Venezuelan Communists Criticise Maduro’s Plan for State Industries

Maduro proposed incorporating youth cadres from the Francisco de Miranda Front into managerial positions in public enterprises.

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Maduro announced his restructuring plan at an event commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Francisco de Miranda Front
Maduro announced his restructuring plan at an event commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Francisco de Miranda Front. (MINCI)
By Paul Dobson
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Merida, July 5, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Communist Party (PCV) has opposed plans by the government of Nicolas Maduro to incorporate leading members of the leftist Francisco de Miranda Front (FFM) into managerial positions in 700 state industries.

The proposal was announced by President Maduro last week during celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the FFM, which is a nationwide anti-imperialist youth organisation founded in 2003 to provide grassroots support for the government-led social missions.

“I have decreed the total restructuring of nearly 700 state industries…I ask the FFM to study and select their best professional, patriotic, and revolutionary cadres… to lead them,” he said.

According to Maduro, this plan will “unite the force of the working class with the force of the revolution,” and bring about “a great change in the managerial culture of the state.”

Following a wave of nationalisations since 1999, the Venezuelan state currently controls a number of key sectors, ranging from the oil industry to gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, expanses of farmland, postal services and transport networks.

These state enterprises have almost entirely experienced a drop in production or in the quality of the services they provide in recent years, with bureaucratism, corruption, brain drain, low wages, underinvestment, and sabotage all playing a role. This has led to a strengthening of the right-wing argument for re-privatisation.

Meanwhile, leftist forces have criticized the imposition by the government of inexperienced managers, often from different sectors and without any knowledge of the workplace dynamics of the industry.

Whilst the PCV have repeatedly called for a comprehensive review of the failing management of state industries, their spokesperson Carlos Aquino explained that “we have no certainty, nor can we certify, that [FFM cadres] have the necessary preparation to really assume the management of these firms.”

General secretary of the PCV, Oscar Figuera, described FFM cadres as acting as “colonializers” in previous political work they have carried out.

In his criticisms, Figuera added his voice to a diverse array of other leftist groups who have previously accused the FFM of sectarianism and “top-down” practices.

Moreover, most state-run firms have vibrant trade unions or workers’ councils led by pro-government sectors, whom Aquino claimed are being excluded from the decision making process, contrary to the government’s plugging of the measure as a “socialist restructuring.”

“This process of designation [of industry management] is being carried out behind the backs of the workers of these firms… Here one can’t see even a gram of socialism,” he warned.

For the PCV, these under-producing firms require greater participation of the workers, community leaders, and peasants – who possess the technical knowledge of the productive processes and bottlenecks – in addition to greater state support to increase productive levels.

The PCV backed Nicolas Maduro in his reelection bid this past May following the signing of an electoral agreement between Maduro’s United Socialist Party and the Communists. Since then, the PCV have drawn attention to a series of commitments outlined in the accord which, in their opinion, the PSUV have failed to fulfil, including aggressive measures to confront the economic crisis and shore up labor rights.

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