Venezuela: A Balance Sheet of 2016 and Perspectives for 2017

The Bolivarian Revolution is at one of its lowest points since President Chávez’s electoral victory in 1998. In this article, Juan Manaure and Carlos E. Jaurena put forward a deeply critical review of the national government's actions in the economic and political spheres. 


The Bolivarian Revolution is at one of its lowest points since President Chávez’s electoral victory in 1998. On top of the defeat in the December 2015 National Assembly elections, the aggravation of the economic situation is impacting the mass of the working people—who are the base and support of the revolution. It is time to draw a serious balance sheet.

Brief economic balance sheet, 2010 to 2016

In the last few years, from 2013 to 2016, we have seen and lived through a dramatic deterioration of the material living conditions of the working class, compared to the final years under the administration of President Chávez.

In 2013, inflation reached 56.2%—a considerable figure which amounts to a reduction of the purchasing power of over one-third of the wages. But this is relatively moderate compared to the 2014 inflation rate of 68.5%, and to that of 2015, which reached 180.9%. That is a record number for Venezuela. Sadly, it was probably surpassed in 2016, although we do not yet have the numbers from the Central Bank of Venezuela, which has refused to publish official figures.

This contrasts strongly with the years 2010, 2011, and 2012, which closed with inflation rates of 27.2%, 27.6%, and 20.1%, respectively.

There are a number of causes of inflation, but the most important ones are: the fall in oil prices and the consequent drastic reduction of imports; the existence of the preferential dollar that favours imports and paralyzes the national productive apparatus; the expansive monetary policy of the government to finance the enormous fiscal debt, and the combination of price controls with periodic wage adjustments.

It is fundamental to compare oil prices over the last few years in order to understand the fluctuations in the national income and to make a more comprehensive analysis of the current crisis.

In 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, average prices for Venezuelan oil were

$57, $72, $101, and $103 per barrel, respectively. Meanwhile, in 2013 the average was $98; $88 in 2014; $44 in 2015; and $34* in 2016 (*preliminary figure from the Ministry of Oil on December 21st 2016), having reached their lowest point in January 2016 at $24, very close to the cost of production of Venezuelan oil, at $23.50/bbl.

We can identify at a glance the relation between the fluctuations in the price of oil, and the problem of inflation. First of all, this reflects Venezuela’s condition as a rentier economy, deeply dependent on oil income.

Secondly, it reveals that one of the principal causes of inflation is that the government has prioritized the payment of foreign debt over the import of foodstuffs and raw materials, due to the fall in oil income. This generates a reduction in the supply of goods, creating the perfect conditions for increased speculation and hoarding of goods and services by the parasitic bourgeoisie, and forcing the state to reduce subsidies on most products which could previously be sold at a loss. But this could only be sustained through the enormous oil-related income, which had thus far maintained the illusion of “petro-socialism” without a transformation in the property relations of the means of production.

In the third place, by fixing two drastically different types of exchange rates, the state has paved the way for a sharpening of corruption in the uncontrolled allocation of the increasingly scarce foreign currency entering the country by way of oil income. Let us remember that historically, 97% of foreign exchange in Venezuela has come through the oil industry, while the bourgeois, owning about 70% of the means of production, generate only 3% of foreign exchange.

Another decisive factor is the expansion of the mass of money in circulation. Through the Venezuelan Central Bank, the government has been injecting enormous quantities of money into the economy, which is backed neither by an increase in production of goods and services, nor through the growth of international reserves.

In two years (January 2015 through December 2016), total monetary liquidity has increased by 371% (which is to say, more than tripled), some 135% in 2016 alone. Since January 2014 it increased by 680%; since January 2013 the figure is 1,235%! From September 30th to December 2nd 2016—merely two months—the money supply has grown by 40%! That is where the money came from for the most recent 40% raise in the minimum wage.

This uncontrolled increase in circulating money is simultaneous to the deep economic recession. Over the same period international reserves have fallen from $22 billion in January 2015 to $11 billion in December 2016. The increase in the money supply, alongside a drop in production and a fall in foreign reserves, has led to the galloping rise of inflation.

To give a graphic example, imagine that the total production of a country during 2014 is 100 and the mass of circulating money is also 100; after two years, production has fallen to 90 but the amount of money in circulation has increased to 371. That is to say, what previously cost 1 dollar now costs 4.1. Prices have quadrupled.

