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  • Our current condition is one that few thought could exist a few months ago.

    Our current condition is one that few thought could exist a few months ago. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 November 2017
The president gave the answer when he declared that along with the United States, our main enemy is internal corruption.

Translated by Axis of Logic

Few would have guessed or predicted a few months ago that we would install a National Constituent Assembly and win 18 governorships.

Venezuela: Freddy Guevara Seeks Refuge With Chile

These successive victories will remain for history as lessons for political battles in different times and scenarios.  Honest observation points to Nicolás Maduro as the one who commanded the battle. We need to recognize that we are at war and the president heads the Chavista bloc. He does it more effectively than the enemy who in these days is making a public show of its falling apart. This is what happens with an army of small generals shoot at each other and sometimes, at their own feet.

We have gained something vital: political power and time to redirect the conflict into the electoral path. If Maduro’s tactic had failed, we could be in the scenario that the right wing sought to impose, a nationalized confrontation, a generalization of sieges and assaults. Instead, we are going to the municipal elections, then presidential elections, without guarantees of course as there are no guarantees in politics - but with favorable forecasts. Right-wing analysts and some who consider themselves to be “left” are in crisis.

This current picture won politically does not indicate a definitive triumph: that doesn’t exist because we are fighting off the United States government. At this time, with their military exercise materializing on the border between Peru, Brazil and Colombia, they are making calculations for rearming a strategy to seize power. Will they try a direct but camouflaged intervention to hasten a new aggression? Or will they bet on the permanence of the current economic offensive in the medium term?

We have the political initiative. The tide turned in our favor, and with renewed potential we are no longer against the ropes. Now we face the need for economic solutions.

What now comes into view is a disorganized phenomenon. We see it in social networks, analysis in television programs, communiqués from the popular organizations and spontaneous street conversations. Is all this real or will it deteriorate for the popular classes?  The historical basis of Chavism has always been one of incubation, development and strength before the most difficult battles. But in the end it is the evidence that counts from day to day.

It is also evident at the center of the media battle that the economic crisis is just part of the strategy of prolonged war. Its design comes from the United States in conjunction with a network of national and transnational economic powers, which in turn has internal elements and responsibilities.  To view the economic problem as our only front with the enemy is to close our analysis which can lead us into deleterious connections and contradictions and thus close a dimension needed to understand why we fail to stabilize the country. 

Is the enemy too powerful and where are they now?

The president gave the answer when he declared that along with the United States our main enemy is internal corruption. As the Attorney General reports on the ongoing investigations and arrests, the economic dimension that we are facing emerges: embezzlement, deficit, decrease in production in area of petroleum, over-invoicing of imports, thefts of billions of dollars. The mafias operate in strategic areas of the economy and fighting battles with damaged weapons makes any combat difficult.

It is striking that this critical knot is not amplified more in communication but rather it is reduced to few spokespersons and brief moments in the media. This can be explained by how difficult it is to approach it in conceptual terms, i.e. how the causes are analyzed, developed and deepened. This involves the difficulty of opening a topic that necessarily leads to internal revision and a political and communication logic that only knows how to build a happy story of the country. It’s that bureaucratic-authoritarian culture that closes debates with optimal phrases loaded with an overwhelming order.

The confrontation against corruption will not be won in the immediate term. How can one definitively defeat such a complex phenomenon? But battling corruption allows for ongoing attacks at one of the main fronts that explain the current situation. There is no single answer that can magically solve a multi-causal problem that in addition to being economic is also political. And from a political point of view, you can raise some questions to try to understand your own strategy before the war, a strategy that by the end of October 2017 is difficult to clarify.

It is not clear, for example, whether you want to put a ceiling on the increase in prices or if it is more wise for the time being to allow increases that appear in the supermarkets; nor is it clear if there is willingness to move on those who are attacking us. I speak of landowners – groups who financed paramilitary violence between April and July or as another example, the big entrepreneurs and speculators who seek agreements that are not concluded.

Moreover, it is not understood why preferential dollars continue to be given to those who do not comply with their part of the agreement. These are some of our strategic questions that beg clarity. Are we going to take power away from those who resist resolution but do not openly declare war?

These questions are due to the complexity of the scenario, the silence by some on certain points, the difficulty with communication and the answer that sometimes seeks to close the debate with simplistic pronouncements that everything is being resolved in missions, great missions, CLAP (The government’s alternative food distribution system) Carnet de la Patria  and 0800 Health. [1]

Almost any action can be justified under the argument that it is a tactical move in the context of a war, or that current conditions do not permit additional alternatives, thus denying that the conditions themselves can be triggered by a political will. The question is whether there is a strategy behind the tactic. It is a concern that is part of Chavismo, a political class movement sometimes with different views and economic interests focusing in this case on prioritizing private business over the state, communal and social interests. That has political, ideological and economic implications.

It can be argued that these debates should not take place until political power is consolidated after the municipal and presidential elections or that the battle against corruption is a big undertaking and should be tackled first. The problem is that agreement is not achieved through dialogue with the same ones who are responsible for the situation. A kilo of cheese costs 50 thousand bolivars, the forecasts indicate that the price increases continue to mount and more often than not the constructed speech seems impervious to that reality.

It is difficult to measure the underground damage of the subjectivity that causes this sustained economic picture. But, recalling John William Cooke, it operates in the daily silence on a historical movement, on the political identity of the Venezuelan working people, something that the right wing does not incorporate into its analysis, although it is present in the idea of resetting society in order to be able to govern.

Our current condition is one that few thought could exist a few months ago. We have a political momentum, a unity that has been maintained, confronting an opposition in the economic sphere. Attacks and contradictions are condensed. I think there is now a broad consensus to take war measures in this war that is directed from the United States. We need them.

[1] Translator’s note: For more on the “Carnet de la Patria and 0800 Health, read about five robotic storage facilities operating in Venezuela making it possible to speed up the distribution of medicines to all regions of the country, “to bring the medicines needed for 241 hospitals across the country and to distribute 94 million units of supplies, medicines and medical-surgical material,” according to Health Minister Luis Lopez.  The new ID card, Carnet de la Patria is part of this new system. Read more.

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