[Venezuela] Is the PSUV blowing up?

VENEZUELA
Written by UST – Venezuela
Monday, 14 July 2014 03:16
When removed from office, Jorge Giordani, now former Minister of Planning, he made public his differences with the government. In addition to his criticism in the economic field he was very hard with Nicolas Maduro:

“… It is painful and alarming to see a president who doesn’t convey leadership and seems to want to affirm himself by repeating, without due coherence, proposals like those of Chavez.”(El Universal, 19/06/2014).

Many Chavista leaders came out to show solidarity, like former Education Minister Hector Navarro, who demanded that Maduro answered Giordani’s letter and “act as a statesman” stating that “traitors are those who allocated to “maletín” [1]companies the dollars required today by hospitals or necessary for the production and to meet the needs of the people“(Aporrea 06/24/2014). Navarro was relieved of his duties as member of the national steering board of PSUV, a body that has not met over a month ago, according to the former Minister, and sent to the disciplinary court of the party.

Also the Chavista organization Coordinadora Simón Bolívar, issued a document called “Esa carta desgraciada puño y letra de mi amada” [2] defending Giordani from the attacks of the official spokesperson.

This sequence of statements, in this time of crisis being experienced by the government, does nothing more than bringing to surface the “seaquake” inside the ruling party. Many Chavists and Maduro himself came out to expose “the wavering and disloyal men with leftist language” and “traitors”, alluding to Giordani and others.

Of course that apparently this is not new, nor are new the profound differences among the currents within Chavismo. During Hugo Chávez’ life crises and differences were already expressed very clearly by the fall of votes and the growing opposition, discontent and confrontation with the workers. But the prestige and charisma of the Commander over broad sectors managed to close the cracks that opened.

Now, without Chávez, things are different. The fights among the internal currents to see who will carry the can due to the unpopular measures become more violent and risky. In the midst of a world economic crisis that hits everything in our country, the government is determined to impose a brutal austerity against the workers and the people. It aims at reducing public spending, increasing power price, regulated and fuel prices, etc. Giordani and his followers want to appear saying “Was not me.”

The failure of the bourgeois nationalism project

Although oil has remained at an average of $ 100 a barrel (and a production cost of less than ten dollars, according to Ramirez) Venezuela increased its indebtedness to continue providing cheap dollars to feed the boliburguesía, multinational importers and “maletín” companies.

Instead of reducing the dependence on oil revenues during all these years, it increased (from 70% in 1998 to 96% of exports at present). Venezuela’s total debt has skyrocketed, amounting to over 122 billion dollars. And there are not enough dollars in the reserves of the Central Bank. Unbeatable oil prices could make it possible to lay the foundations of sovereign industrial and land productions.

However, Venezuela today, after 15 years, is more dependent on oil companies and multinational financial vultures with whom debts were made. Those are the major players benefited from Chavez’ policies.

Nicolas Maduro must face this situation, without a united PSUV and increasingly critical allies. But above all, a growing loss of popular support that makes him very weak.

Peace dialogue resulted in a crisis at both ends

The “roundtable”[3] allowed the capitalists to accomplish much of what they had required, and now they want more. And to the government, with the support of a section of the MUD [4], served as a respite from protests in February. But Maduro could not advance political concessions such as the release of Simonovis and other demands of the MUD, due to the rejection in the Chavista rank and file.

This produced a crisis in the Democratic Unity Roundtable because, after providing some respite to the government, some concessions failed to be achieved. And also in the government. It sat with entrepreneurs who made ​​an alleged “economic warfare” and their political executors, the MUD, but it was unable to mitigate at least some of the main problems as food shortages, inflation, etc. So the dialogue stalled since it threatens the government as well as the bourgeois opposition.

Now the government looks extremely weak, with many difficulties in implementing the austerity measures required by both multinational financiers and entrepreneurs.

But the bourgeois opposition, nucleated in the MUD, split on the “way out” to the crisis (Capriles and Democratic Action on one side and Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma on another) and is now in crisis and weakened. It doesn’t appear as a likely alternative to Chavez. They know they can’t overthrow the government with stunted demonstrations or “guarimbas,” [5] much less a coup. They will continue betting, probably on the advice of imperialism, on the government’s erosion to restore and expand their support in the National Assembly in the 2015 parliamentary election.