The method of printing money without a backing in production has been used to pay for raises in the minimum wage and to finance the enormous fiscal deficit (the difference between state income and expenditure). As for the minimum wage, anyone can see that this mechanism has little real effect. From the moment the increase is announced to its payment the following fortnight, the pay raise has already been counterbalanced by the corresponding increase in inflation. In Venezuela the fiscal deficit has remained steady between 10% and 15% of the GDP in recent years, possibly topping 20% in 2016, which is clearly an unsustainable figure. The state has continued to spend enormous sums to maintain the social programs, but the collapse in oil income has created an enormous deficit.

Venezuela 2016: Sharpening of the Economic, Political, and Social Crisis

The year 2016 was the most difficult year up until now for the revolution in its 17-year history. Nonetheless, the economic, social, and political contradictions which gave rise to today’s crisis are far from being resolved, and, moreover, are sharpening with each passing day. 2017 will therefore raise even greater difficulties than those experienced thus far.

Basing ourselves on the figures provided by bourgeois analysts and economists with alleged sources close to the CBV and, above all, on the concrete reality that we endure on a daily basis with every purchase, we could venture to say that 2016 inflation may have reached double that of 2015, surpassing 360%.

As a point of reference we could also take into account the increase of the national budget for 2017, which rose from 1.54 trillion bolivars in 2016 to 8.47 trillion—reflecting an increase of 447.44%—and was estimated, among other factors, by accounting for the accumulated inflation in 2016.

Unfortunately, in the absence of regular CBV reports on the behaviour of Consumer Price Index, our estimates cannot take into account other governmental data sources. This is a product of the government’s refusal to recognize the problem of unbridled inflation that exists in the country.

This is owed to the fact that, since the beginning of the sharpening of the economic war at the end of 2012, the bureaucracy and the government have been in denial of the facts of the real development of the economy, or have underestimated them, under the weak pretext that acknowledging reality would justify right-wing propaganda.

In that sense, there has been a constant attempt to deny phenomena like chronic shortages and the acceleration of price increases for consumer goods. Only at times, when the impact of events makes it impossible to hide these facts from the working class, who, after all, suffer the effects in their daily lives, has the government given in and acknowledged, however timidly, the gravity of the situation.

Consequently, given the extraordinary inflation rate in 2016, many working-class families are no longer able to cover their basic expenses, causing a rapid impoverishment of vast sectors the class.

There are few serious scientific studies that accurately corroborate the level of impoverishment of the working masses. Most of the pollsters and institutions that perform related studies have propagandist purposes (pro- or anti-government), limiting their level of credibility.

For example, Venebarómetro gives the following figures of variation between February and December 2016 in the number of times that a Venezuelan eats per day: people who eat 3 times per day dropped from 69.5% to 34.3%; those who eat twice a day rose from 24.3% to 45.5%; and those who eat once a day rose from 4.8% to 19.8%.

But beyond these studies, the situation can be felt quite evidently in the streets of the country.

Every worker has experienced or been able to observe how many of their co-workers, friends, or family have drastically lost weight, even dropping several trouser sizes. Some workers even look emaciated. This is mainly due to the steep reduction in the intake of traditional carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, precooked corn flour (used for the preparation of arepas, empanadas, etc.), or wheat flour (used for the production of bread, sweets, cakes), as well as the reduction in the intake of animal proteins (meat, chicken, fish).

This is compounded by the scarcity of processed foods, such as vegetable oil, margarine, or sugar—the first two rich in cholesterol harmful to the body, and the latter rich in carbohydrates, which traditionally affected the averages of Venezuelan obesity rates.

On the other hand, we now see a resurgence in the number of Venezuelans who now rummage through garbage in search of food or some other useful product for use or resale, after a period of several years during which this phenomenon was not commonly observed. Today, in the suburbs east of Caracas, and in the central and western parts of the city, there is an abundance of young men looking for food in the garbage, in addition to an immense number of street vendors and beggars in the Caracas subway. Notably, these are not old beggars, men of 40, 50, or 60 who fell into this situation in the past decade or in the 1990s, as a result of the lack of jobs and the poor education that existed in the 4th Republic. Rather, those who look for food in the trash are young men, between 20 and 30 on average.

This fact also confirms the indisputable growth of unemployment levels in the country, which logically corresponds to the severe and prolonged contraction of the Venezuelan economy—despite the constant claims of the government that unemployment in the country is declining. While there are no official figures, some estimates calculate that in the second quarter of 2016, the GDP fell by 11.8% compared to the same quarter in 2015. Similarly, projections from agencies such as CEPAL indicate that GDP fell by 8% in 2016, and predict a fall of round 4% in 2017.

