Sunday, March 21, 2021

90th anniversary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) — Speech by General Secretary Oscar Figuera

Intervention by Oscar Figuera González, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), in the event for the 90th anniversary of the Party held on March 5th, 2021: 

Good morning, comrades. Please receive the fraternal and solidarity greetings of all the membership and leadership of the Communist Party of Venezuela and the communist youth, with all our militant commitment in the anti-imperialist struggle for national liberation and for socialism-communism.

Please also receive a warm greeting and gratitude to our sister Communist and Workers' Parties of the world, for your participation in this 90th anniversary event of the founding of the PCV; and equally, for your militant solidarity, manifestation and consequential example of proletarian internationalism with which you have always accompanied the struggles of the Venezuelan working class and the working people of the city and the countryside in defence of the sovereignty, independence and self-determination of the Bolivarian nation, as well as with the struggles of the PCV and JCV.

The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) is the Party of the hammer and sickle and the five-pointed red star, as well as being the Party of the red rooster as we are popularly known in our country. It is the Party that, with the spread of Marxism in Venezuela, was created by Pio Tamayo; it is the Party of José Aquino Torres (Tirso, political secretary of the first communist branch); the Party of Gustavo Machado, Olga Luzardo, Jesús Faría, Jesús Martínez Pozo, Jorge Saldivia Gil, Fernando Key Sánchez, Manuel Taborda, Max García, Gabriel Bracho, Eduardo Gallegos Mancera, Pedro Ortega Díaz, Alberto Lovera, Argimiro Gabaldón, Livia Gouvernier, Donato Carmona, Raquel Reyes, Cruz Villegas, Hemmy Croes, Eumelia Hernández, José "Cheché" Cortéz, Alonso Ojeda Olaech, Nicomedes Abreu, Natalio Castillo, Carmen Conzoño, Jerónimo Carrera, María del Mar Alvarez de Lovera, Belén San Juan, Luís Fajardo, Carmen Rojas... the Party of so many other comrades whose memory we encapsulate in these few names. It is this heroic, combative Party, loyal to Marxism-Leninism and the proletariat, which is completing ninety years of unfailing commitment to the struggles and interests of the global working class and the Venezuelan working people of the city and the countryside; ninety years at the service of humanity's supreme heartfelt hope: Communism.

We pay a deserved tribute to our founders, those who built the Party, the heroes and heroines and martyrs of the PCV, the JCV and the Venezuelan revolutionary popular movement of all time, who, with their effort contributed to the advancement of the Venezuelan revolutionary process. These are the people who, with their blood and sweat watered and cared for the furrows of the harvest to come, which can only be the rebellion of the people against Capital, the overthrow of the bourgeois regime and the taking of power by the alliance of exploited classes, led as they must be by the working class and its vanguard in order to build socialism-communism. We are proud of our past and our fight for the communist future; here the PCV continues and will continue.

From its birth to the present, the PCV has merged into the cultural historical crucible of the struggle and resistance of our own existence as a Venezuelan people and nation. It has opened up the thinking of our liberators, in particular the emancipatory and Latin American-Caribbean ideas of the liberator Simon Bolivar. This is always done through dialogue, coming together and connection with the universal movement of the scientific revolutionary and committed currents, which carry the interests of the just causes of peoples, such as Marxism-Leninism.

This is where we come from, where we are going, and where we are currently passing through. We are aware of our historical responsibility, we are firm in our principles, values and objectives, which are held by communist organisations within capitalist societies, as the the flag bearers in the field of practice; we are consequential in defending the interests of the working class and the Venezuelan nation.

March 05, 1931, was the founding of the PCV, and was a first peak of a process that had already been traversing the pathways of the Venezuelan homeland and the Latin American-Caribbean and continental movement; a process which rested on the shoulders and struggles of the national and international proletariat. Present in the proletarian consciousness was a luminous beacon, and a certain hope of emancipation resulting from the Great Socialist Revolution of October of the workers, peasants and soldiers, who, under the masterful leadership of the Bolshevik Party with Vladimir Ilich Lenin at the helm, built the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Comrade Fernando Key Sánchez, scholar of the founding history of the PCV, explains it in these terms: "In the 1920s, in the glare of the Great Socialist Revolution of October that overthrew feudal-imperialist Tsarism to establish a government of workers, peasants and soldiers; with the closer to home impact of the Mexican Agrarian-Anti-Imperialist Revolution; and within the framework of the capitalist development and oil exploitation by the Yankee and English that was imposed on Venezuela, three revolutionary currents began to be formed, and when they converged, they would generate the Communist Party of Venezuela in 1931."

