Category Archives: Venezuela

In Spite of Their Electoral Victory Venezuela’s Chavistas Prove Once Again They are Not Revolutionary Socialists

Once again the Chavistas have won a national election; once again they have won a vote of confidence from the workers and peasants of Venezuela, in spite of all the threats and economic sabotage and misery imposed upon the workers & peasants by US imperialism through its imposition of deadly economic sanctions designed to bring the revolutionary Venezuelan masses to their knees. It is good to see that the Venezuelan capitalist class was so certain that it would be soundly defeated at the polls once again that this time their largest parties refused to even participate in the elections. But the shrinking margin of victory for the Chavistas indicates that the patience of the workers and peasants of Venezuela is wearing thin. The economic crisis precipitated by US imperialist sanctions, designed, as in Chile in 1973, to “make the economy scream” and drive the workers and peasants into ever deeper misery are having their effect on the heroic willingness of the Venezuelan workers and peasants to endure any prolongation of the crisis. If the  economic crisis is not resolved in favor of the workers by the final overthrow of the Venezuelan capitalist class and their system and the establishment of a revolutionary socialist workers republic it is highly likely that the workers and peasants of Venezuela, driven to desperation, will abandon the Chavistas and the counter-revolution will have a golden opportunity to return to power. For 19 years the Chavistas have been squandering one of the most promising opportunities for a workers revolution in the history of the world; neither time nor historical precedent is on their side.

There are a lot of workers around the world who tell us that we are wrong to say that the Chavista government of Nicolas Maduro is not a revolutionary socialist government and that it should be replaced by a truly revolutionary socialist workers government. We say that the Chavistas, by their refusal to unequivocally overthrow capitalism in Venezuela have proved beyond a doubt that they are not revolutionary socialists but are in fact pro-capitalist bourgeois reformists.

The fake-socialists around the world who spout revolutionary Marxist phraseology but who themselves are nothing but pro-capitalist reformists lie to the workers and claim that the Chavistas are carrying out revolutionary reforms; that they are gradually moving in the direction of socialism; that they can not move any faster in the direction of socialism because of the threat of US military intervention – and a lot of other lies besides these. All of this pro-Chavista sycophanterie exposes these cheerleaders for the reformist Chavista movement as what they are: fake-socialists. Those who hide the truth from the eyes of the working class by providing fig leaves to cover the fundamentally pro-capitalist reformist nakedness of the Chavista movement – instead of exposing these pseudo-revolutionary poseurs for what they are – are traitors to the working class and can only serve to prop up the capitalist system – which is precisely what the Chavistas are doing. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of the Venezuelan working class and peasantry are demanding that the Chavistas put an end to the endless conspiracies of the pro-US Venezuelan capitalist class that wants to provoke a US military intervention that will drown the Venezuelan workers movement in blood, the Chavistas continue to play chicken with the counter-revolutionary Venezuelan capitalist class and their ruthless, worker-hating US imperialist masters. The political crisis in Venezuela will not continue to balance itself on the head of a pin for eternity; it has been in that position for almost two decades already. The situation must and will resolve itself in favor of one of the two contending classes engaged in this life-or-death struggle. All historical precedent shows that if the working class proves incapable of building a revolutionary leadership that will take power firmly and permanently into the hands of the workers, the capitalist class will eventually prevail – and the counter-revolution will come back to power over the bones of the workers and peasants.

The proof of the fundamentally reformist nature of the Chavistas is right in front of the eyes of the workers of Venezuela and the entire world. It is not hidden in any way; in fact it declares its existence loudly from the rooftops of the homes of the wealthy neighborhoods all over Venezuela. It’s cacaphonous bleatings are amplified by the bourgeois press of the entire world, 24/7/365! This proof of the Chavista’s deep commitment to the capitalist system despite all their claims to the contrary is embodied in one incontrovertible fact in the shape of the open existence of the counter-revolutionary parties of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and their ability to agitate and conduct counterrevolutionary propaganda in word and deed, calling for a bloody overthrow of the Venezuelan reformist workers government by US imperialism – an opposition which remains an active and deadly threat to every Venezuelan worker and peasant, and which the Chavistas have steadfastly refused to suppress after 19 years in power!

