The Venezuelan Military: The Making of an Anomaly

  • Marta Harnecker
Keywords: Socialism, History, Marxism


Led by Hugo Chavez, a former military officer, a "Bolivarian revolutionary process" has been underway in Venezuela since Chavez's election to the presidency in 1998. While genuine progressive changes have been made, and although Chavez has won the enmity of the country's rich and powerful, this "Bolivarian revolution" has been rejected by some on the left because it is headed by a military man and because the military has played a significant and prominent role in numerous state institutions and government plans. The reason for this rejection is the standard left wisdom that the military is an integral part of the bourgeois state's repressive machinery, imbued with a bourgeois ideology, and therefore incapable of playing a revolutionary role in a capitalist society.