Comrade Key Sanchez specifies these elements as: "(1) the growth of the working and popular classes and their day to day struggles, including strikes, both in the central region of the country as well as in oil areas; (2) the affiliation of a significant number of exiled Venezuelan anti-government activists to Marxism-Leninism; and 3) radicalised groups of students in 1928-29, who became communist sympathisers in the vaults of Puerto Cabello prisons, as well as intellectuals from Zulia and other regions that followed the same path.  

That March 05, 1931 was a beautiful day because of the new and transcendent ideas which the Venezuelan working class was giving birth to. Likewise, because of the clear consciousness that was born in the dungeons of the Castle of Puerto Cabello since 1928 when the precursor of communist ideas in Venezuela, Pio Tamayo, was imprisoned there. In these dungeons, hundreds of young students paid for their rebellion against the oil tyranny of Juan Vicente Gómez, and acquired the class consciousness as well as the callous hands sported by craftsmen, shoemakers, railroad workers and cigaretteers, bakers, carpenters and barbers, who all looked at the Bolshevik Revolution from a distance as a target for the labour struggles of the future. Their support for the construction of the PCV was given shape by the backing of the Communist International and its Caribbean Bureau, with the presence of militant Venezuelans in the communist parties of France and the United States, who were assigned the mission of contributing to the creation of the PCV. A beautiful day, full of consciousness, decisions, courage and a sense of historical mission.   

In this period, which began in 1928 with the protests for students’ week, in reference to the young people imprisoned alongside Pio Tamayo, Comrade Eduardo Gallegos Mancera says that: "There, in the Ergastulums and forced labour camps(...), [ideas] germinated in the minds of those who, although still teenagers (...), came to understand the class character of the Gomez dictatorship and the urgent need to merge the fight against it with the uncompromising fight for real democracy, against the exploitation of workers, against imperialist domination and, ultimately, for the establishment of socialism."

On that day, March 05, 1931, the first branch of the Communist Party of Venezuela was formed, appointing the shoe worker Tomás Aquino Torres as its political secretary. Torres was a member of the PCV until his last days when he was over 100 years old. Honour and glory to the enduring memory of Comrade Thomas Aquino Torres.

The PCV is built on a process of cellular creation and not a national event. In the midst of the fiercest dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez, which acted in the service of US oil monopolies, a Constitution was passed after the student and popular struggles of 1928 which expressly prohibited the spreading of communist and anarchist ideas in its article 32(6). Such actions were punishable with imprisonment, forced labour, confinement in inhospitable areas, exile, torture and murder. Underground work was, for many years and at various times in our history, the form of existence, from which the Venezuelan communist organisation executed its actions.

The date we celebrate today had its action centred in the capital of the Republic, in Caracas, and was accompanied by the Caribbean Bureau of the Communist International. Contemporary to it, although without reaching the forms of Leninist organisation or party structures, similar processes were developed in Zulia, Táchira and other regions of the country. In the first case, we see the influence of Marxist propaganda and literature sent from Mexico and the United States, including "El Machete", the newspaper of the Communist Party of Mexico. In the second, that of the activity and incidence of the Communist Party of Colombia.

By the way, the "Manifesto of the Communist Party to the Working People of Venezuela", dated May 1, 1931 and signed and distributed in our country by the Provisional Central Committee, was printed in Colombia through the collaboration and support of the beloved sister Colombian Communist Party, under the direction of the Caribbean Bureau.

This short account aims to show that the process of the construction the Communist Party of Venezuela draws on the development of class struggle at the national level and the broader solidarity of the communist movement grouped in the Third International, the Communist International, which, at its VII Congress in the evening session of August 20, 1935, approved an "Agreement on the Admission of New Parties to the Communist International". This agreement, in its literal "a", stated: "a) Accept the Communist Parties of Indochina, the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Venezuela as Sections of the Communist International."

