“The National Dialog convened by President Chavez will broaden the participation of the people in the revolutionary process and

Marelis Perez Marcano, Deputy of the Fifth Republic Movement party, president of the Permanent Commission on Women, Family and Youth of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gave an exclusive interview to Susana Santos, special envoy of Hora do Povo to Caracas.

As the US gears up for another shot at getting rid of a man who just won’t do as the Bush junta tells him, Spectre is pleased to publish an English translation of this inspiring interview.

Hora do Povo - What are the objectives of the Chavez government in convening the National Dialog?

Marelis Perez - The dialog convoked by President Hugo Chavez Frias is a dialog which seeks paths to strengthen the process of participatory democracy and to advance the revolutionary process in which our country is living. Venezuelan society has arrived at a state of polarization so deep that, facing definite situations of provocation and conspiracy, we might possibly fall into an armed confrontation.

The phantom of civil war is a phantom which today roams the streets of Venezuela. We don’t want this. Popular support for the changes implemented by the Chavez government is so great that it permits us, and this is the clear direction we receive from the president, to realize this revolution in peace and democracy. This massive, participatory revolution demands the full participation of the people.

We know that this kind of war, gloomy, cowardly, and the terrorism which feeds on it, estranges the mobilization of the people. It separates them from the struggle for their rights, for the solution of their problems.

Opening roads

In this sense, the dialog for which the president of the Republic has convened the country is not a dialog for conciliation - in the bad sense of the word - nor for retreat from the gains we have achieved in this new political system which we are building. It is a dialog, as I said, to open roads to reflection and of creating the potential for the participation of all national sectors, from those who have already joined and of those who, for one motive or another - the interference of the media, of interests outside the country is very heavy - are confused.

We want to correct mistakes in order to advance the revolutionary process. We want to review, improve, our methods and styles of work, which at times give the idea that they are closed or overbearing. Without doubt, beginning with April 11th, when the enemies of our revolution orchestrated themselves to give an anti-democratic and dictatorial blow to this process of transformation, beginning with the experience we lived through when a number of Venezuelans lost their lives, when Chavez himself could have lost his life, and the people gave an unheard of example of popular sovereignty, rescuing not only their leader but reaffirming as well the changes which are necessary for our county, it became necessary to evaluate the new moment. This is why the president convened the dialog.

The lessons which we Venezuelans, and all Latin Americans, will draw from these events will be extremely deep and rich Our party, the MVR, supports this convocation unanimously, as well as does the alliance of forces which supports the Bolivarian government.

The National Assembly has within its structure the Federal Council of Government, which is an institution in which the National Executive, the regional executives - the governors - and the municipal executives - the mayors - meet together. That is, it is an institutional space which strengthens the Constitution, strengthens democracy, and strengthens the search from common political agreements to develop the country and better the conditions of life of the people. This can be a fruitful dialog which the president has made possible.

The State Councils of Planning and Coordination of Public Policies are another example of dialog and coordination.

This is not a dialog of functionaries, it is not a gathering of cronies, it is not an undercover negotiation. It is an open dialog for the public, for the country, it is a dialog of action between diverse sectors, at times ideologically opposed. The elementary condition by which it proceeds is the disposition to solve the problems of the country, to develop them, to place the interests of Venezuelans above whatever minutia, not to speak of miserly interests.

HP - The Commission of National Dialog has already met and dealt with various problems. What did it advance?

MP - We advanced much. Through the Tables of Dialog, the government is seeking, and is achieving to a great extent, to deactivate the conflicts and the policies of terror which these fascist, ultra-rightist sectors linked to foreign international economic groups , mainly the U.S.A. try to impose. We have succeeded in lowering the tension which they tried to maintain in society.

