[News] Venezuela - Defeating Fascism Before It’s Too Late

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 25 12:32:17 EDT 2014

  Defeating Fascism Before It’s Too Late


By James Petras, March 24th 2014

/Author James Petras argues that the violent groups within the hard-line 
opposition represent the germ of a fascist movement in Venezuela, which 
is being organized and supported from abroad./


Captain Jose Guillen Araque, of the Venezuelan National Guard, recently 
gave President Maduro a book on the rise of Nazism, warning that 
“/fascism has to be defeated before it’s too late/”!  In retaliation for 
his prophetic warning, the patriotic young captain was shot by a 
US-backed assassin on the streets of Marcay in the state of Aragua on 
March 16, 2014.  This raised the number of Venezuelan soldiers and 
police killed since the fascist uprising to 5 in 29 overall fatalities 
[/note: VA.com edited the numbers of officer deaths from the original in 
line with the current information/].  The killing of a prominent, 
patriotic officer on a major street in a provincial capital is one more 
indication that the Venezuelan fascists are on the move, confident of 
their support from Washington and from a broad swath of the Venezuelan 
upper and middle class.  They constitute a minority of the electorate 
and they have no illusions about taking power via constitutional and 
democratic means.

Captain Guillen Araque had stepped forward to remind President Maduro 
that the road to power for Nazi and fascist totalitarian groups has been 
littered with the corpses of well-meaning democrats and social democrats 
throughout contemporary history because of their failure to use their 
constitutional powers to crush the enemies of democracy.

*The History of the rise of Fascism under Democracies*

The term “/fascist/” in Venezuela is appropriately applied to the 
organized violent political groups currently engaged in mass terror in a 
campaign to destabilize and overthrow the democratically-elected 
Bolivarian government.  Academic purist might argue that the Venezuelan 
fascists lack the racist and nationalist ideology of their German, 
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese predecessors.   While true, it is also 
irrelevant.  The Venezuelan brand of fascism is highly dependent on, and 
acts as a proxy for, US imperialism and their Colombian warlord allies.  
In one sense however, Venezuelan fascism’s racism is directed against 
its multiracial African-Amerindian Venezuelan working and peasant 
classes – as demonstrated by their vitriolic racism against the deceased 
President Hugo Chavez.  The essential connection with earlier fascist 
movements is found in its (1) profound class hostility to the popular 
majority; (2) its visceral hatred of the Chavista Socialist Party, 
winner of 18 of the last 19 elections; (3) its resort to the armed 
seizure of power by a minority acting on behalf of the domestic and US 
imperial ruling classes; (4) its intention to destroy the very 
democratic institutions and procedures which it exploits in order to 
gain political space; (5) its targeting of working class institutions – 
communal councils, neighborhood associations, public health and dental 
clinics, public schools, transport, subsidized food stores, political 
meeting places, public credit unions, trade union organizations and 
peasant co-operatives; (6)  and its support of capitalist banks, huge 
commercial landed  estates and manufacturing firms.

In Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Chile, fascist movements also began 
as small terrorist groups, who gained the financial backing of the 
capitalist elite because of their violence against working class 
organizations and democratic institutions and recruited primarily among 
middle class university students, elite professionals (especially 
doctors) and active and retired higher military officers – united in 
their hostility to the democratic order.

Tragically and all too often, democratic leaders, operating within a 
constitutional government, tended to regard fascists as “/just another 
party/”, refusing or unwilling to crush the armed thugs, who combined 
terror in the streets with elections to gain state power.  
Constitutionalist democrats have failed or were unwilling to see the 
political, civilian arm of the Nazis as part and parcel of one organic 
totalitarian enemy; so they negotiated and debated endlessly with elite 
fascists who meanwhile destroyed the economy while terrorists pounded 
away at the political and social foundations of the democratic state.  
The democrats refused to send out their multi-million mass supporters to 
face the fascist hordes.  Worse, they even prided themselves on jailing 
their own supporters, police and soldiers, who had been accused of using 
‘/excessive force’/ in their confrontation with fascist street thugs.  
Thus the fascists easily moved from the streets to state power.  The 
elected democrats were so concerned about criticism from the 
international and capitalist media, elite critics and self-appointed 
‘/human rights/’ organizations, that they facilitated the takeover by 
fascists.  The people’s right to the /armed defense of their democracy/ 
had been subordinated to the pretext of upholding ‘/democratic norms’/ - 
norms that any bourgeois state under assault would have rejected!  
Constitutional democrats failed to recognize how drastically politics 
had changed.  They were no longer dealing with a /parliamentary 
opposition/ preparing for the next election; they were confronted with 
armed terrorists and saboteurs committed to armed struggle and the 
seizure of political power by any means – including violent coups-d’états.

