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Venezuela: FRSO delegation attends memorial for Jorge Rodríguez

By Sean Orr

Memorial for Jorge Rodríguez.

Caracas, Venezuela – On July 25, a delegation from Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) participated in an event to mark the 33rd anniversary of the murder of Jorge Rodríguez, Sr. Several hundred people gathered in the cemetery in Caracas where his tomb lies alongside other “martyrs of the Revolution” who were killed in the decades before Chávez came to power.

Jorge Rodríguez, Sr. was the dynamic founder of the Socialist League, a Marxist-Leninist formation that came out of the bloody guerrilla struggle of the 1960s. Inspired by the ideas of Mao Zedong, the League committed itself to the mass struggle in order to rebuild the revolutionary movement. Rodríguez led the group for only a few years before he was arrested and tortured to death in 1976. He was 34 years old, and left behind a wife and two young children. The Socialist League continued to be one of the most prominent revolutionary formations in Venezuela until 2007, when it brought all of its cadre into the founding of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Under a banner emblazoned with Rodríguez’s famous slogan “Socialism is Won by Fighting,” speakers came to the stage to address how the murdered revolutionary lives on in the historic struggle underway today. The roster of speakers themselves gives you an idea of his deep impact.

The first was Fernando Soto Rojas, a co-founder of the League and one of its main leaders after his comrade’s murder. He was one of the few guerrilla leaders to survive the armed struggle and lent his expertise to the armed struggles in Central America and Lebanon. After Chávez was elected, Rojas went on to serve as President of the National Assembly and is currently a delegate in the Constituent National Assembly. Before the assembled crowd, many of whom had been cadre in the League from start to finish, Rojas declared, “I can now say that we have accomplished our historic role” by bringing our cadre into the PSUV and transforming it into a vanguard party of the Venezuelan revolution.

He was followed by Major General Jesús Suárez Chourio, the chief of staff of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). For nearly half an hour, he spoke about the sacrifices made by Rodríguez and other communists that had taken up arms to defend the Venezuelan people from imperialism. Chourio called on the youth to learn about these heroes, to study their ideas and apply them in the current struggle against the United States. When he finished speaking, Chourio took his seat next to Soto Rojas. There can be no better encapsulation of the “civic-military union” at the heart of Venezuela’s united front than that of the top general in the nation joining a former guerrilla to honor a Marxist-Leninist leader killed by the state.

General Chourio was followed by Rodríguez’s two children, Delcy and Jorge. Delcy Rodríguez is the vice president of Venezuela and Jorge Rodríguez, Jr. is the minister of communications. Both work alongside their father’s former comrade, President Nicolás Maduro.

The FRSO is participating in the 25th Sao Paolo Forum, the largest gathering of the Latin American left. Be sure to follow Fight Back! for further reports from their delegation.

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