Venezuelan Leftist Parties Mull Backing Maduro for Reelection

The president's largest left-wing allies, the Communist Party and Homeland For All Party, have called national conferences to allow their membership to decide, with a fierce debate expected. 

By Paul Dobson

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Maduro alongside his allied parties in the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP)
Maduro alongside his allied parties in the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) in the Presidential elections of 2013. (www.nicolasmaduro.org.ve)
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Merida, January 30, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Three of the largest left-wing Venezuelan parties made announcements yesterday that they would hold national meetings to let their supporters decide whether to back President Nicolas Maduro in his upcoming bid for re-election.

Last week, Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly approved a decree requiring presidential elections to be held before April 30, though the country’s electoral authorities have yet to fix a precise date.

When announcing his candidacy over the weekend, Maduro requested the backing of the entire pro-government coalition of allied leftist parties, known as the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP).

The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) announced that it is due to hold a national conference this coming Friday, which is widely expected to ratify Maduro as its candidate. However, some of their allies were a bit coyer about who they expect to back.

One of the governing party’s strongest allies, the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), declared that they are due to hold a national conference in which the “branches” of their party will make the decision of who the party will postulate. Automatic backing of Maduro is far from certain, with many among the PCV rank-and-file despondent at the lack of firm revolutionary policies from the government.

“Our statutes state that it is the national conference which designates our presidential candidates”, explained Oswaldo Ramos, spokesperson for the PCV, in their weekly press conference on Monday.

According to a document released by the party ahead of the national conference, the PCV’s decision will be made taking into account the “global correlation of forces”, “the subjective and objective conditions for the advancement of concrete struggle”, whilst “identifying the principal enemy as imperialism”. They go on to restate the party line of “wide anti-imperialist and anti-fascist alliances”, which leads them to “search for a unified, anti-imperialist, anti-oligarchic, democratic, and popular candidate”. The document also voices criticisms of the some of the policies of the current administration, including the deals made with big business interests, the failure to protect workers’ wages amid soaring inflation, and the lack of measures promoting greater grassroots participation in decision making, among others. 

The Homeland for All party (PPT) made similar declarations in their weekly press conference, announcing that their national conference on February 10, in which their members will determine who the party will back in the upcoming elections.

Both the PCV and PPT have held high-level meetings with representatives of the government in recent days to discuss the candidacy of Maduro.

“The relationship with the PSUV is being revised, as we understand that this alliance must be redefined and go beyond the electoral sphere,” stated Ilenia Medina, natioanl secretary of PPT.

Both the PCV and PPT have publicly expressed their dissatisfaction at what they view as the PSUV’s steamrolling of allied leftist candidates in December municipal elections, the way they say the PSUV has deliberately ignored and side-lined its allies and their proposals, and the disintegration of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) which at one time stood at the helm of the Bolivarian project.

Similarly, smaller leftist parties such as Podemos, which achieved 1.4 percent of the national vote in the last presidential election, explained that they have already taken the decision to back Maduro.

“We are making it public that we will be proposing the candidature of Nicolas Maduro Moros,” stated Gerzon Perez, vice president of Podemos.

Johalbert Aponte, General Secretary of the youth wing of the Popular Venezuelan Unity Party (UPV), which achieved 0.6% of the vote in the last presidential elections, likewise explained that “we are with Maduro as he is a man of the people and only the people can save the people”.

Opposition forces are yet to name a candidate for the upcoming elections, though a number of anti-government figures have thrown their nominations into the ring, including Democratic Action leader Henry Ramos Allup, Causa R party head Andres Velesquez, as well as former Lara Governor Henri Falcon. The unity or lack thereof on the part of the GPP forces has historically been crucial in assuring victory for the Bolivarian candidates, with the votes accumulated by the parties allied to the PSUV proving to be the difference in past presidential elections.