Latin America

For the 1st Declaration of Caracas: Bolivarians, to Defend the World!

By Celia Hart

We are on the brink of celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the October Revolution, that beautiful, cherished uprising, which asked for nobody’s permission to turn the hopes that the world might one day belong to those who work on it into a reality.

Bread, land and freedom were the working class’s battle cry in Petrograd, even if many of them had heard Lenin’s voice a mere couple of times.

Leon Trotsky proved to be right: the Russian people ended up backing the Workers, Soldiers and Peasants Councils, taking the Winter Palace and forcing Kerensky to take his pettifogging views and rush out the back door like greased lightning.

Ninety years later, history is repeating itself in the young Bolivarian revolution. Having learned their lesson, its enemies are poking their heads out everywhere, resolved this time to prevent “Fidel’s bearded men from entering Havana.”

What defies all logic is that such aims be voiced by the retired General Raúl Isaías Baduel, who without batting an eyelid is railing against Hugo Chávez’s plans to change the Venezuelan Magna Carta. But then again, is it really that illogical? Is the enemy perhaps so close as to go unnoticed? Or maybe that Imperialism and the oligarchy are really trying to recreate that 11th? Two of them, in fact: April 11 in Caracas and September 11, 1973, in Chile!

Baduel said in a press conference that, “were the constitutional reform be approved, it would actually be a coup d’état.”

No one pretends to deprive him of his constitutional right to criticize. Yet, criticizing is one thing, as in the case of many comrades who have let it be known that they’re unhappy about certain reforms in their factories, battalions, etc. But that the former Secretary of Defense urges people “not to be fooled” barely a month before a popular referendum to decide no less than the path to socialism is another matter altogether. Who will fool them, the National Assembly? That’s not using his constitutional right by a long shot. The most innocent of assessments would label him irresponsible. At best, he’s exercising the same constitutional right of the opposition, namely that of the business world, the Catholic hierarchy and a few other social subjects.

And may no one expect us to believe there’s nothing behind General Baudel’s statements to the press conference on Monday.

A coup d’état—and by treachery—is what he’s offering his people and his revolution. Let him and every potential Kerensky go out through the back door and if there are any left in Miraflores likewise.

To name but one example: in Cuba, on January 1, 1959, as Batista fled through the back door of the Presidential Palace, given the imminence of the rebel army’s victory following the unprecedented battle that our Che waged in Santa Clara city, the counterrevolution attempted a move wearing a constitutional and democratic disguise. At the time, Fidel was in Santiago de Cuba.

It was there where Fidel, the most sagacious leader ever to match revolutionary coherence and opportunity, shouted the slogan “Revolution YES, Coup d’état NO”—no less suitable, it seems, to the Venezuelan revolutionaries nowadays.

Despite the theoreticians’ prayers about how times have changed, the essence of it cannot be denied.

By going on a general strike we put to rest any intentions of snatching the Cuban Revolution from us. And, there you have it, we’re still around. May the Venezuelan people be able to protect what they have built in years, even centuries, from any scheme or technicality based on inaccuracies in the reforms!

Revolution YES, Venezuelans, with all the criticism and annotations these new times demand; treason or Coup d’état, NO.

Going to the 18th century constitution route is pointless, since they were far exceeded by the socialist ideas, whether or not Baudel likes it or understands the term socialism.

Nor is it even necessary to mention the Bolsheviks to him. Suffice it to remember 19th century in America (this America). Constitutional Europe sanctified the misappropriation of our land. Now that’s what withholding power is about.

Young José Martí was flabbergasted when the newly founded Spanish Republic, for all the air of liberty it had, refused to grant Cuba its independence.

“The incapacity does not lie with the emerging lies rather with those who attempt to rule means of laws inherited from four centuries of freedom in the United States and nineteen centuries of monarchy in France. A decree by Hamilton does not halt the charge of the plainsman’s horse...Government must originate in the country. The spirit of government must be that of the country,” José Martí declared in his as yet misunderstood essay “Our America.”

It would be also worthwhile these days to read about Simón Bolívar’s adventures with the “Constitutions” and his ferocious intellectual fight to put into practice what José Martí said one year later: “To the country what belongs to the country and nothing more than what it needs.”

Let’s reread, then, the Liberator’s Angostura speech, where he shows his permanent anxiousness to form a government for the Greater Colombia. And that’s what you have in your hands today, comrades. The people of Venezuela have shown themselves to be hard to fool, aware as they are of what they aim to achieve with the reform. Let’s slam the door in the face of this new breed of Santanders [Latin American pension business], so that the constitutional reforms reach us all in our America.

