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vanguard and high command of the working class and the revolution—all these have guaranteed an atmosphere of confidence in our internal lives and strengthened the party uninterruptedly. The errors committed in the recent period have caused a dangerous situation in which the Leninist principles of organization and leadership have been violated frequently. There have been violations of democratic centralism, disobedience to higher bodies, careerism, bad cadre policies, and there has been an attempt to harm mutual revolutionary confidence and Communist fraternity.
Under the present difficult conditions, in view of the complex national situations and the problems confronted within the international Communist movement, the faithful observance of the Leninist principles of organization is more necessary than ever, in order to harmoniously direct the activities of the party and guarantee the fulfillment of its historic mission as a party of the working class and leader of the Venezuelan revolution. The government measures of brutal repression necessarily require the strengthening of centralism and discipline in the party, of revolutionary vigilance, of the defense of unity, and of the preservation of the 'eadership organizations and cadres.
The central committee calls on all Communists to close ranks and reaffirm the the Leninist principles of organization, from top to bottom, and from bottom to top; to participate in the discussion process preparatory to the fourth congress; to rally around the central committee; and to defend and apply the policies adopted by the Eighth Plenum. All revolutionaries who share these principles will find the doors of the party open to them. As for the central committee, it has adopted a special regulation to safeguard our leadership functions under the present conditions.
4. The richest historical period in the life of the party the period between 1958 through 1966 has been the richest period of activities and experience in the history of the party and the Communist youth (JC). To the PCV and the JC, which performed with honor the mission of leading the popular insurrection of January 23, fell the role of vanguard in the great struggles waged in defense of democratic achievements and to win a nationalist and revolutionary policy: The rise to power of Romulo Betancourt and the reactionary clique of the AD leader was a harsh blow to the popular movement. The Betancourtist government adhered to the United States policy requiring anticommunist measures, the breakup of the unity of January 23, and the alinement of Venezuela against the Cuban revolution, thus opposing the democratic majority of our country.
The acute antagonism between Betancourtist policy and the sentiments and interests of the Venezuelan people, in addition to the grave economic problems faced by the masses, created an inevitable political and social conflict between the popular sectors of the government, a conflict which reached all national levels, especially the working class, the urban middle class, the youth, the patriotic sectors of the armed forces, and so forth, when this antagonism grew as a result of the provocative and repressive Betancourtist line, the conditions were created for the overthrow of Romulo Betancourt. These conditions manifested themselves, principally, in the degree of combativeness of the popular masses, the rejection of official leaders by the majority of the workers, the uninterrupted student actions, the breakup of the government coalition, the departure of the URD from the cabinet, the division in the ranks of the AD, the organization of the MIR and the opposition AD, the movement of important AFRED forces units to the nationalist camp, the increase support for the PCV and the JC among the workers and the middle classes, the loss of the government majority in the Chamber of Deputies, the spontaneous insurrectional actions in important cities, the national transportation strike, and other things.
5. It was just to take up weapons: In adopting as its principal task the overthrow of Romulo Betancourt, the PCV was interpreting the aspiration of the majority of the Venezuelan people and was acting in accordance with the correlation of forces, which favored that decision at that time. The violence unleashed by the government against the popular masses had closed the peaceful road toward achieving the changes demanded by the majority of the people. Betancourtism attacked the popular movement with every weapons, massacred demonstrators, murdered students and workers, closes press offices, raided and trample on entire districts, and imposed persecution and police terror. The decision to defend the achievements of January 23, by resorting all forms of struggle, including armed struggle, and to promote the overthrow of Romulo Betancourt was just.
The PCV and the JC fought with exemplary courage in the Carupano and Puerto Cabello rebellions, in the heroic guerrilla actions participated in by many contingents of the popular masses throughout Venezuela. During this period, the party and the JC—independent of the errors and failures, which will receive special analysis-acted as true revolutionary organizations, took up weapons, and defied all dangers to resist the Betancourtist aggression and achieve a nationalist change.
6. We have committed errors in this struggle: without denying the great struggles waged, it is necessary, however, to make a sincere critical and selfcritical analysis in order to root out the errors which led to the defeat of the insurrectional movement against the Romulo Betancourt government and the subsequent setbacks suffered by the revolutionary sectors.
Aware of the fact that there is no struggle without errors, the criticism and self-criticism should note the most important aspects, from the analysis of which the revolutionary movement can extract lessons. We must not-repeat-not permit the revolutionary forces to be confused by personal, petty, destructive, and unprincipled criticism, nor by criticisms that may impose on them a pessimistic or conservative vision which will fill the popular forces with distrust or demoralize them at a time in which it is necessary to raise their combat spirit in order to perform the great tasks pending.
