In a disconcerting Feb. 29 clip from Cuba’s Prensa Latina, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez suggests that CIA-backed “anarchists” could be behind recent campus violence and bomb attacks in the country:
The conservative attack on the regional elections slated for November in Venezuela and emerging anarchism caused President Hugo Chavez to call for revolutionary discipline.
He mentioned on Venezolana de Television Thursday that groups might have accepted “Chavism without Chavez” in good faith, being unaware they were being played by right wingers and imperialism.
His warning is connected to suspicions that anarchist groups could have been involved with the recent explosion of several bombs.
United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) legislator Julio Garcia Jarpa called this the result of infiltration of some revolutionary organizations.
The CIA could have succeeded in influencing some anarchist groups in isolated actions, as it did with students and some unions in the early days of the peaceful revolution.
In his view, they began nine years back to try and penetrate mass organizations, but so far their efforts to stop the process of changes have failed.
The legislator compared current events to Chile under President Salvador Allende, when a sector of the alliance was lured by the thesis of spontaneous struggle and deserted the Socialist Party.
But we are better prepared and “the people’s strength, wisdom, faith and hope in the struggle for a better future have been stronger than US intelligence penetration power.”
A report from the February edition of the British Trotskyist journal International Viewpoint includes a quote that sheds some light on the reference to “Chavism without Chavez.” Apparently, in a July 2007 speech before new “urbanization battalions” in a Caracas barrio, the president said: “Like snakes that are coiled up, they are playing at Chavism without Chávez, at pushing Chávez aside; well, I will be isolated only by God who is our Lord and Master, or by you, the voice of the people.”
We question why, if the Bolivarian Revolution is really about popular empowerment and not just a cult of personality, “Chavism without Chávez” should necessarily be such a terrible thing, or why supposed advocates of this hypothetical position should be called “snakes.” But—much more to the point—the only anarchists we are aware of in Venezuela are the folks who publish the zine El Libertario. They are certainly harshly critical of Chávez—and the conservative opposition. Equally certainly, they have nothing to do with either armed activity or the CIA. They are signatories to the March 5 “Latin American Anti-Militarist Declaration” issued by anti-war groups throughout the Andean nations in response to the Colombia-Ecuador-Venezuela crisis.
There have been some recent instances of apparent ultra-left armed activity in Venezuela. Authorities have again named “anarchists” as being behind a Feb. 24 bomb attack on Fedecamaras, the Venezuelan chamber of commerce, that left a police officer dead. Fliers were left at the scene claiming responsibility in the name of a “Grupo Guerrillero Venceremos.” (La Prensa Grafica, El Salvador, from AP, DPA, Feb. 25; El Nuevo Herald, Miami, from AP, Feb. 26) On Feb. 14, a bomb at the office of the Papal Nuncio in Caracas damaged the building, and political graffiti was left on the walls. (Press Office of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, Feb. 19)
There was similar speculation in 2004 when a “Nestor Cerpa Cartolini Tactical Unit” issued threats against US interests and foreign embassies in Caracas.
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