From the primeval times of its founding to the present day, the Communist Party of Venezuela has gone through nine decades of relentless combat in defence of its existence as a detachment of the Venezuelan proletariat, against the oligarchy and imperialism, against opportunism and reformism, for national liberation and socialism-communism. In this period, it was up to us to be founders of the Venezuelan class-conscious and peasant trade union movement; to organise and lead the first major national anti-imperialist demonstration such as the 1936-1937 oil strike; even in full clandestinity, to hold our First National Conference, on 8 August 1937; to decide to "face up" and to promote the ideological reaffirmation and national structuring of the PCV. Equally, it was up to us to lead the workers' and peasant struggles of the forties, boosting the struggles for the rights of working women and youth; and formulating strategies and tactics against the Perez Jimenez dictatorship of the 1950s, until we managed to build the national unity movement of the Patriotic Alliance, which through a civic-military alliance, achieved its overthrow. It was up to us to exercise all forms of struggle, including insurrectional armed struggle confronting the Punto Fijo betrayal of the popular victory of 23 January 1958 in the victorious confrontation with the deviations and deformations of Marxism, both from leftist and right-wing pseudo positions within and outside the party; in the ideological, political and mass resistance to the oligarchic-bourgeois regime established by the Punto Fijo bipartisanship, which was defeated by Chávez's victory in 1998. It was the PCV who was the first political organisation to express its support for Chavez, which it maintained throughout his administrations, despite the frank and honest criticisms that we expressed on a range of opportunities. It was up to us to defend the validity and existence of the Communist Party of Venezuela, in the face of liquidationist currents which, in 2007, sought our dissolution, and which is today coming for us, trying to achieve what they could not in previous times; and which also will not achieve today; for as Comrade Jesus Faría said: "The Communist Party cannot be destroyed by anyone!"

We are going through a period of great threats against the peoples and working class of the world. The deepening of the general crisis of the capitalist system in its imperialist phase sharpens the fierce competition between centers of monopolistic Capital. This inter-imperialist and inter-capitalist dispute, exacerbated by the gradual drop in the profit rates and accelerated to the extremity by the terrible Covid-19 pandemic, also intensifies the exploitation of the working class and the masses within the boundaries of national states, and creates the conditions for governments to exercise territorial and social control and impose a so-called "new normality", which is nothing more than that of control of Capital over labour.

The deterioration of the economic hegemony of US monopolies is evident in the increasingly aggressive international policy by the US government. This is expressed in the increase in interference, military aggression, and the application of illegal unilateral sanctions in economic, financial and trade areas against countries and peoples, leading to greater tensions and global conflicts, threatening world peace with new wars of aggression, destroying productive forces, and deepening social injustices and inequalities. Imperialist voracity is the cause of the current wars, the destruction of the environment, the forced displacement of millions of people, and the humanitarian crisis that hits attacked peoples. Imperialism, particularly US-European imperialism, remains the main enemy of our peoples and of all humanity.

This difficult moment which the pandemic has placed humanity, is being exploited by the upper bourgeoisie and its States to implement authoritarian, anti-popular policies and anti-worker reforms aimed at privatising companies and public services, destroying rights, devaluing wages, de-regulating working conditions, reducing jobs and overexploiting the workforce. These all look to dismantle the resilience and struggle of the labour movement.

The global capitalist crisis is once again being unloaded on the shoulders of the world's workers and peoples with all its weight. Monopoly Capital and the bourgeoisie in general seek to sacrifice them in order to preserve their profits. These are times of unity, resistance and struggle of working-classes to overthrow bourgeois rule, conquer power, and open the way to national liberation and socialism-communism.

22. In the Venezuelan case, what is in deep crisis is the model of dependent and rentier capitalist accumulation, exacerbated by imperialist aggression. This is reflected in a 75% reduction in the size of the national economy (GDP) and a 70% drop in international reserves during the period 2014 to 2020.

23. This unprecedented contraction in the economy over the past 7 years corresponds to the abysmal decline in oil revenues as a result, at first, of the decline in international oil prices since 2014 and, subsequently, of the deterioration of the productive capacity of the Venezuelan oil industry. PDVSA's operational collapse is the result of the combined actions of three factors: the existing private forms of oil income appropriation that has led to its decapitalisation; corrupt leadership; and the harmful effects of illegal imperialist sanctions that have been applied against industry since 2017.

For an economy characterised by its mono-export and multi-import status, which receives more than 90% of its foreign exchange income from oil exports, and is dependent on imports for more than 70% of consumer goods, it was inevitable that it would be seriously affected and destabilised by the decline in its main source of income. In 2014, the PCV raised alarms about this course of events and we stressed the relevance of seizing the opportunity of the sharp fall in oil prices and their negative impact on national income to speak clearly to the people and to initiate a massive boost to national productive development, when important international reserves were still available. We weren't listened to. The government publicly guaranteed that the people would not be affected and that no one should be worried, in the words of President Nicolás Maduro. Payment of external debt was given priority: $109.6 billion was paid to creditors between 2013 and 2017. This was admitted by the President of the Republic in his annual presentation to the National Assembly in January 2021.    

