The government fears Chavismo, fears the Chavista leadership, fears the possibility that those of us who uphold the principles and essence of the revolutionary thought, of the Bolivarian camp, and of the socialism, will reassemble and be able to articulate a political and social movement that will put things back on track and unmask the scam of madurism.
The madurista government is afraid of us, it is terrified of those of us who were at the side of President Chavez during 12 long years of revolutionary government; those of us who were at his side in good times and in bad ones, fighting against so many reactionary forces, internal and external, to make a revolution. The government fears us, fears all those of us who know the truth of how things went; those of us who are part of history and part of our popular epic; those of us who cannot be fooled because we were there, because we made that history, because we are aware of the different and contentious stances, we know what they were and what moved the interests we had to defeat in order to advance the proposal embodied in the historical objectives of the Plan for the Homeland, a proposal that today is being ferociously betrayed. The government is terrified of us, ministers and military officers who were at President Chávez’s side and who have not sold out for a handful of dollars –nor will ever sell- Chávez’s dream, which is our dream, the dream of the entire Venezuelan people.
The government fears the workers, especially the oil workers, who were with us and made possible the defeat of the 2002 Oil Sabotage and the conquest of full oil sovereignty. The government fears the people who were decorated with the Liberator Order by President Chávez himself, those of us who entered the Pilín León vessel and prevented the strike at the Puerto La Cruz Refinery in Jose; those of us who fought at the Palito Refinery, those who reactivated the Paraguaná Refinery Complex; the civic-military union that came out to defend our industry, to recover the gasoline distribution centers in Yagua and Carenero, to regain our buildings and oil facilities. The government fears the workers and managers who risked their life on Zulia’s Eastern Coast of the Lake, in Maracaibo, Maturín, El Tigre, Jusepín, Morichal; it fears those of us who took PDVSA’s La Campiña Headquarters to lead from there recovery of our company; it fears those of us who re-founded and re-shaped the New PDVSA, the PDVSA of the people.
The government is terrified of the thousands and thousands of oil workers who, in an unprecedented event, mobilized for a historical, political, and revolutionary objective: the nationalization of the Orinoco Oil Belt and the conquest of full oil sovereignty, in order to put oil at the service of the people.
The government fears that the people will claim the popular distribution of the oil rent and take ownership of the wealth that is rightfully theirs. The government fears that the people will become empowered again to build their own future, thus, without intermediaries, without elites. That is why the government fears the people’s power, the workers, the Missionaries, the Victors of the Ribas Mission, of the Food Houses, the Mercal stores, the Food Mission, the construction brigades of the Venezuela Great Housing Mission; those who learned to read and write with the Robinson Mission, those whose lives were saved in the medical modules of Barrio Adentro, and those who undertook as a right the participatory and proactive democracy, those who defended the rights enshrined in the Constitution, the labor, political,
and social rights, the «living well», conquered by the people in the government of Chávez; the maduro government fears the organized people.
The government trembles before the Bolivarian military, those who stood by Comandante Chávez, those who treasure the Bolivarian and anti-imperialist doctrine, those military officers who know how Chávez thought and what he wanted for his country, for his people; the current government trembles before those military officers consistent with the Samn de Güere’s oath and with the Constitution.
The government is particularly afraid and horrified of PDVSA, La Nueva PDVSA Roja Rojita, the New Redder than Red PDVSA, which was able to place our immense oil resources at the service of the people, and which, in addition to maintaining its production and remaining the fifth largest company in the world, besides its extraordinary economic contributions and being as well the support of the country, began to radiate a different national and revolutionary consciousness, which would make a shift of the government to the right impossible. That is where the current government’s efforts and rage are directed: against our national oil company, the country’s bastion of sovereignty, as President Chávez called it.
That is why, ever since nicolás maduro grew up feeling stable in the political power, after the defeat of the opposition’s violent and senseless reaction in 2013-2014, all his violence was directed against PDVSA, by using a prosecutor as a hitman to accuse and imprison; he pursues and discredits us with a single goal: to put an end to the oil company. They sacrificed PDVSA’s technical-political management cadres; they are all in prison, in exile or under persecution. The government and its biased prosecutor arrested the company’s managers and workers, exposing them to humiliation and public derision; they acted with criminal viciousness against Nelson Martínez, leaving him to die. The workers of PDVSA, heroes of the defeat of the Oil Sabotage, have been run over, imprisoned, dispersed, and denigrated before the public opinion, forcing them to leave the company and try their new luck outside. More than 30,000 workers have left the company and the country.