At present, this examination cannot be complete, for the historic period being analyzed has not-repeat--not yet ended. However, the central committee feels it is correct to initiate the discussion concerning the actions of each and every one party organization, with the spirit of justice and the courage that must be the norm of Communists. The central committee calls on all the military men to contribute to the discussion process, review the most positive experiences, correct the errors in practice, draft a correct policy, and strengthen the party and the JC.
7. The principal errors: The following errors have been noted in this plenum:
(1) We did not-repeat-not understand the true nature of the insurrectional movement against Betancourtist hegemony. We attempted to immediately attribute the characteristics of “Revolutionary National Liberation War” to a movement which had not-repeat-not yet reached that point. The principal aim of which was to remove the Betancourt government and replace it with a broadbased government which would respect democratic rights. This confusion over the initial nature of the movement led us to a sectarian position in the drafting of slogans and the manner in which some of the methods of struggle were developed. In this phase, on repeated occasions, practice did not-repeat-not corresspond to the general guidance of the united organizations and the thesis of the third congress, which were broad and flexible.
(2) When the conditions existed for the achievement of important changes by means of a correct combination of the forms of struggle, especially the use of armed struggle, the party did not-repeat—not act coherently, in depth, and with all its forces in the insurrectional action. This error prevented the sufficient exploitation of the favorable situations that presented themselves during the period we are analyzing.
(3) We committed serious errors of subjectivism in the application of the forms of struggle. These were expressed in the tendencies to adventurism and in the misadministration of our forces. Some of those errors affected the policy of alliances, the participation of the broad popular masses in the struggle, and they led, subsequently, especially after the December 1963 elections, to the isolation of the party and serious defeats. Owing to the situation created within the party by the work of the splinter group, sectarianism went deeper, provoking new reversals which could have been avoided.
(4) We did not-repeat-not know how to make maximum use of the 1963 election process and its incidents in making more acute the political crisis in the struggle against Betancourtism and the reactionary leadership of the AD. We should have participated in the elections, suspended the armed operations, and laid principle stress on a policy of broad alliances to regroup the opposition (words indistinct) this policy (word indistinct) the possibility of an electorial defeat of Betancourtism or, in any case, create a broad leftist movement, expanding the field of insurrectional support and estabiishing the bases for the prolongation of the struggle under better conditions after the elections. The party leadership did not--repeat- not realize in time that the political scene was being dominated by the electoral question, which was one of the most important factors in the political crisis. The party, in not-repeat-not drafting a correct tactic with regard to these problems, isolated itself and weakened popular unity, and the continuity plans of guerrillaism-Betancourtism were benefited.
(5) After the 1963 elections, the changes in the correlation of political forces became evident, and the insurrectional conditions, which had already been deteriorated by the aforementioned errors, became more precarious until they reached the conditions with which we are now confronted. We did not-repeatnot realize the need to give priority to a policy that would permit the revolutionary movement to regroup its forces, recover from the defeats suffered, and achieve the creation of a situation favorable to a democratic and nationalist change. The party did not-repeat-not know how to retreat in time and modify and combine the forms of struggle in accordance with the correlation of forces. On the contrary, it adopted an ultraleftist position-as did the other leftist sectors-allowing the policy of the revolutionary movement to be dominated by dogmatism and secretarianism. As a result, new reverasls have been added to previous ones and they, in turn, have generated harnıful disputes and division within the leftist movement and fomented the appearance in our party of a splinter group which attempted to lead the party to adventure and failure.
(6) Guerrilla struggle as a form of popular struggle is, under certain political and military conditions, an unrenouncable resource of great tactical and strategic value. The experience gained by the party in this regard constitutes a wealth of knowledge we must conceive and enrich. However, to rely on the rural guerrillas as the fundamental force for struggle in the present situation in Venezuela constitutes the mechanical transplanting of an experience which as been successful in other countries, but which does not-repeat-not exactly match the peculiarities of Venezuelan reality, in which the principal forces of the revolution and the dominant social antagonisms are found in the cities and the urban areas.
The guerrilla struggle in our country, within the framework of the peculiarities of the Venezuelan revolution, is called upon to play a role which the party values in all its magnitude. The guerrillaist deviations, however, in assigning an exaggerated and decisive role to the guerrilla movement, are leading it to visible failure, as we are observing at present. The guerrillaist deviations under the adequate distribution of revolutionary resources and forces, and they have led to the harmful underestimation of the work in the cities and to the weakening of revolutionary activity in general.
