OCIopy No. 7
FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC INFLUENCES ON THE VENEZUELAN COMMUNIST
DIRECTORATE OFINTELLIGENCE Office of Current Intelligence
PR - "
( ) . !
Foreign and Domestic Influences on theCommunists tlie first in OCI's series of Intelligence Studies to dealree world Communist party. OCIStudies are aimed at situations where study and analysis in some depth seems likely to clarify the nature of long-standing US security problems, to give timely warning about anemergingproblem, or to assist the policy maker in considering ways of coping with any such problems. These research papers appear on no definite schedule but ratheruitable subject happens to coincide with the availability of the special manpower resources
Comments should be directed to the Office of Current Intelligence.
SUMMARY AND V
I. THE VENEZUELAN COMMUNIST PARTY IN NATIONAL
The Two Phases of the PCV's 2
The Conflict Within the PCV18
II. THE FOREIGN INFLUENCES ON THE29
Castroism and the29
The Soviet Attitude Toward the33
Communist China and the Venezuelan Armed
Attitudes of Other Communist42
The Algerian Example and the45
III. THE PCV'S INTERNATIONAL 47
The PCV's Rationale of Its47
The PCV and the Sino-Soviet 51
The Outlook for the 56
from Partyollows page 46
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
To study the past sevenalf years ofCommunist Party (PCV) is to examinethe largest and most influential CommunistLatin Americaritical period in theof both the party and thestucht
the PCV P
also to cast new light Oh
Larger question or the position of free worldparties in relation to the Sino-Soviet dispute. In the case of the PCV, at Least, the evidence seems quite clear that the party's course during these years was determined far more by domestic events and byto seize local political opportunities andthe prestige of Fidel Castro than by anydirection.
During nearly all this time, the centraL issue of party policy was the armed struggLc (lucha armada) vs. political maneuvering (via pacifica) as thestrategy for achieving power. 8 the party generally followed the "nationaL front"exploiting the widespread public acceptance it enjoyed for its help in overthrowingrezdictatorship in January of that year. After the Communists were eliminated from the coalitionent, the PCV drifted toward the lucha armada strategy, at first with the main emphasis on urban terrorism, but after3 on guerrilla warfare andprolonged struggle" in the countryside. Arrests of many of the top party leaders2 on increased the influence of youngerhe PCV sustained heavy losses from its resort to violence, however, and as oft seemed to be moving toward its earlier strategy by againgreater effort on overt political programs, though without abandoning the primacy of the armed struggle. The party has, indeed, engaged in both Legal andactivities in various forms throughout all phases of the cycle.
For its revolutionary theory, the PCV appears to have relied heavily on the doctrine and experienceumber of foreign Communist parties and leftist movements. The Cuban example clearly dominates all other pieces in this patchwork of borrowings, and
was probably the essential inspiration. Since the missile crisis2 and the decline of Castro's popularity in the hemisphere, however, the PCV has attempted to demonstrate to the Venezuelan public and to its fraternal parties that its revolutionary program is nationalistic, spontaneous,arbon copy of Cuba's or any other country's. It seeks to prove that its "national liberation"pecial contribution to Marxist Leninist doctrine. Despite the camouflage of theoretical jargon, it is clear that the PCV in theas been guided primarily by pragmatic considerations.
The Sino-Soviet dispute did not perceptiblythe path the PCV had chosen to follow, but it introduced embarrassing complications for the party. The controversy threatened to widen the differences between soft-liners and hard-liners in the party and in the Marxist Leftist Revolutionary Movement ts close ally. The danger to unity was so great that the PCV eventually felt forced, despite asympathy with the USSR, to standeutral between the two disputants. Thiseutrality not easily justified to many PCV members, not easily understood in Moscow, and often interpreted by other free world Communistperhaps inas leaning toward the Chinese. This refusal to line up with either side, despite its embarrassments, helped the PCV to hold itself and its alliance
The future course of the rev in either theor the foreign sphere cannot be predicted with accuracy. There is deep dissension in the partyesult of the years of armed struggle and theplans to renew emphasis on legal political the young "hard-line" leaders of both the PCV and its MIR ally are not effectively controlled by the Communist hierarchy. If Moscow and Pekingformal competitors for authority in the worldmovement, and if the PCV decides to abandon the armed struggle, there is bound toadical reshuffling of loyalties, leaders, and members in Communist and pro-Communist parties in Venezuela. Under these conditions, Peking will probably not lack an organized following in the country. In any
event, Moscow, though still the PCV's primary source of guidance and aid, can probably no longer rely on the party's automatic obedience when PCV leadersthat their immediate interests indicate.
I. THE VENEZUELAN COMMUNIST PARTY IN NATIONAL POLITICS
This study is designed to identify and evaluate the intricate domestic and foreign influences which came to bear on the Venezuelan Communist Partyts programs, and itsleaders during the period from the fall of the Perez Jimenez' rightist dictatorship in8 to about The major emphasis is on the PCV's estimates of its opportunities at critical junctures in the domestic political scene, divisions among its leaders and collaborators, and the impact of Castroism and the Sino-Soviet dispute on the party's decisions.
The PCV program for these years divides into two general phases. During the first,8 tohe party placed primary stress on the use of overt, legal, political action, variously defined in Communist parlance as the "massia pacif-ica, or via parliamentary. During the second "phase, which is still in progress but showing some signs of decline, the party resorted to the armed struggle (luchahich the Venezuelan Communistsdescribe as the "superior" method ofwer. The first phase merged only gradually into the second, and during this twilight period, it was indeed difficult to determine whether the PCV was placing greater emphasis on mass or armed struggle.
Furthermore, in neither of the two phases did the party absolutely reject tactics characteristic of the other. During the period of legal political action, "hard-line" leaders were actively planning revolutionary activities; during the period ofaction "soft-line" leaders were advocating and employing various legal or mass activities. Within each of the two basic strategies, moreover, the PCV adopted various modifications in both theory and practice in accordance'with its own appraisal of party prospects. Generally speaking, the dominance of each phase seems to have been closely related to the nature of the opportunities which the PCV saw in current political developments.
The Two Phases of theProgram
The PCV reached the climax of its power andduring the first two years after theof Perez Jimenez in The party was then the largest in Latin America in relation to national population and ranked third (afterand Brazil) in total estimated membership.
Several conditions worked in favor of the PCV during the early post-dictatorship era andimmeasurably to the party's extensive political assets. First, thererotracted publicagainst governmental authority as an aftermath to many years of strong-arm rule. The politicalespecially in Caracas, was volatile and the environment offered wide leeway for Communistand agitation. The discredited security forces of Perez Jimenez had been dismantled in toto and the reorganized police were ill trained and poorly equipped, intimidated by mob action, and had only limitedfor maintaining law and order.
The provisional junta, which was headed by Admiral Wolfgang Larrazabal during most of the term, restored the PCV's legalandolicy toward Communism which ranged from complacency to outright sympathy. Larrazabal took no action while in office to control Communist activities, even after the PCV exploited theagainst Vice President Nixon at the time of his official visit to Venezuela in the springhe PCV's nomination of Larrazabal as its presidential candidateeasure of Communist endorsement and appreciation of the junta's policy toward the party.
From any standpoint, the PCV could scarcely have askedore favorable political ambiance than the one which prevailed in the months after theof Perez Jimenez. All the majorDemocratic Actionemocratic Republican Unionndhristian Democraticleftist in orientation. The AD and URD had programstrong Marxist seasoning, and factions within their ranks were avowedly Marxist; the URD inhad close ties with the PCV. Even theCOPEI found little distinction between the
"evils" of capitalism and Communism. Conservative and moderate groupings were discredited and unable to exert any countervailing force on the left.
In addition, the PCV had gained widespread publicconcomitant respectability andits contribution to themovement which helped overthrow the dictator. The national Patriotic Junta, which had directed the activity of the clandestine civilianagainst the Perez dictatorship, includedof the AD, URD, COPEI, and PCV, and was ineady-made "united front" which the Communists exploited effectively. The Communists alsoociferous role in the counterpart united front for organized labor, whichnd were represented on the national electoral board.
To take advantage of the favorable political conditions, the PCV either had, or developedumber of specific assets. The PCVtrong position in student, educational, and othercircles (journalists, artists, andgroups)abor following which wasonly to AD among all Venezuelan parties. It had an almost unlimited access to public informationmedia which enabled the party to publicize anddisproportionately its "patriotic service" against the dictatorship and its defense of the provisional regime against the rightist military and other "reactionaries." When the junta faced military threats in July andorthe PCV ostentatiously sounded the alarm and posed as the principal defender of democracy. influence in information media also served to nourish the pronounced anti-US sentiment which came to the surface after Perez* overthrow.
The only major setback to the PCV and its bright prospects along the via paclfica, the legal path to power, was the collapsene conceptnited political front with Communist participation. This came when the three major parties, realizing thein US relations that would be caused by their continuing alliance with the Communists, signed the
Putito Fijo Pact in This agreement was designed toommon, "minimum" governmental programoalition regime regardless of theof the presidential election. The Communists were expressly excluded from the agreement and ipso facto from the future coalition, at least at thelevel.
Nevertheless, the PCV could find comfort in the results of the nationalew weeks later. Polling the highest2 percent) of the total vote inyear history, the party won nine seats in the Congress, four positions in the municipal council ofpoint of politicaland some positions in other municipal councils and in state legislatures. There was good reason tothat the party could retain the large number of positions at the middle and lower levels ofwhich its members and sympathizers reportedly held in the ministries of.labor and education, in the public universities,and in the school system.under Venezuela's emerging multiparty system, the PCVreat deal of bargaining power because of its close ties with the important URD party; an estimated membership0ympathizers; the bestpolitical organization in the country; and strong influence over volatile student groups atUniversity. Significantly, this strength was concentrated largely in the capital where thenationalweakest.
Byhen the Castro regime came to power in Cuba and when Communist China was beginning toreater Interest in Latin American parties, the PCV's outlook pointed clearly along the via pa-cifica as the only logical and practical means to pursue its objectives. Probably no other party in the hemisphere, except the Chilean, had betterfor infiltrating government and political groups andubstantial influence on national.
