Venezuela: Let's launch a workers' and people's tide against corruption

By Marea Socialista

The latest facts of mega-corruption that have come to light, shocking the whole country, with the arrest of high-ranking military officials of the PSUV and members of the entourage of the now ex-Minister Tarek El Aissami, among other cases, are not exceptional. They are an example of the model of appropriation and accumulation of capital by the political-military bureaucracy and the lumpen-bourgeoisie that reigns in the Venezuelan State.

The Fifth Republic, after a few years having promised a socialist transition, in which important reforms were carried out and the people obtained valuable social conquests, ended up reproducing and even multiplying the evils of the Fourth Republic and adding new ones by not replacing the capitalist model, and on top of that, by suffering a marked bureaucratic degeneration and authoritarian drift. This is what has metastasized and makes its purulence sprout with notorious intensity today.

The arrests that have been taking place are not part of a real “anti-corruption crusade” but of “settling of scores” and internal disputes for power and control of illicit businesses. Besides, these are taking place in a pre-electoral framework, in which the government seeks its readjustment to ensure the reelection of President Maduro and the continuity of the ruling caste. Every time there is a brawl for a position “wherever there is”, some important personalities and their closest collaborators or accomplices are imprisoned. It is the fight for the control of the national income and a way for the system to purge itself in order to withstand the pressure.

The struggles of the workers and the people are growing, and even if they do not yet achieve their demands, they have repercussions in the political superstructure; especially when the reduction of the rent shortens the booty of the corrupt who dispute the people’s resources to satisfy their basic needs.

On this occasion, with the “anti-corruption” operation being carried out, members of regional governments and of the military and judicial sectors have also fallen, together with the former Minister of Petroleum, Industries and National Production, Vice President for the Economic Area, Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Governor of the State of Aragua, Minister of Internal Relations and Justice, and one of the top leaders of the PSUV. It is serious.

However, every now and then these types of confrontations occur, as happened with Rafaél Ramirez, also former Minister of Energy and Petroleum, and former president of PDVSA. In 2017, Eulogio Del Pino and Nelson Martinez were arrested on corruption charges when they were Minister of Petroleum and President of PDVSA respectively. Nelson Martinez died in jail in 2018 without having been tried and Eulogio Del Pino remained in jail since 2017 without any news of the trial (which is equivalent to being “kidnapped”).

Therefore, the removals, persecutions and arrests are part of the internal collisions in the State apparatus and a reflection of the class struggle. It cannot be said that this happens because the government fights corruption, but on the contrary: it is its source, so corruption is constant and is allowed to run… Until someone, due to disagreements, for not making the agreed distribution, or for sticking his nose in someone else’s territory, falls in disgrace and what was hidden is uncovered, or simply is billed in some way, without much being known about the matter. Some accuse others, for example Rafael Ramírez points out in the press that “Maduro’s and Delcy’s operators received oil in the corrupt scheme”. Others accuse him.

Based on his own figures, the deputy of the bureaucratic regime Hermann Escarrá stated that the amounts involved in the recently unveiled corruption scheme total up to 23,000 million dollars in different irregular acts. But this is only the froth that spills out of the rotten pot. What we repudiate even more is that it continues to happen while an imperialist blockade is being denounced and two years of pandemic are being confronted.

According to the organization Transparencia Venezuela, “more than 42 billion dollars of Venezuelan public assets have been compromised in a total of 127 cases of alleged corruption or irregular management of the resources of Petroleros de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)”. That’s not to mention more “gigantic cases” of billions of dollars involving more people working within the State and others who are fugitives from U.S. authorities. See:

In Venezuela there are references that state that illicit economies constitute 21% of the Gross Domestic Product, 1/5 of the GDP (about 9.4 billion dollars a year). This data supports our assertion that they are the main part of the appropriation mode of the bureaucracy and of the capital sectors associated with it or born from it. The main illicit activities are drug trafficking, gasoline and gold smuggling, extortion in ports, exchange fraud, commissions and overpricing, illicit gambling, financial speculation…

Other sources give higher percentages for Venezuela, such as a 2017 Global Financial Integrity report, which indicated that the global average of illicit financial flows in the world related to international trade, was 18% of total trade in 2014, with Venezuela ranked among the countries with the highest percentage, with 56% (about $70 billion, which includes activities of the informal economy, a figure and percentage higher than Afghanistan, by the way).

