By Ed Dalton
Bureaucratic capitalism has gripped Venezuela in a social, political, and institutional crisis.
Under the control and influence of US imperialism, thirteen Latin American countries known as the Lima Group convened on January 4, ultimately deciding to no longer recognize Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela.
The Lima Group seeks to pressure Maduro into dissolving the Constituent Assembly, a corporativist entity made up of Maduro faction supporters convened in 2017 with the intention of replacing the Venezuelan parliament and removing opposition groups from the legislature.
On January 19, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president of the republic in defiance of president Maduro.
Within hours of Guaidó’s proclamation, the imperialist governments of Canada and the US recognized his illegitimate presidency, showing for the entire world to see that Guaidó is favored by US imperialism as a more manageable servant to its interests than Maduro.
The coup attempt comes just weeks after Maduro made the historic announcement of increasing oil exports to China by 1 million barrels a day, an increase from October when almost half of Venezuela’s oil was already going directly to the Chinese social-imperialists.
Both Maduro and Guaidó represent the bourgeoisie in Venezuela and both promote subservience to imperialist masters, with Maduro only seeking Chinese masters over US masters.
For the moment, the Maduro government maintains control of the Venezuelan military, while Guaidó and his supporters enjoy the political, economic and diplomatic support of US imperialism. US president Donald Trump advocated for Guaidó in a fascistic statement where he proclaimed that he will, “continue to hold the illegitimate Maduro regime directly responsible for any threats it may pose to the safety of the Venezuelan people.”
In Caracas, millions have taken to the streets in opposing protests with crowds backing both Maduro and Guaidó in an inter-imperialist conflict which pits workers against workers. US imperialism is the main belligerent in this case, seeking to pit the masses of Venezuela against one another, against their own interests. US imperialism views the people as nothing but pawns on a geopolitical chess board.
The Venezuelan economy relies heavily on its exports to imperialist countries. Of its exports, 95% is crude oil which is sold primarily to the US, with China being the second largest consumer. Venezuela was able to enjoy relative stability in the Chavez years due to the high oil prices in the world market. With oil prices decreasing since 2013, the economy has plummeted.
The lowering of oil prices has propelled two factions of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie into deepening crisis and antagonistic conflict. This is a conflict between the bureaucratic capitalists represented by the state institutions and the comprador bourgeois represented by the financial institutions. Bureaucratic capitalism is that which uses the state institutions to stifle a country in the interests of imperialism, while the comprador bourgeois use financial institutions to subordinate the country totally to the interests of foreign financial capital.
The real victims of this crisis are the peasants and workers of Venezuela, as well as small businesses and small landowners. Inflation has risen to 13,000 percent and unemployment is expected to rise to 36 percent by 2022. This will have a decisively negative effect on small and medium industries, increasing layoffs and decreasing profits.
These conditions provide the current pretext for US imperialist intervention which seeks to stabilize the country by placing it in the hands of the comprador bourgeoisie, who could allocate funds through the state to their respective businesses.
The skinny dog of Russian imperialism has attempted to exploit the situation in its own interests by providing mercenaries in the service of Maduro, securing the interests of Russian investments in the Venezuelan economy. While Russian imperialism is secondary to the threat posed by US imperialism it is incorrect to understand Maduro as an anti-imperialist.
It is the responsibility of all revolutionary and progressive people to comprehend that the principal contradiction in the world today is that between the imperialist countries and the oppressed nations, with the understanding that US imperialism is the sole hegemonic super power and the number one enemy of the worlds people. In short, revolutionaries and progressive people must oppose and combat US imperialist intervention no matter what. In this case it means showing solidarity with the people of Venezuela.
Revolutionaries and progressives must refuse to rewrite history or negate the internal contradictions which make conditions ripe for US imperialist intervention, revolutionaries and progressives must not let Maduro off the hook, to be an anti-imperialist means opposing all imperialism and not taking a soft touch approach to Chinese social-imperialism and Russian skinny-dog imperialism. Any opposition to US intervention should not be confused as endorsement of the illegitimate bureaucratic capitalist class represented by the Maduro government.
Moreover, revolutionaries and progressives must make a sober assessment of the so-called “Bolivarian Revolution,” represented by Chavez and Maduro. This means resisting all attempts on the part of revisionists to sell out the Venezuelan people by peddling the lie that the bureaucrat capitalists represent any type of “socialism.” Maoists all over the world, from Peru, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, France, and other countries have cut through the muck with the correct analysis of the crisis, exposing the ruling class interests and calling on the working class of Venezuela to reconstitute their Communist Party vanguard, which is the only force capable of securing the interests of the people through real revolution.
The Peru People’s Movement (Reorganization Committee), an organization created by the Communist Party of Peru to organize international work, wrote in a statement published on Dem Volke Dienen: “A great opportunity to rebuild its Communist Party is presented to the proletariat of Venezuela, because it is a necessity. The proletariat of this country, represented by its vanguard, has to fight to lead the armed struggle by opposing the military intervention of imperialism if it takes place. Regardless of the situation, the Maoist revolutionaries in Venezuela must take the lead in the struggle of the masses to lead it against imperialism, semi-feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism, transforming the armed struggle into a People’s War, all to make revolution.”
The Maoist Communist Party (PCM) of France has stressed the importance of class analysis when insisting in a report on their website that: “the class nature of the Venezuelan state, a state of the comprador rentiers, has not been transformed by the ‘Bolivarian’ takeover. 20 years after the rise of Chavez to the presidency, this so-called ‘revolution’ showed the failure of the bourgeoisie to do anything other than to transform itself into a comprador bourgeoisie once it takes control of a state of this type.”
Maoists emphatically reject the slogans of the revisionists and rightist elements which parade themselves as socialist, who express solidarity with Maduro, and instead insist on the slogans of opposing US imperialist intervention and solidarity with the masses of Venezuela. Revolutionaries and progressives must simultaneously oppose the coup attempt while refusing to abandon the political position against the bureaucratic capitalists and the Maduro government.