Any truly revolutionary socialist – in other words, a revolutionary Trotskyist – government would have crushed this pro-US imperialism opposition long ago by outlawing all pro-capitalist political parties and by confiscating their press, radio and TV stations. Only those capitalists who wished to take part in the gradual transition from capitalism to socialism would be allowed to keep their property while that transition was underway. If the Chavistas were actually revolutionary socialists, those members of the capitalist class who dared to come out and organize active propaganda and conspiracies to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat would be immediately arrested and would have all of their property confiscated; they would then be put on trial for counterrevolutionary conspiracy against the workers government. They would face a choice: years in prison or exile. Those who were granted the mercy of the workers government and who then returned to counter-revolutionary activity would face more extreme measures which would conclusively put their conspiratorial careers to an end for all time. THIS is how an actual revolutionary socialist Trotskyist government would deal with these social parasites who represent merely the wealthiest 10% of Venezuelan society!

The bourgeois press of the world constantly pushes the lie that the pro-capitalist, pro-US imperialist “opposition” in Venezuela represents a large portion or even a majority of the population of Venezuela. This is a monstrous lie! In fact, the capitalist class and landed aristocracy of Venezuela represents – as in all capitalist countries, including the USA – only a tiny, insignificant minority of the population. This tiny minority of ruthless, arrogant, greed-maddened capitalists and landed aristocracy possesses perhaps 90% of the wealth of the Venezuelan nation. They would prefer that US imperialism invade Venezuela and slaughter every socialist worker and peasant in the nation than to give up even an acre of land or the tiniest fraction of their wealth to the workers and peasants whose labor-power produced that wealth and makes that land productive. The capitalist class of Venezuela is nothing less than a monstrous criminal conspiracy against the workers and peasants of Venezuela; and the Chavistas know it… hell every illiterate peasant in the country knows it to the very marrow of their bones! And yet the Chavistas – 16 years after first coming to power – STILL REFUSE TO OUTLAW THESE CRIMINALS AND CRUSH THEIR OPPOSITION BY SEIZING THEIR MONEY AND THEIR PROPERTY AND OUTLAWING THE PRO-CAPITALIST PARTIES! THIS is why we KNOW that the Chavistas are not socialist revolutionaries but mere craven petit-bourgeois reformists who will NEVER be able to do what is necessary to put an end once and for all to US imperialist threats to invade Venezuela – namely to overthrow the capitalist class and system and to establish the dictatorship of the working class of Venezuela through socialist revolution! There is no alternative to this!

Either the workers will rule or the bourgeoisie will rule. A perpetual continuation of the highly unstable and increasingly precarious status quo is completely impossible: the class struggle must be and will be resolved either in favor of the workers or of the US-backed capitalist class. To imagine a “third way” is possible is to merely kick the can down the road and to pave the way for an inevitable victorious counter-revolutionary bloodbath. The longer the Chavistas allow the Venezuelan capitalist counter-revolution to operate inside Venezuela the more economic sabotage will take place which will continue to drive down economic activity, prolonging and intensifying the economic crisis and increasing the misery of the workers and peasants. Workers and peasants can’t eat revolutionary phraseology and good intentions: they need a revolutionary socialist workers government that puts a decisive end to the counterrevolutionary sabotage of the nation’s economy and that will have the guts to press forward with the final overthrow of the Venezuelan capitalist class and the establishment of a revolutionary socialist workers republic. The longer the economic crisis is allowed to be perpetuated by the capitalist saboteurs and their American co-conspirators, the more the ability of the workers and peasants to put up with this misery will weaken. This is precisely what the Wall Street financier-criminals are counting on! Time is NOT on the side of the Venezuelan working class! If a truly revolutionary socialist political party, armed with a truly revolutionary programme does not supplant the reformist Chavista leadership soon, Venezuela will see the revolutionary tide ebb and the counter-revolution will get the upper hand. Then, a bloodbath will occur in Venezuela as happened in Chile in 1973, and it could be decades or even generations before the Venezuelan workers and peasants are able to make another bid for power.

It is long past the time when the pro-capitalist, pro-US imperialist counter-revolutionary conspiracy of the Venezuelan capitalist class was utterly crushed. The Chavistas obviously don’t have the guts to do it; the workers of Venezuela must waste no time in forming a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party capable of carrying out the tasks of the socialist revolution and of crushing the counter-revolutionary conspiracies of the Venezuelan capitalists and US imperialism permanently. It is literally a matter of life or death for the long-suffering workers and peasants of Venezuela.



WikiLeaks US State Department Cables Reveal US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Extensive Governmental Destabilization Efforts

We have read with interest the Guardian’s interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro published this past week.  It is clear how extensive the impact of the WikiLeaks and Snowden revelations has been: people who have been paying attention to what has been revealed about the US Government’s global police-state operations are seeing right through the lies coming out of Washington in an endless stream.

