The main variables that determine the national political situation continue to be the economic crisis and the trade and financial blockade. Other elements are also present, such as the negotiations in Barbados with the opposing parties under the tutelage of the United States, even though the coup leadership is increasingly discredited and has less impact on the country’s population: The recent revelations about the plans to hand over the Esequibo to obtain British support and the evidence of the connections between Guaidó and Colombian paramilitaries only confirm the criminal, antinational and anti-democratic nature of this pseudo-leadership, with the consequent impact on the reduction of the increasingly diminished support they receive from the opposition social base. Thus, the center of the dynamic continues to be on the external front and in the economic crisis caused by the blockade and exacerbated by variables such as the government’s failure to reach higher levels of efficiency, namely corruption.
On the international front of aggression we are witnessing a sharpening of the contradictions in the political bloc currently led by the U.S. government. On the one hand, we see that Trump is attempting to impose order on his government, his cabinet, in an effort to have actors more in tune with his vision and to break away from sectors that undermine his strategy. North American politics has been conducted in a chaotic and erratic manner, which has benefited us: there is little clarity in its objectives and strategy, and internal tensions are very strong, which is also transversal to the US electoral scenario. This is despite the fact that everything indicates that there would be no major problem in getting Trump re-elected. To this probability has been added the economic policy, which has been relatively successful, maintaining growth and stability, rather than foreign policy, which has not been successful, because there is a global geopolitical context that they cannot decipher and fully understand in order to adapt to that scenario: they continue with imperialist, hegemonicist positions, in a global context in which there are no suitable conditions for that because of the emerging power factors.
All these elements have their expression in U.S. policy toward Latin America. There, the decisive weight of the state of Florida in the US presidential election is key. It is in Florida that the most radically anti-Cuban and anti-Venezuelan forces are concentrated, where the most important actors against Venezuela are found, compelling Trump, with a view to his re-election and the formation of the necessary internal alliances to push his political and economic project, to make concessions in this regard and favour these hard-line sectors. On the one hand, we see a Trump that is seeking to negotiate policy towards Venezuela, contrary to what he said recently in relation to Bolton’s exit, developing a line that consists of avoiding armed intervention, but increasing pressure to the maximum to generate favourable conditions for his interests and then negotiate. On the other hand, there are the most warlike sectors exacerbating the issue of armed intervention, promoting the TIAR, exerting pressure on Colombia to maintain and promote a warmongering attitude towards Venezuela, among other actions. In fact, it is likely that the current upsurge in warmongering actions will be accompanied by an upsurge in economic sanctions.
In summary, on the external front there is a series of non-linear contradictions that must be analyzed very carefully in order to read them correctly, to decipher the situation correctly and to anticipate possible scenarios. Although the path of negotiation is the one spearheaded by Trump, this does not mean that the blockade will be suspended or relaxed, nor that there will be a meeting between Trump and Maduro, primarily because Venezuela does not have geopolitical or nuclear power, nor the strategic priority that factors such as North Korea or countries of Asia-Pacific have, which is where the main US effort in foreign policy is focused. In general, it is necessary to be clear about this process of contradictions of the external enemy, but we should not confine ourselves to the fact that the contradictions within the US establishment are going to solve the problem for us. The interventionist character of the American empire is not determined by any individual, but by the dominant elite’s supremacist ideology, and their interests. The correct thing is that as a people, as a nation and as a State we do what is necessary to defend sovereignty, peace and democracy.
On the internal front, the main variable that determines the dynamics is the economic scenario, which is conditioned by two main factors: 1) the impact of the commercial and financial blockade, which makes aspects such as foreign trade and the commercialization of oil impossible, which has a profound impact on Venezuela’s ability to use its capacities to achieve economic recovery and to deal with the growing aggravation of the social and services crisis. And 2) the chronic incapacity that the national government has been demonstrating to build an integral and coherent economic policy that responds to the conditions of a blockaded and besieged economy such as ours.