During the first four central committee plenums convened after the overthrow of Perezlast of which was held in9 just priorisit by Fidel Castro topartyunconditionallyolicy of mass or legal
action. This policy sought to retain united political and labor fronts and prolong the favorable atmosphere which prevailed under the provisional government. Even after the PCV's exclusion from the government coalition under the Punto Fijo Pact and the defeat of its presidential candidate by the AD's Romulo Betan-court in the election ofhe central committee confirmed (in the plenum ofhat the party's priority tasks were the "broadening of the nationalis, to include thethe maintenance of cordial relations with all major political groups.
is true that during this same period the PCV decided to retain and streamline its clandestineand toaramilitary force forfor carrying out both urban terrorism and guerrilla warfare. The primary mission of the covert organizations at this time, however, was to defend in prospective alliance with other civilian groups
coup attempt and to conduct
ossible rightist clandestine partyin the eventoup were successful and the PCV again outlawed. The secondary objective was "to support the PCV in its struggle foryouglas Bravo, at present one of the ranking guerrillawas relieved of other party duties tofull-timeand trainingfor the paramilitary force, which
initially numbered. The partytight internalregulations to this aspect of its program,limiting of subversive
2 Page IS of 71
activity toew top party leaders ond others directly involved.
The recourse to clandestine methods waseparture from Venezuelan Communist tradition butontinuation of the underground activities directed by PompeyoCV national secretary, after the party was outlawed by Perez Jimeneznhe party had no seriousof risking its sizable assets for legaL political activity by resorting to theliberationagainst the Betan-court government, which was inaugurated in February of that year. The interest in developing guerrilla warfare capabilities was, however, an innovation and the timing suggested the influence of the Castro revolution.
Impact on Venezuelan Politics
The Cuban Revolutioneep and lasting impact on Venezuelan politics and particularly on the PCV, its programs and its collaborators. In fact, tho Cuban upheaval and the aftermath became so entangled in Venezuelan domestic developments9 that they cannot be categorized as strictly foreign influences. As will be seenater section, the Castro regime had firsthand contacts with PCV leaders and gave support informs to the Venezuelan subversive groups. this, however, the Cuban exampleotent indirect effect on PCV developments bythe wholerate in Venezuela and, as various PCV leaders saw it, providing them with local opportunities to exploit.
2 Pagef 71
Probably no other country in Latin America displayed such widespread public delirium over Castro's victory as Venezuela. This sentiment dissipated only gradually and has left permanent effects on national politics. The PCV evaluated the early reaction and decided to exploit it to the maximum, as did most Communist parties in the hemisphere. The first of Castro's two visits to Latin American capitals was significantly to Caracas, and was scheduled almost immediately after he made his triumphal entry into Havana inis public appearances and provocative revolutionary speeches aroused frenzied mass adulation andin Venezuela, portending some of theunrest which was to be connected with the "Cuban issue."
In the months which followed, many Venezuelan political groups (or factions within them) seized upon the Castro regime and unconditionally supported itevice for building popular support. In addition to the heroism and radicalism which Castro seemed to symbolize, Cuba's Increasinglypolicy toward the United States also appealed to Venezuelans. The extensive anti-US sentiment traditional to Venezuela had been pent up during the years of Perez Jimenez' rule and the pressure raisedighly explosive level by the alleged overly "cordial" attitude shown by the United States to the dictatorship. Individual political leaders converted themselves to the worship of Fidelisroo and gave public homage to his style of reforms and US-baiting. By the end0 frequent massaround some aspect of Castroism had been held in Venezuela and these usually erupted into violencearge scale. Such ferment in itself tended to sway the radical opposition towardof the successful revolutionary example which Castro had established.
wo major political events closely linked to Castroism influenced the PCV toward the use of violence and the strategy of "nationalvia the armed struggle. The more important of these was the expulsion in April of the Marxist wing from the AD party, the principal member of the ruling coalition. This faction subsequently
reorganized in July as the Leftist Revolutionary Party (MIR) with the full cooperation of theand the blessing of at least the radical elements of the URD.
From the outset the MIR was the principal collaborator of the PCV and it has been the chief Communist ally in the armed struggle launched in Partly because the MIR was an offshoot of the "respectable" AD, the Communists viewed it as an excellent platform forunited opposition front" to President Betancourt's regime, which was displaying considerable reserve if not animosity toward Castro. The MIRizable following in Congress (one senatornd there was reason to believe that it could drain away substantial popular support from theraditional competitor of the PCV.
Although the MIR espoused Marxist principles and their application to Venezuela, it was above all fervently devoted to Castroism and the Cuban revolution. If some Miristas in recent months have been sobered by imprisonment and noweturn to legal action, the leaders and rank and file during the party's first three years wereuniformly advocates of the immediateof Castro-type revolutionary methods. since its founding, the MIR has exertedpressure on the PCV to move toward "theand Mirista leaders and student elements have often dragged the Communists into violence which the MIR elements had instigated. ater period, the PCV was to accuse the MIR of trying to be more Marxist-Leninist, more radical, moreand more Communist in general than the orthodox Communists.
The second development0 which stimulated the PCV toore radical program was the withdrawal of the URD from the coalition which, in Communist eyes, reduced the strength of thepro-imperialist" governmenteakened AD and the COPLI. Conversely, this event had the effect of augmenting sharply the strength of the Communist-backed, pro-Castro opposition. The URD
cooperated with the PCV on various issues since and its domestic program at that time coincided with that of the PCV in many fundamental aspects, such as eventual nationalization of the private petroleum industry and antipathy toward private foreign investments. Moreover, the URD political recipe calledarge ingredient of anti-US propaganda. The party's foreignobjectives otherwise could scarcely befrom the Communists* Urdis-tas were first of all outspoken champions of Castroism and favored establishment of diplomatic relations "with ailthe Soviet bloc nations.
The URD's strong support of Cuba was thereason for the party's withdrawal from the government inlthough the pretext was the coalition's firm handling of Castrolte violence In October and November of that year. Foreign Minister Ignacio Luis Arcaya, top URD leader in the coalition, had violated hisat the meeting of Inter-American Foreign Ministers at San Jose* in August by refusing to vote in favor of the resolution condemningCommunist intervention in the hemisphere (that is, in Cuba). He resigned shortlysignaling the URD's decision to exchange its influence and patronage within the regime for Castroism. trong faction within the URD was led by one-time Communists, Communistand Castroites who were beginning to push the party toward radicalism. They were already cooperating with the PCV and MIR in violentby the end
The PCV thus found itself blessed with close collaborators by the end of the year in contrast to its relative isolation after the Punto Fijo Pact of The Communists were heavily indebted to the Castro regime for these political
The Third Congress of the PCV inhe first such "supreme" party gathering since the, ritical juncture along the
fi ijijm nnr*N r, t
road to violence. The meeting pointed up the mounting pressure from attrongof the middle and lower Level leaders for the "revolutionary" line, but Gustavoational secretarythe moreold guardgave the key speech which served to moderate the final He pointed out that conditions were not ripe for the overthrow of President Betancourt by force, as demonstrated by party experience to that point; thatsuggested theof a "democratic patriotic front" rather
a "national liberation (revolutionary)he politburo's reported warning to the congress to avoid imprudent action was provoked by the clamor of some delegates for an explanation of why the PCV was not "going forward in the path of Castro. "
The principal resolution of the congresscalled for the "overthrow of the policies of President Betancourt," rather than his ouster by force. The fuzzy wording was designed, on the one hand, to appease the elements of the party and its MIR and URD collaborators favoring the luchand, on the other, to keep the party within the limits of legality and thus avoid strongersuppression. Representatives of the URD and MIR who were present at the sessions appealed for "continuing unity of the leftists." The tactic of "overthrowing the policies" of the incumbentproved sufficiently flexible to serve theof theadvocates of armedsubsequently claimed that they were following faithfully the dictates of the Thirdtheoretical supreme authority of the PCV.
Meanwhile, after the Meeting of Foreign Minis ters at SanCuban-Venezuelan relationssharply. Thisesult of Venezuela's having finally voted in support of the resolution condemning extracontinenta1 intervention--after its URD-meraber foreign minister violated hisandthe withdrawal of the Cas-troite URD from the government. Inuevara publicly described Betancourtaptivesuedo-democratic administration and volunteered to instruct Venezuelaister nation regarding "some of Cuba's experiences in the revolutionary field." Foreign Minister Roa's similar accusation that Betancourtool of the US Stateand the CIAong series of Cuban propaganda blasts and was the occasion for thebreak in relations between the twoin November.
Extensive urban violence erupted around this action, as had occurred sporadically duringmonths, reflecting the hardening offorces into pro- and anti-Castro groupings. Byhe party found itself engagedampaign of intensifying violence, centered largely in Caracas and its environs. In cooperation with the MIR and other extremists. Itsand student elements were deeply committed in this effort.
Other domestic developments accelerated the decision of some PCV leaders to commit their party to the "armed struggle." The defection of the "ARS" faction of the AD in2 furtherthe government's political base. Meanwhile, largely undisciplined and uncontrolled Communist and Mirista studentmost fervent Castroites inextremist leaders of the MIR and URD, and the pro-revolutionary minor-ity of the PCV had virtually transformed aof violenceait accompli by the end The PCV leadership faced the choice of going alongide of events which it did not altogether control, orplit in its own ranks, the loss of support of its own students, and the alienation of its extremist partners by adhering to "legality."
The government crackdown on Communistfrom0 on, made the final decision easier. President Bentancourt was systematically weeding out all Communists and some sympathizers from government and teaching positions, and,more important, removing them from posts in the Venezuelan Labor Confederation. The lastwas cutting off the party's leadersain source of mass support. The over-all effect of these measures was to reduce the PCV's assets in the legal or mass struggle and to enhance the attractiveness of the armed struggle. By the end the party had far less to lose byto violence than two years earlier.
