The III Party Congress of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) ended on 31 June with the expected show of unity and support for Maduro’s leadership. The Congress was also an occasion for a display of revolutionary rhetoric, especially around a central issue for the Latin American left: anti-imperialism.
A rich source for this rhetoric is the official preliminary document presented to the Congress by the “Ideological and Programmatic Commission” and published in the PSUV web site.
In a classic Leninist analysis of the current world situation, the document claims that Capitalism has “reached its limits of metabolic reproduction,” among other reasons, because of the “internationalization of capital imposes the weakening of the National State.” The world is conceived as a zero sum conflict between the “block of traditionally capitalist countries and the emerging countries.”
This conflict is the result of the need of raw materials by the “capitalist countries” as they have “dematerialized their real economies through financial speculation in the energy sector.” Latin America is at the center stage of this conflict because of its biodiversity and its huge oil reserves.
In the case of Venezuela, Imperialism is closely linked to the country’s internal class structure: the bourgeoisie being little more than the local agents and beneficiary of foreign interests. Venezuela’s oil resources have particular importance in this narrative; in the past the oil rent of the country was “stolen, almost entirely, by international financial circuits,” but Chávez changed all that and accomplished the “re-direction” of the oil rent to benefit the people, mainly through his misiones (social programs).
The outlook for Capitalism if bleak, according to the document, because “in its current imperialist phase, it has reached its structural limits of development, its unfolding generates unsustainable contradictions due to the crisis that corrodes it.”
However, it is precisely because of this internal crisis that Capitalism displays more openly its current imperialist phase: “the logic of the capital (…) forces the empire to resort to war as an anti-crisis mechanism, putting the rest of humanity in danger.” In this context the “Imperialist States” also turn to the establishment of an institutional framework, such as the IMF, World Bank, and the World Commerce Organization, to serve their aim of global expansion and exploitation.
Imperialism is perceived as the biggest threat to the final success of the Bolivarian Revolution. The PSUV therefore considers the Revolution is defined by what it calls its anti-imperialist character: “It is impossible to deploy a development plan directed by the great interests of the Nation, the Venezuelan people, and the Great Fatherland, without first restricting and then abolishing the imperialist domination which is exploiting humanity; the United States, the imperialist corporations, and the local bourgeoisie that depends of imperialism.”
Right after its Congress, the PSUV also published a document numbering the main decisions achieved at the event. The document, titled “Compromise of the Cuartel de la Montaña” (the final resting place of Chávez), also emphasizes in several places the need to stress the anti-imperialist character of the Party and the link between the enemy within and the United States.
For example, it claims that the violent events after the April 2013 presidential elections, and the opposition protests which started in February this year, are the direct result of the actions of a “fascist right” that is acting under the orders of the United States. It therefore urges for a “complete rejection, and continued denunciation and combat, at all places, against the terrorist violence of the fascist right, without fatherland [apátrida], and lackey of the North American imperialism that, through its strategy of On-going Coup and Economic War produced in April 2013 the death of 11 compatriots, and between February and May 2014, under the coupist plan denominated ‘La Salida,’ (…) the loss of 48 human lives…”
As the US imposes visa restrictions on Venezuelan officials, and before it considers other sanctions, it is important to understand that any such actions will be framed by the Venezuelan government as confirmation of imperialism. Sanctions, no matter how specific and targeted, will feed into the conspiracy rhetoric that by now has become the official discourse of the government.