In a global study published in 2018 by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT), which evaluated 84 countries in four areas: government and institutions; transparency and trade; supply and demand; and customs and infrastructure; Venezuela scored 14 out of 100, only surpassed by Syria (11), Yemen (12), Libya (13) and Iraq (13), countries that were or are at war.

From the known behaviors and antecedents and from the international data, we can conclude that, when talking about “anti-corruption crusade”, we can only appeal to the popular proverbs “a fox tending to the henhouse” and “the pot calling the kettle black.” The people should not allow themselves to be dragged into a deception.


Marea Socialista has been denouncing for years, with the support of investigations and studies, the occurrence of a colossal embezzlement and capital flight in Venezuela amounting to more than 250 billion dollars, as well as a shortage in PDVSA’s accounts estimated at more than 200 billion dollars (the most recent case represents only a fraction of it). We have stated that this was equivalent to at least a decade of imports for the whole country and exceeds the amounts of our Foreign Debt, as well as overflowing the amount of several annual budgets of other Latin American countries. This is a historical robbery that sets a record and acquires genocidal proportions, the result of which we see in the miseries endured by the Venezuelan people and in the diaspora of millions of emigrants, together with the dismantling of the country.

On February 27, 2013, together with a group of citizens and different organizations, we went to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to file a demand for investigation and sanctions for the commission of embezzlement against the Republic and exchange illicit activities

In 2014, through a study, carried out by the Research Team of Marea Socialista ( we showed the occurrence of a huge embezzlement and capital flight against the Republic, estimated at around 259 billion dollars.

Also in 2014, we published a work on the payment of illegitimate and allegedly corrupt foreign debt by the country:

On June 3, 2015, we went with a commission integrated by several former ministers of President Chávez, and by the editor of the popular communication portal Gonzalo Gómez, member of Marea Socialista, to file a document with the Comptroller General of the Republic (, on behalf of the participants in the public launching of the Platform for Public and Citizen Auditing ( to request investigations to such body, on the occurrence of an alleged continuous embezzlement of the nation.

In September 2015, as part of the Platform for a Public and Citizen Audit we submitted a document before the Republican Moral Council requesting to investigate and stop the detour or loss of immense amounts of resources from the National Oil Revenue and the country’s foreign currency.

In 2017 another study was presented in which some members of Marea Socialista participated, titled: “Let’s remember… What happened to Venezuela’s oil dollars? Corruption in PDVSA: Just the tip of the iceberg!”

None of this generated in the years indicated nor in subsequent years any “anti-corruption crusade”.


At least since 2017 the government has been repeating the excuse of the blockade and the imperialist sanctions against the country, which undoubtedly cause serious problems to our economy, and above all to the working class and the population, imposing inhuman deprivations; but even worse is, in the midst of all that, the aggravated effect caused by corruption to which is added the stripping of all the value of labor from the Venezuelan working class, with an anti-worker policy of “zero salary”, which isn’t enough for even one day of food and transportation of workers.

If we take into account that the latest official data available (from 2018) report an active population of 14.5 million people in Venezuela -not very credible data, knowing that the economic and social crisis has caused employment to fall and many people have had to leave the country- only the 23 billion dollars Escarrá is talking about, would be enough to distribute among Venezuelan workers (the working population) almost 1,600 dollars per head; a figure that does not reach in a whole year the current sum of all the monthly salaries received by a worker with the official minimum wage.

But if we were to talk about the cost of the basic basket of food and other non-food goods and services as a reference for the minimum wage (Art. 91 CRBV, which the government and the employers fail to comply with and violate), estimated at more than 900 dollars per month in Venezuela at the end of 2022, we have that the approximately 475 billion dollars subtracted by the embezzlement (executed by officials and capitalists), only until 2013, is an amount that would allow to cancel the cost of 527 million salaries at the value of the cost of the basic basket, and would give to distribute almost 33 million dollars per person among all the existing active working population. And we are not counting the continued embezzlement after the date of the complaint. That is why we must, among other demands, reinforce the struggle for a minimum wage that covers the cost of the basic food basket as established in Art 91 CRBV, instead of the resources being sucked up by corruption.

Where did all that money go? Was it laundered? Who were the authors of such looting? Something so immense could not go unnoticed by any government. That is why they are all implicated.


We will give some examples:

We do not forget the disappearance of Alcedo Mora, after denouncing corruption in PDVSA, without any effective official investigation.

There are the cases of two young PDVSA employees (now former managers) who denounced corruption and were later detained under accusation of providing confidential information to the United States. We demand the review of their case and the granting of full freedom.

