Special interview with Carolus Wimmer, Secretary of International Relations of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV). [EN] [ES]
ICP, 15 April 2017
ICP: After the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) declared on March 29 that it was going to assume full responsibility for the parliamentary powers due to the contempt situation in National Assembly, the right-wing opposition and the reactionary international press started a denigration campaign alleging that the parliament was annulled. It is known that the right-wing opposition that forms the majority of the National Assembly has been blocking the same body since last year by rejection of the suspension of effects of the acts of aggregation, adjudication and proclamation of three deputies of Amazonas for electoral crimes. In addition, the opposition insists in rescheduling the presidential elections for an earlier date. What do you think is the strategy of the opposition?
Carlous Wimmer: After winning the parliamentary elections of 2015, the opposition of the ultra-right-wing forces insisted in the option of the parliamentary coup with a change of government similar to the case of Paraguay and recently in Brazil.
However, after a year and a half with a large majority in the national assembly, this option is discarded in the short term, as they do not have the support of other public authorities or the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB).
In their obsession for a coup d'état through the national assembly, the right-wing forces "forgot about" their commitment to the population's agenda on which they had based their "no more queues" campaign. People were hoping that the national assembly would contribute to solving the problem of food and medicine shortages and inflation. Therefore, the right-wing reactionary forces lost the support of sectors that voted for them as a "punishment vote" in the face of inefficiency, bureaucracy and governmental corruption.
It is not surprising, then, that the Venezuelan opposition's political strategy is now in the hands of the US government itself, which is committed to destabilization and intervention in alliance with openly fascist groups that are willing to impose the violent path with the South Command and the Fourth Fleet to put an end to the Venezuelan government and the political process of national liberation. There does not seem to be a "third way"; either a qualitative revolutionary leap or defeat by imperialism, or as expressed by Rosa Luxemburg, Socialism or Barbarism.
ICP: How does PCV evaluate Maduro's step, i.e., his persuasion of the Court to withdraw the sentences related to the National Assembly and make a dialogue call with the opposition?
CW: It acted in a constitutional way. In the face of a mismatch of viewpoints that endangered the interaction of state powers and in the midst of a fierce international campaign that marked an alleged "self-coup d’état", Maduro appealed to the Constitution, Article 323 was applied, and the National Defense Council was convened to resolve this circumstance. I believe that in many countries there may be conflicts between the powers, but very few resort to constitutional dialogue to resolve them. And that's what democracy is all about.
ICP: Last year Venezuela’s presidency in MERCOSUR was impeded and even there was an attempt to suspend her membership. And recently, 14 OAS countries called on the Venezuelan government to hold elections this year and to free the so-called political prisoners. How do you evaluate the transformation in the political balance in the region? What do the events in Venezuela mean for the future of the political dynamics in the region?
CW: The US, today as in the past, continue to consider any obstacle in front of their hegemonic order and neoliberal and militarist policies as an enemy. The US will attack any government that is not in unconditional support of its policies. They want and need to grasp resources rapidly. Neoliberal restoration is taking place in aggressive manner; in the past there were military coups, today there are institutional coups like those in Brazil and Paraguay or unconventional wars such as in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Undoubtedly, the correlation of forces has changed and there is a risk of a new wave of the center right and far right in the region. The left and progressive movements must adapt to the new times. In less than a decade there have emerged certain sociological and political facts that must be evaluated to deal with this new imperial attack that uses "smart power" to corrode the foundations of an authentic popular movement that generated changes in the continent. There is a latent risk of retreat. If Venezuela "falls," progressive forces will suffer a heavy blow equivalent to the defeat in Chile at the time. This is an effort for a peaceful political process of national liberation; an effort that may or may not continue. If we can advance victoriously, despite the great difficulties and sacrifices that must be faced, the entire left in Latin America and other regions will be strengthened. We are aware of our responsibility.
ICP: Recently your party called the national government for a political evaluation of Venezuela’s membership to the Organization of American States (OAS). Despite the fact that OAS has been operating as a puppet in the service of the United States, a few years ago there was hope of establishing a counterweight within the organization. What would Venezuela's decision to leave OAS mean in terms of the regional projection of the Bolivarian Revolution?