In the period we are analyzing, we did not-repeat-not know how to draft a coherent military policy, responsibly based on the political requirements and the national reality and designed for the overthrow of Betancourtism and the removal of the reactionary leadership of the AD. The problems of the forms of struggle have been broached in a haphazard and fragmentary manner alien to MarxismLeninism. This has led us to commit serious deviations the application of Marxism-Leninism.
(7) The adaptation of the work of the masses to our general line was incorrect. We mistakenly underestimated the mass fronts. In the labor work, especially, we did not understand the requirement imposed by the changes in the political situation, and there was bureaucratism, passiveness, and the application of sectarian guidance by the party.
(8) Initially, the party leadership acted weakly against the maneuvers of the splinter group. The hesitation permitted the antiparty groups to take over certain positions, sow confusion through a campaign of intrigues and slander and to advance a pernicious divisionist work which has harmed the prestige and the authority of the party.
(9) The following is present in all the errors we have committed during this period: The influence of individualism, the vacilation typical of the petit bourgeois mentality, and poor knowledge of Marixt-Leninist ideology and of the national reality. The abandonment of the work of Communist ideology—the basis of the construction of the party-made possible the penetration of ideologies alien to the working class, of liberal and anarchic methods (phrase indistinct).
8. Ratification of the unpeaceful revolutionary road
The central committee ratifies the thesis of the third congress concerning the nonpeaceful nature of the Venezuelan road to national liberation and socialism. Owing to the domination of imperialist interests, especially North American interests, and to repressive procedures, owing to the characteristics of the military and political power of the ruling classes, the historic changes necessary for leading the country under the national liberation revolutionary program toward socialism will have to be achieved by overcoming the armed violence and terror of the ruling clique. The PCV and the JC must master, in theory and in practice, all the forms of struggle. They must know how to combine them flexibly and correctly and always be prepared for all contingencies in order to perform the revolutionary mission of winning power for the workers, which is the only reason for their existence. This is all the more necessary in the light of recent international events, the aggressiveness of the U.S. warmongers, the “Johnson Doctrine,” the reactionary military coups in Latin America and Africa, and the imperialist and reactionary provocations against the national liberation movements.
The domination of the military-civilian guerrilla-Betancourtist clique in the political leadership of the country, the continuity plans of the reactionary AD leaders, the maintenance of the terrorist wave of repression, the constant violation of human rights and the U.S. pressure to increase Venezuela's dependence and colonial status-all these things force the PCV and the JC to increase their preparations in all fields in order to always be in a position to contribute to the popular and nationalist movement in the struggle for the complete operation of democracy, the defense of national sovereignty, and the independent development of Venezuela.
9. Characteristics of the present situation:
The present Venezuelan situation is characterized by the following fundamental facts:
(1) United States domination and penetration have increased, (words indistinct) strengthening of the domination of the groups drawn to the interests of U.S. imperialism and of the most reactionary sector of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie.
(2) The hegemony of the guerrilla-Betancourtist clique is being maintained, and it is today the principal political instrument of U.S. intervention and (? influence) in our country. Therefore, that clique is the principal enemy of our people at this moment.
(3) The conflict still exists between different ruling-class groups and cliques over control of the greatest amount of power in the Venezuelan Government and state. This conflict grows as the electoral process approaches, and it is expressed, among other things, by the anticontinuity movement, the pressures of guerrilla military groups for more reactionary solutions, and the struggles within the principal parties.
The guerrilla military groups are not-repeat-not discarding the possibility of a coup d'etat in view of the government's lack of mass support, the weakening of the AD as a popular party, and the pressure of certain economic sectors, which do not-repeat—not conceal their ambition to replace the AD with a more reactionary formula which would better safeguard their interests. All these elements contribute, in a certain way, to the stability of the government and the complexity of the political situation.
There is an increase of military and police repression against the popular masses throughout the country. Executions, tortures, "missing persons, and the imprisonment of hundreds of citizens are the order of the day. The most reactionary leaders in the government are awaiting the right circumstances for the imposition of fascist laws. The antiguerrilla cordons, the big police roundups and abuses in the neighborhoods, and the special summary trials, of which those of the former parliamentarians of the PCV, the MIR, and so forth, are distinguished as juridical monstrosities, are evidence of the ever-growing dominance of the military groups and the U.S. military mission in the orientation of the government.
(5) General political activities are beginning to develop under the sign of election preparations. This is an event of singular importance which has direct influence on the political groupings and regroupings. It is possible to create a correlation of forces favorable to the overthrow of the continuity of the reactionary AD leadership.