MS has been prevented from electoral legalization and they even raided one of our offices. They have sabotaged events with “blackouts” and have even harassed us with “colectivos”. Some of our leaders have been imprisoned at some point. We have suffered threats and discrediting campaigns by the state media.

They do not persecute the great majority of the corrupt, unless they compete with them, but they are furious with the workers who complain and fight, who are easily sent to jail for “inciting hatred” and even with accusations of “terrorism”.


Neither the government of the bureaucracy (the new right) nor the bourgeois opposition (the old right) can raise those banners, because they are part of the corruption. We include the trade union bureaucracies of both sides, because they are part of the clans and the corrupt are their political leaders.

The government, besides having appointed in their positions those who have committed corruption, kept them in them for a long time and has not guaranteed the recovery of the implied resources (it is even possible to think that they would steal them again). The classic right-wing opposition demonstrated with Guaidó and with cases such as Citgo or Monómeros, among others, that it also has no scruples to get its hands on the public resources of Venezuelans. Many of those who are opponents in politics are involved in shady and lucrative businesses with the government. The business class takes advantage of the anti-worker policies of the government, subjecting the working class to a permanent robbery (it is theft and corruption to take away their fair salary and benefits for the enrichment of a few).

The government, with its instruments: previously the ANC (2017) and now the NA, with the endorsement of the other public powers, has approved unconstitutional instruments such as the so-called Anti-Blockade Law and the Special Economic Zones, which protect secrecy, lack of transparency and unconsulted decisions in the transactions and business of the State with transnational and national capital. This serves to hide corruption.

There are those in the government and from the National Assembly who propose to strengthen the anti-corruption laws, but their laws are of no use if they themselves flagrantly violate those that already exist and trample on the Constitution.

It is up to the working class and the sectors of the people in struggle, to the Sovereign People, to raise the anti-corruption banners as victims of their hardships and consequences.


Marea has always called on the working class and the popular movement to exercise the role of anti-corruption comptroller and watchdog, which is linked to the education and formation of values and consciousness against this scourge, which in Venezuela is a structural part of the system of domination.

We maintain that the consistent fight against corruption must be linked to the need to fight for a new revolution, to establish a democratic, anti-capitalist government, of the workers and the people, without bureaucrats or corrupt people.

On this road, we raise the slogan of a Public and Citizen Audit, with the participation of the workers, both of the companies and accounts of the State (including those of PDVSA, CVG, Arco Minero, the agro-food sector…) and of the external and internal debts, very suspicious of illegality and illegitimacy. We even believe that workers have the right to this in private capital companies. In order to implement it, a social movement capable of organizing it and giving it impetus is necessary.

We demand the investigation, dismissal, trial, imprisonment and confiscation of accounts and assets of the corrupt.

This goes hand in hand with the essential liquidation of nepotism and the concentration of multiple positions in the same people.

We demand the demilitarization of the Public Administration and the review of the businesses of the companies of the FANB.

We demand the investigation of all unfinished and failed or unfinished works with which State resources have been squandered (the “red elephants”).

We include in the demand for audit and investigation, with due punishment if corruption is proven, the cases of companies and State funds managed by the self-appointed “interim president” Juan Guaidó and his team, with usurpation of public powers, and harmful to national sovereignty, in complicity or at the service of imperialism (U.S. governments).

We propose an Independent Fund and Under Social Control, for the deposit and management of the resources that can be rescued from the hands of the corrupt, to allocate them to the improvement of wages and social conditions, as well as the recovery of State enterprises, productive investment and public works necessary for the common good.

At this time, the anti-corruption slogans, together with the demand for labor rights and the constitutional salary, must be part of the main axes that drive the development of the class struggle in Venezuela, and the substantive recovery of the protagonism of the workers-popular movement.

In view of the approaching national and presidential elections, the anti-corruption demands should also occupy a central place, in the framework of the great discredit that surrounds the government sector and the opposition bourgeois formations; something that we will have to discuss how to deal with.

In order to achieve the necessary changes, we are determined to promote and unite all the struggles, to rebuild the organic strength and mobilization capacity of the working class and the poor people, and to continue building a revolutionary, anti-capitalist and anti-bureaucratic party of the exploited majorities.

We end this document reiterating the need for a new revolution in Venezuela, that will allow overcoming the current government and the prevailing corrupt-capitalist economic system, through a government of the workers and the people, without political-military bureaucracies, and with democracy and respect for the rights of the people.

“A fox can’t tend to the henhouse”, let the people take care of their own! Money for wages, not for corruption!