- 26 November 2015
We publish here a partial English translation of the interview with Venezuelan revolutionary intellectual and writer Luís Britto García which was published in Correo del Orinoco on November 23. The interview was conducted by Vanessa Davies and in it Britto García warns of the likelihood of an electoral defeat of the revolution, which he says should serve as a warning call. Britto García deals with the question of corruption and how to fight it, as well as advocating the nationalisation of the means of production and the land.
Against corruption “current laws must be applied”. “The likelihood of a defeat could serve as a warning call to study and implement corrections”
In all political processes the separation between the rank and file and the leadership has had fatal consequences, warns Venezuelan writer and intellectual Luis Britto García.
What can be the consequences of the separation between the leadership and the rank and file? ¿How can they be linked up again?
I am not qualified to measure the separation between rank and file and leadership in our country today, but such a separation has had fatal consequences in almost all of the political systems I know. To link them up again the mechanism is very simple. Our people only recognises proven skill. This is why Bolivar use to break in horses in front of his llanero cowboys, instead of showing off with nobility titles or appeal to lineage. Let’s give our confidence to people who have shown skill or concrete results in the subject area that they are asked to administer. What I mean is someone who can write down his name and then add after it a list of known achievements.
It is hair raising to see how enormous responsibility, succulent privileges and massive resources are put at the disposal of people who are completely unknown, without any technical nor revolutionary credentials of any kind. What Manuel Vicente Romero García described as Renowned Mediocrities and Spoilt Nonentities, and Pedro Emilio Coll called the Broken Toothed.
What can be done, in an effective manner, against corruption?
First of all, to implement already existing laws. Second, to demand transparency, so that it is compulsory to explain the origin and legitimacy of suddenly amassed fortunes. Third, to create ideological, technical and ethical cadre education schools both for party leading responsibilities as well as for those of leading public institutions. It is worrisome to see how tasks and powers are given to people without the slightest training nor morals. Shortly afterwards they fail or betray, covering up embezzlement of because the empire pays them better. Fourth, to start a process of ethical education from the basic levels of education, in order to train citizens rather than looters. Fifth, to create efficient mechanism to denounce, which are able to distinguish between truthful allegations and those which are but malicious lies aimed at disqualifying people or institutions. Sixth, to re-establish prior control over public spending, use the necessary IT tools so that such control is comprehensive and not selective or random, to extend external control to decentralised and autonomous bodies, foundations, state companies and any number of institutions in which control withers away until it no longer exists.
A SHAKE UP
What do you think will shake up chavismo faced with all the not learned lessons? What will shake up the opposition?
The likelihood of a defeat could serve as a warning call to study and implement corrections. I say the likelihood because usually after an effective defeat the left is exterminated. Regarding the opposition, it has been defeated time and again for 16 years, and has not learnt any lessons, nor from them nor from the decades it was in power.
What would entail “to make the country's laws socialist”?
To continue the process of nationalisation of basic industries, until it reaches all those which are necessary to satisfy the basic needs of the country, to create those which are indispensable to fulfill that aim, and to nationalise the main means of production. To complete the socialisation of the majority of the land, in order to develop agricultural production as well as to put an end to speculation of urban land and the disproportionate growth of the cities. To use the oil income to production or the purchase of basic consumer goods, not to satisfy consumerism of the privileged. Repudiate the despicable Double Taxation Treaties, which transnational companies use to avoid paying taxes on their profits in Venezuela, with the excuse that these are paid by their headquarters. To implement strict measures of control over banking and to nationalise some of the banking institutions when necessary. To reform the tax system make those with high incomes pay and to lower or eliminate VAT sales tax, which penalises poor consumers while shopkeepers generally do not hand it over to tax revenue. To reduce the percentage of GDP going to businesses and increase that going to workers. To repudiate all treaties which make our contracts and sovereign decisions dependent on foreign tribunals, courts or arbitration juntas. To impose severe sanctions on any crimes against the res publica and against the general interests and goods of the Nation.
A VICTORY OF THE RIGHT WING WOULD MEAN A BRUTAL SETBACK FOR ALL SOCIAL CONQUESTS
Why should the people who are angry, facing queues and scarcity should vote for those who - regardless of whether it is true or not - might be seen as the “culprits” for that situation?
Because those same “culprits” have also developed social investment policies never before seen in our country, which have positioned it in High Human Development level, and with the most egalitarian Gini index of any capitalist country in Latin America; with one in three citizens enrolled in education, the eradication of illiteracy and the sharp lowering of poverty thanks to generous subsidies, which at the same time go a long way in explaining extractive smuggling. A victory of the right wing would bring a brutal setback of all these conquests.
Queues and scarcity are also related to the world crisis of capitalism, which has reduced consumption of gas and oil; with the fall in prices of oil and gas, which is also partly the result of dumping on the part of pro-US Gulf monarchies, the entry into the market of Iraqi oil, sold for peanuts by Daesh in order to purchase weapons. Scarcity is also the fault of a parasitic bourgeoisie, which has appropriated the biggest share of oil revenue for almost a century, without building a productive economy. If these other elements have not been clearly explained to the people, then the “culprits” are the media outlets of the revolution and, also, some independent media activists like myself.
Interview by Vanessa Davies for Correo del Orinoco