No longer are people wondering ‘if” the United States is involved in destabilization efforts aimed at those governments the US does not like; everyone KNOWS that if any government is facing opposition from the right, the United States Embassy in that country is probably at the center of the unrest.  From the Ukraine to Venezuela, wherever the global investments of the US capitalist class are threatened, the US Government of that capitalist class is swinging into action with every weapon in their arsenal, from the seemingly innocuous (to the unaware) Agency for International Development to the CIA, NSA and the US Military.

Maduro credits WikiLeaks with having revealed documentary proof that the US Government is behind the right-wing provocateurs organizing street violence against the Maduro government.  Maduro told the Guardian that Venezuela has been on the receiving end of a type of ” ‘unconventional war that the US has perfected over the last decades’, citing a string of US-backed coups or attempted coups from 1960s Brazil to Honduras in 2009.”

“Speaking in the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, the former bus driver and trade union leader said Venezuela’s opposition had ‘the aim of paralysing the main cities of the country, copying badly what happened in Kiev, where the main roads in the cities were blocked off, until they made governability impossible, which led to the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.’ The Venezuelan opposition had, he said, a ‘similar plan'”:

“They try to increase economic problems through an economic war to cut the supplies of basic goods and boost an artificial inflation”, Maduro said. “To create social discontent and violence, to portray a country in flames, which could lead them to justify international isolation and even foreign intervention.”

“Pointing to the large increases in social provision and reduction in inequality over the past decade and a half, Maduro said: ‘When I was a union leader there wasn’t a single programme to protect the education, health, housing and salaries of the workers. It was the reign of savage capitalism. Today in Venezuela, the working class is in power: it’s the country where the rich protest and the poor celebrate their social wellbeing.’ ”

[Source: The Guardian (UK): “Venezuela protests are sign that US wants our oil, says Nicolás Maduro”, by Seumas Milne and Jonathan Watts, 8 April 2014]

These statements show that if Maduro’s bourgeois reformist government hasn’t taken the proper steps to lead the Venezuelan working class in a revolutionary struggle to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela, it’s not because they are unaware of the magnitude of the financial and political attacks coming from Washington, D.C.  In fact, the Guardian article makes it clear that Maduro is bedazzled by the kid gloves of the US’ mailed fist: NGOs peddling “peaceful, democratic reforms” in Venezuela, and is prepared to allow that Trojan Horse of counterrevolution – the Vatican  – to work its “magic” in a “peace process” that will negotiate a “settlement” between the vicious, greedy Venezuelan capitalist class and the Venezuelan workers.  No compromise is possible between the working class and the exploiting capitalist class!  Venezuelan workers: arm yourselves and prepare to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela! And if the Maduristas continue to bar the path to workers socialist revolution, they will have to be pushed aside as well!  Those who seek compromise with the capitalists are the enemies of the working class!

Last week, the Associated Press revealed that the supposedly benign United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – a US government agency that publicly pretends to be a “no strings attached” organization that provides food assistance and other forms of non-political aid – was actually behind a secret program to create social unrest in Cuba with the ultimate aim of overthrowing that Stalinist degenerated workers state.

As usual, the Democratic Party rushed to the assistance of USAID, which they cherish as one of their most effective propaganda operations and weapons in the US capitalist class never-ending efforts to crush militant workers movements wherever they arise.  Obscenely, the Cuban government’s propaganda mouthpiece, Granma, favorably quoted anticommunist US Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy’s and lapped up the crocodile tears he shed over the revelations:

“Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont, chairman of the Senate sub-committee overseeing State Department and Foreign Operations, said that the revelations were troubling.

” ‘There is the risk to young, unsuspecting Cuban cellphone users who had no idea this was a U.S. government-funded activity,’ he pointed out.”  As if this craven servant of the US capitalist class gives a shit about the rights of Cuban workers – or any workers anywhere in the world!”

[Source: Granma: “Revelations about U.S. Operations in Cuba corroborate President Raúl Castro’s assertions“, 4 April, 2014]

Leahy and the rest of the Democrats want you to believe that USAID’s running a secret destabilization program against Cuba is some kind of anomalous activity for this organization: it is no such thing!  USAID has been running covert operations against workers all over the world since its inception; they were an integral component of the US Government’s war crimes in Vietnam, having participated in the infamous counterinsurgency and “pacification” programs in Vietnam.  USAID has been repeatedly embroiled in military assistance and “drug control” programs that the US Government has used to make an “end run” around those rare US Congressional bans on direct US military aid to death-squad governments.