Another recurring phenomenon is that of workers who are not yet lumpenized and who, in order to cover their food requirements and due to the lack of sufficient wages, have opted to pick up the leftovers and “useless” scraps at produce markets. These are people of normal appearance, “well dressed”, as they say in Venezuela, who collect the cuts of tubers, bananas, legumes, and other vegetables which could not be sold or were discarded.

Also, in connection with this phenomenon, resellers have emerged for such produce—which would normally be considered waste—who now take advantage of the situation to sell it at low cost and obtain from this a certain profit.

In summary, the material situation of the masses has been deteriorating drastically during the last three years, and in particular over the last year. The working masses—the historic support base of the Bolivarian Revolution—have been exhausted and deeply demoralized by this, thus provoking an acute ebb in the revolutionary movement.

From Economic Defeat to Electoral Defeat

We cannot make an in-depth analysis of the political development of 2016 without making an assessment of the impact of the dragging economic crisis on the parliamentary elections at the end of 2015.

In 2014 and 2015, the abrupt fall of oil prices coincided with the national government’s nefarious and ineffective policy of class conciliation, after the Guarimbas [violent street protests] of 2014, along with the launching of economic peace talks where President Nicolas Maduro even sat down with Lorenzo Mendoza, Ramos Allup, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, providing them with a political platform and economic concessions in a vain attempt to appease the economic sabotage.

At this juncture, a section of the masses with a high level of consciousness generously maintained their defense of the Bolivarian government and mobilized combatively at every call of the leadership; but even so, the leadership always hesitated to take action against the economic sabotage carried out by the bourgeoisie. During the PSUV party conferences to elect candidates to the National Assembly, more than three million members participated, far surpassing the most optimistic predictions and confirming that, despite the the harsh economic conditions facing the working people, they still kept up their fighting spirit and their revolutionary combativity. Despite all this, the PSUV leadership and the government have refused to radicalize the revolution.

This constant hesitation on the part of the Bolivarian leadership, along with the rapid deterioration of the conditions of the masses in the context of the economic war, ended up demoralizing and demobilizing broad layers of government supporters, leading to the most decisive electoral defeat of the revolutionary process in its entire history—much worse, even quantitatively, than the Pyrrhic victory over the referendum for constitutional reform in 2007.

This was the cause of the electoral defeat of December 6, 2015, where the opposition obtained 112 deputies and the PSUV only 55, being surpassed by more than two million votes. The PSUV received the support of 5.5 million voters, compared to the 7.5 million who voted for the MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, the right-wing electoral coalition—ed.).

From Electoral Defeat to Ideological Defeat

Nevertheless, in the face of the blow suffered in the December 6th elections, sections of the vanguard reacted quickly, opening up many spaces for debate, forming popular assemblies, including in front of the Miraflores Palace, and demanding the radicalization of the revolution.

During the first month, amid debates and special meetings of the party congress and an extraordinary congress on the question of the economy, the government leadership announced, at first, a new economic cabinet, not at all heterogeneous, which included a businessman (Pérez Abad), a leftist intellectual (Luis Salas, who was removed just days after his appointment) and a Stalinist supporter of the two-stages theory (Jesus Faría).

In the political plane, an organising team was formed for the so-called “Congress of the Fatherland”, which was initially well received by the masses. However, it gradually became clear that this was an “activist” meeting, and that none of the proposals arising from the debate would be answered by the government or party leadership.

The government and the PSUV bureaucracy deepened a policy of resorting to mass mobilization as if it were a faucet that can be opened and closed at will. Given the extremely critical environment that was generated after the electoral defeat, a series of spaces for participation were opened, but they have no real power and act only as a safety valve.

The effect of this measure is totally counterproductive, increasing the cynicism, skepticism and apathy of the revolutionary activists towards the meetings. 

Then in February, economic measures were announced which revealed more clearly the direction the government would take for the rest of the year: devaluation, tax reform, increased gasoline prices, prioritizing the payment of foreign debt, and some social programs such as subsidy cards.

In addition, the National Council of Productive Economy was established, where all important decisions on economic matters are really made, along with the promotion of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda, the “15 productive motors” and the opening up of a third of the country for mining investment.

