Saving More than the President—Saving the Revolutionary

by Celia Hart

The following translation from CubaNews has been edited somewhat for Labor Standard.

To be able to kill the revolutionary Hugo Chávez, the enemy will have to kill one by one the grains of salt in the oceans; will have to stop the flight of the stars; will have to eradicate every molecule of useful DNA transmitted from generation to generation since the origin of our species. However, to kill the President…it only takes one bullet.

The preservation of the life of this comrade and his vision of the future is in our hands. I mean in our cleverness, in our organizational abilities, and above all, in our consistency and courage as we undertake the new challenges.

The Granda case was one of many to which we must find solutions, but much more dignified solutions. [Note by “Labor Standard”—On the Granda case, see below.] To end the match with a score of 0-0 is to be on the defensive. And as Chávez himself put it, at the meeting of intellectuals in Caracas, our only solution is the offensive.

The enemy does not have the power to kill Chávez as long as he remains the revolutionary he has been so far. It can only turn him into a martyr of the stature of Bolivar or Che. The enemy doesn’t have the power to kill the revolutionary, because if there is such power, it would be the power of God—that is, the God Chávez believes in, not that other God of evil, which approves the cowardly ravages of imperialism and the shameful tolerance of most of the governments in the world, which restrict themselves to mild and elusive protests in discredited international organizations.

It is not true that the limits of the life of our Chávez are in his arms, his eyes, or his luminous smile. The frontiers of this man are now the frontiers of the Americas; they are the dreams of El Libertador [Simón Bolívar] framed in the star of Che Guevara, and they are, above all, the frontiers of the socialist revolution. A revolution that moves forward on a dangerous razor’s edge, but without which it would be impossible for this comrade to survive.

The revolution in Venezuela is perhaps the most vivid example of the fact that the humanism in the ideas of socialism was distorted a posteriori; that we don’t have to choose between Bolivar and Karl Marx or between Lenin and Mariategui. And of course socialism is a heroic creation, as that Peruvian Communist writer [Mariategui] said. It has always been! What Lenin did in 1917 was not a carbon copy of Karl Marx; it was a heroic creation; what Fidel did, by declaring a socialist revolution only a few miles away from the empire, was not a carbon copy of the Bolshevik revolution; it was a heroic creation; and what Chávez will have to do in the Bolivarian revolution, what we will have to do in America, cannot be a carbon copy of the Cuban revolution; it will be a heroic creation. But it will indeed be the socialist revolution. Because there is only one road, built out of many impulses and with the taste of different realities!

There stands Chávez, surrounded by the greatest contradiction of all times. This time to be a real Christian he’ll have to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. The temple in today’s world is the extended Bolivarian revolution… let’s then infer who are the Judases and the Pontius Pilates of the present day.

To drive the moneychangers out of Gran Colombia [that is, a united Latin America] will be a first priority. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for that motherland to be built. It will suffice if the miserable lackeys of imperialism now in power stop trying to govern a land too big for their dwarfism. If Gran Colombia lives, then nobody can kill our Chávez.

And we need Chávez physically alive at the moment: for his organizational skills, for the dignity he can inject in our countries, for his open struggle against the enemy, and, most of all, for what he represents for the ideas of socialism.

Yes, indeed! Chávez is bringing back to life the ideas that many thought were lost. And there it is: dialectics having its way. The communist movement needs Chávez in the same way he needs us. I’m afraid sometimes we don’t have enough urgency or courage to grow up.

And not only Venezuela, but the world needs a man like Chávez to be alive and to strengthen the revolution. The world desperately needs the Bolivarian revolution and its leader, he who lives up to his circumstances, no more, no less. But that is good enough.

So then, comrades, we must play for time. The only way we revolutionaries in the world have to play for time is to make the wheel of history turn faster; a wheel that for many years was stuck and rusty.

For starters we could try calling a spade a spade. Let’s not give so much importance to the terms “neoliberalism,” “globalization,” and above all “terrorism”—which has put more than one comrade in prison because we believed the story.

That the world is “rounder” is no longer news. Columbus was the first capitalist who tried to globalize it. And the new liberalization is no news either. The Crusades were a “fight for freedom” in the darkest corners of the world. Then they were called infidels… today terrorists. Why so much confusion?

Capitalism is the only enemy, and there is no way of making it sweeter or kinder or more tolerable.

Asking leave from many friends, I repeat the following: the history of the world is still the history of class struggle. With good ideas alone, we will not stop imperialism from killing. With good ideas alone, we will not feed the hungry, and will not provide a minimum of dignity for each and every one of us. Ideas are only useful when they produce renovating action.

A step back now and we may lose forever the one remaining hope. After almost 100 years of waiting and many mistakes. Before our eyes, in America, there is retribution for the fall of the wall in Berlin. We are all connected, like dominos. A wrong step and we’ll fall into the terrifying arms of the most sinister barbarism (I should rather say diestra; we tend to misuse the language) [untranslatable play on words: siniestra (i.e., “sinister”) is Spanish for “left hand,” and diestra is Spanish for “right hand”].

To err is human, says the expression, and men make mistakes, but Venezuela today needs more than men… and women. More than a President, Venezuela and America need a Che Guevara to push ahead and extend the revolution, because that is the only way a revolution can triumph.

Chávez cannot afford to make a mistake; neither can the political parties or the Bolivarian circles. Neither can his political police make another mistake without punishment. But the revolutionary comrades in Colombia, who in my view have a very important role to play, should not make a mistake either. The only possible role for the revolutionaries…is to be even more revolutionary and to be aware that in this part of the world, which once [under Spanish rule] was called Gran Colombia, important events can develop. The revolutionaries in both Venezuela and Colombia must be together in this struggle. And we must all join them.