2:  REPORT TO THE CONGRESS: Suggestions For Changes In U.S. Funding And Management Of Pacification And Development Programs In Vietnam (1972)

 President Maduro was not imagining things when he said that WikiLeaks had proof of US organization of antigovernment programs in Venezuela:  the Guardian’s Seumas Milne, in an article his paper published on 9 April,  provided a link to one such document from the US State Department Cables provided to WikiLeaks by working class hero Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning:


Here we read about the US Agency for International Development’s “Office of Transition Initiatives” – a.k.a. “Office of Overthrowing Governments the US Capitalist Class Doesn’t Like”.

What is this supposedly “non-partisan” US Governmental agency doing in Venezuela?  Money is no object for USAID: in 2009, according to the WikiLeaks State Department cables,  it asked for a budget of $10,000,000.00 (up from $7 million the previous year) to spend on “transition initiatives” in Venezuela.  Let’s read the opening paragraphs of the USAID/OTI document we posted above:

“1. (S) During his 8 years in power, President Chavez has
systematically dismantled the institutions of democracy and
governance. The USAID/OTI program objectives in Venezuela
focus on strengthening democratic institutions and spaces
through non-partisan cooperation with many sectors of
Venezuelan society.
“2. (S) In August of 2004, Ambassador outlined the country
team’s 5 point strategy to guide embassy activities in
Venezuela for the period 2004 ) 2006 (specifically, from the
referendum to the 2006 presidential elections). The
strategy’s focus is: 1) Strengthening Democratic
Institutions, 2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base, 3)
Dividing Chavismo, 4) Protecting Vital US business, and 5)
Isolating Chavez internationally.
“3. (S) A brief description of USAID/OTI activities during
the aforementioned time period in support of the strategy


“5. (S) OTI has supported over 300 Venezuelan civil society
organizations with technical assistance, capacity building,
connecting them with each other and international movements,
and with financial support upwards of $15 million. Of these,
39 organizations focused on advocacy have been formed since
the arrival of OTI; many of these organizations as a direct
result of OTI programs and funding.

“6. (S) Human Rights: OTI supports the Freedom House (FH)
“Right to Defend Human Rights” program with $1.1 million.
Simultaneously through Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI),
OTI has also provided 22 grants to human rights
organizations, totaling $726,000. FH provides training and
technical assistance to 15 different smaller and regional
human rights organizations on how to research, document, and
present cases in situations of judicial impunity through a
specialized software and proven techniques […]

“7. (S) Citizen Participation in Governance: Venezuelan
NGOs lack a long history of social activism. In response,
OTI partners are training NGOs to be activists and become
more involved in advocacy […]

“8. (S) Civic Education: One effective Chavista mechanism
of control applies democratic vocabulary to support
revolutionary Bolivarian ideology. OTI has been working to
counter this through a civic education program called
“Democracy Among Us”. This interactive education program
works through NGOs in low income communities to deliver five
modules: 1) Separation of Powers, 2) Rule of Law, 3) The
Role and Responsibility of Citizens, 4) Political Tolerance,
and 5) The Role of Civil Society. Separate civic education
programs in political tolerance, participation, and human
rights have reached over 600,000 people […]

Penetrate Base/Divide Chavismo
9. (S) Another key Chavez strategy is his attempt to divide
and polarize Venezuelan society using rhetoric of hate and
violence. OTI supports local NGOs who work in Chavista
strongholds and with Chavista leaders, using those spaces to
counter this rhetoric and promote alliances through working
together on issues of importance to the entire community.
OTI has directly reached approximately 238,000 adults through
over 3000 forums, workshops and training sessions delivering
alternative values and providing opportunities for opposition
activists to interact with hard-core Chavistas, with the
desired effect of pulling them slowly away from Chavismo. We
have supported this initiative with 50 grants totaling over
$1.1 million. There are several key examples of this:
10. (S) Visor Participativo: This is a group of 34 OTI
CARACAS 00003356 003.2 OF 004
funded and technically assisted NGOs working together on
municipal strengthening. They work in 48 municipalities
(Venezuela has 337), with 31 MVR, 2 PPT and 15 opposition
mayors. As Chavez attempts to re-centralize the country, OTI
through Visor is supporting decentralization. Much of this
is done through the municipal councils (CLPPs). The National
Assembly recently passed a law that creates groups parallel
to the mayor’s offices and municipal councils (and that
report directly to the president’s office). These groups are
receiving the lions share of new monies Chavez is pumping
into the regions, leaving the municipalities under-funded.
As Chavez attempts to re-centralize all power to the
Executive in the capital, local Chavista leadership are
becoming the opposition as their individual oxen are gored.
Visor has been providing these leaders with tools and skills
for leadership to counter the threat represented by the new
legislation […]”

We ask our readers to imagine the reaction of the US Government if ANY foreign government attempted to spend as much money causing political unrest inside the US!

