[News] What Is at Stake Is the Fate of Venezuela’s Revolutionary Democratic Experiment

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jul 6 11:19:55 EDT 2017


  What Is at Stake Is the Fate of Venezuela’s Revolutionary Democratic

By Reinaldo Iturriza & Federico Fuentes – Green Left Weekly , July 6th 2017

Revolutionary activist and sociologist */Reinaldo Iturriza/*has spent 
many years working with popular movements in Venezuela and writing on 
the rise of Chavismo as a political movement of the poor. He also served 
as Minister for the Communes and Social Movements, and then Minister for 
Culture in President Nicolas Maduro’s cabinet between 2013 and 2016.

Together with activists from a range of grassroots revolutionary 
organisations and social movements, he is standing as a candidate for 
the Popular Constituent Platform in the July 30 elections for a 
Constituent Assembly that will seek to find a political way out of the 
current turmoil gripping Venezuela through the drafting of a new 

/Green Left Weekly/’s */Federico Fuentes/* interviewed Iturriza to gets 
his views on the current challenges facing Chavismo and the proposed 
Constituent Assembly.


*How would you characterise the current political and economic situation 
in Venezuela?*

The political and economic situation in Venezuela today is the most 
difficult one we have faced since 1999, the year in which Hugo Chavez 
assumed the presidency. This situation is occurring within a global 
economic context, which of course partially explains what is happening: 
the drop in the prices of raw materials, and in Venezuela’ case the fall 
in oil prices.

But there are many other important factors, because what is at stake is 
not simply control over Venezuela’s natural resources, but the meaning, 
the reach, the influence even of Venezuela’s revolutionary democratic 

What is at stake is Chavismo’s political capital, and that explains why, 
together with the brutal attacks on the economy and the new wave of 
street violence that began on April 1, we have seen attacks on the 
republic being made in the name of Chavez, such as [what] Attorney 
General [Luisa Ortega] has done, as well as some ex-ministers, almost 
all of whom are conspiring with the right to overthrow the 
constitutional president, Nicolas Maduro.

This anti-Chavismo has not been able to, and will not be able to convert 
itself into a viable political reference point for the majority of the 
population. Its class origins and the content of its governing program, 
which is neoliberal and radically anti-people, impede this. That is why 
its efforts have been centred on demobilising the people, demobilising 
and demoralising.

The boycott against the national economy, which economist Pasqualina 
Curcio has explained very well in her book /The Invisible Hand of the 
seeks to not only create discontent, but to demoralise what is a very 
politicized populace.

Anti-Chavista violence, that contrary to what the immense majority of 
the media say has left a trail of deaths in which a majority of the 
victims have been people who were not participating in any protest, has 
been aimed against public infrastructure in general: schools, hospitals, 
popular markets, food shortage deposits, electricity infrastructure, 
public transport, government institutions, etc.

It has also expressed itself in the form of hate crimes (lynchings in 
public places of people “suspected” of being Chavista) and attacks on 
military bases. This has produced an important degradation of public life.

Lastly, the discourse according to which Nicolas Maduro has “betrayed 
the legacy of Chavez” clearly seeks to sow confusion, disorientation or 
at the very minimum doubt in the minds of the people. The most rancid 
sector of the anti-Chavista political class has even gone as far as to 
express its “concern” for the legacy of Chavez. The objective is to 
defeat Chavismo by attacking its material, spiritual and symbolic bases.

*What has been the response of grassroots Chavismo and the people in 
general to this situation?*

The issue that has had the most lasting effects, and is without a doubt 
the principal concern of the majority of the population, is the whole 
range of brutal aggressions that have been carried out against the 
economy, the induced shortages and inflation as a consequence of the 
manipulation of the illegal exchange rate that has occurred.

The political correlative of these aggressions has been a popular 
retreat from public spaces, from spaces for participation. In general, 
Chavismo continues to be the principal political force in the country. 
The principal political minority, to be more precise.

Grassroots Chavismo, the most militant sector, has been particularly hit 
hard materially, it is sitting back, waiting, and much like the majority 
of the population shares a generalised rejection towards the political 
class, but continues to support Maduro.

*The government has proposed elections for a Constituent Assembly. As a 
candidate in these elections, how do you view the proposal and what 
fundamental task must the Constituent Assembly confront?*

I agree with the political arguments that President Maduro has made in 
explaining his call for a Constituent Assembly. He is attempting to find 
a political way out of a conflict that everyday seems to be heading in 
the direction of a resolution by force.

The express, public objective of the anti-Chavista political class is to 
generate a situation of ungovernability. The president is trying to 
create some minimal conditions in which it can govern in peace. He is 
not interested in perpetuating himself in power, as the right-wing 
propaganda campaign claims.

*What can you tell us about the Popular Constituent Platform?*

The platform is a space in which some of the movements and organisations 
that in 2011 participated in Chavez’s initiative to create a Great 
Patriotic Pole have come together. These include the Urban Poor 
Movements (Movimientos de Pobladores), the Bolivar and Zamora 
Revolutionary Current (CRBZ, Corriente Revolucionaria Bolívar y Zamora), 
the National Network of Commune Activists (Red Nacional de Comuneros), 
and comrades from feminist, sex-gender diversity, and student movements, 
among others.

Beyond the immediate issue of the elections, we believe it is 
strategically important to combine efforts in the construction of 
reference points for popular unity. This phenomenon of a retreat from 
politics that I referred to before is in part caused by a severe crisis 
of political mediation.

The most advanced initiatives in popular organisation, of popular 
self-government, are not necessary the result of the work of the party. 
In fact, in many places, the party bureaucracy puts obstacles in the way 
of these initiatives.

So we have these dispersed experiences throughout the country, but lack 
the necessary connections between them. And achieving basic levels of 
connections and unity is vital for guaranteeing the continuity of the 
revolutionary process.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
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