When a revolution stops halfway instead of going all the way to victory, it will be defeated by the counter-revolution. Since Chavez took power in the name of the Bolivarian Revolution and proclaimed “21st Century Socialism” we saw this clearly as an attempt by the ‘Bolivarian’ fraction of the national bourgeoisie to build a sort of half-way house Cuban/Chinese 'socialism-in-one-country'. The fate of such a half-baked revolution would be that the weak national bourgeoisie would have to act as compradors to not only US imperialism, but the rising Russian and Chinese imperialism, to suppress the workers’ revolution.
We wrote in 2009 that the regime was nationalising US oil interests, but at the same time becoming dependent on Chinese and Russian loans to keep the state oil company, PDVSA, solvent. The regime's anti-imperialist posture against the US was boosted by its Castroite and Chinese ‘market socialist’ credentials under the guise of a “5th International”! When we pointed this out to the FLTI we were condemned as US social chauvinists.
As predicted, today we see the Bolivarian regime under pressure from imperialism, and from its own working class suffering from years of deprivation and repression by the regime. The FLTI see this crisis as one of the US staging a coup d’état to restore the opposition bourgeoisie to power and control of the PDVSA. We see it as much more than that.
The US under Trump is acting to limit the growing influence of its big rivals, Russia and China in Venezuela. Already its sanctions have forced the regime further into the arms of Russia and China. They have responded by upping their ownership and control of Venezuelan oil resources.
This means that as Russia and China increase their stakes in Venezuela, US sanctions will hit their investments hard. The have every reason to support the regime and its repression of the workers who turn against it.
Most important, the failure of the FLTI to understand the rise of Russia and China as imperialist powers, disarms workers who still have faith in the Bolivarian regime and its Russian and Chinese allies. If the army splits and a coup is attempted, then it is all on for a war between the regime backed by the US bloc and the opposition backed by the Russia/China bloc.
The FLTI is calling correctly for workers to break from the Bolivarian regime and build an independent workers government. And in the event of a coup and civil war it will correctly defend the regime militarily from US imperialism. But what will it say about the role of Russia and China when they take the side of the regime to defend their investments, and workers illusions in the Bolivarian revolution disarm them in the face of these new imperialist powers? To claim that Russia and China are dupes of the US won’t wash. Time to face the reality that Russia and China are new imperialist powers.