We should point out that this agenda is very similar to that presented by President Chavez in 1998, and therefore constitutes an ideological throwback to the time when Chavez still believed in the third way of Tony Blair, a stage we thought had been completely overcome after the coup of 2002, when Chavez was evolving dialectically from nationalist anti-imperialist positions, to socialist ones, even calling himself Marxist in one of his last speeches in the National Assembly in 2011.

The Bolivarian leadership, terrified by the sweeping electoral defeat resulting from its own class-conciliation policy, wrongly interpreted the defeat as a result of the “low level of consciousness of the masses.” Instead of being self-critical and having confidence in the working class, they preferred to attempt to openly negotiate with the bourgeoisie, in order to hold onto power and avoid or defuse the class struggle. They tried to reconcile the interests of the working class, with increases in wages and food stamps, and the interests of the bourgeoisie, providing the latter with preferential dollars, soft loans, easing the requirements for import and export and allowing increases in the prices of goods and services.

The “small” detail of this policy of conciliation, consists of a situation that is untenable for the working class. The profits that are generated through this pact between the government and the bourgeoisie are automatically devoured by the logic of parasitic capitalism that exists in Venezuela. Through speculation, hoarding, layoffs, cuts in wages, and by neglecting the living conditions of the working class, the bourgeoisie is attempting to shift the workers’ frustration onto the government, while increasing its share of the surplus value and accumulating enormous and obscene wealth.  

The policy of price and foreign exchange controls, which was introduced in 2002 and 2003 to protect working people and combat the flight of capital, had reached its limit years ago. It has become a brake on the “normal” development of the capitalist economy. Capitalists refuse to produce because they do not accept the restriction of profit margins through regulated prices. Hence the sabotage, hoarding, and the development of the black market. At the same time, the preferential dollar (the other side of exchange controls), has become a bottomless pit through which the country’s oil revenue is transferred in dollars into the pockets of capitalists and corrupt officials at all levels. Additionally, this has effect of incentivising imports over domestic production. The subsidised dollar for imports (10 bolivars per DIPRO dollar compared to 670 semi-floating Simadi / DICOM dollars, and more than 3,300 black market dollars in early January 2017), produces an unseen profit rate for capitalists who obtain subsidised DIPRO dollars, import products, and then sell them at the exchange rate of the dollar on the black market.  

This disparity has only two possible solutions: either the controls on the economy are completely lifted, as demanded by the capitalists, thus making workers pay for the crisis; or the key sectors of the economy are expropriated, making capitalists pay the price of the crisis. The government’s policy has been to make concessions to the capitalists by partially and gradually liberalizing price controls and the exchange rate. However, the capitalists are not satisfied by these concessions, and the distortions in the economy continue to intensify.  

The Suspension of the Recall Referendum and the Bargaining Table

Emboldened by its overwhelming victory in December of 2015, the primary aim of the opposition throughout 2016 was to remove President Nicolas Maduro within 6 months. However, there was no agreement on a “path to remove the President” until April, since there were three different proposals from the various wings of the MUD: to force his resignation, to hold the recall referendum, or to amend the constitution. In the end, they opted for the recall referendum. The option of amending the constitution to limit length of the presidential term was dismissed on the grounds that it would not take effect until the following presidential term, and it was taken for granted that the opposition would win the next presidential election. On the other hand, forcing Maduro’s resignation was a naive and unfeasible option, given that the President still had significant popular support and the command of the armed forces.

Thus they began a process of circulating petitions and collecting signatures. However, evidence of widespread irregularities led to the suspension of 20% of the collected signatures, despite having met the initial requirement of collecting 1% of the signatures in favour of convoking the recall referendum.

This caused the opposition to split into two wings, the openly insurrectionary one, led by members of the top bourgeoisie such as Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machado and their parties, and the wing which favoured an institutional solution through dialogue with the government, such as the party Un Nuevo Tiempo, and the governor of the state of Lara, Henry Falcón, among others.

Following several massive street demonstrations by the opposition, and after some hesitation on the part of their leaders and the economic interests of its financiers (let us remember that people like Cisneros, the majority shareholder of Venevision and the Coca-Cola franchise in Venezuela, associated themselves with the government to invest one billion dollars in the Orinoco oil belt), the conciliatory wing of the MUD was allowed to temporarily take the upper hand. The opposition decided to sit down for talks with the government to try to retake the electoral path as a way out of the political crisis, temporarily deferring the option of the violent overthrow of the government.

