By Luis Reygada
November 14, 2023 L’Humanité
Interview of Hector Rodriguez, head of international relations of The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), conducted by Luis Reygada in L’Humanité, newspaper of the French Communist Party (PCF).
A traditional ally of Chavismo since the start of the Bolivarian revolution, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) claims to be persecuted by Nicolas Maduro’s government. Hector Rodriguez, the PCV’s head of international relations, denounces the liberal drift of a government who fears “the emergence of revolutionary alternatives”.
Last August, the Superior Court of Justice announced the dismissal of the PCV leadership. With presidential elections scheduled to be held in 2024, communists denounced the move as an “assault” aimed at imposing a new leadership “at the service of the ruling party”.
For the past nine years, the United States has been imposing unilateral measures aimed at weakening Venezuela’s economy. What do you think of the negotiation process aimed at lifting these sanctions?
Hector Rodriguez: There are groups on both the opposition and government sides seeking to torpedo the negotiations. The far right is opposed to the pact and is calling for new sanctions from the United States, and within the ruling party (the United Socialist Party, (PSUV), some have made sanctions a very lucrative business and are also betting on the failure of the negotiations.
For our part, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) continues to denounce all forms of foreign interference and to demand the immediate lifting of all these imperialist and criminal sanctions, without any conditions. We also point out that these negotiations, which began in 2020 with agreements between the government and the country’s main employers’ representatives, have led to a reorientation of economic policy towards liberalism.
The PCV has denounced the government’s attacks on it. What do these attacks consist of?
Like various movements of workers’ and people’s struggle, our party has been defamed, persecuted, and repressed. They have accused us of receiving funds from the US government, while imposing an aggressive media blockade.
In the Parliament, our MP is denied the right to speak. They have also maneuvered to legally seize our party and its legal personality, with the aim of reducing our independence and preventing us from fielding our own candidates in the next elections.
Why these attacks on a party that has been a traditional ally of Chavismo since the beginning of the Bolivarian revolution?
The PCV denounces the pact between the political and economic elites, as well as the government’s neoliberal and anti-grassroots policies, which have led to the destruction of key labor rights at the expense of the Venezuelan working class. President Nicolas Maduro is clearly at odds with the program of the Bolivarian revolution initiated by Hugo Chavez.
His government is promoting a policy of opening up to foreign capital and privatizing the oil industry, liberalizing prices, freezing wages and pensions, and eliminating social benefits and collective agreements. President Nicolas Maduro is in clear break with the program of the Bolivarian revolution initiated by Hugo Chavez.
The neoliberal agenda, that held back the Bolivarian Revolution at the beginning of the 21st century, is now being forcefully taken up by Maduro’s government, with the support of the PSUV. This change has led to a process of regrouping of revolutionary forces and the emergence of new political referents. The government’s fear of the emergence of revolutionary alternatives was a determining factor in its decision to attack us.
How do you analyze the current political sequence with the opposition, from the Barbados agreements to the recent annulment of the right-wing primaries by the Venezuelan Supreme Court?
It is in the interests of both the government and the opposition to continue to appear to the masses as apparently antagonistic poles to maintain the deception of a false polarization. We believe that both poles represent the same capitalist interests, and therefore have profound coincidences in the anti-grassroots economic adjustment that the government is implementing. As part of the Barbados agreement, the Venezuelan government committed to offer democratic and electoral guarantees to all parties. This did not apply to the Venezuelan Communists.
-Translation by Mark Burton