From the “old” sui generis Bonapartist regime to the “new”senile Bonapartist one

The Venezuelan regime under Chavez was called a Bonapartist “sui generis” regime by us. By this definition we try to explain the existence of a “referee” above all sectors of the country, who imposes himself by relying on the military (they occupy important political and economic positions in the government and in many industries) and also on workers and popular sectors. To some extent, it is in a better position to get a better share of the pie taken by multinationals and imperialism.

But Chavez died, Maduro has demonstrated in more than a year of government that he can’t fulfill the Chavez’ role in the regime. Moreover, he has been losing the respect inherited from Chávez. And so he is increasingly in the air, tugged from all sides.

Which type of regime we have and where we go

The PSUV and Chavismo, and their warm bourgeois nationalist project, are not an ordinary party and bourgeois movement. They always needed the “Commander”, who decided almost everything and “sorted” the fights of interests. Chavismo is a mosaic of leaders and trends that were “framed” by a leader like Chavez, but not by Maduro. How to hold them now?

Chances are that the economic crisis continues and deepens. This is the background of the political crisis that reaches both the government and the opposition, as well as the whole regime. Today, neither the National Assembly nor the political parties can play a supporting role to the government and the bourgeois state.

The only institution that Chávez achieved to recover are the Armed Forces. And this explains the growing power they hold, as we said, and all kinds of concessions they have achieved (renewal of weapons, management of transport companies, banks, TV channel, construction company, wage increases, etc.).

Possibly they’ll also play a more active role in monitoring struggles and in the political decisions to ensure for the government the implementation of the austerity plan.

Today the Chavista regime is in decline, although in appearance is the same regime without Chávez. Still the bourgeoisie has failed to implement other mechanisms as alternative to Chavismo.

Workers can change things …

The working class, all workers and popular sectors carry the burden of layoffs, inflation, low wages, frozen collective agreements, scarcity, the pillage of our wealth and the speculation with cheap dollar by multinationals and the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie”.

If they have not yet come out to face the austerity plan in a massive and united form is due to the control role and betrayal of many union leaders and organizations that have not organized and prepared the struggle of the entire working class. Therefore, the workers fight back in each workplace as they can, but remain apart in isolation. The employers, on the other hand, were allowed to increase prices, to dismiss fighting workers and to put on the table the discussion of other achievements, such as labor stability [6].

But slowly the situation is changing. There are already some attempts to organize in some states and cities, as the organization of unions in Barquisimeto. And workers begin to regroup in some basic industries to prevent their abandonment or total destruction, like in Sidor or SIDETUR.

These struggles and organization, and those to come, can change the current situation. It is essential to achieve the broadest unity to fight back and support those who go out on struggle. We need a broad front of struggle to coordinate and expand them.

Building an independent political tool

But we also need to build a working-class political organization, alternative to PSUV. To face both the government austerity plan and the MUD, which is not an alternative for workers.

We call on all honest fighters, whether or not Chavists, to build together an independent political tool aiming at ruling the country. It must be an independent, working-class and popular organization to make pay for the crisis those who caused them: entrepreneurs from the “boli-bourgeoisie” and multinational companies.

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[1] – The “maletín companies” are shell companies that receive dollars from the State for the importation of products. They make deals with a much lower exchange rate and their owners keep the rest in their wallets.

[2] – Esa carta desgraciada puño y letra de mi amada (This unhappy letter, handwritten by my lover) is part of the lyrics of a popular Venezuelan song, La Carta (The Letter) by Oscar D’León.

[3] – Read: A four-legs pact… a blind alley 

[4] – MUD, Mesa de la Unidad democrática (Democratic Unity Roundtable) is a bourgeois opposition umbrella group in Venezuela.

[5] – The “guarimba” is a place where protesters take refuge, sometimes in their own homes, after burning tires or making barricades.

[6] – In case of a dismissal not made for sufficient causeforeseen by law.

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