The climax came inn connection with the Inter-American Meeting of Foreignat Punta del Este, which suspended Cuba from the OAS. At that time, the PCV and Mill,the dissidence of the "ARS" faction in the AD, attempted to oust President Betancourt's coalition and/orilitary take-over. Although the PCV had rejected the MIR's proposal toull-scale revolution as late asecause conditions were not yethe party was already involved intrategy for all practical purposes. The discovery of the first of several clandestine Communist-MIR training camps for guerrillas in eastern Venezuelaade clear that the armed struggle phase of the party program had actually begun. ew weeks later the Politburo ordered the paramilitary leaders to expand their forces andational command to direct urban and guerrilla paramilitary operations.
During the final stage of the mass struggle, the moderate leadership appeared to losecontrol over the party. The aggressiveand student elements advocating revolution partly preempted direction by their activities.
Whether the majority of the central committee or politburo was swept along by the momentum of events or actually ordered themoot Centralized guidance of terrorism seemed to break down and the "radicals" took charge. In
the meanwhile, some members of the centralprobably accepted the tide of events reluctantly; others silently acquiesced; and still others may have reversed their position to join the promoters of the armed struggle as prospects for the ouster of Betancourt seemed to improve.
In any event, sharp disagreement on the party's strategy and tactics characterized the centralplenums of August ands well as the Third Congress. Continuing to the present, this dissension has not yet produced an open breach in the partyhas been true of thehas deeply divided the party rank and file and the leadership.
The Communist and leftist-backed militaryat Carupano and Puerto Cabello in May and2 may or may not have been endorsed inby the politburo and central committee, but they directly involved top leaders of the party. The Carupano revolt led to the "suspension of the political activities" of the PCV andfor being outlawed. The two events committed the PCV irrevocably to the primacy of the armed struggle and alsoonsiderableof guerrilla actions.
The central committee plenum of2 placed the formal seal of approval on the armed struggle, but onlyinority of the full The reported vote ofndicates that only aboutercent of the membershipat the Third Congress) was in attendance.
The armed struggle phase of the PCV program has passed through two fundamental stages marked by tactical modifications. As oft seems to behird. The first comprehended the period from2 through the elections of This stage emphasized urbaninby sporadic guerrilla action designed to divert and weaken the government security forces. Theobjectives were to disrupt the electoraland overthrow Betancourt. At times the Com-munists and their allies seemed close to attaining
one or both of these objectives. Although some party Leaders had theorized and warned that the revolution would probably behis stage also reflected widespread optimism in party ranksuick victory was in the offing.
The first stage of armed struggle did notextensive mass action, but assignedlearly secondary role. The PCV continued towhat legality it still had by negotiating extensively with the opposition political parties for "unity" arrangements in the electoral campaign. In addition, the PCV and MIR representatives in Congress worked effectively with other oppositionAD Oppositionndobstruct government efforts to obtain morelegislation to enforce law and order and to frustrate the application of strong security Communist and MIR congressmen alsotheir congressional immunity to promote subversive action. In addition, the PCVagainst the "repressions" of the regime,estoration of full legal status to the PCV and MIR, andrant of amnesty to the growing
of Mirista and Communist political
By4 it was clear that the campaign of urban violence and "militant abstention" from theto intimidate voters and keep them from thefaLlen short of itsarge electoralhad voted the ADRaul Leoni, into the presidency andhad effected atransfer of power to him in
Many within the PCV Itself considered the
iserable failure. Most of the topwere in prison, including many of theadvocates of the armed struggle, such as Pom-peyo Marquez and Guillermo Garcia Ponce. Several student and other young leaders had been killed or captured during the guerrilla and terrorist campaigns. The same was true of Mirista leaders. In addition, the URD was on the verge of expelling the Castroite-Mnrxist wing from its ranks after discovering from the election results that this group had not in fact enhanced the party'sappeal.
There were still other serious battle scars. The party's membership and sympathizer strength had fallen probably as much asercent. Public opinion had turned hostile toward the Communists and the MIResult of indiscriminate bombings, murders of policemen, and pointless acts ofsuch as the massacre in3 of passengers and national guardsmen aboard an excur sion train. The PCV's national organization, its strong labor support, and its propaganda apparatus had also been decimated. It had achieved Little with its attempt to develop the NationalFront (FLN)nited front to guide the revolution politically and to control effectively the Armed Forces of National Liberationhe PCV-MIR paramilitary forces. The FLN and FALN merely formalized the factious PCV-MIR alliance under new titles, but failed to attract any other opposition political elements,andful of military defectors and common criminals. the MIR had proved to be increasinglyand impulsiveevolutionary bedfellow.
On the other hand, the so-called hard-lineof the PCV was firmly in charge of partyand had successfully intimidated or squelched the soft-Liners, even though the latter could now point to actual Communist reverses to support the "accuracy" of their position. The party hadumber of practical lessons from Its experience with urban and rural violence. Although thehad little peasant support, the paramilitary units in both country and city were intact anda potential threat to political stability
sychological barb to the Leoni government. Finally, the armed struggle was an irreversible path which offered no retreat without riskossible breach in PCVrobable falling out with the MIR, and complete discredit of the PCV before the Venezuelan public.
The first major modification of thephase of the program was adopted4 and ratified by the makeshift central committee plenum in the spring of the year. The supremacy of the armed struggle was reaffirmed. As in the past, "other forms of struggle" were subordinated but not excluded. In contrast to theuick victory through urban warfare, the party officially adopted the Line that the Venezuelan revolution wouldprolongedof indefinite duration and insisted that itationally manufactured product- not atransplant" of any foreign experience,
Tactics also shifted. Within the "superior form of armeduerriHa warfare and developmentupporting peasant base were to receive priority attention, while urbanaction was relegatedupporting,role. ew effort was to be made to incorporate all opposition forces, regardless of ideology, in the FLN, which was theoretically the supreme political organ of the revolution andof the military campaigns of the FALN. Its decisions were to be made effective throughout the nation and especially over the military The PCV aLso decided to intensify itsto penetrate the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FAV) and encourage further defection andwithin their ranks. The failure touick victory through urban terrorismthese adjustments. The controllingfaction within the PCV was forced to its strategy for internal party consumption; it had toew Line of action within the armed struggle or admit its errors in choosing this path to power. While facing up to itsthaninrevolution, the PCV tried to portray the
electoral outcome as additional proof thatcould not be achieved except through violence. The armed struggle was allegedly provoked by the suppressive measures of "thehich had crushed all hope of the "democratic popular" forces for traversing the via paclflea.
The revolutionary phase of the Communisthas not altered substantially since the plenum The conduct of guerrilla campaigns and the strengthening of guerrilla forces have been stressed in relation to sporadic urban terrorism during this period. The Communists have allocated the bulk of their sizable funds to keeping the Communist and MIR guerrilla forces alive andof making occasional strikes in various parts of the country.
But the party, taking advantage of changes in the situation under the Leoni government, appears as ofo be tending toward renewedon the mass struggle, as foreshadowed by the central committee plenum in the springence, it may be at the vergeecondin the revolutionary phase of its program. Leonl's coalition government, which includes the AD and two relatively untestedURD and the National Democratic Front (FND)weaker than its predecessor and more inclined toward appeasing leftist pressures.
The PCV views the potential and actual strains in the coalition asertile field for exploitation. The party is not only maintaining its associations with several Leftist groups which remained intact after3 elections but has also been conducting liaison5 withleaders of all three coalition parties and with elements of COPEI. Perhaps with excessive optimism, it has interpreted as highly favorable the prospects for "united" action to promoteissues and objectives, such as release ofprisoners, rehabilitation of the PCV and MIR, and popular demonstrations against increases in the cost of living and unemployment.
Perhaps influenced by these factors, thecommittee plenum of5 determined
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that the "great majority" of the Venezuelan people Is not at war and hence "war is not today thefactor in the country." The party, it decided, must therefore amplify the program with the "most varied forms of struggle, of which the armedis the superior one, but not the only one by any means." The PCV should open its arms to the people andnew mentality" for The FALN would continue to be theto coordinate and incorporate the masses into the armed struggle, in order to transform it into "the truly dominant form of struggle." The central theme and objective in expanding forms of the mass struggle would be attainment of a "government of democraticmbracing all political groups opposed to the "Betancourt gorilla clique."
Essentially the PCV, while retaining theof the "revolution" in theory and practice, was seeking to extend its freedom for overtis, attempting to reconcile two irreconcilable tactics,J
une ox its purposes was to appease tne
faction in the PCV, which had long resented the methods and the results of the hard-line directors. But the new call forovernment of democratic peace" aroused the fears and ire of the hard-line MIR faction, which adamantly opposes anyof the revolutionary strategy. The PCV has tried to make the linegovernment ofpeace" more palatable to the MIR bythat the guerrillas are in the field, that their actions speak to the Venezuelan people, and hence require no special propaganda.
The PCV program as ofeemed to be drifting. Whatever new direction the party chooses, it faces serious problems.
The Conflict Within the PCV Leadership
Sharp ana enauring
divisions arose in the PCV over the issue of the lucha armada, as advocated by the hard-liners, vs. the via paciflca, as advocated by the soft-liners; but it is overly simplified and partly misleading to think of the Venezuelan Communist leaders as divided entirely into hard-liners and soft-liners, or to consider these two terras as equivalent to "nro-Chlnese" and "pro-Soviet." Among the PCVargethevacillated, had reservations about one or both programs, or altered their stand on thisissue Factors determining the party's position included not only these Leaders' changing estimates of the relative efficacy of the two programs for achieving power, but also personal rivalries among leaders and pressures from the PCV's allies.
young leaders among the PCV'sMarxist wing of AD (which later became the MIR) and theconsiderable influence in pushing the Communists into violence. Innately radical by orientation and attracted to sensational methods, many of them had played prominent parts in the clandestine ci vilian movement which ousted Perez Jimenez. They lost theirfame, andshortly after the old guard leaders of the AD and URDto Venezuela from exile. Frustrated and resentful whento secondary roles in their parties, these Castroitewere prepared to defect with theirand take any short cut forprestige and power. For them, the step from legal action to insurrection wasiffcult one. Castro
and his successowerful concreteand stimulus.