As a result of the initiation of talks between the government and the MUD, the counter-revolutionary mass movement has entered into an ebb, in spite of its current electoral majority against the layers which continue to support the government despite having been battered by the economic crisis. The laws that apply to the revolutionary mobilization of the masses also apply to counterrevolutionary mobilization. The leadership of the opposition, rather than showing strength, unity and seizing the initiative, has shown hesitation, internal division, and an inability to go to the end. This has led to the demoralization of the masses of the petty bourgeoisie and the middle classes which are the social base of the counterrevolutionary opposition. In the most recent opposition marches we have seen the widespread booing of all their leaders.  

Even a recent survey by Hinterlaces (a polling agency owned by Oscar Schemel, a figure with ties to the government) revealed that 51% of the population currently does not identify with either the MUD or the government.

2017: From Ideological to Political Defeat

The National Electoral Council has already confirmed that regional and municipal elections will be held in the months of June and December of 2017.

As we have explained, the working masses of the country have been experiencing an acute process of ebb over the past three years as a result of the rapid degradation of their material conditions of existence, in the context of economic war.  

This process is currently at its highest point of the last three years. At present, levels of fatigue, demoralization and demobilization of the working masses, who have historically been the mainstay of the Bolivarian Revolution, are the highest they have ever been since the radicalization of the economic war in late 2012.  

This process will continue to worsen dangerously, to the extent that the living conditions of the masses further deteriorate, which, as we have discussed previously, is a clear perspective for this year.  

The results of the parliamentary elections on December 6, were a clear demonstration of the dangerous growth of fatigue and demoralization amongst the ranks of Chavismo, as a result of the critical situation of scarcity and the brutal increase in the cost of living. Now, a year after the elections, the economic scenario is much worse, and this inevitably implies that the discontent among the masses has greatly deepened, compared to the level of a year ago.

However, the government and the leadership of the PSUV have the illusion that they can overcome this situation by deferring the election dates. They mistakenly believe that through measures such as the regularization of CLAP [Local Committees of Supply and Production, selling parcels of basic products at subsidized prices products directly through the communities], the Complementary Supply Plan [by which the state imports food and sells it at DICOM dollar prices], the importation of Brazilian products and the future increase in oil prices, that the current situation can be mitigated to the point of recovering the social base of support that has been lost in the last period. Nothing could be further from the truth, nor from the real process of development of consciousness of the masses.  

If the government does not implement a 180-degree turn in economic policy, and continues with the same reformist policies that have been stubbornly implemented over the last period, then there will be no possibility of resolving the situation of chronic shortages and of runaway inflation currently prevailing in the country. Rather, such measures will contribute to the worsening of this situation, which means that the process of withdrawal of the masses from politics will inevitably continue to deepen throughout 2017, thus allowing us to foresee, unfortunately, a resounding victory of the MUD over the government both in the June regional elections, as well as in the December municipal elections.

If we make a simple projection based on the 2015 election results of 2015 for the upcoming regional elections of 2017, the PSUV would only win 5 of the 23 state governorships in dispute: Apure, Guarico, Portuguesa, Delta Amacuro and Cojedes (the Governor of the Capital District is appointed directly by the President). Even this projection does not factor in the severe exhaustion of the working masses in these states.

A new electoral defeat of similar proportions to that of December 6th will obviously have an enormous impact on the political landscape of the country, and on the development of events in the context of the class struggle.

As in the days after December 6th, an atmosphere of severe criticism of the leaders will develop within the ranks, particularly amongst the vanguard and the most conscious layers of the movement. Given the alarm signal of such a defeat, a revival of revolutionary militancy is also possible, not only among the vanguard, but also among broader sections of the movement, faced with the possibility of the advance of the counterrevolution in power.

Also noteworthy is the possibility of the emergence of a left wing within the party, due to conflicting positions between sections of the top and middle leadership of the party over the question of primary elections to elect possible candidates for the governorships. The national leadership believes that, given the “fragility” of this moment, holding primaries would risk generating divisions. On the other hand, rank-and-file cadres are demanding an internal process to democratize the decision-making within the party, in order to renew the leadership and prepare mobilizations in the lead-up to the elections. This process could go much further, even to the point of a split in the party following a landslide victory by the MUD in regional elections.

These circumstances will be greatly conducive to the spread of the ideas and program of Marxism, and also for the growth of a strong Marxist tendency within the Bolivarian movement.

