The International Communist Press has interviewed Carolus Wimmer, member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Venezuela regarding the current economical and political situation of Venezuela following May 2018 elections, the relationship between the government, Bolivarian revolutionary process and the PCV and how PCV interacts with working class movements.
ICP: The last elections in May have resulted with a victory for the Maduro government. This can be viewed as a clear indication of the fact that the popular support for the revolutionary process in the country is still strong. Despite the international repression, the aggression of the right wing opposition and the economic difficulties due to the economic crisis, how has it been possible to maintain the popular support?
Carolus Wimmer: The Venezuelan people, its working class, the workers in the cities and in the rural areas, has always been a fighting people since the independence in the beginning of the 19th century, the time when the banner of freedom, social justice and sovereignty was raised. Starting from 1998, we have witnessed a qualitative leap with President Hugo Chávez, during which an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist consciousness has become widespread among the masses. The hope for profound sociopolitical change augmented and this hope still prevails after the physical disappearance of Chávez, and, along with the multifaceted imperialist aggressions against the Venezuela family, the will to resist has also augmented. We can see the political tactic of this phase of the struggle in the slogan of the PCV: “Unity in defense of the Homeland”, which is shared by all the people.
ICP: Right after the elections, the U.S. government declared a new wave of sanctions against Venezuela. And in August, pro-U.S. opposition elements intensified the violence to the point of an assassination attempt against President Maduro. Till what point can the U.S. and its allied forces keep on with this policy of repression and violence? Is there a possibility that they can break the resistance of the Venezuelan state and the Venezuelan peoples by insisting on and furthering this policy?
CW: The United States has always based its foreign policy towards Latin America on three fundamental pillars: The Monroe Doctrine (1823), which expresses the exclusivity of the U.S. over the territorial domain of this subcontinent; the Manifest Destiny (1845), which defines the U.S. as “the people elected by the God” to impose its political, cultural and military hegemony over the rest of the Latin American peoples; and the Roosevelt Corrolary (1904), which gives to each U.S. government the right and obligation to defend the interests of the U.S. and its companies, including the right to overthrow any government that puts these interests in danger.
Today we see that the U.S. government applies these doctrines in all continents. These have been and still are excuses for invasions, military interventions, coup d’etats, political assassinations, blockades and economic-financial sanctions, false media campaigns, creation of paramilitary terrorist groups, promote frauds in elections etc. Recently the ex-ambassador in Venezuela, William Brownfield, declared that “in order to recuperate democracy in Venezuela, it is necessary that millions of Venezuelans suffer and die”, and a Venezuelan fascist leader said that “the death of millions will be necessary to recover liberty”. This mentality and this criminal policy will not change and we should increase the capacity of the resistance, which has been maintained for 20 years and should be renewed each day, not only as the Unidad Popular, but also as a civil-military unity. This is where the leading role of the Communist Party should be present.
Thus, the people is conscious of the necessity of “Unity and Struggle”, which also reflects the policy of the PCV to give this struggle a political body, in the form of “Popular Anti-Imperialist and Antifascist Front” created two years ago.
ICP: What are the reasons of disorder and conflicts in the ranks of the right-wing opposition? Can we say that they have been losing ground in the last two years?
CW: The opposition against the Venezuelan political process is the expression of the class struggle. The opposition parties mainly defend the interests of the national and international bourgeoisie and the privileged petit bourgeoisie. On the other camp stand the working class and organized popular sectors.
The Venezuelan opposition is not a monolithic bloc, it is characterized by huge political and ideological differences. The hatred towards the working class and the exploited sectors unite them. Since the last 20 years the opposition has utilised all forms of struggle, including a coup attempt (2002), a civil war attempt (2014-2017), an assassination attempt against the president (2018) and it has always been defeated by the organized people, its political vanguards and the patriotic Armed Forces. These false counter-revolutionary and terrorist tactics have produced continuous defeats, which resulted in the weakening and alienation of their natural electorate.
However, it should be clear for us that the right-wing and fascist opposition is only an instrument of imperialism, and even if it has weakened and lost ground, the pressure of the U.S. has not diminished. Today we see that the hope of Washington has been transferred into the support of the new right-wing governments in Latin America, which express their willingness to support a possible policy of military intervention with their armed forces.
