Pasqualina Curcio Curcio
It is necessary to unveil the enormity of the economic war continuing against the Venezuelan people. It’s been seven years since transnational and national monopolies put us in long lines, jumping from store to store so as to find our staples (food, medicine, and hygiene products). Our currency, the Bolivar (BsS), has been attacked by 29,862,393,456 percent: In 2012, the exchange rate was 8.69 BsS/US$. Today, criminal websites without any judgment or economics but political and bellicose grounds, rate 2,595,042,000 BsS/US$. Prices have not stopped increasing as a result since 2013.
This war, without historic precedents due to its dimension, began in 1999 and strengthened in 2013. The Venezuelan people have not only resisted to it. They have been heroically taking part in an uprising. An inexplicable phenomenon for Donald Trump and his advisors, to the extent that it even cost John Bolton his post.
Venezuelans have been doing something that has been yet impossible for US imperialism to figure out yet.
Lessons Learned from War
Make no mistake this is a class struggle, what used to seem mere rhetoric is now lived day to day. A class struggle is evident when the relation between wage, price and revenues in the circuit of private markets proposed by Marx appears to be blatant. The accelerated and disproportionate price increase as a result of the attack to our currency and the logic of the capitalist market is making the real salary plunge, up to the point that a worker cannot meet his own material needs. A worker baking breads to make a living and earning 40,000 BsS a month can’t buy even afford to buy even one of the many dozens of loaves he bakes a day. Every bread costs BsS. 10,000; the difference is in the profit.
There is a myth about the State’s inefficiency: Let’s imagine that we do not have a national public health system in these times of war to provide the service for 85 percent of the population (regardless of its deficiencies). Let’s imagine that there was not a vaccination plan that guarantees public coverage of 90 percent of vaccines. Let’s imagine that the only option was to purchase vaccines for our children in dollars, as is demanded in private consultations. In these times of war, where is the “efficient” private sector? How many people are going to private clinics and what prices are they paying for it? And what is the amount covered by insurance companies? How is the population getting answers, from the public or the private circuit?
Let’s imagine there were not public schools, high schools and colleges receiving 90 percent of our children and youth. Are private schools and universities guaranteeing the access to education in these times of war? Let’s continue traveling here with our imagination and let’s suppose that the school feeding program does not exist in these times of war. Let’s imagine Caracas without the Metro subway system. Let’s imagine homes without the CLAP food production and distribution program.
Meanwhile, concerning the industrial and commercial activity, 98.71 percent and 99.87 percent belong to the private sector, respectively. The public sector does not produce precooked corn meal, pasta, cooking oil, butter, toilet paper, toothpaste, or medicine… The private sector does, especially transnational companies which under this war have been complaining and demanding cheap taxes to the State for seven years so as to meet their responsibility of supplying the Venezuelan people with such staples.
In this context, who is more efficient? The State generating 98 percent of the country’s currency or private companies which do not export not even 2 percent? The Government providing health and education services to over 85 percent of the population or large companies which are just waiting for cheap currency?
We have a golden opportunity but we will only defeat the economic war by strengthening the public, collective, state and communal circuit. This is the moment to move towards building the 21st century Bolivarian socialism.
Falling into the capitalist trap and not funding the public administration arguing that you cannot issue money because it is the cause of inflation is equivalent to siding with the enemy’s strategy. In times of war, when wages are declining as a result of attacks to the currency, it is essential to strengthen the public and communal circuit. This is the only guarantee for the population to have access to vital goods and also to start building the 21st century socialism. In 2003, in the face of the strike held by employers, Hugo Chavez’s strategy was to strengthen the public venture.
Let’s imagine this war without the Misiones social programs.
Despite all the attempts of US imperialism to destabilize, discourage, and demobilize, the Venezuelan people continue uprising in this war in a conscious and organized way. On the ground, in communes, we are trained; we inform each other; we communicate with each other; we learn; we invent; we find solutions; and we mobilize. We are organized in local food production and provision committees; in the Bolivar-Chavez units of battle; in a militia; in communal councils; in productive councils of workers; in health committees; in social missions; in the women’s Unamujer association; among others.
The wounds of this war are deep and very painful but the Venezuelan people have resisted and they are fighting back: they are rising.
Translation by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America Bureau