(6) The economic and social problems of the popular masses have worsened. Popular discontent against the government is growing. It is expressed, principally, in the demands for change, for an end to the hegemony of the reactionary AD leadership, and for the defeat of the guerrilla-Betancourtist policy.
(7) The weakening of the democratic movement in general is a negative influence, especially the weakening of the organized force of the nationalist and the leftist sectors, which is the result of the blows received and the errors, division, and dispersals in its ranks. There is a process of weakening in the ranks of the MIR, and an anticommunist and adventurer group has taken form within it. The MIR faction agrees politically with the splinter group. Moreover, the anarchic-terrorist group, the actions of which confuse and disorganize tht popular movement, serves the counter-revolutionary provocations and worsens the difficulties of the revolutionary sectors.
Erroneous sectarian and psuedo revolutionary concepts, which are causing so much harm by weakening the popular movement, have gone on to constitute the most dangerous of deviations, which threaten the immediate destiny of the Venezuelan revolution, exposing it to isolation and failure. The defeat of the erroneous ideas is indispensible in order to guarantee the development and victory of our party and the revolutionary movement.
Finally, at this moment the armed movement is not-repeat-not capable of playing a decisive role because of the deadlock being suffered by the guerrilla fronts in the armed struggle in general, a situation made worse by the false political and operational concepts prevailing in the anarchic-adventurer and antiparty group.
(8) The political influence of the left, of our party, and of the JC is being maintained over broad popular sectors and their national goals. the persistence of a powerful student movement constitutes a permanent source of encouragement for the masses, as is the responsibility, combativeness, and invincible heroism demonstrated by the Communists in the struggle for the defense of popular, national, and democratic interests.
10. Party tactics: The central committee, on the basis of the current correlation forces and the characteristics of this political moment, agrees to focus the tactics of the party in the following direction: to promote the development of a broad national movement in favor of a progressive, nationalist, and democratic change. The points of the minimum program approved by the seventh plenum can serve for cooperation, agreement, and discussion with all the democratic forces in the country.
The central committee calls on all revolutionaries and patriots to develop a great mass movement for struggle against government terror and repression, for the release of political and military prisoners, in defense of human rights, for university autonomy, for the legality of the PCV and the MIR, and in defense of the interests of all the social sectors affected by the proimperialist and antinational policy of the reactionary AD leadership. The central committee urges the organization of this great national movement in all spheres, giving impetus to the struggles and mobilizations of the masses, on large and small scale, for their political, social, and economic demands.
This national movement must have as its objective: to remove from power the reactionary leadership of the AD and to provoke a progressivist change in favor of democratic freedoms and national sovereignty with the support of the nationalist civilian and military sectors. This national movement must not-repeat-not make exclusions in advance. The PCV and the JC offer their cooperation in encouraging its growth among the popular masses. The alliance policy of the PCV will develop in accordance with the attitude the other political forces take toward the Betancourtist leadership and the dominance of the reactionary, leadership of the AD, human rights and democratic freedoms, police repression and terror, and the demands of the nationalist sectors.
In the course of the struggle for a progressive change in favor of democratic freedoms and national sovereignty, the most responsible revolutionary forces will be grouping and strengthenig. The PCV declares it will comply with the agreements concerning the program of change and the struggle for its realization which may be adopted with the consensus of all interested sectors and that it will advance all the activities aimed at giving impetus to a great mass movement around that, program. In the development of its alliance policy, the PCV will defend its political independence and its own views concerning the best road for the Venezuelan revolution.
With regard to the national movement, the central committee resolves to have the party participate actively in the coming electoral process under the slogan: “Ni continuismo ni cladera, cambio; Change in Favor of Democratic freedoms, National Sovereignty, and 'the Independent Development of Venezuela.” The electoral process is being handled in a rigged and repressive manner. The party will struggle against that situation and to make of the elections a battle against the reactionary leadership of the AD and the government.
The central committee will adopt new tactical measures for the party in the immediate future, in the knowledge that the electorial process and the struggle to prevent the continuity of the reactionary AD leadersh p will become the great center of (word indistinct) of the real nationalist and democratic forces. This tactic will always be in the service of the general strategic objectives of the Venezuelan revolution.
The central committee, in raising, more vigorously than ever before, the slogan that the fundamental problem of Venezuela is to end its dependence on U.S. imperialism, overcome backwardness, and win complete political and economic independence, does not-repeat—not forget that this is impossible to achieve through elections, but it is no less true
that one cannot scorn the importance of an electoral defeat of the reactionary AD leadership, particularly if it comes about as the result of a mass movement with the active participation of the left and the PCV. The removal of the ruling reactionary AD leadership would mean the creation of a new political picture, a change in the correlation of forces favorable