People's Vanguard Party of Costa Rica

People’s Vanguard Party of Costa Rica

 

(PVP; El Partido Vanguardia Popular de Costa Rica), a political party founded in June 1931; called the Communist Party until 1943. Its first conference, which was equivalent to a congress (June 16, 1931), adopted the rules and a party program.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the first revolutionary trade unions were organized; later, in 1943, the trade unions united to form the Confederation of Workers of Costa Rica. The party led many successful strikes, the largest being the strike of banana-plantation workers in 1934. During World War II, it broadened its activity and increased its influence. In the 1940’s the PVP, forming a bloc with other parties, obtained seats in the parliament and succeeded in passing amendments to the constitution providing social guarantees and prohibiting a military force, with the exception of a small border guard and police units for maintaining internal order.

In the civil war of 1948 the Communists armed the masses and led the resistance to the reactionary forces. In the course of the war and the repressions that followed, the PVP lost more than 2,000 people. The party was outlawed that same year, but as early as 1950 it restored its ranks and found ways of engaging in legal work. The PVP directed the activities of the General Confederation of Costa Rican Workers, the Alliance of Costa Rican Women, and the Organization of University Students. In December 1959 and January 1960 it helped organize and lead a general strike of banana-plantation workers, which forced the government to curtail the arbitrary rule of the United Fruit Company.

The Communists succeeded in unmasking and divulging the maneuvers of Cuban counterrevolutionaries, who tried to organize a base in Costa Rica for the invasion of Cuba. The PVP was instrumental in the initiation in 1961 of annual conferences of the Communist parties of the Central American countries. The conferences give the parties an opportunity to share their experience and strengthen their unity. A large-scale campaign of solidarity with Cuba in October 1962 brought a new wave of repressions against the party, which resulted in the party’s newspaper, Adelante, being shut down. The Eleventh Congress of the PVP (May 1971) adopted a program that aims at the realization of a democratic, popular, agrarian, anti-imperialist revolution, to be followed by a socialist revolution in a single continuous process and the formation of a popular democratic government. The 12th Congress of the PVP took place in June 1976. Delegations of the PVP attended the international conferences of communist and workers’ parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The party approved the documents adopted at these conferences.

The PVP is structured according to the principles of democratic centralism. The highest party body is the congress; between convocations of the congress the highest bodies are the Central Committee and the Political Commission (Politburo). M. Mora Valverde is general secretary of the Central Committee of the PVP. The central organ is the newspaper La Libertad.

REFERENCES

Mora, M. “Nekotorye uroki nashego opyta.” Partiinaia zhizn’, 1964, no. 9.
Espinosa, F. “Opyt kommunistov Kosta-Riki.” Problemy mira i sotsializma, 1963, no. 7.
Mora, M. Crisis y Revolución. San José, 1963.
Programa del Partido Vanguardia Popular. San José, May 14–17, 1971.

A. N. MINEEV

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