Having been pointed in the direction of the WikiLeaks cables by Maduro and the Guardian, we thought we’d do a little searching for other USAID/OTI-tagged State Department Cables.  We went to the WikiLeaks PlusD website and typed “USAID/OTI” into the “Keywords” search box and… presto! 195 State Department cables popped up!

There is some tantalizing information on USAID/OTI’s ops in Sri Lanka, where a savage campaign of mass murder was instituted by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil Tigers revolutionary party; there are a lot of documents relating to African countries, particularly Chad and Sudan.  There is plenty of evidence to show that USAID is up to its ears in US Government efforts to manipulate and channel political events in countries all over the world on to pathways that will fill the pockets of the US capitalist class with profits squeezed from the blood of the workers.




In Venezuela, we see USAID/OTI throwing unlimited amounts of cash into purchasing politicians and manipulating elections.



A major national scandal was triggered when it was discovered that the US-sponsored “Sumate” organization, which pretends to be “a vote-monitoring group” had accepted a $300,000.00 donation from the United States Government.  The Chavistas accused the Sumate group’s leaders with treason and conspiracy; Sumate returned the money, saying that it was a grant from the US’ “National Endowment for Democracy”.  The WikiLeaks Cables tell a different story: the Sumate money came from the US State Department’s “DRL”: their  bogus “Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor”.  Although their Wikipedia article claims that they get “94 %” of their support from “private Venezuelan interests”, when the Chavistas leveled treason charges at them, it was the US Embassy in Caracas that they ran to for support.

Comic relief department: one of the principal leaders of the “Sumate” group, one  Maria Corina Machado  states on her Wikipedia biography (next to her smiling photo op with GW Bush in the Oval Office) that her father was a “steel entrepreneur”.   (And no, that does not mean that he repaired old pots and pans from a handcart on the streets of Caracas).





Here’s a bonus for those of you intrepid enough to have read all the way to the end of this article: a 27 August 2009 cable from Caracas alerting the State Department that a company called “Development Alternatives, Incorporated” (DAI), a front for the US Government through which the USAID/OTI office funneled millions of dollars to DAI, which ran agents for the US Government that were involved in organizing street protests against the Chavez government.  On August 26, the Chavez government initiated an investigation into DAI, which was run by two US citizens, Eduardo Fernandez and Erin Upton.  At issue were “unusually large cash transfers in 2007 and 2008” that were run through DAI by USAID.  “[T]his coincides with the December 2007 Constitutional Referendum and national state and local elections in 2008. The focus of the investigation will be the origin of these funds; DAI objectives in Venezuela; DAI fiscal status; and the destination of project funds.”

Having had the crap scared out of him by the Venezuelan government agents, even though, as the cable says, the officers “behaved in a polite and professional manner”, Fernandez immediately ran to the US Embassy for advice.  “DAI runs a 20-person office consisting of two Amcits Fernandez and financial officer Erin Upton, and 18 Venezuelans as program development officers and clerical staff. […] As part of its grant agreements, DAI commits to protect the identity of all grant beneficiaries. DAI files are structured so that financial information could be released without compromising identities. That said, DAI has 50 boxes of files on its premises that contain sensitive information and are vulnerable to seizure.

“Fernandez said that ‘the streets are hot,’ referring to growing protests against Chavez’s efforts to consolidate power, and ‘all these people (organizing the protests) are our grantees.’ Fernandez has been leading non-partisan training and grant programs since 2004 for DAI in Venezuela.


“Action Request ————– 7. (S) Post requests urgent guidance on the following issues: (1) whether Fernandez enjoys any immunity based on his official passport and visa, or whether he should appear before CICPC or any other Venezuelan authorities; (2 whether Mr. Fernandez should disclose any information and if so, what; (3) what DAI should do about its 50 boxes of files, some of which contain the names of persons directing DAI grantees; and (4) if Mr. Fernandez is considered to be working on behalf of the USG, should he remain in-country or to try to depart Venezuela before the September 1 police interview. ”


For Workers Socialist Revolution in Venezuela!  Workers of the World, Unite!







“Bolivarian Revolution” of Hugo Chavez: Pompous but Accurate Name for Pro-Capitalist Bourgeois Reformism

Venezuela is still reeling from the death of Hugo Chavez, the beloved self-styled “socialist” leader of the “Bolivarian Revolution”.  Having raised up the long-held hopes of the impoverished and hideously exploited Venezuelan workers, peasants and indigenous peoples that, finally, their deliverance from capitalist wage-slavery was at hand, Chavez and his fellow “leaders” of the “Bolivarian Revolution” squandered 14 YEARS of opportunities to overthrow the capitalist system in Venezuela and replace it with a socialist workers republic, instead opting for timid reforms of capitalism and leaving the capitalist class deprived of only a fraction of their wealth and the workers and peasants mired in somewhat less desperate poverty.

