Venezuela’s Comuna Altos de Lídice: Chavismo in the Spotlight

Carlos Aznarez

Altos de Lídice is a Bolivarian socialist commune that comprises several Communal Councils in the heart of Caracas. There, with effort and an enormous degree of militancy, women and men of the Bolívar Zamora Revolutionary Current have been undertaking work of organization, political formation, neighborhood empowerment, and above all, habitat growth, transforming the deficiencies that always exist into emancipation projects that offer the highest level of well-being to which a popular area can aspire. In that little piece of the Venezuelan capital located in the La Pastora area, there are thousands of people who every day leave their humble homes, go down the steep slope that takes them to transportation, in heat, cold, or rain, and prepare to struggle against all the contingencies that the Empire and their lackeys inside pose to every Venezuelan citizen.

Economic war, lack of essential medicines, blackouts, and now cyber terrorism. There is nothing left to deepen the hostile scenario that the enemies of the Revolution generate for Chavism, but in Altos de Lídice there is a sense of the people, of struggling women and men together. One can perceive the Caribbean courage that emerged when warring with the Spaniards and that is now giving battle to Trump and his friends. As Nicolás Maduro says, “we are sons and daughters of Chávez. They will not be able to conquer us”. And in this Commune there are many who honor that title and proudly carry it every day.

We arrived there one morning a couple of weeks ago with a delegation of grassroots activists from different countries who attended the International People’s Assembly, headed, by Joao Pedro Stedile, the representative of Brazil’s Landless. The reception was given by a militant whose political formation went hand in hand with his eloquence and traditional Caribbean hosting. They were the last days of Carnival, which in Venezuela is celebrated with much passion, and that is why in addition to listening to beautiful songs from the brave land of Liberator Simon Bolivar, visitors were able to enjoy humorous scenes of women, children in disguise, who danced, sang and in several instances were witness to Chavez and Maduro. While the youngest handed out to the newcomers some posters with meaningful phrases such as “peace”, “justice”, “love”, “tolerance” and so many others, a group of women explained that all of them, young and old, belonged to a dance, singing and cultural formation group, which was promoted in the Commune to encourage artistic talents of young and old.

Then, the tour of the streets of the Commune began, and with our companion who served as a guide we discovered that one of the difficult deficiencies of the area is the lack of water and that is why they are working on the idea of obtaining it from a nearby river, but that the difficulty arises from the fact that since the neighborhood is on a high ground this task would involve a long route of pipes, in addition to generators that propel the precious liquid from below to above. The other problem is the lack of transport, since due to the steep terrain of the area, companies do not want to go up there. However, like everything that this heroic Venezuelan people has been doing over the last few decades, no one is deterred by the inconveniences and they advance step by step towards each of the objectives that are outlined.

Another interesting experience was climbing to the maximum height of the location, where the young neighbors are worrying about weeding, clearing the land (there are several stepped terraces) and preparing it to cultivate food for daily use. There, our guide commented that they are procuring seeds, which was not easy for them. Something that Stedile took as a commitment to provide them with a good quantity, since the MST have been working for years in the State of Mérida, producing ( through the ease with which the climate provides) seeds in order to help construct alternatives in a country that until now based all its activities on oil, and which needs to open new points of self-sustainability due to the criminal blockade it suffers.

Between applause and cheers for unity and solidarity among peoples, all the group that had climbed with not a few difficulties since a recent heavy rain turned the terrain into a slippery mud slope, descended again to continue touring the area. And so we arrived at a textile project where, on a daily basis, community members sew uniforms for schools or make t-shirts of all sizes. According to the workers, every time a piece of one of the sewing machines breaks, it is very difficult to obtain spare parts, since almost all of these inputs are either manufactured in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada, countries hostile to the Bolivarian Revolution.

Further down, we find another pride of the Commune, the health center, where a young Venezuelan doctor performs miracles attending to the community, with very few medicines to distribute, but with an undeniable tenderness in her vocation.

Finally, down the street the whole group was invited to eat in one of the communal centers. Surrounded by photos of Chávez, Maduro, Diosdado Cabello and large banners demanding that the gringos take their hands off of Venezuela, a couple of compañeras welcomed us with speeches that touched more than one of the visitors. First they expressed their gratitude for coming from so far away to fraternize and support the Venezuelan people in this battle in which they are engaged, and second they conveyed the message that this war “will be won by the Revolution”. With humility but with much determination, one of the comrades requested of everyone the need to ” tell everybody in each country where they come from” everything that the mainstream media is lying about Venezuela.

“Here we all struggle together with the Eternal Commander and now we will defend Nicolás (Maduro), because those of us who endured the Fourth Republic know all that we have gained in these 20 years. Between applause and embraces of the speakers, there was a round of grateful returns through oratory, one of them from the former Foreign Minister of Manuel Zelaya, Patricia Rodas, who delivered a tribute to the Bolivarian Revolution and everything it means for the continent, as well as denouncing the interventionist and criminal maneuvers of the Trump government. Later, several Brazilian activists praised the work carried out in the Commune and everyone concluded by demanding the freedom of Lula and the repudiation of the fascist Bolsonaro.

Finally there was another tribute in the form of a theatrical performance by a group of boys and girls, and lastly we received a traditional soup, “so that we are not forgotten and we continue fighting together and together”.

The experiences of the Senior Leaders were strong, with many women at the head of the day-to-day struggle for expansion of the site, with notable criticism of the bureaucracy that does not listen to certain essential demands, but with the certainty that there the Chavismo has a trench of incorruptible struggle that everyone synthesized in a slogan slogan that has existed for many years: “They will not pass”. Warning that in these times, with the empire doing its utmost to smash the Bolivarian nation, acquires maximum importance.

Translation by Internationalist 360°