Acclaimed Venezuelan historian, writer and dramatist Luis Britto Garcia argues that the Venezuelan economy is being subjected to deliberate economic sabotage and that “a war isn’t won by pretending it doesn’t exist”.
War is a continuation of the economy by other means. Capitalism is the rapaciousness of everyone against everyone. All warfare is economic; it seeks to destroy and confiscate the adversary’s means of production. The bombing of defenceless cities forces the civil population to stop production in order to tend to the wounded. The objective is not to do away with soldiers, but with supply.
During the IV Republic [in Venezuela, from1958 – 1998], the most invoked value by Democratic Action [one of the country’s two governing parties during the IV Republic] was [Food] Supply. In my book The Language of Demagogy I analyse texts where [Venezuelan President Romulo] Benacourt [1945 – 1948, 1959 - 1964] mentions supply 112 times, state power 90, salaries 49, elections 30, and production just 26 times. With this discourse the two-party system kept power for various decades, until it declared Economic Warfare on itself, by signing a Package with the International Monetary Fund [in 1989]. Thanks to that, in little time [then President] Carlos Andres Perez went from Great Third World Leader to a recluse in Los Teques.
There has been Economic Warfare against every revolution, including bourgeois ones: against the English revolution and the French. There has also been [economic warfare] against the real ones: against the Soviet revolution, the Chinese, the Cuban, the Vietnamese, and the Sandinista. They all confronted sabotage and blockade. War was waged against the democrat [former Chilean president] Salvador Allende. Henry Kissinger swore that he would make the Chileans “cry from misery”. The sociological espionage of “Plan Camelot” revealed their weaknesses. The hoarders created strategic shortages, the ladies of the oligarchy banged pots and pans, suicidal unions launched strikes against the government that protected their rights. Allende was assassinated with three thousands other Chileans; the rest of the population had their social security, free higher education, labour rights and freedom taken away.
Not even the strongest economy resists organised and unchecked pillage. The National Institute of Statistics informs that during the last 14 years 62.5% of public spending has gone toward social ends. This finances dramatic improvements in health, nutrition, education, housing and culture. Jose Gregorio Piña points out that from 1997 until today the minimum wage has increased 110% above inflation, that over 80% of workers earn above minimum wage, and that in 14 years the government has benefitted more than 2.2 million pensioners with [pensions] the equivalent of minimum wage. However the fullest sack is emptied if it has tears. Subsidised food is taken as contraband to Colombia by bachequeros [those who buy up products in shortage or with regulated prices to later sell in Colombia or Venezuela at a higher price], dollars assigned for remittances and travellers end up in fantasy destinations and vendecupos [those who sell their allocated dollars on the black market]. Foreign currency granted for imports benefit managers of fictitious imports, which causes the disappearance of 20 billion dollars [from the Venezuelan economy], a similar magnitude to the damage of the oil sabotage of 2002 – 2003. Sentences from international courts condemn us to pay even more. Premeditated sabotage damages refineries like Amuay and cuts off water and electricity services. These open veins of the Venezuelan economy should be sown up with the correct measures and example-setting sanctions.
In supermarkets, snobbish ladies ask how there can be shortages in such a rich country. It should be explained to them that in a mixed economy the private sector sells the majority of basic food and products, and decides shortages, high prices and strategic hoarding. This explanation is not made because, for one reason or another, the best defenders of Bolivarianism have been disappearing from public service media. It’s like removing iceberg lookouts from the Titanic. To the sharp-eyed, watch out: an iceberg approaches, and it’s the size of the Empire.
A war isn’t won by pretending it doesn’t exist, silencing those who defend us or treating the adversary who attacks us as an ally. The war that isn’t won is that which isn’t fought.
Translated by Ewan Robertson for Venezuelanalysis.com