In the lexicon of fascism, /democratic conciliation/ is a weakness, a 
vulnerability and an open invitation to escalate violence; ‘/peace and 
love/’ and ‘/human rights’ /slogans are to be exploited;  calls for 
‘/negotiations’/ are preambles for surrender; and ‘/agreements’/ 
preludes to capitulation.

To the terrorists, the democratic politicians who warn about a “/threat 
of fascism/” while acting as if they were engaged in ‘/parliamentary 
skirmishes’,/ become an open target for violent attack.

This is how the fascists came to power, in Germany, Italy and Chile, 
while the constitutionalist democrats, to the last, refused to arm the 
millions of organized workers who could have throttled the fascists and 
saved democracy and preserved their own lives.

*Fascism in Venezuela: A Mortal Threat Today*

The martyred hero, Captain Guillen Araque’s warning of an imminent 
fascist danger in Venezuela has a powerful substantive basis.  While the 
overt terrorist violence ebbs and flows, the underlying structural basis 
of fascism in the economy and society remains intact.  The subterranean 
organizations, financing and organizing the flow of arms to 
fascists-in-waiting remain in place.

The political leaders of the opposition are playing a duplicitous game, 
constantly moving from legal forms of protest to sub-rosa complicity 
with the armed terrorists.  There is no doubt that in any fascist 
putsch, the political oligarchs will emerge as the real rulers – and 
will share power with the leaders of the fascist organizations.  In the 
meantime, their ‘/respectability’/ provides political cover; their 
‘/human rights’ /campaigns to free incarcerated street thugs and 
arsonists earn ‘/international media support’/ while serving as 
‘/intermediaries’/ between the open US funding agencies,  and the 
clandestine terrorist underground.

In measuring the scope and depth of the fascist danger, it is a mistake 
to simply count the number of bombers, arsonists and snipers, without 
including the logistical, back-up and peripheral support groups and 
institutional backers who sustain the overt actors,

To ‘/defeat fascism before it is too late’/, the government must 
realistically assess the resources, organization and operational code of 
the fascist command and reject the overly sanguine and ‘/upbeat’/ 
pronouncements emanating from some ministers, advisers and legislators.

First, the fascists are not simply a small band confined to pounding on 
pots and attacking municipal workers in the upper-middle class 
neighborhoods of Caracas for the benefit of the international and 
corporate media.  The fascists are organized on a national basis; their 
members are active throughout the country.

They target vital institutions and infrastructure in numerous strategic 

Their strategy is centrally-controlled,  their operations are decentralized.

The fascists are an organized force; their financing, arming and actions 
are planned. Their demonstrations are not ‘/spontaneous’/, 
locally-organized actions, responding to government ‘/repression’/ as 
depicted in the bourgeois and imperial media.

The fascists bring together different cross currents of violent groups, 
frequently combining ideologically-driven right-wing professionals, 
large-scale smuggling gangs and drug traffickers (especially in border 
regions), paramilitary groups, mercenaries and known felons.  These are 
the ‘/frontline fascists/’, financed by major currency speculators, 
protected by elected local officials, offered ‘/sanctuary’/ by real 
estate investors and high-level university bureaucrats.

The fascists are both ‘/nationals/’ and /internationals/:  They include 
locally paid thugs and students from upper-middle class families;  
paramilitary Colombian soldiers, professional mercenaries of all sorts, 
‘/contract killers’/ from US ‘security’ outfits and clandestine US 
Special Forces Operatives; and fascist ‘/internationalists’/ recruited 
from Miami, Central America, Latin America and Europe.

The organized terrorists have two strategic sanctuaries for launching 
their violent operations - Bogota and Miami, where prominent political 
leaders, like ex-President Alvaro Uribe and US Congressional leaders 
provide political support.

The convergence of highly lucrative criminal economic activity  and 
political terrorism presents a formidable double threat to the stability 
of the Venezuelan economy and the security of the state . . .  Criminals 
and terrorists find a common home under the US political tent, designed 
to overthrow Venezuela’s democratic government and crush the Bolivarian 
revolution of the Venezuelan people.

