The people of Venezuela and the world are in mourning over the murder of the Bolivarian leader Robert Serra and his companion Maria Herrera on Oct. 1 in their home in Caracas. Robert Serra — the youngest elected representative to the National Assembly and leader of the youth wing of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) was an important figure and inspiration within the Bolivarian revolution. Known for his humility and warmth, Serra was a tireless worker in the fight for a self-determining, socialist Venezuela.
While the authorities are still conducting a full investigation there is ample evidence that exposes the role Colombian paramilitaries played in his assassination. Minister of Interior Relations Miguel Rodríguez Torres stated, “We are not dealing with unfortunate events committed by a common criminal. We are dealing with an intentional murder, planned and executed with great precision. According to the evidence obtained everything points to a planned, organized and detailed assassination technique.”
In a recently released video, right-wing Venezuelan spokesperson Lorent Saleh highlighted his links to former Colombian president and death squad organizer Álváro Uribe, and the acquisition of over $8,000 of weapons to be used for a “social cleansing,” apparently referring to his political opponents in the Chavista (supporters of deceased president Hugo Chávez’s revolution) camp. He outlines 20 targets for execution including the young, charismatic Chavista leader Robert Serra.
Why would the conscious people of the world think for a second that a ruling class still desperately grasping to maintain power is not capable of this vile, heinous crime against the collective interests of Venezuela’s working class? These are the very same political forces who orchestrated a bloody coup against the democratically-elected president Hugo Chávez in 2002, killing 53 people in the process. Later that same year the bosses of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA engineered an oil shutdown in an attempt to bring Venezuela’s economy to its knees. Today the owning class hoards essential items like food and household goods to create economic havoc for the dmasses of Venezuelans. In concert with the international finance system they have intentionally sparked inflation and devalued the national currency. Most recently the right wing has organized violent mobs in an attempt to create more chaos and spark a civil insurrection against the government of President Nicolás Maduro. This is their latest calculated and cold-blooded attempt to demoralize the honest, freedom-loving patriotic forces.
Flipping reality on its head the bourgeois press here and in Venezuela has gone to great lengths to present the government as the instigators of the violence. We must be clear about who the true terrorists are in Venezuela. Malcolm X’s words are all too relevant to the challenges the Venezuelan people are facing: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Serra’s comrades remember how in 2007 at the height of the right-wing student opposition movement he came to their campus proposing to debate them publicly in order to highlight their anti-national and opportunist motives. Yon Goicochea — a leader of the privileged private students — was nowhere to be found, fleeing the university rather than debate the Bolivarian student leader. Robert presented the hostile students with a Venezuelan flag urging them not to stain the symbol of national unity with their narrow, sectarian motives.
Tens of thousands of people across Caracas and Venezuela have come into the streets vowing to continue Robert’s work and to prosecute the material and intellectual authors of his death. President Nicolas Maduro — visibly choked up by the revolution’s loss — vowed to take “swift action against these terrorist acts.”
In a statement paying homage to Robert Serra’s life and example the youth of the PSUV declared: “We assume the responsibility of making the ideals of our comrade reality. He was a fierce defender of his homeland and an unyielding revolutionary who worked to defend the legacy of our eternal commander Hugo Chavez. He will live forever in our hearts and in the principles of our youth.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation echoes this tribute and pledges to defend the right of the Venezuelan people to freely determine their future without foreign interference. In the words of the revolutionary Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, himself a victim of a U.S.-sponsored coup against his homeland: “They can pull up all the flowers but they cannot detain the arrival of spring.” Robert Serra Presente!