ICP: In August, the government introduced a new currency as a medium to stop the chronic problem of hyperinflation in the country. Do you consider these solutions as effective? On the 4th of October, the PCV made a declaration about the necessary economic measures which should be applied urgently facing the economic crisis. Could you explain briefly these measures?
CW: For the Communist Party of Venezuela, the economic measures announced and applied by the national government do not constitute, as the official spokespeople have confirmed, an “economic revolution”, in the sense that, although they are issued as a reply to the necessity of establishing a level of economic stabilization, that concentrate on the monetary and fiscal aspects. Furthermore, it is based on an understanding of maintaining the capitalist system.
The PCV has openly declared that anti-capitalist policies can be put into practice when the working class and the working people are in power and play the role of directing the economy. But this is not the case. Thus, the current measures do not aim directly at the structural causes of the dependent, rentier, single-exporter and multi-importer Venezuelan capitalist model.
However, the PCV considers that among the measures there are some correct decisions, like the reference to an increase of salaries, which, though insufficient, because the hyper-inflationist spiral has destroyed the purchasing power of the salaries -almost 1 U.S. dollar monthly-; so, it was positive to change it to 1.800 BsS, equivalent of approximately 30 U.S. dollars monthly.
In this regard, the Party insisted on its proposition of a policy that strengthens not only the nominal, but also the real salary, through a mobile scale of salaries, using the rates of inflation together with the products and services which are called “the basic basket”, in application of the article 91 of the Constitution.
This proposition suggests that the salary should have a purchasing capacity, in other words, that the workers and their families should be able to acquire the essential products and services to satisfy their fundamental material and spiritual necessities.
The PCV emphasizes that the productive processes that the Venezuelan state develops should be under certain mechanisms of worker and popular control over the most important processes of production, distribution and commercialization of the country – as in the example of the sector of food.
To conclude, the PCV proposes that the implemented measures should be evaluated and modified according to the national interests and the interests of the people, so that they can aim at the structural causes of the crisis and strengthen the national production capacity. The Party has called the people to fight for this.
ICP: La Marcha Campesina (The Peasants March), which started in June from Portuguesa made a great impact in the country and represented a criticism based on the class perspective against the policies of the government. What is your opinion on this? Do you think that the government has the willingness and capacity to satisfy the demands of the movement?
CW: The PCV leads the peasant movement in the country. Actually it is the rural areas where the class struggle is most visible, between the landowners and agro-industrial companies and the peasants and agricultural workers. And, as it is to be expected, in a country with a capitalist economy, a reformist government will try to obscure the class contradictions, suggest superficial solutions, but in the end favor the capitalist sector. This struggle in the rural areas has resulted in injuries and deaths, including some militants of our Party. We don’t take a step back, we are aware of the necessary sacrifices our struggle dictates, we see is as an important source of rebellion, a necessary rebelion for the people. The Marcha Campesina, the march of over 500 km -which, despite the promises of the government officials, has not obtained its objectives-, demonstrates the potentials of the revolutionary struggle in Venezuela. The Communist Party has to be at the front.
ICP: Today, the problem of immigrants and the people at the front with Colombia draw much speculation in the mass media, and this problem is exploited by the right-wing leader of the new Colombian government, who is an intimate ally of the U.S. imperialism. Could you explain to us the objective situation and the PCV’s opinions on this problem? Also, could you provide us with some details of your relation with the PC of Colombia in terms of initiatives like construct a unity based on the class perspective between the working classes of the two countries?
CW: Naturally, the political, diplomatic, economic, commercial, financial, technological and scientific blockade, combined with the concrete sanctions in many areas, has created very difficult conditions for the Venezuelan family. These are genocidal sanctions, consciously planned against the people, not the government. There are problems of acquiring food, medicine, other items of necessity, because of the imperialist blockade. Due to the success of the deceitful propaganda, privileged sectors, especially sectors of the petit bourgeoisie, are chasing their luck by emigrating to “reach the paradise”, which, overwhelmingly, results in failure. Because the aim is not help the Venezuelans, it is to create an international image of “failed state”, to which, then, it is needed to trigger a military intervention for a false “humanitarian aid”. In general, until now, this imperialist tactic has failed, but it has inflicted much damage to the country. An example is the leaving of many professionals who obtained a general education thanks to the free universities. They are now seduced by “the dollar”. Many other revolutionary processes witnessed something similar, for example, Cuba. We can say that the actual migration phenomenon is less a problem of quantity than a problem of quality. It is a Trojan horse to justify a possible military intervention.
