In Venezuela a brutal economic austerity is also applied against working people, even if it is not with the IMF.
Let us trust only in solidarity between peoples and not in any of their governments.
The president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and the leader of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello, have been commenting on the people´s uprisings in Chile and Ecuador as if the Venezuelan government’s policies actually had a different character in their impact on the working class and the population of our own country. They point out that the demonstrations and protests that are taking place in Chile – and in other countries of the continent – are in rejection of the neoliberal measures imposed by governments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and it is so, but they do not say that the orientation and the effects of their own anti-labor policies here in Venezuela are comparable and even worse in their punishment and transfer of the crisis to working people that they cause.
All this is to opportunistically try to take advantage of the fame that the right gives them when it says that the uprisings are “Maduro´s fault”, because he is supposedly instigating the protests that shake other Latin American nations. But it turns out that, here in Venezuela, tough economic austerity policies are also applied and there has also been a strong repression against the people for a long time, though it is not related to the IMF, but to the interests of the corrupt bureaucracy, of the so-called “boli-bourgeoisie” and of transnational capital, especially of the emerging Chinese and Russian imperialisms, without totally abandoning their business with the US, despite Trump’s sanctions.
In Venezuela, they have left us without a salary and the working class consumes its income in just the cost of the ticket to go to work, though gasoline is almost free, but in many places in the country it must be paid in dollars. Pensions and social benefits have been destroyed by hyperinflation and monetary reconversion that have stripped them of their value, not counting the theft of the funds themselves. There is no pay for work and people are at the expense of food bags and bonuses that the government manages arbitrarily and with clientelist conditioning. The lag in wages in the face of hyperinflation, which the government does not know how or does not want to combat, means that wage increases do not serve at all to compensate for the rising cost of living and has put an end to the value of work. Although there is talk of stability or labor immobility, in practice, there is a massive wave of indirect lay-offs, caused by many workers being forced to leave their jobs to “search” for any independent “chamba” selling whatever, or of course, emigrating to other countries (such as Chile and Ecuador, for example, where they also have a bad time, though not worse than in Venezuela). Another part of the working population is supported by remittances sent by their emigrated relatives. Of course, “immobility” does not work when people fight or demand, even if they have union rights, because the government does not respect any of that.
Public services are almost all cheap, but of very low quality and to maintain them, for example, with the repair of a breakdown by the service provider, you have to “get off the mule”, as we say in Venezuela, because everything is charged as if it were private. They charge in bolivars and dollars, “under the table”, for documents that should be free and expedited. The courts charge in the same way with extortion and blackmail under the threat of going to prison, just as the police and GNB do when they stop citizens on the street or on the roads. They charge in prisons where criminals deprived of liberty have a whole parallel economy in combination with state officials who “guard” it. For a shopkeeper, the payment for the landfill service can be equivalent to a dozen or more minimum wages, even if he has no employees and has a family business. Here they are providing companies and services of PDVSA and other state entities to private companies through agreements that are made after their transfer to state governments. Senior officials commercialize with products of state distribution.
In Chile, they apply economic austerity packages to obtain loans from the IMF and manage the debts of the bourgeois state and its bourgeoisie. But here, the bureaucracy of Maduro, the military and the PSUV, with the new rich emerging from embezzlement and corruption, also sacrifice the people to finance their businesses and pay corrupt debt to financial capital, to vulture funds… In the end, all these governments have similar behaviors, though some identify with the right and others disguise themselves as leftists.
So, although the Maduro government seems to enjoy the actions of the insurgent Latin American peoples, in reality, what it really feels is a lot of fear that this bomb will also ignite in Venezuela and that this example of struggle will be followed by the suffering people of our country. Therefore, it is ridiculous to think that the Venezuelan government can have a real impact on the protests that are being held in Chile or that it have been held in Ecuador, though it may be interested in the destabilization of enemy governments, because what really lies behind all this is nn international show. Maduro hides the disaster and the drama suffered by the people of Venezuela in order to show himself, in a hypocritical way, as a friend of the popular struggles of the world. Everyone does the same: they criticize the other government if the people rebel and repress, but they are not fundamentally different.
In the case of the Venezuelan right and Guaidó, they criticize and denounce Maduro for his policies and for the authoritarianism he practices, while defending as their model the countries where the population is now exploding against the IMF measures and intend to take advantage of that wave to co-opt protests in Venezuela, in order to then impose policies like those implemented by Piñera or Lenin Moreno in Ecuador or Bolsonaro in Brazil.
That is why we have to know very well which side we are on: always with our peoples in struggle and against the governments that apply economic austerity packages, whether or not they are sponsored by the IMF. The Maduro government cannot be seen as an ally of the Chilean people who protest in the streets, because he applies measures just as bitter and poisonous as those applied by Piñera in Chile and he has also resorted to and resorts to the most brutal repression. Hence, it is very important that our working class and people know how to maintain an independent vision, develop solidarity between the peoples themselves and their movements, and not let ourselves undergo manipulations.