Encouraged by the results of the recent elections, the right in Venezuela — both their native-born representatives and the imperialist agents working in the country — have entrenched a strategy for political struggle that, on the ground, has left the chavist government in a defensive position, or at least, in a state of alert in the face of the threats concerning the future of the Bolivarian Revolution. It hurts to admit it, but it would hurt more to contemplate the unexpected and dramatic end to a revolutionary process as significant as that launched by Comandante Hugo Chávez, due to the failure to adopt in time corrective measures necessary to preserve the revolutionary process. Irreversibility is an attribute possessed by few revolutionary movements, and this after having overcome the hard challenges of history. This is not the case with the Bolivarian Revolution, at least not yet, as the existence of an ample network of popular organizations born during the government of President Chávez could be the fundamental bastions that ensure the continuity of the revolutionary process.
All the classical sources in the Marxian tradition — beginning with Engels and followed by Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, and more recently, by Fidel and Che — understood the parallelism between the art of war and political struggles. They were aware of the differences, but they did not fail to perceive the likenesses; because of this, they took note of the teachings of military history. They noted, for example, that when a social force that is a numerical minority wants to take on a powerful and well-organized army it must resort to unconventional forms of struggle. Guerrilla tactics are precisely this: unexpected, surprising, short-lived attacks followed by a rapid withdrawal, leaving on the battlefield an enemy that is both injured and demoralized. This is precisely what, with great cunning and an absolute lack of scruples, the right has done in Venezuela with a torrent of attacks — from verbal aggression and denunciation to economic sabotage, assaults on areas associated with the PSUV or the health centres of the "Missión Barrio Adentro" and "exemplary assassinations" — which succeeded in weakening the enthusiasm and the revolutionary morale of the Chavist forces, as we have seen in the April 14 elections. The effectiveness of these tactics is noted when it becomes clear that the right has succeeded in something that until recently appeared impossible: establish the national political agenda and force the Bolivarian government to respond to enemy attacks rather than launch their own concrete initiatives. For some years now the intellectuals of the Empire and Pentagon strategists have been saying that today "the anti-subversive struggle takes place in the mass media." The right-wing strategy in Venezuela is part of this model adopted by Washington and it has proved efficacious.
What is the right looking for with these tactics? These do not appear in a vacuum, but form part of a far-reaching strategy. In this case, directed to undermine the support of popular elements for the government, isolating it from their traditional bases and facilitating their plans to destabilize it, in two areas: (a) "stirring up the street", tumult, looting and a coup d'état to "restore order" that the Bolivarian government can no longer guarantee; or, (b) wearing down and destitution of the government through a revoking referendum. This global strategy will succeed in the measure that the government persists in the error of allowing the counterrevolutionary elements to define the struggle and attempts to carry on the struggle in the media as defined by their enemies. President Nicolas Maduro himself has entered into these verbal battles — during the campaign and afterwards — in response to the insolent provocations of Henrique Capriles and his buddies both in and out of the country. This should not happen, since the delicate balance of forces that exists today in Venezuela will not move in favour of Chavism through fine words on the part of the President, his ministers or the leaders of the PSUV, but rather through the capability of the government to reorganize and to reanimate a heavy and inefficient state apparatus, characterized by hyper-burocratization and hotbeds of corruption that cannot be hidden. Without such action, it will not be possible to resolve the main problems that afflict the Venezuelan people and which provoked the desertion of part of the Chavist electorate: shortages and other aspects of economic life, such as the unavailability of essential products, for example, electricity blackouts and civic insecurity among others. Aware of this, the right has unleashed a hotchpotch of attacks that, as in guerrilla warfare, distract the attention of the regular army — in this case the government — and make it difficult for them to concentrate on the crucial tasks demanded in the present situation. What the right wants is for the government to dig itself into the sterile swamp of polemics and discussion, making it impossible for them to employ personnel and time to develop effective policies to resolve the problems that afflict the citizenry.
From this it is clear that the government of President Nicolas Maduro has to launch a political counter-offensive, centred on the area of public policies, ignoring the provocations and insults on the part of right-wing spokesmen and thus neutralizing the aggressive tactics that, it must be made clear, seek to hide the reactionary character of their agenda with demagogic and deceptive declarations in which they express their willingness to appropriate the "positive aspects" of the Chávez legacy. The government must concentrate all of their human and institutional resources in the struggle to resolve the above-mentioned problems, without losing a minute in sterile verbal conflict that does nothing to consolidate — and even less to widen — their societal base in the electorate. The government must also recognize that in this post-electoral situation, they are struggling against time. The right is attempting to create a climate of opinion which can create the conditions for a coup d'état, the best hypothesis, or that enables them to demand a revoking referendum that could take place within three years. If the conduct of government fails to resolve, at least partially, the problems mentioned above, the Bolivarian Revolution could repeat the misfortune that befell Sandinism (in Nicaragua), where ten years after their epic victory over the tyranny of Anastasio Somoza (jr.), they were defeated in an election by a coalition promoted, organized and financed — as is happening now in the fatherland of Bolívar and Chávez — by U.S. imperialism.
There is still time to prevent such an unhappy outcome in Venezuela, but it is necessary to get to work now and develop a new strategy of political reconstruction that will allow Chavism to regain the initiative and go on the offensive. This means unleashing a struggle against the right in the terrain chosen by the government rather than in that preferred by the opposition: the malicious swamp of the mass media. With respect to this we can only celebrate the recent creation of the "Misión Eficiencia o Nada" (Mission efficiency or nothing), set up to establish honest administration of public affairs and to struggle against those niches of corruption and bureaucratization that eat away the vitality of the revolution from the inside. In addition, it will be necessary for the president to continue his well-founded policy of reconquering the street, in dispute today with the mobilization of the right-wing. That is to say, move closer to the people, hear what they ask and respond to their demands, measures necessary to dismount the strategy of "guerrilla media action" followed by the right. Aware of what Chávez was able achieve thanks to his charismatic leadership, today this must be resolved through a conduct of state affairs that is efficient and socially inclusive, free of technocratic deviance and able to produce immediate results. This means a conduct of government that tightens the bonds with local governments and can count on a corps of public servants capable of answering the demands of society. In Ecuador, for example, the Quipux System is an internet service that President Rafael Correa has installed in all governmental agencies to facilitate direct contact with his office and that of the vice-president, and which permits the President and vice-president to monitor the progress of different governmental projects, knowing how well they are doing on the ground and obstacles presented in order to take action without delay, through corrective measures that are pertinent. This is hardly a panacea, but will, without doubt, tend to facilitate the necessary qualitative leap that must take place in the public administration of the Bolivarian Revolution in order to face the challenges of the present time.
(Translation: Jordan Bishop).
Dr. Atilio A. Boron, Director of the Latin American Programme of Distance Education in Social Sciences (PLED), Bueno Aires. Argentina http://www.atilioboron.com.ar