Among the better known of such young (and then)leaders were: Fabricio Ojeda of the URD, head of theJunta,and ultimately an honorary officer in the Cuban revolutionary armed forces; Simon Saez Merida of the AD, acting AD secretary general during the dictatorship,of the Patriotic Junta, andop hard-line leader of the MIR; and Domingo
Alberto Rangel of AD, leader of his party's
Marxist faction, first secretary general of the
MIR, and devotee of Castro.
In the PCV itself there was aLso somethingivision between older, more moderate leaders at the top and aggressive younger men eager to gain more power within the party. After the arrest of most of the top Communistsontrol of the party fell by default to those few centralmembers who remained at large and to the directors of the youth and guerrilla movements. The PCVadically different organization, as regards leadership, from that existing at the time of the Third Party Congress inhose taking over were those who had staked their personal futures and political careers on theof the resort to violence. On the other hand, few of the jailedthe moderate oldcompletely uninvolved in the strategy of the lucha armada.
When the Third Congress opened, the PCV alreadytrong and apparently growing nucleus of leaders who wanted to adopt the revolutionary line,
and their position was strengthened by the PCV and MIR youth and the hard-liners in URD and MIR. Butinority of the central committee, asat that time, can be unqualifiedly catalogued as hard or soft-line, f
ynamic, aggressive faction of the PCV won control of the party and apparently was able to attract the support of those whoon the issue of the armed struggle. ritical point in Venezuelan politics, the old guard apparently failed to inspire confidence and firm guidance. Leaders like Gustavo Machado, Pedro Ortega Diaz, and Jesus Faria had become wearied by the years of violence, exile, and imprisonment through which they had passed and probably shrank from further intraparty controversy.
Pompeyo Marquez,leader andarchitect and theorist of the armed struggle,to have been the most powerful singlein the hard-line camp. He is believed to have had the support of such leaders as Teodoro Petkoff, Douglas Bravo, and Guiilermo Garcia Ponce, German Lairet, Eloy Torres, Alberto Lovera, Alonso Ojeda Olaechea, and Rafael E. Martinez. All these were or became exponents of revolution. Jesus Faria was reportedly the only top,leader at the central committee^plenum of
2 Whomember sfnYe'I^Mcretory general
against the "superior form"leaden frwr, Struggle. est in
apparently had serious reservations about violence, either after the electoral fiasco of3 or after the Third Congress, were Gustavo Machado, Augusto Leon Arocha, Pedro Ortega Diaz, Hector Mujica, Servando Garcia Ponce, and Hernani Porto-carrera.
The antagonism between hard and soft-linecrystallized before the presidential election of3 and the major defeat it entailed for the tactic of violence. The available Communist "white papers" for and against the revolutionary strategy were essentially diatribes containingaccusations that the other side was "wrong" in judging Venezuelan conditions and the strength of the enemy. On the other hand, both factions seemed to recognize that "revolutionarynce initiated, left little face-saving means of retreat for the party.
IS ft I" HAT3-
The policy of the hard line was staunchlyby student and guerrilla Leaders. They merely mouthed the thoughts of Marquez. According to Alfredoop guerrilla field commander, "no one" doubted that the proper path was the armedquestion was whether time andwere ripe. Maneiro claimed that the very survival of the FALN guerrilla forces in Venezuela after three years of fighting proved the "right-ness" of the decision. Similarly, guerrilla leader Douglas Bravo defended the strategy duringournalist who allegedly penetrated into his retreat in the mountains of Falcon State. Bravo explained that "events" and the example of Castro determined the ineluctable path toin Venezuela. Once embarked on this path, "we discovered that retreat wasravo admitted that although thereradicallzatlon" In the heart of the party, "certain directors, among them the oldest, remained skeptical about the fate of the guerrillas and even questioned their necessity."
The Soft-Liners' Activity
The soft-liners seemed to lose all effective voice in party councils after2 but discussed policy among themselves and the means to rectify the serious "errors" of party "adventurism." They complained bitterly about the heavy-handed, railroad tactics of the hard-line leaders. They also sought the company of the soft-line faction of the MIR to share in their misery.
The PCV soft-line faction condemned the armed struggle as the reckless distortion of the true
"national liberation" in Venezuelacapricious" and irresponsible group of MIR and PCV leaders and youth elements. These elements, they charged, "ruthlessly suppressed" all opinion opposed to the "erroneous path toward the debacle," Thefigure of Castro" loomed in the background to inspire the "subjective drunkenness" of theCommunists. In addition, the soft-linersthat the mass struggle was shunted aside by the PCV, partly to prevent "the hotheads of the MIR" from pre-empting the Venezuelan revolution.
The soft-liners variously^branded^the era of violence with epithets, such as "totalnd the product of "petty bourgeois They noted that the armed struggle had resulted in the loss of the party's assets in the legal sphere and the imprisonment of its mostleaders. They also alleged that "the debacle of the revolutionary movement wasonce its direction fell into hands even more inexpert and ignorant than theccordingoft-line historical view of this period, the Communists wound up5arty, unions, and popular masses." The author recognized, however, that valuable experience had been gained through the armed struggle andthat the "small flame" of the revolutionary struggle and the "impotent guerrilla nuclei" had to be kept alive.
Soft-liners did not hesitate to denounce or criticize the armed struggle program beforeof the CPSU when opportunities presented For example, itoft-lineGarica Ponce, TASSin Caracas--who planted the famous "interview" of MIR soft-liner Americo Chacon, which appeared in the Soviet party paper Pravda Inhacon roundly criticized the errors of the armed struggle strategy in Venezuela and calledeturn to the mass struggle; his statementsparroted the feelings of his counterparts in the PCV. Carlos Augusto Leon, central committee member and one of the leading soft-liners,complained about the revolutionary program
when visiting Moscow ew months later, in Venezuela, he briefed two visiting TASSon the egregious distortions made about the strength of the guerrilla movement. Hehoped his presentation would reach influential ears in Moscow.
The latest evolution of the PCV program, which places renewed emphasis on various forms of mass action centered aroundgovernment of democraticndicates in part an effort' rapprochement' between the factions of party leadership. This new line probably had theof many of the imprisoned senior leaders of the party, including Pompeyo Marquez, principalof the revolutionary strategy. Writing from prison under the pseudonym of "Carlos Valencia" inarquez made statements with definite soft-line flavor:
All the objective conditions exist toovernment of democratic peace, which comprehends full amnesty, the total enforcement of thedefense of freedom of.expression, rehabilitation of the PCV and MIR, and putting in operation the measures which favor the masses and the development of tbe independence of the nation.
Concentrating all efforts in this direction; uniting ail those who, in one form or another, may favor afor these objectives; placing the great masses in motion, utilizing all the forms of struggle with boldness, firmness, and perseverance in order to win over to the national trends all the factors of power, are tasks which cannot be avoided under any pretext. And ones which the revolutionaries are capable of promoting with success.
This is the most impressive method of breaking the contlnuismo of thepolicy; oferiodegime which has turned its
back on Venezuela and the great national majorities.
Privately, Alberto Lovera, the top leader of the PCV paramilitary forces, noted that "the immense majority" of the central committee had endorsed the tactic of workinggovernment of democratic peace."
FOREIGN INFLUENCES ON THE PCV
During the periodhe PCV has been subjectumber of Influences and pressures from abroad. While maintaining the traditional link with Moscow, the party has apparently sought or welcomed material and propaganda support from all International Communist sources and has been willing to say the right thing at the right place to obtain it. Of the varied foreign influences exerted on the PCV, those from Cuba have certainly been the most important. The Cuban ingredient, indeed, is indispensable to render the recent history of the party rational and comprehensible.
Castroism and tho PCV
The impact of Cuban events on Venezuelan public opinion has already been noted; this impact washeavy on the PCV. Without the Cubanand the magnetic personal appeal of Castro, it is unlikely that the moderate majority of the politburo and the central committee would have chosen the armed struggle as the "inevitable" route to power. The emotional attraction of Castro's example is well illustrated by the PCV's willingness to attempt an artificial transplant of his Sierra Maestra experience and undertake guerrilla warfare with inadequately trained leaders, little peasant support, and only limited knowledge of local terrain and other The connection of course can be seen in finer detail in the beards and berets, fatigues and cigars, pockets stuffed with clip pencils, and other Castroite accessories copied by the city-dwelling Venezuelan guerrilla leaders, many of whom were professional university students in Caracas. CertainlyColombia, where the Communists had been involved in rural violence for many years and at one period in extensive guerrilla operations, had never been such an inspiration to the PCV.
The importance of the Cuban example wasby both factions within the PCV. In the viewoft-liner, the "Cuban example" and "the messianic figure of Castro" fired the imagination of "the masses, the petty bourgeois, and the party hotheads" and created the climate for insurrection.
Douglas Bravo, the guerrilla leader, noted the same effects. When explaining the PCV's resort to the armed struggle, he ranked the Cuban example first among causes and the virtual sine qua non of the Venezuelan national liberation movement:
First, just one year after theVenezuelan revolution ofuba strikeshunderbolt against legalism and skepticism. Theof an anti-imperialist revolution is possible in South America, not inrears, but now. That is the bomb about which one cannot talk enough, although, on the other hand, one always does talk too much about Cuba when he wants toevolution in South America based on the Cuban model.
What made the Cuban example especially potent was the evident fact that Castro had won againstmilitary odds in an area "at the doorstep" of the United States. Nor did the PCV overlook the point that Castro's success won him extensivepolitical, and economic support from the USSR and other Communist powers. Such aid implied an express endorsement of Castro's methods forpower and suggested that similar bounty might be forthcoming to others following in his path.