But the whole truth is not being told when it is said that the cause of the economic crisis and its devastating effects on the working people are the exclusive responsibility of imperialist aggression. This argument is intended to hide the responsibility of private capital and government management in generating the crisis.    

The basis of the current crisis is the parasitical form of private appropriation of mining and oil income for the benefit of the reproduction of inefficient non-oil private Capital. It is based on the internal acquisition of income by this national and transnational private capital for further flight abroad. Massive and indiscriminate imports, as well as corruption, is one of their appropriation mechanisms. This vicious cycle prevents the country's revenue stream — via oil or mining income — from remaining within the internal accumulation circuit in order to enhance a national process of sovereign and independent industrialisation and economic development. This specificity of the Venezuelan economic base, far from being transformed during the 20 years of the Bolivarian process, has been deepened. This has come despite the efforts of President Hugo Chávez Frías to fight large landownership and marketing monopolies and promote industrialisation plans that support productive development in the field; policies which were sabotaged by a sector of his own ministerial team and upper political leadership. From there, the continuity and accentuation of the serious problems of dependence, with the agricultural and industrial backwardness that the country suffers from, puts us at full disadvantage to imperialist aggression.    

At this point we must stop to pay tribute to the memory of President Hugo Chávez Frías, who died on a day like today, on March 5, 2013. We send this tribute to his family, to the Venezuelan people, the militants of the PSUV, as well as that of the PCV, who recognise in Chávez a leader who was consistent with the struggle for national liberation and the rights of the people. Today is the time to regroup the revolutionary popular forces and the Chavista-based currents; to defend the victories achieved in the management of President Hugo Chavez; to recover the course of Venezuela’s liberating national process; and to open up the real prospect for socialist-communism in our country. Honour and glory to the memory of Commander Hugo Chavez Frias!    

Those who reduce everything to the imperialist conspiracy, which does exist and in the PCV we reject and confront, cover up the essentials of the problem: the dependent and rentier nature of the economy; the existing mechanisms of private appropriation of oil-mining income; and the forms of bourgeois management of the state.   

It is in the face of this reality of the crisis of Venezuelan dependent and renter capitalism, which has been sharpened by imperialist aggression and politics at the service of capital which, in our assessment, have been implemented by the government, that the PCV has raised the need for a national debate and a revolutionary way out. In the absence of a response to these approaches, we decided to promote, in conjunction with other social and political sectors with whom we agree on this characterisation, the construction of the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR) to raise a program aimed at recovering the course of Venezuela's liberating national process and actually opening up prospects for the construction of socialism in Venezuela.

We insist: in Venezuela, socialism is not in crisis, because there is no socialism; what is in crisis is capitalism. The current capitalist crisis shows that the state's bourgeois management is depleted. Regardless of the bourgeois fraction that reaches the government, the only thing it is able to do is to deepen the economic dependence and the precarious conditions of workers. The conquest of power by the working class and the peasantry is now affirmed as the only true alternative of revolutionary change and transformation in benefits of the Venezuelan people.

Only through a working-class revolution that removes the bourgeoisie from power can the vicious cycle of Venezuela’s capitalist model be definitively broken and can we overcome dependence and rentierism. Having the working class and the working people of the city and the countryside in power is the only guarantee to undertake a process of national development and industrialisation governed by centralised and scientific planning of the economy under the prominence, direction and control of workers, peasants, communards and popular sectors.

Without losing sight of this strategic objective, workers must today join forces with other exploited layers of society, to fight as a class against imperialist aggression and, at the same time, against the precariousness and impoverishment imposed on us by the bourgeois liberal course of the government’s economic and social policy.

We in the Communist Party of Venezuela, as we celebrate the 90th anniversary of our foundation, reiterate our commitment to the effort of revolutionary and anti-imperialist, worker, peasant, communard and popular unity.

We reaffirm our will and decision to strengthen more and more the bonds of friendship, fraternity and solidarity between our communist parties and workers.

Dear comrades, receive a great embrace from the Communist Party of Venezuela and the Communist Youth of Venezuela for all your militancy and leadership.

We must continue fighting for the rights of the working people of the city and the countryside, for the liberated and socialist-communist homelands!






Thank you.

Caracas, 05 March 2021.