At a meeting held at the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) office in Chicago, Illinois this weekend, two representatives of the “Bolivarian Revolution” from the Venezuelan consulate pleaded for “more time” to gradually expropriate more capitalist private property when our reporter pointedly asked them “when are you going to overthrow capitalism?”

“We have nationalized perhaps 30 per cent [of the capitalists’ property] so far.  I personally hope that we will be able to move more in that direction in the future” said the Venezuelan government representative at the meeting in response to our question.  “It will take time”.

Well, time is exactly what the leaders of the bourgeois reformist “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution ain’t got.  With the United States disengaging its imperialist military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, over 300,000 US troops are being paid to do nothing right now – and that’s something the capitalists hate more than anything.   There are more than a few “investors” on Wall St. and lobbyists for multinational corporations in Washington D.C. who think that the US has been neglecting affairs in “its own backyard” for far too long.  In the past 15 years or so, left-liberal and pseudo-socialist governments have won national elections in Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela – something that the US would never have allowed to happen 30 or 40 years ago.  These governments have pretended to be “socialist” in order to win the support of the masses, and have instituted mild reforms of capitalism after years of being “in power”.  Of course, under capitalism, a class society, all “power” resides in the hands of the bankers and big capitalists, who possess the actual “power” no matter who sits in the ceremonial “Presidential palace”.  So long as those “socialists” do not tamper with the capitalists’ “inalienable” property rights, the capitalist class may decide to tolerate them – for a time.  But as soon as the economy starts to sputter or the “socialists” get it into their reformist heads to “nationalize” major industries or to prevent the capitalists from extracting profits from the toil of the workers, then the capitalists’ toleration for the trappings of bourgeois democracy begins to wear thin.  And this is precisely what is happening in Venezuela today.  “Time” is precisely what the fake-socialist leaders of the “Bolivarian Revolution” do not have, having already squandered 14 YEARS worth of it.

Like the monumental blowhard and military incompetent coward for whom their “Bolivarian Revolution” is aptly named, the Chavistas do not deserve to be called “revolutionaries” in anything other than words.  In a revolution, it is deeds that matter, and here, as with the legend surrounding the cowardly dictatorial Simon Bolivar, the followers of Hugo Chavez come up far short of their bombastic rhetoric.  In 14 years, the Chavistas have enacted nothing more than mere minor ameliorations of the grinding poverty suffered by the workers and peasants of Venezuela for centuries.   Far from having enacted permanent changes to the economic system in Venezuela, the Chavistas have aimed only to reform the capitalist system, and have left the Venezuelan capitalist class and their vast holdings of wealth squeezed from the blood of the Venezuelan workers entirely intact.   This ruling class, having been humiliated by their inability to overthrow the opera bouffe “revolutionary” Hugo Chavez in a coup, have been licking their wounds and preparing for a comeback.  Their candidate in the elections that will be held next month has already declared that, if he wins, he will immediately rescind all support to Cuba, whose economy is hugely dependent on heavily-subsidized oil exports from Venezuela, very commendably offered to Cuba by Chavez while his party was “in power”.    Of course, Capriles knows that it would be folly to announce BEFORE the elections that he intends to overturn ALL of the Chavez-era reforms if he wins.  But that will undoubtedly happen.  Thus have the Chavistas pissed away the most promising opportunity for the overthrow of capitalism in a major country since Chile’s Salvador Allende traveled the same reformist road to his own – and his country’s – doom in 1973.

This weekend’s fete at PSL headquarters was intended to polish the credentials of Chavez who the PSL described in their email invitation to the event thusly:

“Latin American revolutionary and president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.

“He also led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society, redistributing resources in Venezuela to the benefit of the masses of working and poor people. Since his untimely death, millions of Venezuelans, Cubans and people around the world have paid homage to his legacy. Some 33 heads of state and representatives of 50 governments attended Chávez’s funeral.

“The massive outpouring in Venezuela is not just an expression of deep sentiment for a fallen leader. The cries of “We are Chávez!” and “Chávez Vive!” are a resounding commitment by the people: they are more determined than ever to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

“Join us at this public forum to commemorate Chavez’s legacy and discuss how to build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States.”

