6/11/2014

Action Plan for Venezuela´s Bolivarian Revolution by Temir Porras

Pro-Chavez  ex-deputy Minister Temir Porras has called for  a pragmatic, pro-capitalist action plan for Venezuela´s President, Nicolás Maduro. This call was distributed by email and also posted in his personal blog (temirporras.blogspot.com.es/). This has caused quite a stir, and a very harsh reaction in Venezuela´s communist blogosphere (the guys at aporrea.com are ready to burn Porras at the stake).

                                  Photo: Temir Porras with  President Nicolás Maduro

Porras  was Venezuela´s Deputy Foreign Minister under Maduro. He´s smart, multilingual,  from a connected Venezuelan family (his uncle is the Catholic Archbishop of Mérida). He´s an énarque, graduated from France´s prestigious École nationale d'administration.  He was so well connected he got a premium seat in the truck carrying  the Chavista elite at Chavez´funeral.

                                 Photo: Porras waving fist at the crowd at Chávez funeral

However, rumor has it Porras fell in disgrace when he tried to tackle high level corruption in Maduro´s government. So it seems that by late 2013 he had lost his posts, and was dismissed from Maduro´s entourage.

Porras is scared, he realizes the Bolivarian Revolution has gone too far trying to implement a communist system using a political party (PSUV) riddled with corrupt and incompetent officials.  The PSUV is so bad  it looks like Mugabe´s organization on steroids.  He appears pretty sick and tired of the  bullshit going on in Miraflores Palace. And he realizes the protest movement isn´t about to stop.

                           Photograph: Venezuelans protest against Maduro in Caracas. 
                                 Protests have been continuous since early February.

So here is Temir Porras in his own words, with my running commentary provided for your enlightment:

Porras: “There is nothing less Chavista than collective leadership. One of the  irrefutable legacies Commander Hugo Chávez left us is that in the complex circumstances of our revolution  personal leadership is necessary,  must be exercised and must be recognized.

Certainly, leadership is not decreed, and must be built, and should be consolidated to be natural and have much legitimacy, but the fact is that Chavismo needs a strong personal leadership.

And finally such leadership must be exercised (this should also be obvious highlight) by a live body. Having a historic leader and supreme source of inspiration (in heaven)  is not enough; Chavismo needs someone  who leads  the battle day after day in this lower world, and to exercise political leadership.”

SC: Looks  like he advocates  that Maduro become a strongman or caudillo. He knows Maduro can´t be Chávez replacement (Chávez can´t be replaced by a leader who has inherited a ruined economy after 15 years of Chavista rule even while enjoying near record oil prices). I thought mature revolutions would be based on good ideas, and not on a supreme leaders´personality.  

Porras: “Today, after 15 years of Bolivarian Revolution, we are at another historic moment which requires a flexible leadership able to navigate the boat in the storm and whose skills are such we can trust to let him maneuver at  his discretion. That man is definitely Nicolas Maduro. And who can deny that pragmatism is an extremely necessary skill in  the complex circumstances under which we live? What would be the role of a leader if not to print his personal vision of the political so the majority will unite around that vision?

SC: Uh oh. So he wants to let Maduro maneuver pragmatically,  at his discretion. This sounds like autocracy without ideology. Do what it takes to stay in power. 

Porras: …..manage the economy as it is today, not as we would like it in a world that does not yet exist. Because the capitalist economy, which is the world in which we live, should be piloted in a way that does not conspire against the immediate objectives of the Revolution (increase the material well, democratize housing, health and education, etc.), in a country where the huge economic importance of the state is that determines the behavior of all other players. With macroeconomic stability, high oil prices and social policy impact, frankly does not take much more to progress by leaps and bounds toward a more advanced society. A little pragmatism and efficiency are sufficient.

SC: So he wants a capitalist economy piloted so that it doesn´t oppose against the government´s (Maduro´s) immediate objectives? He wants a central autocratic  figure running a government which controls capitalist entities so they perform as he decides?

Porras:  It is clear that Chavismo must rebuild its political majority to once again become the dominant force it needs and deserves to be. 50% plus one vote is certainly enough to be a legitimate government, but not to trigger an unstoppable march toward socialism ...

SC: He acknowledges Maduro´s government needs to rebuild a majority (the latest polls show he´s not that popular). And after he gets popular support using capitalism he wants to start an unstopable march towards socialism? Wait a second…isn´t Porras suggesting Maduro needs to use capitalism because what they are doing now doesn´t work?

Porras: To transform our society in peace and freedom, our revolution must have the support, tacit or overt, of the vast majority of our countrymen. This does not mean they have to be enrolled in the PSUV, but our institutions and our policies must be attuned to the aspirations of the vast majority of the population.

SC: He understands the current policies aren´t attuned to the aspirations of the vast majority of Venezuelans.  Those food lines, the inflation, the high crime rate and the government corruption are driving the Venezuelan´s nuts. Porras  doesn´t care if they join the Party, but suggests  Maduro et al need at least tacit support for whatever Maduro thinks needs to be done.

                              Photograph: Venezuelans in line. Food shortages have become acute,
                               and this coupled to the 60 % inflation rate is causing  popular unrest.

Porras: That model should aim to rebuild a base of support, a wealthy middle class that has an objective interest and shares in the collective progress of society. The Revolution should aim to consolidate this large base of support in order to continue to drive profound changes in our society that have to do less with settling scores, and more with the future we will build together.  To do this, the Revolution must recover massive popular support in their social base, adapting its strategy to the emergence of new middle classes product of their policy of development and social justice,  and dismantle the effectiveness of the political violence and opposition that are  incubated in large sectors of the middle class.

SC: The theme is repeated. The government must  regain the support it has lost due to the lousy economic policies it pursues . It has to have the support of a wealthy middle class which shares the government´s objectives. Does this mean that as long as the government´s objectives respect the existence and well being of a wealthy middle class everything will be just fine?  Porras proposes this wealthy middle class would no longer support the opposition, and this would allow Maduro to control the hegemonic state. Does Porras sound a bit like Giovanni Gentile? 

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