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Venezuela: translating the revolution aims to promote solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution by providing translations of interesting and important Venezuelan news articles and opinion pieces. It welcomes genuine discussion and debate on the posted articles.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Differences between February 4, 1992 and February 27, 1989

The following is an excerpt from Hugo Chavez’s February 4, 2011 speech commemorating “4F” – the February 4 military rebellion he led in 1992. It touches on the “Un Grano de Maiz1” column I translated in the previous post. 

Differences between February 4, 1992 and February 27, 1989

Translated by Owen Richards
“Those that die for life cannot be said to be dead”. The army and I would like to emphasize this quote, 19 years after that patriotic day, a day which we should call the revolution of the 4th of February, it was within the national army where that force was nurtured ...
Yesterday I was reading, as I do almost every day, the "A grain of corn" column that an old comrade,Toby Valderrama, publishes in the Diario Vea [newspaper], and he makes a very interesting point there, as far as I understand it. He clearly establishes the differences that there was and are in history, for the lessons that history offers us, between that tremendous jolt, that tremendous rebellion of the 27th of February, that of the 28th of February, the Caracazo, and the revolution of the 4th of February.
Nobody planned the Caracazo. The Caracazo exploded in a spontaneous way, but it had no leadership, it had no political project, the people did not go towards the centre of power, no, they dispersed, they were massacred.
The 4th of February on the other hand obeyed a thought-out project, planned for several years. Right here in Valencia there were many meetings, near the hippodrome, this hippodrome that I know so well. There we frequently met with young officers—I'm talking about 1978. The first cells existed of what later would become the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200.
Chavez (standing, left) and his MBR-200 comrades

It was the end of the seventies and the eighties passed by in the same way. And within the National Army a force was amassing, growing in the Army. Meanwhile, nearly all the revolutionary political forces dispersed, dissolved, extinguished. And I remembered last night one of Simon Bolivar's phrases, in some document that Bolivar wrote: “the Army is the people that can”. That's how it happened here. This expression of Bolivar has its context, but I think that it was perfectly applicable to the context of Venezuela in the seventies, in the eighties and in the nineties – “the people that couldn't”, “the people that had no way”. That was shown perfectly by the Caracazo, the people couldn't, they didn't have power to influence the situation neither via the fixed, faked, manipulated elections, nor via other ways. The people could not through guerrilla war, the people could not in the factories, the working class could not, the campesinos could not, the students could not, in spite of their immense sacrifice.
The people could not. They kept bashing themselves against the wall, falling, picking themselves up and bashing against the wall again. And then the Bolivarian phrase - “the army is the people that can” - became a reality, and that was shown on the 4th of February, 1992.
But today the phrase has been transformed. We're no longer in 1992. It was the army, “the people that could”, because we are the children of the people that were in the army and we constitute a vanguard movement. It was a vanguard that set out at midnight on that 3rd of February, and that is another of the ideas that Toby Valderrama yesterday touched on in his "A Grain of Corn" column, and I think it’s really timely for the debate that we are having on the Strategic Lines of Political Action, because a vanguard is always needed.
There are those that proclaim anarchist ideas, that deny the need for organization, that deny the role of the vanguard. But in reality, Venezuelan history shows that the people without a vanguard is manipulated. A people without a conscious and committed vanguard tends to get lost in the spaces of the struggle.
The vanguard must be maintained, it must be strengthened. Today the vanguard is the party, it has to be a coherent organisation, with an ideological, political project. The Socialist Party must become a great vanguard. And, I’m going to say as well, the Army. The Army. And when I say the Army, I’m of course also referring to the Navy, the Air Force, the National Guard, and the Militia.  The Army has to continue to be a revolutionary vanguard of the people. 

Sourced from : Debate Socialista 
1 The “Un Grano de Maiz ("A grain of corn") blogsite by Toby Valderrama (Antonio Aponte) takes its name from a quote by 19th century Cuban independence hero, Jose Marti. Warning revolutionaries against striving for personal glory, Marti wrote: “All the glory in the world fits into a grain of corn”.

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