An Interview with Eduardo Rothe

Eduardo Rothe describes himself as a "fisherman and journalist." He is a member of Andres Izarra's team at the Ministry of Communication and Information of the Bolivarian Government in Venezuela. He agreed to respond to our questions on the process in progress.

Rouge et Vert: Eduardo, can you relate to us your political engagement and the reasons that led you to become part of the Bolivarian process?

Eduardo Rothe: I began to militate at the age of 15, in clandestinity, in the Young Communists of the Venezuelan C[ommunist] P[arty] and then in the MIR.[1] This militantism was especially oriented towards armed action and agitprop, and there was little theoretical education. Following the victory in Cuba, we believed that the guerrilla was going to triumph everywhere, but the military failure, the betrayal of the CP and the break between the USSR and China strongly demobilized us. Later on, I met an old Russian comrade, Marc Chirik, who came from the French Ultra-Left, with whom I and other young people formed a "study circle" that then became the councilist group Proletario. In Europe, I was active in the C.M.D.O.[2] in May [19]68 and afterwards in the SI.[3] In the course of the 1974-1976 period, I pursued my militant activities in Portugal and Italy. In short, I finally received a radical education.

I became a part of the Bolivarian process so as to put an end, once and for all, to the prior regime and, as a worker of the sea, to defend the vital laws that affect me. The enemy offensive separated the camps and, as the Cuban apostle Jose Marti says, it is necessary to be of one's time and with one's people at the same time, and, if this isn't possible, it is necessary to be with one's people.

R&V: How do you analyze the process in progress and how would you characterize it?

ER: It is a question of a revolution that one can call "nationalist revolutionary" in the classic sense of the term. And, as the class struggle exists, and as exploitation and pollution are manifest, the Venezuelan people are at the highest degree of consciousness in their history. In present-day democratic conditions, the relations between the popular movement and the government are sufficiently free to permit them to recognize their [own] strengths and their weaknesses, to correct them and to redefine their objectives. This dynamic permits us to actually advance on the terrain of politics and the social.

This process is difficult to characterize, because it is dynamic and transforms itself in proportion to the problems posed. We experiment with new forms of organization so as to resolve them.

R&V: How do you define President Hugo Chavez and the essential role that he plays in the revolutionary process?

ER: Hugo Chavez is the product of an era and, in its turn, this era is the product of its time, which favored political participation, access of the population to health [care], education, and different forms of organization. Chief of State, he doesn't pretend to be chief of the different movements, the chief of a party, or to express a unique way. He is a master of ceremonies who is well understood and perceived in Latin America and one can speak of "revolutionary reformism" to the extent that the reactionary forces have the media and military support of the Empire. For the people, he can not betray but he can be betrayed.

R&V: How do you see the future of the revolution?

ER: Very difficult. The Empire prepares aggressions and the past reconstitutes itself as a "fifth column" in the bureaucracy. But "the situation that prevents all turning back" is already real and the enemy deceives itself if it thinks it will suffice to eliminate Chavez or the government. This time, it is a party for good and a continental process.

[1] Movement of the Revolutionary Left.

[2] Council for Maintaining the Occupations.

[3] The Situationist International.

(Remarks collected by R. Neuville. Published in Rouge et Vert: Le Journal des Alternatifs, Number 222, 15 April 2005. All footnotes by the original publisher. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! July 2005.)

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