I paraphrase Marti when he talked about Cuba and now I say, “A mistake in Venezuela today is a mistake in America and a mistake in the modern age”…or what is left of it.

We shall see what commitments Uribe [president of Colombia] can undertake. We shall see if it is possible to achieve integration in Latin America with governments that look to the North for guidance. We shall see what future events tell us and if in fact Uribe responds [positively] at least once; otherwise, we suspect that [the U.S.-inspired] Plan Colombia is being promoted [for increased U.S. penetration and domination of South America].

And not just Uribe. The ex-president of Spain, José Maria Aznar [actually, the former prime minister], at the 2nd International Meeting on Victims of Terrorism, held in Colombia pointed out, “The true nature of terrorism is that it is a crime against humanity,” and therefore “should have no shelter or enjoy any kind of legitimacy based on ideological standings.” Brilliant! Let us just change two words and Aznar is pointing the route. I don’t know about terrorism. In fact, I don’t understand anymore what is defined as terrorism, because the continuous and sticky use of the word has made it hollow and meaningless. But there is some truth in Aznar’s statement. He, Uribe, and all their colleagues and ex-colleagues “should have no shelter or enjoy any kind of legitimacy based on ideological standings.”

A reactionary integration of armed forces and corruptible repressive bodies is the No-Colombia Plan [that is, the U.S.-backed Plan Colombia]. We should start the real Plan Colombia. Or better still, the Revolutionary Plan for a Gran Colombia [that is, a united Latin America]. In this plan there’s no room for Uribe, [Ecuadorian President] Lucio, or any other useless and servile ruler who may wish to determine the destinies of our peoples. Let the revolutionary forces join together and draw up our own Plan.

In an interview[-discussion] between Heinz Dietrich and Chávez, later published under the title “The Superior Destiny of the Latin American Peoples,” Dietrich insisted on the possibility and necessity of a military integration, a “regional power bloc” that would begin with six countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Cuba. Among other thoughts about the prejudice of our peoples against the military,

Chávez mentioned something that in my view is very clear, “I believe,” he said, “that before we can think of a military integration scenario on the Latin American subcontinent, each country has to go through maturing stages.”

And the point is that the expected integration will never mature with governments such as the ones in Colombia, Ecuador, and others.

And what about Brazil, Argentina, and the newly elected government of Uruguay? It could be possible. As far as they seriously believe, they are popular governments. The golden rule: The more these countries radicalize their internal decisions to favor their peoples, the easier this desired high level of integration will be. We’ll see what content the speeches in Montevideo carry. And I ask myself: Why don’t we make a revolutionary integration, counting only on the revolutionaries? Why are we always waiting for our “elders” to do something for us?

The Venezuelan people have contributed in an exemplary way to make Chávez more radical. These are people who are not waiting for permission or to have norms imposed on them. Chávez integrates naturally into this revolutionary context, where one feels (generally) that the people and the president march together, with great maturity and political transparency.

We are all being called to come together, and the revolutionaries in Colombia should stand the tallest and join with Venezuela, the Bolivarian and revolutionary Venezuela. In so doing, they would be joining with all the Americas that can be brought together… the only Americas we should be concerned with.

The clues for the beginning of the [new] Gran Colombia are offered by the enemy, who seeks to erase all frontiers, so that murdering armies can detain revolutionary Colombian comrades and extradite them to the United States, while continuing to sow terror and death. It is we who should eliminate the barriers with our revolutionary forces, with the example of Chávez and the Bolivarian people.

The easiest task for the enemy is to divide us again, using national frontiers as pretexts. There are no frontiers but the frontiers of truth and justice! Let the workers, the students, the humble of the earth avoid the pitfall of false patriotism. Yes, we must defend the sacred land of Venezuela, but only because Homeland is Mankind, and Mankind is being defended in Venezuela.

Today there is only one boundary line that concerns us, and it is the one dividing the revolutionaries. Let’s burn it and leave the concern about borders to the imperialists. Or to the kings who still sleep in Europe. Not in America! Not one more pact with the enemy! Che said, “To imperialism we must not grant even an inch.” Yet we have granted it many inches.

A colleague of mine, referring to recent events, said in Venezuela, “We need two, three, many Venepals” [the Venezuelan paper mill recently nationalized under workers’ control]. I say more, “To preserve Chávez, we need two, three, many Venepals in America.”

When I was a child, some time ago in Cuba, as we marched to our mass rallies, a hymn could be heard in the streets of Havana:

Stand up, Latin America,

March on, march on, march on

Let’s march together in socialism

With an invincible ideal


Farmers, workers, and Indians [indigenous peoples]

Let’s fight the oppressing yoke

Death to all imperialists

America: Revolution time!

Fidel and Chávez will be together in Montevideo. Fidel and Chávez, both have said in public that socialism is the only alternative for mankind.

Let us hope these two revolutionaries help us hear again these beautiful words in our homelands.

I pray to hear once again these three words together: America, Revolution, Socialism.

Revolution or Death!

February 28, 2005

Note by “Labor Standard”—Rodrigo Granda was a representative of the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC who, while attending an international conference in Venezuela in December 2004, was kidnapped by Colombian agents, smuggled into Colombia, and taken into custody by the Colombian government. Venezuela protested that this kidnapping was a violation of its sovereignty. The strained relations between the two countries resulting from this incident seem to have been smoothed over temporarily, but U.S. imperialist planners are clearly considering the option of provoking or taking advantage of hostile incidents between the two countries and trying to use Colombian forces, whether official or “paramilitary,” as proxies in a possible U.S. war against Venezuela.