The Rumble of the Campesinos: Will It Break the Silence?

National Constituent Assembly member Julio Escalona suggests that the Admirable Campesino March should inspire Venezuelans from all walks of life to exercise popular power and rescue the revolution.

campesinos.png

The Admirable Campesino March in Lara State. (Gerardo Rojas)
The Admirable Campesino March in Lara State. (Gerardo Rojas)
By Julio Escalona
Short URL

For me, it is not surprising that social movements in the capital would begin to take action because of a campesino march coming from Guanare. Will the march stir Caracas? The truth is that it has already stirred the towns it passed through. Why not a march of the oil workers or of the iron or steel workers? The answer deserves serious investigation. I would suggest, as one among various hypotheses, that the weight of the union bureaucracy in those sectors is very strong and works as a brake.

It seems that in rural areas the bureaucracy’s influence is much weaker. Apparently, the effects of oil-dependent culture, consumerism and other cultural blights are not so felt in the countryside as in large cities... However, this is a subject of debate that the heroic marchers have put on the table, mainly through their practice and not just through their discourse, which will go on becoming more profound and radical as the march progresses and their class consciousness grows. It is a fact of no small importance that a the large number of campesino leaders have been murdered.

This campesino mobilization could be seen as a form of passing judgment on the more than eighteen years of agriculture promoted by Chavismo and those who have directed it: that is, the ministers and senior officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and related ministries such as the Ministry of Nutrition. Why do we continue to depend on imports of beans, sugar, and rice... even for the CLAP(1) boxes? These are products that we once exported.

The National Constituent Assembly needs to confront this problem. It should call the responsible parties before the Assembly to render account. The President of the Republic even made an announcement about importing tons of black-bean seeds for a new crop that would cover internal needs and even allow us to export. If this news were true, then what happened to the imported seeds? Where are the crops – the sacks of beans that we should be consuming now?

In documents that I have gotten from the marchers, one can read: "Enough, it is time to make the changes that will allow us to move forward... We feel that many government representatives are playing to lose."

The "Admirable March" has begun to make history. I believe that it could mark the beginning of people going back to the streets (not only for election campaigns). In this scenario, we could dare to organize a new "Admirable Campaign" along the lines of the one carried out by our Liberator, Simon Bolivar, in 1813. It would set out peacefully and civically from all corners of Venezuela with the aim of rescuing the Bolivarian government and supporting President Maduro. It would put thousands of men and women in Caracas in opposition to imperialist intervention, the Colombian oligarchy, and the right-wing sectors embedded in our government.

Unifying the patriotic forces that can be rallied around anti-imperialist slogans and the country’s defense, would we dare to launch a new Admirable Campaign, in part as a tribute to that great man who was Simón Bolívar, whose birthdate we are celebrating these days? It would be a campaign that would try to consolidate our national independence and sovereignty on the foundations laid out by our Liberator. Venezuela’s independence and sovereignty would strengthen the processes of Latin American and Caribbean unification and integration, now threatened by the imperialist offensive in collusion with our region’s neocolonial, neoliberal ruling classes.

It is urgent to discuss this possibility, because a people out in the streets defending the Bolivarian Constitution – with the aim of rescuing and deepening the revolution – is one way to confront the imperialist threat. The new campaign’s first task would be to defeat the price war and create new options for transport, health, medicine, energy... in a civic-military union that is peaceful but ready for battle in any terrain. The aim would be to combine diplomatic action with production, education and raising interreligious and intercultural spiritual values – which are the substrate of our people – and break the silence while opening a new stage of the Bolivarian Process, founded on popular power and following President Chávez's mandate: "Commune or Nothing.”

In this new Admirable Campaign, without a doubt, besides workers of the countryside, there would be participation from workers of the cities, professionals, students and all the youth. Young people should try to emulate the youth of 1814 in the battle of La Victoria. They should be guided by the slogan of Jose Felix Ribas: In this day that will be memorable, we cannot choose between winning or dying: it is necessary to win! Long live the Republic!

The Venezuelan oligarchy – at the beginning of the twenty-first century, when the first battles took place that culminated in the oil strike and sabotage of 2002-2003 – began, full of ancestral fear, to call the Chavista people "Chavista hordes." Well, those same [Chavista] people, who have repeatedly given lessons in political education and have deep revolutionary consciousness, will once again be able to show how they are in the vanguard of social struggles, not only in Venezuela but in the Latin-Caribbean region. The white "criollos" were once colonial oligarchs subordinated to Spain,persecuting our liberator Simón Bolívar, whom the Colombian oligarchy tried to assassinate. That Venezuelan and Colombian oligarchy, which is today subjected to Donald Trump (as the agent of the racist and xenophobic world imperialist caste), has now become the true savage horde when it burns people alive or employs various forms of murder.

The Chavista people should give these oligarchs new lessons of peaceful, transformative political struggles. This same people is reaching new levels of education and will carry forward and deepen, together with patriotic scientists and academics, the great scientific-technical revolution that the Bolivarian Republic needs.

Today, we remember the murder of our brother and hero of the country, Jorge Rodriguez(2) who was assassinated 42 years ago. He will be inspiring us in the organization and development of the new Admirable Campaign.

Translated by Cira Pascual Marquina for Venezuelanalysis.

NOTES
1. The Local Provision and Production Committees (CLAP) is a government-sponsored program in which communities self-organize to receive subsidised food.
2. Jorge Rodriguez was a Venezuelan revolutionary, founder of the Socialist League (Liga Socialista), who was tortured to death by the state’s special police forces (DISIP) in 1976.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Venezuelanalysis editorial staff.