On the other hand, the bourgeoisie will be emboldened by its victory. This will push the more extremist layers to push once again for an insurrectionary defeat of the revolution, so further violence from the right wing cannot be ruled out. However, given the proximity of the municipal elections in just six months, it is possible that the section of the bourgeoisie which favours the tactic of wearing down the government will have the upper hand. The MUD could wait until the municipal elections before considering a large scale insurrectionary movement aimed that the overthrow of the government.

However, once the municipal elections are held, which the MUD would easily win under the current circumstances, the government will find itself in a very difficult scenario.

The executive branch currently has the support of 3 of the 5 state authorities. In late 2016 the Supreme Court appointed the governing body of the National Electoral Council for the next period of 2016-2023, ruling out the possibility for the National Assembly to appoint this body as established by the constitution, since it was ruled to be in contempt.

However, the bourgeoisie and its political representatives have accused Maduro of being an illegitimate president ever since he won the elections in 2013, and there have been relentless conspiracies to oust him from office. Therefore, once they have won the municipal elections, the MUD will practically control the overwhelming majority of elected offices in the country. Most governors, mayors, regional legislative councils, municipal councils and of course the National Assembly, will be completely under their control. In that scenario, basing themselves on the unprecedented level of social discontent, and the severe economic crisis in the country, we can expect a resumption of violent street protests aimed at the overthrow of President Maduro, or to pressure him to resign and force early elections.

Another possibility is that of a pact between the government, or sectors thereof, and sectors of the opposition to agree on a controlled “transition” in which guarantees would be negotiated for the non-persecution of the bureaucracy and the reformists.  

However, the situation of looting and violence that we witnessed in December 2016 in cities like Maracaibo and Ciudad Bolivar, when the government withdrew banknotes for 100 bolivares, also points to another scenario: the outbreak of violence, caused by the worsening living conditions of the masses, and the cynical manoeuvres on the part of the opposition to take advantage of the chaos. Such a scenario is implicit in the situation.

In addition to this, with a breakdown of law and order and the continuation of the institutional impasse, we can not rule out the intervention of the armed forces or a section thereof. So far, the government has been careful to keep the high command of the armed forces on its side, partly with juicy economic concessions, for example through the creation of the CAMIMPEG (Oil, Gas and Mining Military Corporation Ltd), thus delivering directly to the military an important slice of the oil business.  

In the most critical moments of the mobilization of the counterrevolution,  the opposition has made calls for the armed forces to intervene and to break with the government. Up until now, there has been no indication of a movement in that direction. However, faced with more serious events (looting, street violence, inability of the institutions to maintain order), senior officers of the armed forces may decide to intervene directly in politics, establishing themselves as the arbiter of the situation. Even in a situation of that kind, certain sections of the masses may initially support such an intervention. However, that by itself would not solve any of the fundamental problems that the Venezuelan economy is facing. A military government or a government of national unity with the support of the military, would still face the same dilemma of having to decide who will be forced to pay for the crisis: the working class, or the bourgeoisie.

In this critical situation, half measures, corruption, bureaucracy and reformism are leading us to defeat and to the loss of the conquests and legacy of president Chavez. All the gains of the revolution are threatened by the deep economic crisis, which is not the fault of “socialism” but of the reformist attempt to regulate capitalism. What has failed in Venezuela is not socialism (collective ownership and democratic planning of the means of production) but rather the opposite, the attempt to force capitalism to work for the benefit of the majority, something which is clearly utopian and impossible.

The only possible way to defend the gains of the revolution is precisely to complete the revolution, nationalizing the banks and the means of production under workers’ control, and destroying the bourgeois state to replace it with a workers’ state.

Wide sections of the vanguard already recognize the urgent need for such measures. Three parties of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) recently demanded the nationalization of the banks: the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), the People’s Electoral Movement (MEP) and the Revolutionary Tupamaro Movement (MRT). We welcome this development and call on these parties to plan and organize joint actions on the basis of this common demand against the conciliatory leadership of the GPP and the PSUV.

The main obstacle to these urgent measures being carried out is not the consciousness of the masses, which is very advanced, but rather the incorrect policy of our leaders. It is therefore necessary to forge a new leadership. It is necessary to build the Marxist Tendency of the PSUV – Lucha de Clases with the most conscious and revolutionary elements of the Bolivarian movement and sink deep roots in the labour movement.  

Radicalize the revolution!

Expropriate the banks and monopolies under workers control!

Join the International Marxist Tendency!