…Is coming much sooner than anyone including President Hugo Chavez expects, perhaps as soon as 2009, says Douglas Bravo, Venezuela’s most famous living Marxist revolutionary guerrilla. Bravo, now 77 and still actively conspiring against the state as he has done since he was 13 years old, shared his thoughts on Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution with the leftist Quinto Dia weekly political tabloid.
Bravo predicts that “truly revolutionary forces” in the bosom of the Chavez government soon will “join” with “revolutionary forces outside the government,” and then will clash simultaneous with the “classic (old) right and the new ruling right” falsely disguised as revolutionaries.
Bravo identifies four major forces which, when unified, will topple the classic and new rights: radical revolutionaries now inside the government, radical labor groups in the oil industry aligned with Orlando Chirinos, radical groups outside the government, and radical groups in the armed forces.
“The true revolution will start when these true revolutionary forces are unified,” says Bravo.
He does not identify any groups in particular besides Chirino’s UNT, but says these “true revolutionaries” reject Chavez’s pretense to perpetuate himself forever in the presidency with the support of corrupt elements of the “old and new bourgeoisie.”
“Chavez is not a socialist and this is not a revolution,” says Bravo.
“But the (Venezuelan) people are intellectually inert and mistakenly believe this is true socialism,” he adds.
However, Bravo believes that 2009 is the year that the Bolivarian bubble will burst explosively.
“Chavez is lying when he says Venezuela will not feel the global crisis,” he says. “And this year, precisely, is the year the government must negotiate new collective contracts covering the oil, power and basic industries. The government has no money to pay these workers higher wages and benefits, so it will freeze contract negotiations and conflict will result.”
Workers aligned with Chirinos twice seized major arteries in Maracay during December; three local union leaders in aragua state who were allied with Chirinos also were murdered. In the states of Portuguesa and Barinas, chavista peasants who have not received the land and agricultural support they were promised in 2005 by President Chavez have occupied dozens of agricultural properties since fourth quarter 2008 including many owned by wealthy members of the new chavista bourgeoisie, says Bravo.
The “true revolutionaries” oppose the indefinite re-election of Chavez and anyone else seeking public office. Bravo says no organizations of any kind should ever tolerate indefinite re-election of the same people.
Bravo also says Chavez’s efforts to centralize all political power in his hands is creating an immense popular backlash because it favors no one except the president and his closest cronies.
Chavez only controls the “right wing” of the armed forces, Bravo warns. But the true revolutionaries within the armed forces remain independent, and increasingly are disenchanted with Chavez.
Wishful thinking by a senior patriarch of the Venezuelan Marxist armed revolution that began in the 1950s, and was over by the mid-1960s? Perhaps so; but Bravo more than any other living Venezuelan Marxist militant understands the old core popular cultural and Marxist political roots of Venezuela’s armed forces.
Bravo was the chief architect of a scheme hatched in the 1950’s to “seed” young Marxist militants in the armed forces during the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez.
The strategic objective of this long-term infiltration process was to establish the foundations of a future civil-military revolutionary alliance that would take power in Venezuela by popular revolt, and create a wholly nationalist revolution with no external influences from other revolutionary movements.
By the early 1960s, several hundred army, air force and navy officers were actively hatching separate plots to take power and establish nationalist revolutionary governments, with themselves at the top of the power pyramid, of course.
These were separate conspiracies in which there was some contact between groups, but fundamentally, conspirators in the air force had no interest in sharing revolutionary power with the army’s conspirators, and vice versa.
Chavez joined the conspiracy within the army in the second half of the 1970s after graduating from the military academy, and during the 1980s he came into direct contact with Bravo.
Chavez plagiarized many of his Bolivarian revolution’s ideas from Bravo. Their relationship ended permanently in 1991 when Bravo realized Chavez had his own militarist plan under way to seize power and exclude the civilian revolution.
Understanding interviews with Bravo requires reading what he actually says to the interviewer, and reading between the lines.
Bravo’s interview with Quinto Dia tends to reinforce the perceptions of some longtime observers of President Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution, including:
*Chavez has a strong grip on the institutions of government, but his control of the many revolutionary forces at work in Venezuela is not complete.
*Chavez has literally bought the support of many army/air force generals and navy admirals currently serving in his government or holding senior command jobs in the armed forces. But he does not command the military’s complete loyalty.
*The greatest threat Chavez faces is internal. The so-called political opposition is noisy, troublesome and has the potential to disrupt the order Chavez is trying to impose. But the deadliest enemies of his Bolivarian revolution are inside the revolution.
*When a new popular revolt comes, the groups collectively designated the “political opposition” will not be part of that revolt, but potential targets instead as both the “classic” and “new” rights will be confronted violently.
*Chavez will fail to perpetuate his presidency. Perhaps as soon as this year, revolutionary forces already conspiring against Chavez’s false revolution will challenge the president openly. The trigger could be anticipated clashes between the government and powerful oil and other public sector unions.