Starting in 2017, with the entry of the General manuel quevedo –a National Guard officer- to Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., they militarized the company, chopped it up, sold it in pieces, and handed it over to the new bourgeoisie created under the wing of the government. PDVSA has been auctioned off; they negotiate with it and they corrupt everything, turning Bolivarian officers into middlemen for oil contracts, which have left the company in ruins. Today, PDVSA produces barely 356,000 barrels of oil a day, the same production we had in 1930.
The mismanagement at PDVSA has been the biggest failure of the maduro’s government, dragging the whole economy and the country itself into an abyss; a destruction that the sycophants celebrate as «the end of the oil rentier model.» No one would have done worse, neither the far right, nor a foreign invasion. The invading troops did not do in Iraq what maduro has done to Venezuela and its oil industry.
nicolás maduro, along with his inner circle, thought it would be easy to take PDVSA by storm and that they could handle by themselves the complex financial operations of the sector; in his abysmal irresponsibility and improvisation, maduro appointed erik malpica and simón zerpa to control PDVSA’s finances. These irresponsible individuals (the same ones who, together with alejandro fleming, squandered the 40 billion dollars that, in an extraordinary effort by PDVSA, we gave to the National Center for Foreign Commerce-CENCOEX in 2014), have diverted the company’s budgetary and operational resources, and took resources from the Workers’ Pension Fund; they cancelled the thousands of operational and supply contracts of the refineries and the areas of oil and gas production in order to deliver all the resources to maduro, who freely disposed of them, in violation of the law and without the slightest criteria of the administration of the Public Treasury.
The government paid off billions of dollars of public debt, while denying resources for the import of food and of production inputs; they left the Venezuelan economy in the hands of «the market»; they «thanked God» for the dollarization of the economy, while incurring in more debt; they handed over our best oil fields and gas to private and transnational interests, compromising our hydrocarbon exports, putting CITGO as a payment guarantee, with the sole purpose of delivering more resources to maduro, as well as to continue feeding the “parallel-dollar” exchange rate and making fortunes for corrupt officers and their cronies through exchange rate manipulation.
In order to present this disaster in Venezuela as the «epic story» of the so-called «builder of victories,» the corrupt government have resorted to everything: pure, simple, and brutal violence; kidnappings and political assassinations; torture, forced confessions, and imprisonment without trial or evidence; the judicialization of politics, i.e., using the prosecutor and the judiciary system to benefit the political goals of the government and to have both the prosecutor and the judiciary system subordinated to the Executive Power, subject to “lo que maduro diga” (“whatever nicolás maduro says”); using «false-positives,» rigged trials; violating constitutional rights. Everything is valid to keep the people confused, dispersed and manipulated: propaganda, censorship and control of all media, twitter, hate speech, social control, blackmail and more.
Whenever a crisis arises or the effects of the madurista disaster deepen, the government resorts to a «red rag», to a «smoke pot», to smoke and mirrors, in order to divert attention from the real problems and to give «arguments» to its sad opinion-makers, to its twitter trends, to stimulate hatred and to desperately search for an enemy.
The objective reality is that the government is very weak, staying in power just by resorting to violence, and –to a large extent- by the mistakes of an opposition that is irresponsible and adventurous, but still has a lot of power and support, a political opposition which insists on arguments and speeches that were historically defeated between 2002-2004. Therefore, the only political and social factors that concern the government are those of Chavismo.
The situation in the country is unsustainable, unbearable for the national majority. That’s why the government has encouraged the exodus of more than four million Venezuelans; in Miraflores Palace they do not care about this tragedy; on the contrary, for them it is much better because the Venezuelan diaspora send foreign currency that enters the national economy. Nor do they care that there is no food, no services, no medicine, no fuel, no light, no water, no transportation, and no internet. The minimum wage of $3 per month puts 96.2% of the population below the poverty line. Venezuela is an unequal, unjust, dollarized country; a country of “bodegones” (dollar-only informal stores) where products from Miami or Iran are sold; a country of the internet blinding with the vain and the latest fashions, of gasoline paid in dollars; a country of censorship, of fear.