The Castro regime worked actively by various means to strengthen its appeal in Venezuela. Afterteady stream of Communists, Miristas, and other leftists traveled toof thembe feted and indoctrinated at the fountainhead of regional revolution. Marquez, OJeda, Rangel, Martinez, Bravo, Gallegos, Lovera and many others who became the prominent figures in the armed struggle made their pilgrimages to Havana.
Apart from this direct revolutionary stimulus to Venezuelan leaders, the controlled Havana radio and press after abouteptelentless barrage of anti-Detancourt propaganda which directly encouraged Venezuelan extremists to violence. The message from Havana was loud, clear, and consistent, with variationsingle theme: it called for Venezuelan patriots to rise up and rid themselves of Betancourt, the lackey of imperialism, and to use bullets rather than ballots to reach their goals. Venezuelan leftists were advised not to wait for revolutionary conditions to ripen, but to make their own conditions without delay, as Castro had done. This propaganda, which included the frequentof top Cuban officials, left no doubt that Venezuela was the leading target of Castro's program for exporting socialist-type upheavals in the hemisphere.
Once the armed struggle was well under way, Cuban propaganda publicized and exaggerated the "successes" of the FLN/FALN operations and gaveguarantee of the solidarity of Cuba with the "popular struggle" in Venezuela. Che Guevara, whose book on guerrilla warfareest seller among the Venezuelan revolutionaries and whose articles were circulated within the PCV,ypical pronouncement in
The Venezuelan patriots to the east and west of Caracas have liberatedet us always remember that the presenceiving, combative Cuba is an example which gives hope and moves all men of the entire world who struggle for theirparticularly the patriots of our continent who speak our language.
Cuba also gave more tangible assistance to the PCV, but with the implicit condition that overtactivity be undertaken. Probably the most important type of Cuban aid was the training of cadres in sabotage, use of explosives, and tactics of urban and guerrilla warfare. Anenezuelans had completed courses in these subjects by the end4 and had returned to their country to provide leadership and "technical" skill for the revolution
there. Cuban financial grants, primarily but not exclusively through the PCV, cannot be estimated accurately but were vital to tho PALM because the guerrillas could not "live off the land." One Cuban defector estlBated that direct support to the FLNY FALN fromo the end4 was aboutillion. All forms of Cuban subsidies to the PCV, MIR, and FLN/FALNncluding propaganda support, training, and travel expenditures, may,amount to several millions of dollars. There have been many reported attempts by Cuba toarms to Venezuela direct or through other-Algeria, Colombia, and Britishthe three-ton arms cache discovered by the Venezuelan Government in3 is tho only sizableon which there is confirmation of Cuban origin.
Since the Havana Conference of Latin American Communist parties inuban policythe Venezuelan armed struggle has been modified to some degree. For example, there are indications that Cuba is reluctant to train large numbers of Venezuelans in guerrilla operations, as it has in the past, and that it will not risk compromise by direct shipment of arms from Cuban ports. These changes have possibly been adopted under thepressure of the USSR.
On the other hand, Castro has staked hisand bid for leadership of tho Communistin the hemisphere largely on the success of the Venezuelan venture and may still be supplying substantial sums of money to the PCV forto the FALN guerrillas. Cuba also is probably financing tho FLN/FALN "diplomatic" missions in Havana and possibly Venezuelan revolutionary agents in Paris, London, andbacking their efforts to obtain foreign support. Cuban propaganda inof tho Venezuelan armed struggle continuesabatement and is partly systematized through special pro-Venezuelan organizations and radioin Havana. Moreover, Cuban officials, as late as the endad not altorod their view that success for tho Venezuelan revolution would come in the not too distant future. In any event, their estimate was far more optimistic than that of the PCV leaders, although the latter apparently did not try to destroy these illusions.
Tho PCV remains highly sensitive to the opinion of Castro and other Cuban officials. For example, the party made special efforts to justify to the Cubans in the spring5 its program for aof democratic peace" and other aspects of the mass struggle, as set forth in the centralplenum of that date. Moreover, when the PCV learnederogatory runor had reached Castro's ears about an alleged split of tbe party into threefor peaceful methods, one forand compromise with the ruling forces, and one inflexibly backing armedparty hierarchy immediately took steps to rectify this "falsehood."
The Soviet Attitude Toward the PCV
The attitude of the CPSU toward the traditionally pro-Soviet PCV after it became committed to the armed struggle was largely governed by broad considerations of Soviet foreign policy; by the relations andof Communist parties throughout the world; and hy the Chinese challenge to Moscow's primacy inthe strategy of the international Communist movement. Moscow's policy was affected largely by its recognition of the predominant influence of the United States in Latin America. Soviet leaders seemed welleven more keenly so aftero endorse an openly aggressive course in Latin Americaesponse from the US and also risked destructive attack from strong "Indigenous forces of reaction" such as the military.
The abralguous and vaguely defined Soviet policy toward the PCV, at least until the endas closely related to Soviet problems in dealing with the Castro regime. Moscow's support for LatinCommunists has to some degree always been measured against the USSR's most Important goal of assuring the political and economic viability of Cuba. After the missile crisis and tho threat which it posed to world peace, the USSR apparently wanted to avoidconfrontations with the United States over the Cuban issue. It also wanted to avoid anyincidents which might be provoked by.Castro's free-wheeling attempts to support revolution in the rest of Latin America. Castro's deep involvement In the Venezuelan armed struggle probably suggested to the CPSU that he was most likely to bein this area. At the same time, Moscow and Poking
were competing for Castro's affections and thecould not press him too hard without running the risk of losing him to the Chinese.
After the discovery in3 of the Cuban arras cache invery type of "boat-rocking" the Kremlin was seeking toSoviet leaders probably stepped up efforts toCastro to iron out his own economic difficulties and curb his support for militant groups outside Cuba. Khrushchev reportedly insisted at one point that Cuba stop training Venezuelans In guerrilla warfare and stop risking its own self-preservation by other types of interventionist activity. The Cubans chafed under these pressures, but apparently conformed to them in some degree. At any rate, the Soviet effort toCastro's foreign adventurism may alsoa measure of CPSU skepticism about the wisdom of the national liberation movement in Venezuela.
Moscow's difficulties in controlling Castro, his vacillation in the Sino-Sovlet dispute, hisin the Venezuelan revolution, and Chinese accusations that Moscow opposed tbe use of violence in areas dominated by "imperialism" left the CPSU little room for maneuver in dealings with the PCV. The Chinese would certainly have pounced on anypressure on the PCV to return to the mass struggle or any Soviet criticism of the armed strugglease in point for their "revisionist" charges against Khrushchev. Thus the Soviet appraisal of the Venezuelan armed struggle was submerged in the Cuban and Chinese dilemmas.
Although the PCV is believed to haveigh-level leader to Moscow to "explain" the bases for the Venezuelan revolution after its adoption by the partyhere apparently was nowith CPSU leaders in advance. Despite the neutralist stance adopted by the PCV in the Sino-Sovlet dispute, Moscow was probably fully aware that the Venezuelan armed struggle was largely of Castroite rather than Chinese inspiration,and that the PCV was'not "pro-Chinese" in orientation. There are indications that theleast before the PCV's failure to disrupt the elections of Decemberthe Communist and pro-Communist paramilitary forces
to be stronger than they were and to have achance to overthrow the Betancourt regime.
The ambiguous attitude of Moscow toward the PCV's domesticleast throughsharply with its heavy-handed pressure to align the Venezuelan party behind the CPSU in the Sino-Soviet dispute. On the latter issue,himself reportedly attempted to extractfrom one of the top Venezuelan Communist leaders in
Some specific Soviet actions reflect anin the armed struggle, if not positive approval. For example, the USSR provided training for at least one small group of Venezuelans in paramilitaryalthough this assistance was probably designed to match similar Chinese training and to undercut any possible Chinese allegations that the USSR opposed the national liberation in Venezuela.!
On the other hand, there is no evidence tnat tne urau. furnished any sizable financial aid to the PCV for carrying out the revolution prior
Trends in Soviet propaganda on the PCV, FLN, FALN, and the armed struggle in general reflect the changing and ambiguous Soviet attitudes toward the Venezuelan party and program. Initially, the Soviet media praised the "popular" struggle in Venezuela; but in4 therehift in tone, content, and volume of the propaganda related to the PCV. These modifications may have been connected with the failure of the party to disrupt the elections, the discovery of the Cuban arms cache, and the PCV's continuing insistence on neutrality in the Sino-Soviet rift. In addition, the Venezuelanwas creating the impression among some Latin American parties that the PCV waspro-Chinese" line.
At this point, the soft-line leaders of theprofessed absolute loyalty to the CPSU and
branded the hard-linersa more favorable reception in Moscow for their denunciations of the strategy of armed struggle.
It was in4 that Pravda published the statementseading Venezuelan soft-liner, Americo Chacon, roundly denouncing the armed struggle and appealingeturn to the via Into this sharp rebuke, Pravda published insimilar statements against the program ofby Miguel Otero Silva, ex-Communlst andew weeks later, Eduardo GallegosCVfor international relations,hilly reception in Moscow. In contrast, he had been feted during visits to Peking and Hanoi that summer, and his pro-Chinese revolutionary statements receivedpublicity in these two capitals. Moreover, Gallegos' published comments in Moscow were stripped of the militant revolutionary content and stressed the PCV's attempts to restore peace to Venezuela. But even these criticisms by the CPSU of theparty and the armed struggle were essentially indirect in their approach.
Khrushchev's ouster and the Havana Conference of Latin Americanwas directed andthough perhaps not initiated, bybroughterceptible adjustment in CPSUtoward the PCV. Soviet policy began tolear-cut form compared to its previous vagueness and ambiguity. Similarly, the priorities of Soviet objectives in relation to the parties in Latin America seemed to have changed. The new Soviet lino no longer sought express public commitment by Communist parties to the USSR in the rift with China. Instead, the CPSU apparently was attempting to counter Chinese influence by preventing schisms in orthodox parties, checking the multiplication of pro-Chinese organizations, andeasure of its former influence over Latin American party programs, particularly its guidance over revolutionary movements in progress. igh-level representative of the CPSU ino recognize the right of fraternal parties to pursue their own independent "patriotic" programs based on their own evaluation of conditions, and even to voice occasional disagreement to Moscow, as the Italian party has done. He also conceded that violence
in promoting the "national liberation" wasalid concept in underdeveloped areas, even in Latin Americaertain extent.
