does not show that these governments are perfect; we should criticize their relations with authoritarian Middle East regimes. The blogger thinks this relation is based on their ignorance about the existing reality in these countries. Chavez has not helped the Iranian government materially, and he has not had any influence on the Iranian regime’s behavior.
No illusion about Chavez
In Militant we read that Chavez is a military man with a rural background and he may in future take away all advantages that he has already given to the working class [Fa]. The blogger estimates that the Venezuelan revolution should combine democratic revolution with a socialist one. The blogger says he has no illusions about Chavez, but others do, thinking he has the control of revolutionary forces in Venezuela; he also says there is no news in that country.
Havari Khorshid notes that Cuba, Venezuela and many left-wing governments are supporting the Iranian government and consider them anti-imperialist. He adds that it is responsibility of Iranian leftists to inform people, teach them history and put an end to this shameful union [Fa].