Let’s hope that, come December 2, when the Venezuelan people recall in the polls the landing of the Granma yacht, we will be able to dream of and reflect on the Constitution of a Great Colombia with neither boundaries nor flags, as Cuban Foreign Minister comrade Felipe Pérez Roque said in his recent and brilliant speech to the United Nations.

Let all Bolivarian stations activate a rally like the one, which put Chávez back in power on April 13, 2002! Let no one stay at home, waiting for the treacherous bourgeois television to tell us fairy tales while it stabs the Revolution which most overindulges the so-called democratic canons of all the three powers!

What is at stake these days is not the Reforms to the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution, but a Revolution as significant to all of us everywhere as the echoes of the cruiser Aurora were 90 years ago.

There will be time to see to what extent a reform can represent the revolution, a matter we will all have to solve in due time. I shudder to think of Rose Luxemburg’s prophecies [socialism or barbarism].

But that’s a topic to be discussed some other time. José Martí rightly said: “Either aims are set for the Revolution, or the Revolution will set off aimlessly.” If they spoil the referendum on the reforms and try once again to manipulate us with their money and to rig the election... then let the aimless Revolution begin.

All for Venezuela, where the world’s future is being decided, and so is the fate of my Revolution which, incidentally, has wasted no breath in half-measures in almost 50 years of life, to the extent that four years were enough to send shivers down capitalism’s spine.

Comrades from Venezuela, you are the continuators of the Cuban revolution. By protecting it you are giving the small, besieged island the reward it deserves, you are giving our Fidel, ill though he may be, the reward he deserves, for he’s still protecting you from his illness, and never did he need any constitution to carry out and maintain the first socialist revolution in the western world and the only one that still stands waiting for yours.

The streets of Caracas should shake with the cry of “Socialism YES, Capitalism NO.” If we ever need the constitution for that purpose, fine! However, let the goals of these reforms be clear to everyone.

Let the traitors, the rats and the fence sitters come out. It would be a sure sign of the effective results of the fumigation.

There were traitors and renegades in Lenin’s Russia, in China, and also here in Cuba. It was because of the military traitor Hubert Matos that we lost our unforgettable Camilo Cienfuegos.

That’s why the rallying cry is YES! Yes to the socialist revolution. We in Cuba were shouting it to imperialism a mere two years after the triumph: “That’s what the United States can’t forgive, that we’ve made a socialist revolution right under their nose,” said Fidel in front of a crowd inflamed with passion. A few hours later there was Bay of Pigs, and a few more hours after that we kicked them out of here. Yet many scholars still question from the comfort of their easy chairs whether or not Fidel was compelled by the circumstances to become a socialist!

I’m sure some will say things were different then, and they’re right. Regardless, when the time comes to think and take stock, we’ll have to admit the Cuban revolution has been the most “efficient” of all and I’m being anything but chauvinistic. But the continuity of this revolution of Fidel and Che Guevara relies on the efficiency of the Venezuelan revolutionaries.

Let the YES to the reform of the 69 articles in the Constitution become a YES to the socialist revolution led by the Commander born in the state of Barinas! Every factory, school and revolutionary household in Venezuela must stay awake so that the Earth loses no sleep.

In the meantime, those of us across the seas and beyond rivers and jungles must set in motion every revolutionary media (the only ones I trust) to keep the revolution from being the victim of another coup. By the grace of communication, we must put our keyboards and cameras at the disposal of the Bolivarian revolution and put up an information network to provide the Venezuelans with feedback.

Capitalism is said to have created its own gravediggers—the proletariat. I would add that it also gave us the Internet to do battle.

As to Commander Chávez, now he can take off the tricolored armband, put on his red beret, recover from the flu so that his voice (his best weapon) can get even better and, together with his people and millions others elsewhere who stand by his project, emulate the First Declaration of Havana with the First Declaration of Caracas, a Declaration of Principles in front of the beautiful Venezuelan people and for all peoples of the world.

Both the First and the Second Declarations of Havana look fresh off the press, so I’m herein urging my friends and readers to check for themselves. Just replace some countries with others and you’ll see.

And let Commander Chávez tell the gringos—and their local oligarchs, who forever will be the last card in the pack, as assured by Che—to beware of their own 11s, because Caracas will live forever on the 13th, if it comes to that.

And right after that, “shake the tree, Chávez (like they used to say in Havana almost 50 years ago) to make the rotten oranges fall once and for all!”

Let’s all unite against those who think it’s possible to snatch the dream of a Bolivarian Venezuela out of the world’s hands. And let’s do it through a socialist revolution, so that this time over the good Simón Bolívar doesn’t have to flog a dead horse and returns instead, splendid and happy, from Santa Marta to Caracas. And this time for good.

Till victory,

Socialism or Death

—CubaNews, November 6, 2007