Monday, November 30, 2020

Venezuela's Communist Party denounces censorship ahead of the December 6th parliamentary election

In a statement addressed to the Communist and Workers' Parties of the world, the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) denounces the censorship that has been imposed upon the Party's electoral campaign, ahead of the December 6th parliamentary election. As the PCV points out, the communicational blockade against the Party was intensified following the decision to create the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) together with other political and social organizations". 

The full statement is the following:

Dear Comrades 

From the Politbureau of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) please receive our fraternal greetings. The purpose of this letter is to update you concerning the worsening of the policy of communicational blockade and censorship against our Party in the framework of the current electoral campaign (Parliamentary elections on December 6, 2020), which represents a flagrant violation of our political rights and Venezuela’s law of electoral processes. 

Communicational censorship from the public and private media against the PCV is not new. For several years now, public media has intensified its policy of censoring and hiding the critical positions of revolutionary political and social organisations, particularly with regard to the PCV and since government policy has become increasingly liberal-reformist in favour of capital. One concrete example of this censorship is the recent absence of journalists at the PCV's weekly press conferences, which were always well attended when the differences with the ruling party were less marked. 

The communicational blockade against the PCV has intensified following our decision to create the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) together with other political and social organisations, which looks to promote the construction of a strategic reference point for struggle that brings together the revolutionary working, campesino and communard currents, along with the diversity of cultural expressions and popular Chavista-based nuclei in the face of the exacerbated crisis of Venezuelan dependent and renter capitalism and imperialist aggression. The APR is a block of revolutionary forces which provides an independent option to those parties which currently embody the implementation of an economic adjustment plan that accelerates the deterioration of the living conditions of the working class of the city and in the countryside and which advances in the dismantling of the social and political conquests of the Bolivarian process led by Hugo Chávez Frías. 

Throughout the development of the electoral campaign, public radio, television and digital media have been responsible for hiding the activities and proposals of the PCV and the APR. Such a policy of censorship has been carried out in open violation of article 81 of the Law on Electoral Processes that obliges public and private media to carry out a complete and balanced coverage of electoral offers. 

However, it is important to note that while the public media system censors the PCV and the APR, it covers all the political campaign events of the parties that make up the government bloc, as well as the parties on the right, granting them participation in interviews and opinion programs. 

Further evidence of this violation of article 81 of the Electoral Processes Law is the development of simultaneously televised debates by all national means of communication involving a spokesperson for each political electoral alliance, except for the representatives of the PCV and the APR who have been deliberately excluded.  

As a result of this situation, the PCV and APR have developed two actions aimed at presenting evidence and denouncing these violations of the law and other rules of election campaigns affecting the political rights of the Venezuelan working class. The first action was a letter to the President of the National Electoral Council (CNE) requesting a meeting to address these unacceptable electoral advantageous views of the ruling party in alliance with the right-wing parties. From that meeting, the electoral body expressed its commitment to intervene in favour of respect for the law and a balance of information during the election campaign; however, it has not developed concrete actions to curb censorship and media blockade against the PCV-APR and curb the advantage of the ruling PSUV and opposition parties. 

The second action developed by the PCV and APR has been public denunciation, as well as street demonstrations, against illegal communication censorship of our electoral proposal. We have held protests outside the facilities of the state's main television channel and in order to request coverage of our activities and spaces in the programs of debate and opinion. The directors of the channel failed to provide responses to our legitimate claims. 

At the same time, our Party has not been able to advertise in public and private television channels and radio stations. The majority of these means of communication do not respond to our request to pay for spaces to transmit our election propaganda, thus violating article 80 of the Law on Electoral Processes which obliges them to disseminate the electoral propaganda of the participating organisations. 

We have no doubt that there is government instruction to public and private media to censor the PCV and not allow the disclosure of our election propaganda. The CNE, in this regard, has not fulfilled its role as referee and the responsible body for enforcing electoral law and regulations.  

The plan to exclude and silence the PCV and APR, while the ruling party and rightwing are handed out spaces in public and private media, highlights the new bourgeois and elite pact underway in Venezuela. Class conciliation fears that the PCV and APR will conquer a parliamentary fraction that counterbalances their plans to make the new National Assembly an instrument at the service of its interspersed and anti-popular economic policy.  

We know that nothing we explain here is new to the Communist and Workers' Parties of the world. These are, in general, the adverse and disadvantageous electoral conditions in which our Parties and the Working Class of all countries are used to when they fight to open up spaces in light of abuses by bourgeois parties. However, it is our duty to convey our concrete experience in order to dismantle the myths created concerned a supposed "advanced, participatory and protagonic democracy" in Venezuela, which is empty of the class struggle.  

For our Party it will be of great help if you can speak out in solidarity with the PCV and the APR in light of the exercise of media censorship of our political-electoral proposals. The momentous solidarity that the Communist parties and workers have strongly expressed with the Bolivarian process can also play an important role in demanding respect and guarantees for the political and electoral rights of Venezuela’s working class of the city and the countryside.   

In this regard, we would like to ask you, if possible, to issue a solidarity statement and publish information around this issue in your press and digital media. From the PCV we will greatly appreciate this gesture of solidarity with our Party and the working people. 

Dear comrades, to finish, we wish to once again convey our fraternal greeting and our highest esteem and consideration.