There is an urgent need for an economic policy to counteract the effects of the commercial and financial blockade, a policy that allows us to use the capacities, resources, tools that depend entirely upon us, that permit the State to intervene in the economy, summoning all economic actors. The economic policy that has been applied since August 20, 2018 is improvised, erratic and contradictory, at least in terms of addressing the main challenges of the economy, which are to combat hyperinflation and reactivate the productive apparatus. There is no economic plan that effectively targets these challenges. An attempt has been made to combat hyperinflation with some measures of a monetarist nature, but it has failed, because they are partial and incongruent measures. Although these measures produced some temporary positive results, their effect was short-lived because they were unsustainable. This was compounded by the fact that these achievements were at the expense of unloading on the economically weaker sectors of society the greater weight of the consequences of such economic adjustments.
Today we are witnessing an exhaustion of these orthodox monetarist measures such as the freezing of wages, the reduction and suspension of social bonds, the suspension of bank credit through 100% reserve requirements, the reduction of public spending. All this had an impact on the decrease in demand and this caused hyperinflation to slow down: for three months hyperinflation dropped below 50%, when we had been exceeding 200% or 250%. The slowdown was unsustainable and had profoundly serious social consequences.
The comprehensive and popular national anti-blockade plan that we refer to as urgent should have at least three axes:
1) An anti-blockade economic policy. All economic, social, public and private sectors need to be summoned to a great debate on economic policy in order to confront the commercial and financial bloc that has two central objectives: a) combat hyperinflation with an integral anti-inflationary plan, with clear and realistic goals, designed to prevent the greatest burden of the necessary macroeconomic adjustments from falling on the majority of the country’s workers, who up to now have suffered the worst consequences of the crisis; and b) reactivation of national production with priority in agricultural and agro-industrial production.
This crisis is an opportunity to advance an industrialization process. This must be a central effort of the anti-blockade economic policy. We know that it is a titanic and complex task, especially in a country that is blocked and besieged, but in order to defeat the U.S. interventionist plan, this challenge is imposed on us. Defending the homeland and producing must be the national slogan.
A policy of reactivation of agricultural production involves structuring a NATIONAL PRODUCTIVE EMERGENCY PLAN in which all sectors without ideological distinction are convened, for which it is necessary to create a climate of trust, openness, and guarantees so that communal production, small and medium enterprises and public enterprises can develop.
2) A political offensive against the great evils entrenched in the Bolivarian revolution: corruption, inefficiency and the lack of political will to advance in the deepening of revolutionary democracy, which is the center of the historic Chavista project. Where is the initiative of rectification and change? We need to advance, within the framework of a strategic plan, the set of proposals and demands that the social, political and economic sectors have made for the ethical strengthening, efficiency of the government and the State. U.S. aggression obliges the national, popular and democratic unity of all Venezuelans, but it is necessary that in the midst of this historic battle we attend to a set of contradictions that undermine and weaken the morale and willingness of the people to fight.
3) A plan to defend the country’s assets abroad. An axis of U.S. aggression is the arbitrary dispossession that is systematically being advanced against the country’s assets and financial resources. The Venezuelan people and the Chavista movement are concerned that, evidently and notoriously, no effort is being made, as part of a strategy, to defend, recover and confront the shameless plundering to which we are being subjected. This goes hand in hand with the impulse of a robust solidarity policy in which the diplomatic apparatus must become a political and organizational instrument of that broad and democratic solidarity movement.
That we have managed to overcome the external and internal threats in 2019 and have managed to defend democracy, sovereignty and peace in Venezuela is an unquestionable achievement. However, we know that the battle continues and that the focus will largely be on continuing to suffocate the country by attacking the economy to force us to negotiate at a disadvantage, overwhelmed. That is not what we as a people are willing to do. And we have given sufficient proof of that in these years of harassment and inclement aggression. But in order to advance with a firmer and stronger step toward these objectives, actions must be taken by the Venezuelan political leadership. The people of Bolívar, Chávez, Manuelita, Negro Miguel and Guaicaipuro are here, ready to continue fighting, making proposals, demanding the involvement that they have obtained through resistance and struggle. Now is the time. Afterwards it is too late.