As it is expected, we see the biggest immigration in the South American countries and their neighbours. Colombia is a special case, and it has been distorted many times by the international press. In Venezuela, more than 5 millions of Colombians live who escaped from the civil war, which has been going on for more than half a century now. They were received fraternally. Many of them, due to the difficulties in Venezuela, are returning to their country of origin, in other words, they are not really immigrants. There is the manipulation of the media.
The PCV, together with our comrades from the PC of Colombia, we have created the “Border Front for the Peace” years ago to attend to the border strip which historically has been characterized by a constant coming and going. It is typical for the families in this zone to have a part in both countries. In other words, they are not immigrants either, they continuously travel through the border.
ICP: Before the elections, the Party declared that it was going to criticise all that deserved criticism. We know that, as the communist actor in the revolutionary process and the political scene in Venezuela, you keep exposing certain political preferences of the government, just like certain deficiencies that impede the advancement of the revolutionary process, that weaken the revolutionary movement, including collaborations with the bourgeoisie. What is your strategy today to push the government towards policies which are compatible with the objective interests of the Venezuelan working class in the current conditions?
CW: The PCV will not “push the government”, it will continue with its independent politics in defense of the interests and rights of the working class and all other workers. It will continue its strategy of taking the power. It will continue with its politics of “Confront, Demarcate, Accumulate to Advance and Triumph”. To confront, with a class consciousness, the policies within and out of the government which are not based on the power of the proletariat and the popular power. Always demarcate ourselves ideologically from reformism, left and right opportunism with our marxist-leninist base. Accumulate via an organic growth, via correct forms of struggle and a precise application of the dialectic relation between the tactics and the strategy to advance in the proletar and revolutionary process. And triumph with the taking of the power and the construction of socialism-communism.
Even though today there is a tactical alliance with the governing party, we don’t have any illusions about the reformist sectors which are encrusted inside the actual poli-classist government. We denounce the corruption, the bureaucracy and the inefficiency as some of the principal enemies of advancing towards a revolutionary political process. We denounce the impunity and call for punishment against the guilty, may they be from the government or the opposition. All these need a popular power.
ICP: Finally, how do you see the near future of Venezuela in terms of class struggle and the triumph of the socialist revolution?
CW: As we have explained, the enemy of the class will not drop its counter-revolutionary attempts. We need consciousness, we need to create consciousness among the popular masses and prepare ourselves for a long political, economic and military resistance. We would like to thank, in this regard, for the vast and necessary international solidarity, which we also receive from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and the Turkish people, friends of peace and progress. We would like to emphasize that the actual political process in Venezuela has important anti-imperialist aspects in defense of the sovereignty and independence of the country. the Communist Party works and struggles with a revolutionary optimism, in order to achieve, with the help of the working class, vast urban and rural popular sectors, anti-imperialist sectors and the revolutionaries inside the Armed Forces, a qualitative leap towards a revolutionary process which will culminate in the triumph of socialism-communism.
But furthermore, the PCV has explained that these measures are not sufficient if the corruption is not dealt with, if the corrupt civil servants, police and military personnel, who make business with the contraband of produced or imported goods, are not punished effectively.
Equally, the communists have pointed out the necessity of measures which would aim for the laying down of the development of the oil, agricultural and industrial production. It already worries that the declarations of the government do not include any plans for production, and the PCV has insisted that this crisis cannot be overcome without production.
The PCV specified that the oil policy should be reviewed so that the production will be recuperated and increased; moreover, we need bold and effective plans for the agricultural production with the peasants and agricultural communities; likewise, we need effective plans for the transformation of the industry and to rescue and strengthen productively the state companies.
We should emphasize that the productive processes developed by the Venezuelan state should be under certain mechanism of worker and popular control over the most important production, distribution and commercialization processes of the country; for example, in the food sector, especially dominated by mafiatic groups, civil and military corrupt elements.
The PCV also confirms that the mechanism of providing subsidized dollars to private capital and the big capitalists should be terminated; the foreign trade should be nationalized, so that it would be the state who acquires directly the needs of the country to satisfy the needs of the people and in accordance with an integral plan to develop the productive forces.