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|The Radical Cause
La Causa Radical
|Mayor of Ciudad Bolivar||Victor Fuenmayor|
|National affiliation||Coalition for Democratic Unity|
|Colors||Blue and yellow|
|Seats in the Latin American Parliament|
|Seats in the National Assembly|
|Governors of States of Venezuela|
|Politics of Venezuela
The Radical Cause (Spanish: La Causa Radical, LCR), stylized as La Causa Я, is a working class political party in Venezuela, part of the Venezuelan opposition to president Nicolás Maduro. Although La Causa Я no longer has a true national presence, it remains influential in its home region of Guayana.
La Causa R was founded as a revolutionary socialist political party of syndicalist tendencies. It was formed in 1971 by Alfredo Maneiro, an intellectual and one-time Communist Party of Venezuela guerrilla who believed that the Communists and the Movement towards Socialism were not serious enough about organizing the working class as a revolutionary force.
The party's focus throughout the 1970s and 1980s was on organizing factory workers in the Guayana Region (officially: Bolivar (state)) through the so-called Matanceros Movement, as well as workers in the west side of Caracas (Catia).
Maneiro's premature death of a heart attack in 1982 left the party's leadership in the hands of the young labor activists he had trained.
With the 1989 introduction of elections for local and regional offices, La Causa for the first time had the opportunity to compete electorally with a chance of success. In December 1988 La Causa sent three deputies to the Venezuelan Chamber of Deputies. In 1989, one of La Causa's leaders, Andrés Velásquez, became the first Venezuelan elected governor who did not belong to either of the two major political parties (Accion Democratica and COPEI), winning the Bolívar governorship on the Causa R ticket.
In the 1993 presidential elections, the party nominated Andrés Velásquez, and came close to winning. Many party activists, including Velasquez, believed he had been denied the presidency through fraud. In the 1992 local elections, Aristóbulo Istúriz was elected mayor of Caracas for La Causa, where he initiated processes of citizen participation which, although cancelled after his term ended in 1995, would later influence the Bolivarian Revolution.
In 1997, the Party split between a radical faction led by Pablo Medina, Aristóbulo Istúriz and Alí Rodríguez Araque and a moderate faction led by Andrés Velásquez. The radical faction, which was favored by a majority of party members, left to found a new party - Patria Para Todos (PPT), or Homeland for All - and went on to support Hugo Chávez's candidacy for the presidency the following year.
After the 1997 breakaway of a majority of its members and their moving to the Patria Para Todos, La Causa's influence was much diminished. It retained the name Causa R, shed most of its radical ideology, and later went into opposition to the Chávez government. To day it maintains a token presence in various areas of the country, but is strong only in Bolívar state. The party remains strongly opposed to the Chavez government, joining the Coordinadora Democrática in 2002, supporting Manuel Rosales in the 2006 presidential elections, and opposing the 2007 proposed constitutional reform.
In the Venezuelan regional elections, 2008, held on November 23, Andrés Velásquez narrowly failed in his bid to win the Bolívar State governorship once again, due to splits within the opposition. Causa R's Victor Fuenmayor was elected mayor of the state's second largest city, Ciudad Bolivar, the party's best result in the election. The party earned less than 1% of the nationwide vote for the various governorships.
- Margarita López-Maya, "The Rise of Causa R in Venezuela", in Douglas A. Chalmers, Carlos M. Vilas, Katherine Hite, Scott B. Martin, Kerianne Piester, Monique Segarra (editors), The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America: Rethinking Participation and Representation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997, p130