When rolling out the red carpet for Nicolás Maduro in Brasilia, President Lula affirmed that Venezuela would be the victim of the false narrative that there is no dictatorship in that country. This position conceals and distorts Venezuelan reality today. Lula’s attitude is unacceptable, it does not represent the opinion of the Brazilian working class. Instead, it expresses his support of the capitalist and dictatorial government of Maduro in the same way that he defends another capitalist and pro-imperialist state like that of Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
By: Fábio Bosco
In order to define the character of a political regime, it is necessary to observe which institutions are most important in the exercise of state power. A regime whose main institutions are the armed forces, the police, and the secret services is a bourgeois dictatorship. That is the case of the Venezuelan regime.
Another important factor is democratic freedoms. In Venezuela, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and organization have been curtailed. Dissident journalists are persecuted, imprisoned, or exiled. The same happens to political dissidents, be they right-wing bourgeois or socialist workers. Demonstrations against the regime are also harshly repressed. In 2018, more than 100 demonstrators were killed by Bolivarian paramilitary groups. These are characteristic, though not exclusive, elements of a bourgeois dictatorship.
Moreover, Venezuela is a capitalist country that has gone through an economic depression. As in any capitalist country, be it a dictatorship or a bourgeois democracy, the burden of the economic crisis has been placed on the shoulders of the working class in the form of very low wages (currently the minimum wage is equivalent to less than $5.00 USD per month), unemployment, and cuts in public services. Union struggles have been repressed and workers have been arrested for participating in them. As a result, millions of Venezuelans have fled the country.
There is nothing anti-imperialist, progressive, or leftist about the Maduro government. On the contrary, it does business with all the capitalist countries of the world, feeding its bourgeoisie with oil money to the detriment of the life of its workers. When it comes to handing over the country’s main source of wealth—oil—to imperialist companies and the U.S., as was the recent case with Chevron, both bourgeois sectors, the traditional and the Bolivarian, are together on this. When it comes to taking away the rights of the working class and repressing their struggles, the two bourgeois sectors are also united.
The bourgeois opposition led by Leopoldo Lopes, Henrique Capriles, and Juan Guaidó has never represented an alternative for the working class. This bourgeois opposition represents the interests of the traditional bourgeoisie linked to U.S. imperialism. It opposes the Chavista regime, which represents the interests of a new bourgeoisie born from the top of the armed forces called the “boli-bourgeoisie,” with the leader in parliament Diosdado Cabello being one of its main proponents.
The Venezuelan working class needs to overthrow the Maduro regime and fight to guarantee democratic freedoms, wages, employment, education, healthcare, and housing within a socialist framework. In order to achieve this, it needs to build a working-class alternative that can fight both the bourgeois sectors of the Maduro dictatorship and the bourgeois opposition, who are equally pro-imperialist.
Lula’s position was criticized by a broad political spectrum: the U.S. government, bolsonaristas, human rights organizations, and even by the president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, one of the exponents of the reformist left in South America. One thing is that U.S. imperialism, the bourgeoisie, and the Brazilian right wing, have no moral credibility to criticize any dictatorship in the world because they support several, including the defender of the Brazilian dictatorship and its torturers, Jair Bolsonaro. Another thing is that this cannot prevent workers from seeing reality as it is. There is a capitalist dictatorship in Venezuela.
It is curious that the Bolsonarists raise this type of criticism since the objective pursued by former president Bolsonaro was to transform Brazil into a dictatorship, just like that of Venezuela. Also striking are the criticisms of spokesmen of U.S. and European imperialism who speak of democracy, but at the same time wanted to impose a puppet government in Venezuela headed by Juan Guaidó. They also support dictatorships on all continents as long as they serve the imperialist economic and geopolitical agenda.
Lula and his government close their eyes to the curtailment of democratic freedoms and the overexploitation of the working class. On the other hand, the Bolsonaristas criticize Lula’s position but hide the fact that Maduro’s regime is the model they wanted to implement in Brazil. None of these positions represent the Brazilian working class.
Article originally published at www.pstu.org.br