Dissident Venezuelan Legislator Tascón Criticizes Right Wing of Chavez’s Party

Many of the candidates of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela
(PSUV) in the upcoming state and local elections are traitors to the
revolution who lack truly socialist values, according to Venezuelan
National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascón, a leftist known for criticizing
the "right-wing within" the Bolivarian Revolution.

By James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com

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National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascón (Archive)
National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascón (Archive)
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Mérida, November 3, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- Many of the candidates of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the upcoming state and local elections are traitors to the revolution who lack truly socialist values, according to Venezuelan National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascón, a leftist known for criticizing the "right-wing within" the Bolivarian Revolution led by President Hugo Chávez.

The less radical sector of the Chávez government "has sequestered power and the revolution, because they not only exclude the critics within the [revolutionary] process, but the community too," said Tascón in an interview with the Venezuelan daily El Universal.

Tascón's membership in the PSUV ended abruptly last February after the legislator accused the brother of a powerful PSUV leader of corruption. President Chávez and other party members said Tascón was irresponsible for not providing ample proof.

Tascón is now running for mayor of a main section of Venezuela's largest city, Caracas, on the ticket of a splinter party he founded earlier this year called Nuevo Camino Revolucionario (New Revolutionary Path).

Tascón pledges to "rescue the original principles and values of the revolution," which were lost after the Chávez government took stricter control of the state oil company, PDVSA, and its leaders "became rich and lost all socialist orientation."

Specifically, PSUV leader Jorge Rodríguez, the former vice president of Venezuela and Tascón's rival candidate for mayor, "represents the materialization of the bourgeois state within the revolutionary process," said Tascón.

The legislator added that the previous four mayors of Caracas also had the proclivity to build a "centralist, profit-driven, bureaucratic state," as they left the issues of insecurity, garbage collection, and administrative efficiency untouched.  

The solution to these problems, said Tascón, is more advanced information technology and re-structuring the state to be more in touch with communities.

To fight crime, the legislator said the next mayor must equip the police of Caracas with more advanced technology imported from Brazil, including alarm-equipped crime-fighting cameras with software that senses aggressive movement.

"My government will be the info-government," the legislator said.

Then, the municipality should be divided into one hundred communes that take over duties such as trash collection and crime prevention. This will cut wasteful administrative costs, said Tascón.

Tascón also accused the state-run media of discriminating against critics within the pro-Chávez ranks. He said the state television channel VTV made public declarations against him, then denied his requests to broadcast a response.

Despite harsh criticisms of Chávez government officials, Tascón showed admiration for Chávez himself. "For [the others], socialism is just a discourse, but I am sure that for Hugo Chávez it is also an ideal," he said.

The legislator also called the opposition "an elite that lost its power and wants to get it back in whatever way it can."

President Chávez stated on Saturday that PSUV leaders "should live by a personal code of commitment to themselves to be leaders of the people." He threatened to throw out of the party any candidates who are "bitten by the vampire of corruption," and asserted that "we did not come here to enrich ourselves, or our close friends and family."

Tascón took the national stage in the run-up to the 2004 presidential recall referendum, when he posted a list of those who had signed the petition for the referendum on his personal website. He later took the list off his website, saying that it was being misused, but many still believe the list is used for discriminatory hiring by some government officials and some opposition-controlled private companies.