The Havana meeting of Latin American parties in late4 was essentially atrrapprochemenC> or gentlemen's agreement among the CPSUi the Cubans,and the other orthodox parties in the hemisphere. Theset forth new guidelines for revolutions as well as for regional and other international support for these revolutions. The CPSU accepted the armed struggles where they were in progress and urgedorganizations to exercise greater control over these movements; it seemed to recognize that the clock could not be turned back on these movements without serious-to-disastrous effects on the parties involved. The Venezuelan liberation movement was specifically singled out for the seal of regional and Sovietpossibly because Castro had given it top priority in his subversive campaigns and despite the skepticism of certain fraternal parties in the area.
The joint communique" on the final resolutions of the Havana conference, released simultaneously from Moscow and Havana inalled for hemisphere support for the Venezuelan armed struggle. Among other things, it also called for a campaignbtain the release of political prisoners. That Pom-peyo Marquez, architect of the Venezuelan "prolongedas the thirdew prominentlisted by name in this resolution, suggests that Moscow did not view his influential leadership as hopelessly Chinese in orientation.
Conforming to the decisions taken at Havana and subsequently "edited" in Moscow, the CPSU in the spring5 informed the PCV that it wouldits efforts" to promote the liberation of Venezuela and would encourage other fraternal parties to do the same. The top leader of the Venezuelan paramilitary forces, one of two identifieddelegates at the Havana meeting, was in Moscow shortly thereafter and personally requested moral and financial backing from CPSU officials. Headmitted that the Venezuelan guerrilla movement depended on "outside aid" and expressed confidence that it would not be cut off. The sums of money reaching the PCV from abroad
2 Pagef 71
in5 to finance the FLN/FALN operations were possibly supplied in part, and perhaps mainly, by Moscow through carefully concealed channels.
The belated blessing which Moscow gave to the Venezuelan armed struggle in4 seems in the natureeluctant but gracious recognition of an accomplished fact over which Moscow had little In any event the CPSU's relations with the PCV after1 fell far short of whole-hearted enthusiasm and support of the PCV program. Themoves by Moscow in5 appear an attempt to restoreeasure of guidance and control over the PCV which was weakened by the PCV's unique test of its autonomy in the Sino-Soviet rift.
In any event, given the advantages of hindsight, the CPSU probably came to harbor some seriouson the resort to the armed struggle inand Castro's role in it, apart from therepercussions on Cuba's own securityuban intervention in Venezuelan affairs. Efforts of the Italian Communist Party to encourage the PCV to moderate its program toward emphasis on rebuilding mass support may have beennotthe CPSU. Moscow is not likely to have viewed with indifference the decimation of theassets for the "mass struggle" of one of the largest and most influential parties in Latinountry where "imperialist" capitalis highly concentrated. Even though Moscow had no diplomatic mission and no cultural and economic stake of any size in Caracas, it had reason to regret that Castro did not attempt to cultivate friendly relations with Venezuela and to refrain fromin Venezuela's internal affairs. Had Cuba followed these two policies, Venezuela rather than the USSR might have ended up supplying most of Cuban oil import requirements and Cuba might haveember (in poor standing) of the OAS and unfettered by the restrictions of an OAS boycott. The cost of Cuba's tangling with the Venezuelan Government and supporting the Venezuelan armed struggle was borne indirectly by Moscow.
The article of Vadim Listov in, the5 issue of New Times may also suggest the CPSU's preference
for the traditional united front strategy in Latin America* Ltstov noted that the Dominican crisis demonstrated the efficacy of broad, united leftist fronts In the areaeans for loosening the grip of "imperialism." Two years earlier the same Soviet journalist was writing praise of the revolutionary armed struggle in Venezuela under the direction of the FLN/FALN.
In sum, Moscow's approach to the diffuse and varied conditions under which Communist partiesin Latin America had been quite pragmatic, and largely responsive to internal conditions beyond Soviet control. The Russians probably recognize their present inability to control the policies of the Latin American left and the unlikelihood of their achieving such control. Moscow's effort to exertover Latin American insurgent groups has been tempered by its experiences inhe Congo, eneral rule, the Russians have encouraged rebel factions to adopt less militant revolutionary programs and to concentrate instead on politicalin collaboration with other "progressivehis attitude reflects Moscow's view that prevalent political conditions in Latin America demonstrate that the "united front" tactic holds out the promise of more success in more countries than any other course.
At the same tine, the USSR's political andstake in the continent is relatively small and it stands to lose little by providing insurgents with some assistance as long as it does not risk running seriously afoul of the US. The USSR considers such support as the only alternativeomplete loss of control and influence over "progressiven Venezuela, the Soviet's action in supplying some of the funds for the prosecution of the FLN/FALNfs campaign of rural guerrilla warfare was largelyby the hope of regaining some leverage over the future direction of the effort in Venezuela.
Communist China and the Venezuelan Armed Struggle
The PCV's program and rationale for the armed struggle, particularly after the party placedon rural rather than urban warfare, seems on the surface to have been patterned closely after
Chinese revolutionary doctrine. Chinosoof wars of national liberation In underdeveloped areas had not completely neglected the Venezuelans, Three PCV leaders, including Pompeyo Marquez, were among the Latin American representatives in Peking Mao had lectured this group on Chineseexperience and emphasized its applicability to the Latin American area, pointing out that theuphoaval demonstrated that the "imperialist paper tiger" could be defeated in its own "backyard." Other Venezuelan Communists have traveled to China and some have been trained there in subsequent years*
But tho Chinese have notronounced influenco on the path which the PCV has chosen to follow In fact, it is unusual that the hard-line faction of the PCV did not turn more to China to reinforce its arguments in justification of the armed struggle and to obtain tangible forms of assistance from this source. It must have been aware that the Ecuadoroan Communists were given generous Chinese aid on one occasion for thestage of revolution.
Although many PCV leaders are versed in Chinese Communist history and probably have considerablefor Chinesehe hard and soft line Venezuelan Communists, respectively, do not in any sense fit Into pro-Chinese and pro-Soviet molds. Not thus far. at any rate. By way ofseveral other Latin American Communist parties, most of which have not yet engaged in the "armedave fragmented and developedpro-Chinese and pro-Soviet organizations. The Colombian Communist Partyecent example.
eneral way, the PCV has been Influenced by Chinese doctrine on revolutionarywhich in practical application is not easily differentiated from Cubanapparently to no greater degree than most Latin American parties. The Venezuelan Communist definition of armedas the "superior form of struggle" isto the Chinese line and probably of Chinese PCV leaders have also studied the major works of Chinese apostles like Mao and Llu Shao-chl, and apparently applied some of these ideas ex post facto to their own experiences in the domestic
The PCV leaders see some parallels between their experience and that of the Chinese, but mostly in retrospect. The important guerrilla leader, Douglas Dravo, has observed that Venezuela will pass through Mao's three stages of guerrilla struggle. Moreover, Venezuelan Communists are told to follow certain Chinese tactics; the guerrillas, for example, are advised to adhere to Mao's instruction and be "like fish in the water." Chinese theory, example, and influence did not stimulate the PCV to action, however. The Venezuelan partyon-Chinese tactic by initially adopting urbanin the searchuick victory, and turned to guerrilla warfare and the "prolonged struggle" in the countryside only after this effort failed. It might be noted, however, that this approach was also non-Cuban in origin and dictated by the fact that the PCV had an urban apparatus and urban support but little peasant backing. When pointing to the need to Revitalize urban terrorist units as ancomplement to guerrillaCVleader recently stated, "This is not China."
Geographical remoteness, the PCV's traditional tie to Moscow, limitations on Chinese resources available for subversive activities in Latin America, and the problems in channeling aid without andiplomatic mission in the hemisphere (except in Cuba) are factors limiting Chinese influence on the PCV. The Chinese are known to have trained at least three groups of Venezuelan Communists inwarfare, but are not believed to have provided any other direct support in sizable amounts for the armed struggle in Venezuela as of arty leader claimed in August, however, that he hada Chinese commitment to supply substantial monetary aid.
Despite their nominal impact on the PCV, the Chinese Communists have consistently regarded the Venezuelan armod struggle with unqualified approval. They have alsoontinuing Interest in Venezuelan political, economic, and social Chinese propaganda media have praised the "popular revolution" in Venezuela and its leadership in glowing terms.
amcin mjssuu Ul fpKing iicvicw singled out the Venezuelan and Colombian parties as the two in Latin America which have "taken the path of the armed struggle" to prove the axiom that "political power grows out of the barrelnhe secretary general of the CCP, whil.roup of Latin American trainees, noted that Venezuelaountry which couldocal point for coordinating revolutionary activities in the hemisphere, f
j ccp flPProval of the FCV path and the trend of violence in Venezuela was also demonstrated in4 by the lavish treatment given toPCV leader Eduardo Gallegos Mancera.
Attitudes of Other Communist Pert!eg
Several of the pro-Soviet Latin Americanparties have apparently viewed the armed struggle in Venezuela with misgivings. Some may have registered strong disapproval. There is little available information to appraise the attitudes of individual parties and leaders toward tho PCV during this period. Except for the Cuban party and the
Colombian Communist Party, tho PCV's liaison with fraternal organizations in the area has been only limited and sporadic. The resentment of several Latin American.Communist parties against Cuba for promoting subversive activities in their countries through other than "orthodox" channels may, however, have rubbed off on the PCV.