You can fault the PSL leadership for a lot of things, but, so far as we can see, you can’t fault them for being dishonest.  Although they do hallucinate when they call Chavez a “revolutionary”, they quite accurately describe the poverty of the results of his faux “revolution”: he has not overthrown capitalism, the PSL admits (by omission) – he has merely “led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society”.  That is the textbook definition of – not revolution – but reformism.  Chavez, the PSL says “led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.”  Independence from what?  The US?  The Venezuelan ambassador’s representative at the PSL’s meeting admitted that “around 50%” of Venezuela’s foreign trade is with the US.  In fact, he decried that fact that their economy was, after 14 years, still too dependent on trade with the US.  But that wouldn’t change even if Venezuela DID overthrow capitalism.  Who else would buy their oil?  An isolated workers state like Venezuela would be in that case would be forced to trade with capitalist countries until capitalism was overthrown in all those countries – and only then could you talk about the “political” independence of Venezuela – but not “economic” independence!  No country in the world is both “politically” and “economically” independent of the rest of the world.  And under world socialism, not only would nations not be “independent” of each other, they would be thoroughly integrated in a global socialist economy and, hopefully, in a political way as well, as equals, brothers and sisters, for the first time since the human race left Africa 100,000 years ago!  North Korea has “achieved” the most thorough political and economic “independence” from the rest of the world, with Iran not far behind!  Are their precarious situations desirable?  No!

And what the hell does “self-determination” mean?  What country, in a capitalist world run by the big banks in the US and Europe can claim to be a “self-determining” (is that a word?) economic or political entity?  Until capitalism is overthrown worldwide, every capitalist and “socialist”! – country is not master of its own fate!  Every socialist worthy of the name should understand this!  Every country under capitalism is bound together in a web of competing nation-states endlessly squabbling over everything from the demarcation of their borders with neighboring states to the life and death struggle for access to resources necessary for those countries’ economies to prosper!   “Self-determination” is a term that means only one thing in a case like Venezuela’s: it means that the Venezuelan leadership of the “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution” can make political error after error and can pursue a thoroughly reformist bourgeois – as opposed to revolutionary socialist – program as long as they want, because NO ONE IN THE REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST WORKERS MOVEMENT HAS THE ‘RIGHT’ TO CRITICIZE their leadership’s stalwart defense of capitalist private property!  The only “role” revolutionary Marxists are allowed to play vis-a-vis Venezuela, according to the PSL, is merely to “build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States”!

In fact, the representative from the Venezuelan consulate told our reporter as much in his remarks.

We should back up here and set the scene for our readers so they can see how this was done in a very subtle way.  There were two representatives present from the Venezuelan consulate, if we are not mistaken.  One spoke fluent English and had probably spent a great part of his life in the United States.  The other had a very good command of English but was not fluent – and it was THIS man who gave the presentation on Venezuela’s behalf!

We wish we could speak Spanish as well as this man spoke English; but the fact was that he often struggled during his presentation to find the precisely right words to express various political nuances.  We ask you to have this in mind when we relate this response to our question to him.  We did not record the speech and the Q and A session electronically, although someone videotaped the presentations and at least part of the discussion afterwards.  But we did take some notes, and present them here.

During the question and answer session at the end of the Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative’s presentation, our reporter rose and made approximately the following statement “You consider yourselves to be revolutionaries and socialists, correct?  You have been in power for 14 years: when are you going to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?  You seem to believe that you have plenty of time to do this.  But while you are waiting, the capitalist class of Venezuela is regrouping and preparing to return to power.  Already Capriles has announced that, if he wins the elections, he will cut off all aid to Cuba.  After all the Cubans have done for the world, do they deserve that?  What kind of socialist revolutionaries allow all their work to be overturned as a result of a bourgeois democratic election?  The Venezuelan capitalist class is not going to sit around and wait while you play games with their private property rights.  And there are more than a few people in Washington who think that the United States Government has been neglecting ‘its own backyard’ for far too long now.  If you don’t overthrow capitalism now, you will end up like Allende’s forces in Chile in the 1970s.  Time is not on your side.  So when do you plan to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?”  Or words to that effect.  As we say, the exchange was videotaped, so hopefully it will soon be on YouTube or the PSL’s excellent website.

The Venezuelan Ambassador’s rep made a long rambling response to the effect that they needed “more time”; that it is easy for people outside Venezuela to make criticisms and to demand that the Venezuelans “overthrow capitalism NOW”.  And the he said, directly addressing our reporter (who is “white”): (in this case, we have an exact quote:) “When you evaluate from dogma or theory, you have a checklist [and you just go down your checklist ticking the ‘revolutionary’ boxes – ed].  The truth is, we have been, with our mistakes, we have been giving power to people.  It takes to reality and to our times.  We are not in the times of Marx or in the times of [Allende?].  Sometimes I feel that criticism comes from supremacist perspective. [emphasis added – ed]”. 

