In our country the 1960s began in an atmosphere full of opportunities and threats. After the overthrow of the military dictatorship in January 1958 as a result of the successful and courageous PCV alliance policy that led to a genuine popular uprising, the political situation was rapidly decomposing. The hopes aroused by the popular triumph over dictatorship were almost immediately betrayed by the so-called "landmark pact" by which the right-wing parties (the Social-Democrat AD and COPEI Christian Democrat, with URD's complicity as junior partner) agreed the exclusion of Communists and other progressive and popular forces of the new government. This pact later resulted in the formation of a two-party system for the preservation of the interests of imperialism and the local bourgeoisie associated to it.
Between 1962 and 1967, the PCV developed the tactics of armed struggle in response to unpatriotic and unpopular governments that emerged from that covenant. Without discussing the mistakes made by the Party in the series of political decisions that led to the armed struggle, nor committed during those war years both in the military direction of the actions and especially their political leadership, in 1965 it was quite clear that there were no conditions in the country for the successful development of such tactics, and our Central Committee was well aware of that. At that time the possibilities for a military withdrawal and organized reintegration of our Party in the national political life were debated .
But this debate was hampered by the rise in our ranks of a factional outbreak that sought the autonomy of the military wing and the supremacy of the latter on the collective political leadership. The personal ambitions of some of the military commanders (especially Douglas Bravo), fed by the left adventurist positions of some others who insisted on the viability of a military victory (Teodoro Petkoff, Freddy Muñoz), created a very complex situation in our Party, which took over two years for the final decision of the military withdrawal.
From left petty-bourgeois positions, typical of a radicalized intelligentsia, the opportunists of the time promoted in our ranks the cult of the Cuban guerrilla experience as an example to follow, but in the abstract, without taking into account the specific conditions prevailing in Venezuela, and more importantly, without organic connection with the wide sections of the people and especially the working class. It is symptomatic that simultaneously with militarist deviation, a process of almost complete abandonment of Party work in the labour front and contempt for the work of peasant organization in everything that did not have to do directly with military activity was also developed:
“...the leadership of the Party was seized by a disdain for the trade union work and it came to the conclusion that, in practice, it was not worth to devote material nor human resources to the trade union organizations or, in general, to any non-armed mass oriented work
In some years of the 60s the trade union leaders of the PCV were considered like pariah, unnecessary elements for the revolutionary victory that was expected to be obtained exclusively by the armed struggle” .
Worst of military diversion was settled with the expulsion of Bravo and others, who then founded the party called Venezuelan Revolutionary Party (PRV), already disappeared. However, other elements in our ranks continued feeding leftist adventurism and attacking the unity of our organization. The extension of that state of affairs created the conditions, the "breeding ground" for the development of new factionalism that would emerge at the end of the decade.
The decision of military withdrawal was finally taken by the 8th Central Committee Plenum of Emergency in April 1967, which set the general guidelines of PCV on armed struggle, since then ratified again and again, incorporated since 1980 to the Party program and valid until today. We claim and honor the heroic sacrifice of the hundreds of activists who gave their lives in those years and the thousands more who suffered prison, torture and persecution, and recognize the legitimacy of the use of armed tactics by people when conditions demand it, but we will always endeavor to promote the development of our strategic objectives in the least traumatic way possible and winning the broadest popular support for that goal:
“The PCV will devote its efforts so the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, anti-oligarchic, democratic and popular transformations, and the passage of Venezuela to socialism, take place with as few sacrifices as possible. Therefore we will be sustained by the workers' organization, adding all possible forces in order to express our people's will, making the enemy impotent and avoiding provocations, but we will not hesitate in using the highest forms of struggle in order to obtain the workers' and people's victory, to defend the social and political conquests if the dominant classes use fraud or counter-revolutionary and fascist violence in their selfish interests to distort the people's will” .
Throughout 1969, as the process of preparation and discussion of the 4th National Congress of the Party began, those who had more strongly encouraged opportunistic positions in the previous years finally announced their break with the PCV. The "dissidents", rather than explain and defend their views in the different organs during the discussions that were beginning just launched a public campaign of attacks against the Party, against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, against Leninism .
Several weeks before the celebration of the 4th National Congress in January 1971, Pompey Marquez, Petkoff, Eloy Torres and Alfredo Maneiro Muñoz, among others, had left our ranks and initiated the organization of a new party, MAS, which was initially presented as a defender of the genuine communist positions, and even claimed the name of "Venezuelan Communist Force." Due to the prestige that these leaders had reached, especially among our younger or less experienced members, the damage caused by this desertion was very large, particularly in the ranks of the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV), which were significantly decreased, and between intellectual and professional sectors .
The 4th National Congress of the PCV and the Central Committee elected in that event, immediately sparked a counter-offensive that sought to expose the true character of the new organization, whose ideological vacillation, composition, structure and internal dynamics inexorably condemned it to drift and move further away from their intended left positions:
“There is nothing new nor original in all formulations made [by the dissidents]. And all that discourse, that alleged “new way of being socialist” is nothing else but a smoke screen to hide what is actually a right-wing scattering. Their practice since 1970 shows that this is the path they have chosen. And that path only leads to a fatal precipice” .
The subsequent development of events has vindicated our Party: Throughout the years, the alleged “new Communists” first decried the “real socialism”, almost immediately renounced Leninism (and the nickname “Communist Force”), then what they termed as “orthodox Marxism”, later to all Marxism, and finally to any form of genuine socialism. Today, the old MAS is just a name, increasingly incongruous with their actual political practice that has even led them to an alliance with the fascist right-wing in their efforts to derail the process of national liberation in progress in our country since 1999.
During the rest of the 1970s and the first half of 1980s, our Party had to face several other outbreaks of opportunism, but none of them as serious and damaging as those already mentioned. Between 1971 and 1974, the remnants of factional groups that had lagged behind in our ranks, and other elements that were consistent with those in practice, encountered an internal environment of greater discipline, a stronger organic life and a Party frankly decided to amend and re-proletarianize, in compliance with the agreements of the 4th Congress:
“...the latest crisis proves the need to proletarianize more and more our leadership, so it is indispensable to promote a higher number of wokers and peasants to the category of PCV leaders […] as the best guarantee for this Party to keep vigilant in order to reject the ideological and organizational smuggling from those who, coming from other social classes, usually come to the leadership of the PCV not to help the working class, but to modify its course...” .
Under such difficult internal conditions that made it difficult to disrupt again the life of the organization, the stragglers went away individually or in small groups, with relatively minor consequences. Other smaller groups left our Party and Youth in the mid-1980s (just before and just after our 7th National Congress, 1985), with even less relevant consequences.