At the "Continental Congress in Support of the Cubaneld in Brasiliahe PCV is believed to have faced sharp criticism for"Chinese deviationist" policies fromof some pro-Soviet parties in attendance. on orders from his party, Alberto Lovera, the PCV delegate to Brasilia, traveled to certain South American capitals after the meeting to explain the PCV program of armed struggle to fraternal Although his itinerary is not known, he did confer in Santiago with the secretary general of the Chilean Communist Party, who reportedly declined to extend public "solidarity" to the PCV. About one year earlier, the(^Brazilian Communist Party hadcriticized the PCV for launching guerrilla warfare without masscriticism presumably forwarded in writing to the PCV central committee in Caracas.
The Havana meeting of Latin American Communist parties in4esolution calling for hemispheric solidarity and support for the Venezuelan armed struggle. This resolution was not passed with spontaneous enthusiasm, however. Lovera, one of the Venezuelan delegates, de-scribad the attitudes among Latin American parties as not precisely an "acquiescence in" butforced tolerance toward the armed path." Although he noted that other Latin Americanar better understanding of the PCV program after his bilateral discussions with them at Havana, he also admitted that they were notsatisfied with his explanations. Moreover, the delegates at Havana were not prepared tolanket endorsement to the Venezuelan thesis that "the only path of the Communist movement in Latin America is war."
ommentary on what happened behind the scenes at Havana suggests that the resolutions
as applied to the armed struggle in Latin America wereargeompromise between Moscow and the pro-Soviet parties on the one hand and Cuba and those parties which were already involved inon the other.
The Italian Communist Party's Role
One other Communist party which has shown an active interest in the Venezuelan situation is the Italian Communist Party (PCI). In recent years, the PCI has maintained contacts with both the hard-line and soft-line factions of the Venezuelan party, which has had its own representatives in Rome, at least for extensive periods, Aristo Ciruzzi, an official of the PCI foreign relations bureau, has made two known trips to Caracas in the past two years, and has stated that his partyainof communication between the Castro regime and the PCV.
The FCI has taken the presumably self-chosen role of mentor to the Venezuelan party andfor the CPSU. Ciruzzi claims that the latter role has the consent of Moscow, though he does not assert that the CPSU requested the services. Two incidents during the past year, however, suggest that Moscow may have given more than tacit consent to the Italian effort. One was the dispatch of Ciruzzi to Caracas in4 to obtain moreinformation on the true status of the PCV than was available intrip which followed shortly after the Havana conference. The otherwas the confiscationizable sum of money from an Italian Communist who entered Venezuela in
The PCI's standing with the Venezuelan party was probably enhanced by the Italian party's knownon the Sino-Soviet dispute in defense of the equality of all Communist parties and the exclusive right of each to interpret the proper path towithin its own "jurisdiction." The PCI's avowed purpose is to encourage the Venezuelan party toits popular base by resuming gradually aof mass struggle and by reducing the emphasis on the armed struggle.
The Italian party had no perceptible impact on the Venezuelan Communist program beforeut iteasonable surmise that the PCV's searchgovernment of democratics set forth in the central committee plenum ofay conform to what thespeaking for thein mind for the party's future. The PCI's ability to influence the Venezuelan party is of course limited unless the Italian guidance is known to echo Moscow's views and unless some tangible assistance is held out as inducement.
The Algerian Example and the PCV
uccessful, socialist-oriented uprisingolonial power, the Algerian examplean influence on the PCV comparable, in away, to the Cuban revolution. PCV leadersfound the Algerian armed struggle morerealistic, and applicable to their own environment than that of China; they probably believed that the settlement of the Algerian conflict would have similarities to their own "inevitable victory against imperialism." Venezuelan Communists dissected the Algerian example of the "prolongedhich also combined both urban and rural violence, and were duly Impressed by what they found. ]
Castro's close ties with the Ben Bella regime probably intensified the PCV's interest. Inastro reportedly advised Venezuelan Communists that Algeria should be the PCV "supply base for war materials." Prior to Ben Bella's ouster, the Cubans were believed to be exploring the possibilities of channeling aid to the Venezuelans through Algeria. The MIR was also seeking help from this
Algeria also appears to have provided the model for the establishment of the FLN and FALNunited front" political-military Both the titles and objectives of these
organizations, which the PCV and MIR superimposed on the armed struggle) were directly adapted from Algerian prototypes. The FLN was designed toupreme political authority directing andthe armed movement (FALN) but sufficiently flexible ideologically to allow for theof all "patriotic" groups in the liberation movement. As early as the Third Congresshe PCV had reportedly contemplated formingront after the Algerian model as soon as"ripened."
ir the pcvs international position
The PCV's primary concern during the period under review has continued to be with domestic developments, not with international Communist party affairs. But it has shown itself conscious of the larger worldin the rationale it adopted to justify its move from the via pacifica to the lucha armada, and partly in the posTtioii"i't has taken regarding the Sino-Soviet dispute.
The PCV's Rationale of its Program
In its shift from the mass struggle to the armed struggle the PCV, as has been noted in some detail earlier in this paper, was motivatedariety of considerations in which calculations of immediate advantage and other opportunistic factorsore significant part than ideology. The victorious hard-line faction nevertheless attempted toind of theory and philosophy ofafter the strategy was well advanced. Thewas twofold: first, to justify the program to dissenters, weak-hearted temporizers and adamant opponents within its own ranks and those of its allies; second, to explain the armed strugglearger public, including the international Communist family. The last audience was particularly important in view of the PCV's position of neutrality in the Sino-Soviet dispute. eneral sense, the relative timing of action and philosophical justification followed that of Cuba. Castro formulated his theory of revolution and exported it to the hemisphere after his successful performance.
Pompeyo Marquez, the veteran PCV agitator and clandestine leader, was also the intellectual theorist of the lucha armada. Other Communist writers in the hard-line camp and guerrilla leaders, like Douglas Bravo, repeated his ideas faithfully with no innovations; the hard-line faction of the MIR did
is mougnts on revolution and those of otherappeared in Communist and non-Communist public information media, foreign and domestic.
Many of these articles on revolution were drafted after the party suffered reverses in the strategy of armed struggle.
The central theme of the ex post factoof revolution in Venezuela was its The hard-liners maintained that the forces" nad exhausted every means of avoiding revolution and violence, but "the oligarchy" and "imperialist forces" had closed all approaches to the via paclflea. The alternative to perpetualto colonialism" was the path of revolution.
Even this inflexible premise was flexible. did not denounce the "delusion of the electoral farce" until the PCV and MIR had failed in theirto worknited electoral front onterms with one or more of the legalparties for the3 elections. He only then asserted that "the struggle is raisedoftier plane. Victory must be sought through processes where heroism, courage, and the combative decisions form the elemental principles to unite our people for conquest."
Marquez reinforced the thesis of "inevitable revolution" with the doctrine of "inevitableafter the reverses in3 elections. This idea seemed to be related to boosting morale among the militants. In their doctrine thealso stressed the rationalization that the suppressive measures of the oligarchic ruling groups had provoked the revolution of "self-defense" against annihilation of the "democratic forces." Thiswas almost Identical to one long used by the neighboring Colombian Communist Party, which hadwith force efforts to re-establishgovernmentnL authority over Communist-controlled rural enclaves on grounds of "autodefense." The PCV claimed that the Betancourt regime had embarked on
a violent counterrevolution against the Venezuelan The people are forced to respond with revolutionary war into advance along the road which leads to the conquest of their independence and sovereignty. Thisust war. Justice Is
on the side of our people. Victory will inexorably be on their side, too.
After3 Marquez, who apparently had always doubted the chancesuickemphasized that the armed struggle would be "prolonged." "Prolonged" was not precisely defined, although wide variations in the length of the Cuban, Algerian, and Chinese revolutions were pointed out to explain the difficulty of setting any deadline. Furthermore, the party not only acknowledged the prolonged nature of thebut asserted that it would be "fierce and brutal"ery obvious reason derivedodified Chinese Communist proverb: Theand oligarchic forces would not readilyVenezuela, "the most priceless jewel in the imperial Yankee crown. Imperialism and oligarchism are indeed paper tigers but only strategically speaking. Tactically speaking, they are tigers.
Cubarincipal source of inspirationdoctrine on revolution. The writingsof Castro and Che Guevara and theof Havana erehaving unquestioned
validity. For example, ine fuV endorsed the Cuban premise: "In America and in the rest of the world, the revolution will win out, but revolutionaries will not be able to sit in the doorsteps of their homes and watch the cadaver of imperialism pass by. Similarly the PCV swallowed the Cuban gospel that:
wherever Yankee monopoly is strongest and oligarchies most brutal in repressing the people, the revolutionary explosion of the people becomes. - The cardinal idea has been adopted by the Venezuelan revolutionary forces as follows: The armed struggle does not exclude but presupposes the utilization of all other forms of the armed strugglenitary work in which all forces of the revolutionary front should participate; the armed struggleork of the
During the second phase of violence, thefaction de-emphasized Cubanbecause of the decline of Castro's prestige and partly to muffle the charges of enemies in and outside the party that the revolutionaries had blindly attempted to copy the Castro model. Its aim was to convince the Venezuelan public that the armed struggle was "made in Venezuela byand nationaiisticaily inspired. apologists now stress the line that the PCV is fully aware of the revolutionary experience of all socialist countries and has distilled alLadaptable to Venezuela. But the local lucha armada is presentedpeciala mechanical reproduction of the Soviet, Chinese,Algerian, Vietnamese or any other revolutionary struggle.
This "philosophical approach" has recently been applied to guerrilla warfare by Alberto Lovera, the top Communist leader in charge of paramilitay e stated to party members inthat now is theo transform our own experience into concrete The books ofothers /on guerrilla warfare^ are very good, but now is the time we develop our own doctrines from our own experience.1'
The PCV and the Sino-Soviet Dispute
The PCV has been traditionally loyal to Moscow and subservient to its dictates on international policies and issues. Prior to the Sino-Sovietthe party is not known to have balked at any directive issuing from the CPSU and it has followed faithfully Soviet propaganda guidelines on world Most senior Leaders of the PCV have received their formal training and political indoctrination in the USSR. Many are indebted to the CPSU for travel, scholarships for their children, medical care, and other types of Communist fringe benefits. Until Castro came to power, the party looked almostto Moscow for ideological guidance and tangible support in various forms.