The backward and forward inter-linkages between criminals and terrorists 
inside and outside the country, between  Washington senior policymakers, 
street drug pushers and contraband ‘camels’, provides the international 
elite mouthpieces and the  muscle for street fighters and snipers.

Terrorist targets are not chosen at ‘/random’/; they are not products of 
an enraged citizenry protesting social and economic inequities.  The 
carefully chosen targets of terrorism are the strategic programs which 
sustain the democratic administration; first and foremost the mass 
social institutions forming the base of the government.  This explains 
why terrorists bomb health clinics for the poor, public schools and 
centers for adult education in the barrios, the state subsidized food 
stores and the public transport system.  These are part of the vast, 
popular welfare system set up by the Bolivarian government. They are key 
building blocks in securing massive voter support in 18 out of the last 
19 elections and popular power in the streets and communities.  By 
destroying the social welfare infrastructure, the terrorists hope to 
break the social bonds between people and government.

Terrorists target the legitimate national security system: Namely, the 
police, National Guard, judges, public prosecutors and other authorities 
in charge of safeguarding citizens.  The assassinations, violent attacks 
and threats against public officials, the  fire-bombing of public 
buildings and public transport are designed to create a climate of fear 
and to demonstrate that the state is weak and incapable of protecting 
the everyday life of its citizens.  The terrorists want to project an 
image of ‘/dual power’/ by seizing public spaces and blocking normal 
commerce… and by ‘/governing the streets through the gun’/.  Above all 
the terrorists want to demobilize and curtail popular 
counter-demonstrations by blocking streets and sniping at activists 
engaged in political activity in contested neighborhoods.  The 
terrorists know they can count on their ‘legal’ political opposition 
allies to provide them with a mass base via public demonstrations, which 
can serve as a shield for violent assaults and a pretext for greater 


Fascism, namely armed terrorism directed at violently overthrowing a 
democratic government, is a real and immediate threat in Venezuela.  The 
day-to-day, ups and downs of street fighting and arson are not an 
adequate measure of the threat.  As we have noted, the in-depth 
structural and organizational supports underlying the rise and growth of 
fascism are far more important.  The challenge in Venezuela is to 
cut-off the economic and political basis of fascism.  Unfortunately, up 
until recently the government has been overly sensitive to hostile 
criticism from overseas and domestic elites who rush to defend fascists 
– in the name of “/democratic freedom/”.  The government of Venezuela 
has enormous resources at its disposal to root out the fascist threat.  
Even if firm action causes an outcry from overseas liberal /friends/, 
most pro-democracy advocates believe it is incumbent upon the government 
to act against those opposition officials who continue to incite armed 

Most recently, there have been clear signs that the Venezuelan 
government, with its powerful democratic and constitutional mandate, is 
moving with awareness of the fascist danger and will act with 
determination to stamp it out in the streets and in the suites.

The National Assembly has voted to strip Congresswoman Corina Machado of 
her immunity as a deputy in the National Assembly so she can be 
prosecuted for inciting violence.  The President of the National 
Assembly Diosdado Cabello has presented detailed documentary evidence of 
her role in organizing and promoting armed rebellion.  Several 
opposition mayors, actively involved in promoting and protecting 
snipers, street thugs and arsonists, have been charged and arrested.

The majority of Venezuelans confronted by the rising tide of fascist 
violence  support the punishment of these high officials engaged in or 
supporting sabotage.  Without firm action, Venezuelan intelligence 
agencies as well as the average citizen agree that these ‘opposition’ 
politicos will continue to promote violence and provide sanctuary for 
paramilitary assassins.

The government has realized that they are engaged in a real war, planned 
by a centralized leadership and executed by decentralized operatives.  
Legislative leaders are coming to grips with the political psychology of 
fascism, which interprets Presidential offers of political conciliation 
and judicial leniency as weakness to be exploited by further violence.

The most significant advance toward stopping the fascist threat lies in 
the government’s recognition of the links between the parliamentary and 
business elite and the fascist terrorists:  financial speculators, 
smugglers and big-time hoarders of food and other essential commodities 
are all part and parcel of the same fascist drive for power together 
with the terrorists who bomb public food markets and attack the trucks 
transporting food to the poor neighborhoods.  One revolutionary worker 
said to me after a street skirmish: “/Por la razon y la fuerza no 
pasaran/!” (Through reason and force they will be defeated)…

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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