Cuba, Venezuela, Latin America: Is the revolutionary spark spreading?

Campaign News | Sunday, 12 September 2004

Interview with Celia Hart

Interview by Hans-Gerd Öfinger

As a Cuban communist, how do you view the revolutionary process in Venezuela?

The Bolivarian revolution finds a lot of support not only among longstanding and experienced communists in Cuba, but also in the ranks of the youth, where the vivid revolutionary process in Venezuela sparks off much more enthusiasm than some of the boring and monotonous [official] “socialist" rhetoric and lecturing. Ché Guevara once spoke about creating “many Vietnams" in Latin America. Now we face this new task and we have the possibility of deepening the Bolivarian revolution and consolidating it as a socialist revolution. From Venezuela can and must come the impulse for the socialist revolution across all of Latin America. The idea of the Permanent Revolution, for which also Ché Guevara was fighting, is relevant today.

But some fear that a socialist revolution in Venezuela could provoke reaction and even a military invasion. Do you think that Hugo Chávez has been “clever” over the last weeks in seeking some form of consensus in the negotiations he has had with the bosses’ associations?

Reaction knows what it wants and does not need to be provoked. I hope that Hugo Chávez is not going to fall into the reformist trap and make concessions to his sworn enemies. The Venezuelan oligarchy needs to play for time. When the moment is right the oligarchy will attempt to eliminate Chávez, in the same way as the Chilean ruling class eliminated the socialist president Salvador Allende and with him many other leftwing activists in 1973. The majority of Venezuelans, to be sure, would fight against an invasion as did the Cubans against the invasion of the Bay of Pigs 1961. In such a case, as internationalists, we have to assist the Venezuelan revolution as international brigades did in the Spanish civil war in 1936.

Hasn't the Cuban Revolution survived for 45 years without having to “export" their revolution?

Revolutionary Cuba has maintained itself because of the decisive break that Fidel Castro made with capitalism and imperialism. From my experience in the GDR [the former East Germany] and in Cuba I have reached the conclusion that “socialism in one country" is impossible. The spreading of the revolution across the Latin American continent is essential for the survival of revolutionary Cuba. Cheap Venezuelan oil alleviates the energy crisis in Cuba; and Cuban doctors and teachers provide assistance to the poor population in Venezuela to develop dignity and self-esteem. The present -day special relations between Cuba and revolutionary Venezuela gives us a glimpse of the enormous possibilities and progress that a network of democratically planned economies throughout Latin America - freed from imperialist paternalism and interference - would allow. In the long run, an isolated revolutionary Cuba cannot survive.

Do you think that Cuba will end up like the GDR and suffer a capitalist counter-revolution?

I think there exists a real danger of this, and every sincere revolutionary that I know, fears the same. Although the planned economy in Cuba has a state monopoly of foreign trade, although the means of production are state owned, and the bulk of the joint ventures are controlled by the state, time is running out. Dollarisation has already had its negative effects. The management of joint ventures and the officials in foreign trade are at risk of being bought and they are also susceptible to bourgeois ideas. If the exiled Cuban capitalists return and try to usurp the country with the aid of pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist forces, there will be the menace of a counter-revolution and a capitalism of the worst sort. All the achievements of the last 45 years are in danger. For this reason, we have to defend the revolutionary heritage of Lenin, Trotsky and Ché Guevara and advance the global revolution.

Celia Hart, daughter of Armando Hart, who for many years was the Cuban Minister of Culture, studied physics from 1983 to 1987 at the Technical University in Dresden and works as a research physicist. Celia is a member of the Communist Party of Cuba.

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