In what was debated in this instance, ministers Tobias Nobrega and Felipe Perez, ministers of Finance and Planning, last week presented the National Economic Plan, called Plan for Consensus, which despite the criticisms of the opposition, generated a very great confidence in the population and in large sectors of the employers. It is an economic policy which prioritizes social questions, which strengthens the small and middle national industry, which develops the economic base of PDVSA, (the national petroleum trust), with the Savings Fund of the enterprise, which keeps resources to be invested in programs for development of the petroleum industry. It directs resources to the area of tourism, agriculture and for the fishing industry. And most importantly, it is a plan which does not depend on any foreign resources, of the IMF, or anyone. It is an optimization of our resources.

There has been a marked participation by the workers. The Federation of Petroleum Workers is integrated through its president, Rosales; The Single Trade Union of Iron Workers, of the State of Bolivar, which joins the workers in this important fundamental economic area for the country; the Transport workers, represented by the Metro Trade Union; the public employees; and I could continue giving examples, many others in the agrarian area. The workers’ organizations are participating in the solution of the country’s problems. I insist on this because some recalcitrant sectors of Democratic Action, of Copei, sectors of the rotten cliques of Fedecameras, and of the CTV, and some businessmen owners of means of communication involved in the coup, refused to participate in the Dialog on the pretext that Carlos Ortega, who presents himself as president of the CTV, was not convened in the representation of the trade union center. The National Electoral Council does not legitimate this leadership because, when they had elections, they did not submit all of the records, "lost" more than half, did not furnish ballot boxes, totals, made a shameful fraud. As evidence, in the Conference of the ILO, which met in Geneva, the participation of Ortega in the proceedings of the organization was repudiated and refused by the workers of all the world. He represents nothing good, much less the Venezuelan workers.

That anti-national sectors then use this pretext to no take part. The Church is integrated in the Tables of Dialog, the AgroFishery Federation, which brings together the agricultural businesses, also Fedeagro, also the Cattlemen’s Federation, Fedeindustria. The governors are integrated in it. For example, the governor of the State of Zulia, Manuel Rosales, Senor Guillermo Call, de Monagas, who are of the opposition, are participating in the Commission directed by the vice-president, Jose Vicente Rangel.

HP - What are the most notable advances made by the patriotic forces?

MP - I would like to analyze some questions which demonstrate the advance of the government of Hugo Chavez. On the coming 5th of July, important changes will occur in the National Armed Forces. There is going to be a significant military promotion. This fact makes the putschists very nervous because, certainly, a new authentically democratic leadership will be born in the Armed Forces, with respect for the Constitution. There will be a better cohesion. This makes the anti-Venezuela sectors nervous.

The crisis which exists, for which there are not yet conditions to subdue completely, according to them it is not the product of the anti-people, anti-Venezuela policy of surrender which they applied and developed for decades. The crisis for them is Chavez, because the president generates confidence in the people. Because he gave them the perspective that they could resolve the problems of the country, working together, as a sovereign national policy, which is not the destruction which neoliberalism provokes, speculation, the giving away of our wealth. You have to see what they are saying about Brazil. It seems that the crisis which exists was invented by us, we who make and believe in a different, sovereign policy. They want the people to think that the problem of Brazil is Lula. It is like that here, too.

President Chavez explained it well on Saturday: "Some in the world have come to place as the thesis the elimination of the Armed Forces, of sovereignty, of the concepts of the Fatherland, the people. Venezuela raises the banner of sovereignty. Venezuela has made itself into the point of reference for all those in the world who struggle for the sovereignty of the peoples".: He finished, saying, "Venezuela is a world reference, beyond the American continent, of all those who struggle for the strengthening of the national State, of the Nation, of the Fatherland, concepts which they claim to be effaced by the currents of savage neoliberalism." That is why they are against the process which we are living.

HP - How have the coup-supporting media behaved since the 11th of April?

MP - This wave of rumors, these attempts to intimidate our people which the sectors involved in the conspiracy of the failed coup of April 11 have engaged in, is a product of their desperation, of the incontestable strengthening which President Hugo Chavez has won together with the Venezuelan people and international support. These groups, more and more isolated, put out rumors by internet, by telephone, distribute false videos, publicly vociferating menaces against the Bolivarian circles. They are being unmasked.  

Translated by John Manning.