CW: Anti-imperialist forces are establishing alliances within the framework of regional institutions. The illegal action of OAS as an instrument of international extreme right against the interests of the people should be denounced permanently to unmask the double morality of the United States. The popular mobilization has allowed maintaining a correlation of forces that has prevented application of the Democratic Charter against Venezuela. It is sufficiently demonstrated that the current Secretary General of OAS, Luis Almagro, is a pawn at the service of transnational capital, which, together with the right-wing governments of the Latin American region, uses the multilateral organization to attack the Venezuelan people and their legitimate right to sovereignly build their own model of development. The Washington-based OAS is historically a political, legal and diplomatic tool of imperialism and a possible US military intervention in Venezuela; that is clear. We need to remember also the expulsion of Cuba in 1962. All multilateral agencies of the United Nations system are at the service of imperialist interests; that is obvious. We see how conflicts are handled specifically in the case of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
In 2011, an organization for regional integration was launched in Latin America: the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an intergovernmental mechanism for dialogue and political agreement. Its membership includes all thirty-three regional countries, minus the imperialist US and Canada. For PCV, this is the political orientation. Venezuela must leave OAS. That is why PCV insists that a debate be opened and the government consider, analyze and discuss the membership of Venezuela.
ICP: Donald Trump, the new president of the United States, was quick to demonstrate his aggressive stance against Venezuela in a number of ways (reception in the White House of representatives of the criminal opposition, sanctions against Tareck El Aissami, full and explicit support for the provocations of Almagro against Venezuela, etc.). What is Trump's political strategy regarding the region and Venezuela? Does PCV believe that such a strategy could reach the point of an explicit coup d'état?
CW: Obviously, everything that is happening today in the country, those foci of terrorist violence by criminal and paramilitary gangs, destroying public assets and causing death, is part of the continued coup directed from the US to overthrow the Bolivarian Government and establish a government complacent with its interests. John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, stated that the US has no friends but interests. And its interests in Venezuela are expressed in oil, mineral resources and aquifers and of course its geopolitical location. In 1904 US President Theodore Roosevelt stated that "if a Latin American country under the influence of the US threatened or endangered the rights or property of US citizens or companies, the US government was obliged to intervene in the internal affairs of the "unhinged" country to reorder it, restoring the rights and the patrimony of its citizenship and its companies". And in 2015, former President Obama signed the intervention decree, calling Venezuela an extraordinary and unusual threat to US national security and foreign policy. President Donald Trump is continuing Obama's policy. There is no doubt that Trump will continue the same aggressive imperialist philosophy in the interest of the industrial-military complex. It's not about who's in the White House. The US desperately needs to recover Venezuela and Latin America as its area of influence to maintain its hegemony in the world. These are their life goals.
ICP: What is the current situation of the Chavista movement? Has the movement been able to accumulate power to repulse the attacks of the opposition that entered a new stage after the death of Chávez?
CW: In the Bolivarian movement there are genuinely revolutionary forces, but there are also reformist sectors with important influence in the government. The current crisis of rentier and dependent Venezuelan capitalism, coupled with the advances of the national and international right-wing forces, generates direct confrontations, but also policies of rearrangement and re-composition of counterrevolutionary forces and alliances in the struggle for power. The extreme right of the opposition is trying to take advantage of the crisis generated, distorting it to raise the level of moralization and mobilization of its social base, which does not stop responding. That is why there is the media campaign of dictatorship and coup in Venezuela.
At this moment, the Bolivarian block is on the defensive, a situation that PCV, together with other organized forces, tries to overcome as soon as possible. For that we need criticism and self-criticism, also of the Government, and a shift towards a decidedly revolutionary policy with a collective political-military leadership and the broad inclusion of the working class. It is necessary to review the leaderships, which must be of high ethics and revolutionary moral and must arise directly from the workers' and popular bases.
ICP: At a press conference last year, PCV regretted the lack of a permanent evaluation mechanism, which has not been built during the almost 18 years of the Bolivarian process, between the political forces that have supported it and the Government. How does this problem affect the Bolivarian Revolution?
CW: It is absurd to believe that a political process like the one advanced in Venezuela, attacked by the class enemy, nationally and internationally, can be continued without planning, organization and collective direction. This is the petty bourgeois expression of underestimating the working class and the popular sectors, true creators of any revolution. PCV makes every effort to overcome this weakness that may lead us to defeat.