Although Castro and the Sino-Soviet dispute have at least temporarily upset the foreign orientation of both the "heart" and the "stomach" of the PCV, the party's international roots are still in Moscow. Both the hard and soft-line factions have soughtfavor as the armed struggle has run its course in Venezuela; and the hard-liners have made concerted efforts to couch the PCV's "neutral" stand in the Sino-Soviet dispute in terms palatable to the CPSU.
As noted previously, the CPSU has probably been concerned that other free world parties, particularly those in the Western Hemisphere, have viewed the PCV's "neutralism" and program of armed struggle as anin fact of Chinese "sectarianism." The Chinese themselves apparently interpret PCV neutrality as favorable to their position, and it has been. On the surface, at least, the PCV seems to have been applying much of the Chinese doctrine in practice; and some of the PCV's rationale for its programthe Chinese view that peaceful coexistence threatens the revolutionary spirit of Communists in underdeveloped areas dominated byhinese satisfaction with the trend of events inwas indicated by the statement of an official of the New China News Agencyanking the PCV as the only party in Latin America on the Chinese side of the fence.
The influence of Cuba on the PCV is againin its neutral position in the dispute. Although the party found comforting support in the independent lines of the Italians and Rumanians, it basically leaned on Cuban theories and held tight to Cuban coattails to avoid isolation in the hemisphere. Whether the PCV would have stood up alone for neutralism without Cuban companyoot question.
The PCV expanded the rationale of armedprimarily for domestica more comprehensive apology for its neutralism in the Sino-Soviet controversy. The position was based largely on such irrefutable sources as the Second Declaration of Havana in0 Declaration of Moscow, andew quotations from Khrushchev. The party cited these materials to uphold the equality and autonomy of Communist parties and the right of each one to be theof local conditions and arbiter of the proper path to socialism within its sphere. Within these major points, the PCV sporadically expressedover the disunity within the internationalfamily, the hope that all difficulties would be settled amicably through discussion, and thethat any action which aggravated points of difference between Moscow and Peking should be avoided at all cost.
The PCV's rationale appears for the most part pro-Soviet in terminology but also reflectsof pressures applied on the party afterhe. Venezuelan Communists
had preierrea to toiiow the via paciTicaat ail cost the unneces-sary shedding of blood of the working class. But the party found that the Betancourt regime had "closed every door to peacefulnd consequently the people's vanguard was forced into the national liberation by the brutal counterrevolution of the imperialist-backed oligarchy. In accordance with0 Declaration of Moscow, the Third PCVand similar infallible sources, which set forth the doctrine of equality of all Communistrevolutionary wars against imperialism are "not only tolerable but inevitable."
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The PCV further asserted that its own national liberation and other anti-imperialist armedin no way rejected the priority objective ofhird world war. Moreover, the central committee of the PCV insisted that "peacefuldoes not imply in any way the attenuation of revolutionary struggles of peoples." Unlike the Chinese, however, the Venezuelans did not denounce the doctrine of peaceful coexistence:
It must be perfectly clear that theof the colonial and semicolonialfor their independence and against all forms of colonialism and neocolonialism, following the path which corresponds to the concrete conditions of each country, as experience' shows to this point, does not contradict the maintenance of world peace and peaceful coexistence. On the contrary, these struggles have beencontributions to.the weakening offorces and to fortifying the peace camp. Cuba and Algiers are eloquentwhich require no additional comment.
IOn more than one occasion, however, at home ana abroad, PCV leaders have felt compelled tointo charges by other fraternal organizationsthe party was not following any foreign For example, as late asllogos, tatement published by the Italian Communist daily L. 'Unlta, reiterated that thearmed struggle and orientation were strictly national products:
This is ourthe Chinese, not the Soviet, not the Cuban; and we demand respect for it, just as we respect whatever Line is adopted by any of the other parties; the Chilean, for example.
In an open letter dated4 and printed in Venezuela, the politburo similarly denied aallegation that its tactics were determined by Moscow or "Our party is jealous of its
demonstrated and reiterated autonomy in theof its political line."
The widening breach between Moscow and Peking2 gradually forced some type of response and/or alignment upon the other Communist parties. The issue confronted the PCV with difficult choices, which posed practical dangers to the hard-linecommitted to revolution and tied in alliance with the MIR. The MIR in turn was badly split into hard and soft-line camps, thus complicating the dilemma. Under these circumstances, the PCV'sof Moscow might have produced an open split within its own ranks, defection among extremist youth elements, and possibly serious repercussions within the leadership of the paramilitary forces. The factious and uncontrollable MIR hard-liners would very probably have been alienated.
The nuances of ideological positions in the Sino-Soviet controversy were apparently notin Communist and MIR ranks. Siding withcarried the implied condemnation of localand of the hard-liner PCV faction forthis strategy in Venezuela. Moreover, many of the soft-liners in both the PCV and MIR by4 were seeking to limit the armed struggle and were attempting to tag the hard-liners asad the Sino-Soviet dispute notirecton these domestic Communist issues, the PCV might have declared its support of Moscow with little hesitation. The question of publicly and expressly backing the Chinese and criticizing the Soviets in the dispute was not even considered.
PCV leaders attempted to restrict intraparty discussion of the Sino-Soviet dispute to thefeasible, apparently in order to avoidand reportedly ordered cessation of such discussion in party circles in
In its public propaganda, the PCV carefully avoided mention of the international controversy and refrained from criticizing either the CCP or the CPSU.
The period of evasion and temporizing ended after the East German Party Congress in Berlin in At this meeting the Soviet delegates pushedesolution which favored their position in the dispute, and only Cuba andamong theatin American partiesrefused to sign. Jesus Faria, chiefdelegate, consistently pro-Soviet and in opponent of the armed struggle in his country,resisted strong Soviet pressures toto the resolutlon--pressure which Khrushchev himself may have applied.
After the Berlin gathering, the PCV was clearly in the "neutralist" group of parties into the Sino-Soviet dispute. The party is believed, however, to have dispatched high-level emissaries to Moscow on at least one occasion prior
to Khrushchev's ouster toetter
standing of Its position.[
about tnis time that Pravaa published the statements of Americo Chacon, callingeturn to the mass struggle in Venezuela.
Soviet pressure apparently in part provoked the PCV totand in defense of its autonomy and independence in relations with other Communista unique step In the annals of party history. In addition to Cuban support, the PCV also turned to examples of autonomous and Independent leanings of other parties. For example, it translated andverbatim in Principles, the party's theoretical
journal, the text of the Rumanian party declaration of The document, inter alia, criticized Chinese polemics, defended the independence and equality of each party as the just norm of inter-party relations, and insisted on nonintervention in the internal affairs of other parties. According to the Rumanian thesis, there cannot exist aparty" and an "offspring party." The PCV also endorsed similar autonomous doctrines of the Italian Communist Party and the ideas contained in theof Palmiro Togliatti.
Tohe PCV managed to maintain its balance on the precarious tightrope created by the Sino-Soviet dispute. It had avoided an open split within its own ranks and an open break with the hard-line MIR. The decisions of the Moscow-backed Havana meeting of Latin American partieshich endorsed the Venezuelan liberation movement, had apparently been preceded by an easing of CPSU pressure on the party with reference to the Sino-Soviet dispute. Moscow had probably also loosened its purse strings to support the paramilitaryin Venezuela. Thus the party had managed to assert its "independence" without retaliation from the CPSU and without provoking propaganda attacks from Peking. At the same time, PCV loyaltiesin Moscow, rather than shifting to Peking; and party leaders continued to demonstrate their sensitivity to Moscow's views and to seek tangible aid there.
The Outlook for the Party
The picture that emerges from this analysis of the PCV is oneolitical party primarilywith the conquest of power on the national Bcene and only secondarily with ideologicalor any other consideration extending beyond Venezuela's borders. The party conflict between the rival strategies of mass struggle and aroed struggle was in fact decided mainly on pragmatic grounds; but the PCV, like most political parties, was naturally anxious to avoid unnecessaryof any important segment of its support, and was correspondingly insistent on the ideological correctness of itseven in ItsJustifications of the armed struggle the
note of Venezuelan nationalism was evident. Ifany of this period thereeally critical influence on the party from abroad, it came not from Moscow or Peking but from Havana as the emotional appeal of Castroism. And Castroism was potent not merely because it inspired the PCV leadership but because it spokeroad segment of Venezuelan public opinion and so conditioned the nationalenvironment to which the PCV leadership
Down to the latter halft least, the PCV managed the difficult feat of holdingational entity, accepting all theit could get from abroad, and gettingas little involved as possible in international Communist disputes. Partlyesult of the armed struggle, its needs for foreign help were generally high, and "neutrality" in international Communist disputesonvenient formula both foraid from any source and for trying to keep foreign disputes from splitting the Venezuelan party.
The future course of the party is impossible to predict with accuracy. The PCV has suffered grave dangers to unity within the past seven years and within the party is now deeply embeddedesult of the lucha armada phase. As ofhe PCV's plans to renew emphasis on legal political activity in pursuitgovernment of democratic peace" were causing serious friction with the MIR hard-line faction. The young leaders of both the FCV and MIR are not effectively controlled by the Communist hierarchy and have tied their futures to the success of the armed struggle. The MIR hasconducted liaison with the pro-Chineseof the Colombian Communist Party, which defected inndeparate organization. Thus, within the ranks of the PCV and the MIR are large factions determined to continue the armed They are the embryoelatively strong pro-Chinese Farty in Venezuela.
If Moscow and Peking become formal competitors for authority in the guidance of the world Communist movement, and if the PCV decides on gradualof the armed struggle, there is bound to be a
radical reshuffling of loyalties, leaders, andin Communist and pro-Communist parties In Should these eventualities materialize,is not likely to wind up without an organized following in the country. In any event Moscow can probably no longer rely upon the blind and automatic obedience of the PCV when the party considers its immediate interests threatened by Internationalissues.
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