Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—A few days ago, the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela appointed an ad hoc board of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), with the mandate of organizing new internal elections, in response to a petition by a group of dissident PCV members. The TSJ ruling has created a debate inside Venezuela, and a more intense debate abroad. To discuss this issue, Orinoco Tribune interviewed Luigino Bracci Roa, a well-known independent journalist of Venezuela who is highly respected by Chavistas. He made the criticism that many PSUV members sometimes seem to be playing for the enemy.
This interview is the first in Orinoco Tribune’s new project: a series of short interviews with Chavista Venezuelans, discussing current affairs. The project has been named Arepas, Coffee & Chavistas.
Bracci, a computer scientist passionate about open source software and free technology, has a blog called El Espacio de Lubrio. His X (formerly Twitter)
For about a year, Bracci has been criticizing the mismanagement by some people inside the government and the PSUV, from the standpoint of core Chavista ideals, and without losing perspective of who the real enemy is. He is not a member of either the PSUV or the PCV, but in the recent PCV-PSUV controversy, he has been generally sympathetic towards the PCV.
“The PCV has always been supportive of different grassroots struggles, in those moments when someone with a top position, an official, a military officer, a governor, etc., suddenly abuse their power and suddenly there is a problem with peasants, with some indigenous movements, for example, the Yukpas, with certain communes,” Bracci commented. “For example, there was a problem with the El Maizal commune several years ago, some people who were suddenly arrested and unjustly imprisoned, perhaps because some boss wanted to get rid of uncomfortable people and invented a series of excuses. The most well-known case similar to that was the case of Aryenis and Alfredo [former PDVSA executives], but it was not the only one. So the PCV has always been involved, always from within Chavismo, supporting those struggles, trying to make them visible and trying to get justice.”
Bracci added that the confrontation between the PCV and the PSUV is not new, and that it began with the launch of PSUV in 2007, when President Hugo Chávez wanted the PCV to be assimilated with the PSUV. Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza, Orinoco Tribune’s editor and conductor of the interview added that later, in 2017, the cracks were more visible when former Minister of Industry Eduardo Saman left the PSUV and joined the PCV over electoral differences, wanting to be mayoral candidate for Caracas.
On the electoral nature of the confrontation, that of 2017 and then the one of 2020, raised by the interviewer, Bracci commented that according to his sources in the PCV, the 2020 rupture was not electoral in nature but the result of the PSUV not respecting a 20-point agreement signed in 2013 between the PSUV and parties belonging to the Great Patriotic Pole electoral alliance, to which the PCV belonged.
On the electoral issue, Bracci stated that in his opinion, the recent TSJ decision has indeed been an electoral issue, taking into consideration that the PSUV does not want leftist votes to be fragmented or dispersed into several small parties in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections. He mentioned an article by jounralist Clodovaldo Hernández, who showed with calculations that the fight between the PSUV and the PCV would instead make abstention grow.
Bracci was also asked about PCV’s accusations portraying President Maduro as a neoliberal anti-worker autocrat who has pulverized the salaries of Venezuelans, and PCV’s lack of analysis and recognition of what Marxist-Leninists call objective conditions that were described accurately by Steve Ellner in a paper published in Science and Society Magazine and republished by Orinoco Tribune.
On this subject, Bracci recognized the brutality of the US-imposed illegal sanctions and its blockade policy inflicted ever more harshly since the time of the Trump administration. According to Bracci, the US blockade against Venezuela is only comparable with the brutal blockade of Cuba, at least in the western hemisphere. He also stressed that the PCV should recognize and highlight this reality. This reality is not only an anecdotal fact that can be taken out of context, but on the contrary, it explains many of the difficult economic decisions taken by Maduro’s government in recent years.
Bracci continued his explanation of the harsh conditions that the Venezuelan working class has suffered in recent years, with the the sharp deterioration of salaries, hyperinflation, and how some recent demands of teachers, supported by the PCV and other political and social movements, were finally attended to by the government which announced bonuses in dollars in order to begin fixing this deterioration. He added that this was a partial solution because the base salary of most workers in Venezuela is still the same as in March 2022, and it is currently equivalent to 5 USD, thus affecting the labor benefits of many public sector workers, such as vacation bonuses, end of year bonuses, retirement payments, and more.
Rodríguez-Espinoza expressed his discomfort with the PCV approach towards the real cause of this salary deterioration, which the PCV labels as Maduro’s “pulverization of salaries.” He explained that facts show that Chavista governments, during Hugo Chávez’s times as well as during the first years of Nicolás Maduro’s administration, put the utmost emphasis on improving labor conditions of workers and ordinary Venezuelans. The decimation of salaries in recent years cannot be explained without taking into account the terrible economic conditions of the country as the result of US and European illegal sanctions.
Another topic of discussion was the sectarianism and arrogance of some of PSUV’s leaders, and their harsh attacks or responses towards those making criticisms, demanding solutions to injustices—attacks that sometimes seem harsher than those directed against opposition politicians. In those attacks or argumentative lines, sometimes good people are put in bad light in front of the Chavista majority, because information supremacy makes it easy to discredit them.
Luigino Bracci considered this matter an abuse of power, and connected it to the recent TSJ decision, highlighting that similar actions happened previously when the PSUV and the state apparatus was used to intervene in the Homeland for Everyone party (PPT), Tupamaros, and UPV. He clarified that in those cases, there were real internal confrontations within those parties, among those supporting the PSUV and those on the opposite side. He explained that in the PCV case the move is more grotesque because the PSUV was not able to find cracks among PCV members and opted to use former PCV members and people that do not have anything to do with the PCV.
He added that more evidence of abuse of power is that organizations like REDES or Socialist Tide (Marea Socialista) have been not allowed to form political parties. However, he clarified that he has no sympathy for Socialist Tide.
Orinoco Tribune’s editor also referred to PCV’s “flirting” with far right internal and external forces:
“I could list several things … that meeting they had with the European Union last year or the year before … When the observation mission of the European Union came, the PPT closeness to it and the fact that the PPT has been talking about registering in the opposition primaries, things that seem crazy to me. Of course, it is not the PCV, but the PCV is very close to the PPT and at some point I heard interviews of people from the PPT on the radio … talking about the possibility of participating in the opposition primaries and I said, wow, how low did the PPT go?”
He added, “PCV’s approach to PROVEA more recently, and a few days ago the issue with María Corina Machado and what the governor of Trujillo said, that is more debatable because what the governor of Trujillo said is also a bit polemic, to say it nicely.”
To this argument Bracci agreed that he would never approach PROVEA because it is a CIA front, but PCV’s approach to PROVEA might be seen as a last resort to make visible the violation of their political rights, as well as some cases of human rights violations against SIDOR workers.
Both Bracci and the interviewer agreed that the only option for a solutions to this situation should be to promote spaces of dialogue, to try to let both parties reach a coexistence pact that allows the Bolivarian Revolution and Chavismo to more strongly express its anti-imperialism and its commitment to resisting and defeating the imperialist aggression of the US, Canada, and Europe.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/September 28, 2023