We are against the supposed "Venezuelan socialism or Bolivarian socialism or socialism of the twenty-first century." Yes, we confirm that the actual one is a valuable political-social process of national liberation with revolutionary perspectives towards socialism-communism. PCV warns that in the current context of Venezuelan capitalism, it is not possible to turn state enterprises into "socialist enterprises," or to build socialist apparatuses and administrations within a deeply capitalist economy, if we do not change the mode of production. That is why the working class, along with its Marxist-Leninist class-based party, must play the leading role in this process.
ICP: PCV noted that the Great Patriotic Pole is currently paralyzed and emphasized the necessity for its reformulation. What are the reasons for the paralysis and what should be the fundamental principles of the new formulation?
CW: PCV believes that a great effort must be made to raise the levels of participation and democratization of class and popular organizations. We emphasize the need to reformulate the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), with the aim of transforming it into a unitary and collective space for discussion, critical analysis and construction of politics among the various forces that drive the Bolivarian process of change. Today the GPP is paralyzed, as it is not meeting or discussing national and international policies and problems, so it is not fulfilling its role of articulation between the parties and movements that comprise it. Since its inception in 2011, PCV has advocated that it should not merely respond to electoral contexts.
With this reality, PCV dialectically advances a new policy of revolutionary popular unity with parties and movements in the Popular Revolutionary Bloc (BPR), with special emphasis on the class-based labor and union movement to accumulate revolutionary, peasant, communal, and popular revolutionary forces. A legitimate power option must be organized in front of the reformist and surrendering sectors that operate within the government and the pro-imperialist right-wing of the opposition.
ICP: PCV filed before the TSJ an annulment of legal regulations that could lead to the illegality of PCV. The regulations denounced by PCV, what do they mean for the party? What do you think the TSJ's response will be? Is it possible that PCV be declared illegal?
CW: This situation is also an expression of the deepening of the struggle for power in Venezuela. For the coming revolutionary struggles and the defense of the historical accumulation of the Bolivarian political process and for assuming the revolutionary leadership, the working class and the peasantry, the advanced middle classes of the intelligentsia and the military sector, must have their main instrument of struggle against imperialist domination and capitalist exploitation, that is, the Communist Party of Venezuela, with full guarantees and recognition of their legal rights.
We are defending all our constitutional rights in the Supreme Court of Justice, in the National Electoral Council, but also in the factories and the streets of the country. The announced regulations endanger the physical and labor security of communist militants. We will not accept them. PCV in its history of 86 years of consistent struggle suffered three times its outlaw and defeated all measures to bend it. The capitalist political system did so by imprisoning its deputies, disappearing and assassinating their leaders, torturing their militants, illegalizing their legal personality, infiltrating provocateurs, encouraging artificial fractions, pretending to bribe and corrupt. All in vain... We will assume this new battle with revolutionary commitment and with optimism for victory.
Today, with the solidarity of the communist, workers and revolutionary parties, a global campaign is being advanced through solidnet.org, the International Communist Review and other organizations. We are grateful for any statements that may be addressed to the e-mail address of PCV, [email protected], and to the institutions of the Venezuelan State through tweet @NicolasMaduro, @TSJ_Venezuela, @Tibisay_Lucena, @taniadamelio.
ICP: As PCV, where do you see the key of the revolutionary leap that will end the deadlock situation that the country undergoes?
CW: The country is not in a deadlock but on the contrary in a full class struggle. Regarding the dynamic and accelerated events, which could open an acute crisis, PCV has a responsibility to clarify the essence of them, explain the reasons of things, and to organize the masses. The whole situation has to do with the exacerbation of confrontations in the struggle for power in Venezuela. And in this context, the contradictions between the working class and the working people of the cities and the countryside on the one hand, and the bourgeoisie and fascist and reformist sectors on the other, are increasing. PCV warned that not only the logical contradiction between the forces of the Bolivarian process exercised by the government and the counterrevolutionary bloc of the opposition, but also the contradictions in the very heart of these blocs are intensifying.
PCV proposes to the revolutionary workers and currents the need to join forces in a powerful revolutionary movement, in a bloc of workers, peasants and popular forces, to confront not only the reactionary fascist and pro-imperialist right-wing forces, but also the sectors within the government that are concluding deals and giving away the conquests of the Venezuelan political and social process.
This independent and class-based block is growing and should be characterized by its maximum unity of action.