This government has imposed a national curfew under the excuse of COVID-19, long before it was remotely necessary; yet (it was predictable), the pandemic continues to spread throughout the country, affecting poor people already stricken by all the plagues put together, where the government’s military or paramilitary forces murder the humble people and nothing happens; it is as if nothing matters. The numbers will never be known.
Oil workers are mobilizing for their rights, for the restitution of their medical services, their life insurance, their health system (Sistema Contributivo para la Protección de la Salud-SICOPROSA) for which they are deducted in the payroll, their Pension Fund, decent wages. They are starving; they do not have social protection, nor do they enjoy minimum working conditions. The workers are fighting a fair and necessary battle and have confronted the government-appointed Commission that is privatizing the company. They are demanding their rights, they are mobilizing and they will continue to do so, because they have history, grit, and leadership. They have lost their fear, they no longer believe in stories or excuses; they know that the government’s action has nothing to do with sanctions or conspiracies; the government is simply handing over the company, and for that it needs to reduce what the privatizers call «workload».
The mobilization of the oil workers scares the government and its political operators, who immediately respond, resorting again to the hackneyed maneuver of distraction and repression. The accusations and disinformation, the «red rags», the «smoke pots», the smoke and mirrors begin.
This week, the government is once again attacking me with its usual fury, encouraging a political persecution against me that has never stopped; with its clumsy cunning, once again its judiciary is attempting illegal actions against me, trying to disguise the political judgment, trying to divert attention from what is happening in PDVSA and in the country, activating its pack of twitter bots, creating trends of hate, putting moral lynching into practice. The minister of ‘misinformation’ calls and demands the media to pick up and echo the new aggressions against me; they seek to distract, to frighten.
But no one believes them. Everyone knows that this current judiciary lacks legitimacy, that the Supreme Tribunal of Justice-TSJ is a body that lacks legitimacy, independence, with its so-called “magistrates” sanctioned and, therefore, not recognized and considered as illegitimate by the European Union.
Everyone, from the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, to the presidents and governments of Latin America and Europe, all of them know and are aware that I am a politically persecuted person, that I am not involved in any ordinary offences typified by any law; this is a well-known fact, a fact acknowledged by the media, and is also reflected in the writings presented before the UN Commission on Human Rights, and in the Bachelet Report itself. All of them are fully aware about the obsession of maduro to arrest me and bury me in “La Tumba” (The Tomb- the infamous underground detention and torture facility of maduro’s intelligence services), to let me die as he did with the late former minister Nelson Martínez.
It is well known throughout the world (and this is described word for word in the aforementioned Report; no matter whatever any so-called judge commits not to do, self-incriminating himself) that Human Rights in Venezuela are flagrantly violated, and that there are no guarantees of due process. They know that the accusations the maduro government makes against me are false; that the government has no proof, and accusations are totally unfounded; they know that in Latin America, the judicialization of politics –the lawfare– has become a mechanism of political persecution, as it has been denounced by the Argentinean President, Alberto Fernandez, by his Vice President, Cristina Kirchner, and by former Presidents Correa of Ecuador, and Brasil’s Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and that the whole world is watching. No one will fall into the trap of being in a photo op with a dictator and his widely known crude persecution maneuvers.
No one believes in an authoritarian government that violates Human Rights, or in its puppet institutions, or in its false news, or in its judges, sanctioned by the international community.
As far as I am concerned, and in a personal level, I have never taken the easy way out in any situation; I have never been on the side of injustice or oppression. I have served my country honestly and within the framework of our laws, devoted in body and soul to my revolutionary ideas, and in compliance with the government program that was mostly supported by our people during the government of President Chávez.
I never made neither calculations nor pacts. If the current government insists on charging me for my political stance, my loyalty and attachment to the principles and political program of President Chávez, they should already know that I do not fear them. They are not going to bend me over, or to keep me quiet; I will continue in this unequal struggle, fighting to preserve my life, in order to return to the country and be side by side with the Venezuelan people, with a Patriotic Government Junta that includes all the patriots and social forces and, thus, we can restore the Constitution and the people’s sovereignty to start rebuilding our Homeland.
The oil workers will continue their struggle; nothing will stop them since reason is on their side; they will be the ones to set the pace and the times. The workers, all the workers, will be the ones who must give back the initiative and the revolutionary impulse to the Venezuelan people. The government monopoly and control of social media and the ‘virtual truths’ will not prevail. To all, a big hug! We will overcome!