Our reporter definitely got the message that maybe the reason that our reporter and our party were so “quick” to criticise the “Bolivarian Revolution” was because we were racists who thought the Venezuelans were stupid!

Of course, this man who did not possess the fluency in English of his compatriot sitting right next to him throughout this meeting can now say that he was misquoted or misunderstood by us.  And that may be true.  But this “misunderstanding” would not have occurred if the OTHER representative of the Venezuelan government – the one who spoke seemingly flawless English – had given the presentation instead.  “The right to self-determination” is here taken completely out of its Leninist context – where it refers to the right of independent nation-states to secede from countries that are, essentially, holing national minorities in political and economic bondage – and turns it into a demand for a “criticism-free-zone” where fake-socialist “revolutionaries” can spout all kinds of political nonsense in defense of their stalwart determination NOT to overthrow the capitalist system.

“Theory is important, but we cannot be kidnapped by theory” the Venezuelan ambassador’s representative stated.  But the “Bolivarian Revolution” HAS been “kidnapped by theory” – the erroneous theory that it is “impossible to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela at this time”!

[The Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative was a very nice and thoughtful, eloquent man, as you would expect an ambassador’s rep to be.  He patiently listened to our comment and responded very honestly and without rancor.  We would be happy to discuss these matters with him at any time; there was no anger or vituperation in the course of our conversation with him.  We don’t want people to get the wrong impression from our criticism here that our interaction at the meeting was harsh in any way; it was not.  We shook hands and conversed with him after the meeting as well.]

Political errors may seem small and even trivial to those who haven’t studied the history of the workers movement, where seemingly “trivial” errors, once committed, oftentimes lead to enormous difficulties or even the failure of an entire revolution, resulting in the mass executions of not just the erring political leaders but the very best self-sacrificing revolutionary elements of the working class and peasantry as well.  A good analogy might be this: if you are trying to send a spacecraft to Mars from Earth, an error in the trajectory of that launch by as little as 0.00000001% might seem “trivial”; but unless that original trajectory error is corrected during passage to Mars, that spacecraft is going to miss the planet by maybe a half-million miles and will be lost in interstellar space forever – or crash into the planet. (Something very much along these lines happened to NASA’s  “Mars Climate Orbiter” back in 1998 when a simple failure to properly covert the stupid United States’ archaic English units to Metric units of measurement caused the loss of a $600-million-dollar space mission!)  These small errors of trajectory add up quickly, and this is as true in politics as it is in astrophysics.  Only difference is: in politics, the price is paid with workers’ LIVES.  This is something that far too many self-styled “revolutionary leaders” “forget” to include in THEIR political “calculations”.

In the case of the “Bolivarian Revolution” their “trajectory error” is this: they never “aimed” their revolution to overthrow capitalism in the first place!  That’s why, after 14 years, they STILL haven’t overthrown capitalism!  It’s not a mere “trajectory error”: their program never included “the overthrow of capitalism in a socialist workers revolution” at all, and all the apostles of Hugo Chavez among the “socialist” parties all over the world have “failed to notice” this simple fact.  In the place of this glaring “trajectory error” of the Chavistas, these fake-“socialist leaders” of the left – the PSL not least among them – have substituted, not the “trajectory correction” of criticism, but the abandonment of their responsibility to point out this fatal “error” to their Venezuelan comrades, on the grounds that, due to the Venezuelans’ “right to self-determination” no corrections to the false trajectory of the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” are permissible – especially if those corrections come from outside the Chavista party in Venezuela!  So, all we are permitted to do is to stand by and cheer as we watch the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” sail off into interstellar space, missing its “target” by half a million miles or more!  Bye!  Don’t forget to write!  What bullshit!

Thank god that this is not how the scientists at  NASACERN or researchers in any other branch of the “hard” sciences operate!  They allow their “comrades” to freely criticise their work and to notify them if, at any time, they find errors of ANY magnitude in their calculations!  Only in the political sphere are we supposed to keep our mouths shut when we see our comrades headed off in the wrong direction, perhaps to their executions!  And they call themselves scientific Marxists, do these leaders of the PSL and others who declare this idiotic moratorium on criticism in the name of “the right to self-determination”!  It is the purest nonsense, thoroughly unscientific, and therefore utterly sub-Marxist!

We’ll have more to say about our discussion with the representatives of the Venezuelan Ambassador in another article.

For the Overthrow of the Capitalist System in Venezuela and Around the World!  Workers of the World, Unite!