The political model of university management introduced during the raid on the UCV, at a time when transnational companies took Venezuelan oil production to the never-reached peak of 3,7 million barrels a day, today it writes catatonic the last letters of its epitaph with the entry by the Tamanaco bow of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, a few days after the 300th birthday of the “… militiaman who goes to war”.
With the so-called Kangaroo Operation, made up of more than 2.000 security officials, the army, the police, which left nine students killed and introduced 12 war tanks ready for combat, one of them in the Plaza del Rectorado and another in front of the former call School of Journalism, the then Social Christian president, Rafael Caldera, opened an old and longed-for fissure to university autonomy, a physical and conceptual category created by Simón Bolívar, who, influenced by Rousseau and the ideas of the Enlightenment, conceived it as a space for free debate academic and research generating the knowledge requested by the nascent Venezuelan nation.
On the contrary, for the Catholic Church the secular, free, compulsory university in the hands of the State was and is a hindrance. Feeling by the scientific advances that at every step diminished the power of persuasion and prevented her from making education a doctrinal vehicle for submission and profit, the church found in the firmness of pedagogical thinkers such as Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa, and his Teaching Status , the refusal to allow religion to impose its enemy dogmas of laughter and critical-formative debate in schools and universities.
Narrated by the UCV professor, Eleonora Rodríguez, author of the text The Intervention of the Central University of Venezuela in XNUMX, that the Church has always maintained among its purposes to discredit the public and secular university, in principle to create and then to exalt and make Catholic education necessary and profitable. Just read the printed media La Religión and the magazine SIC,both from the Catholic Church; and The graphic, of COPEI, before and after the intervention of the Central University of Venezuela carried out by the Military Council of Government, in October XNUMX.
So much was the attack against the UCV, that on August 5, 1953 the Law of National Universities was promulgated, which gave basis to the Organic Regulation of Private Universities, issued on August 23 of that same year, which “… opened the doors for the first time to the private sector in higher education and provided the foundation for the creation –that same year- of the Andrés Bello and Santa María Catholic universities ”.
"I have to celebrate that a statute of private universities has crystallized for the good of the Venezuelan homeland," said Carlos Plaza, first rector of UCAB, in the founding speech. "The University believes in that religion and that faith that engendered the most formidable of cultures: Western Christian culture, which has imprinted its appearance in Europe and America."
But although obscurantism and the logic of profit had managed to pressure and blackmail the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, the ideological forces of the autonomous university had also conquered paths in the fight for democracy, an attitude that was rewarded with the enactment of the Universities Law in 1959, which enshrines full university autonomy.
The university is committed to expressing its autonomic being and under the guidance of the magnificent rector, Francisco de Venanzi (1917-1987), who said: "The true progress of the country is inextricably linked to the future of its universities", at the beginning of the sixties social and scientific research institutes are created, new careers, diversity of cultural groups that make the House that conquers the shadow as a guiding beacon of the national task, with its own weight and academic reputation earned by the brilliance of its teachers, students and workers in classrooms, laboratories, institutes, forums and streets.
The task of the autonomous university is continued by the two-time rector Jesús María Bianco (1917-1976), who visionary is not satisfied with the level of autonomy until that moment reached, and at the end of the sixties he stimulated the University Renewal Movement which scenario historical and inevitable to enhance the dialectical debate in all university settings, capable of enhancing and deepening the academy and the knowledge-generating research requested by the country.
The critical university, questioner, proponent of solutions, innovator, researcher, juries the State and its public and private institutions. It exposes before the public opinion proposals, development plans, solutions to the problems of poverty; and also rebukes him and reveals what is intentionally hidden. It opens fissures in outdated and outdated structures maintained by elite circles of power.
The moral strength of the university grows. It is a difficult-to-access space for dogmatic, dark and conservative ideas. It questions and makes the elites uncomfortable. The ruling classes twist. They want to change their political management model. They create the Simón Bolívar University under an instrumental disciplinary approach, which concentrates thinking only about study programs. It is a curriculum built to form universal corporate graduates. With the same purpose and in the private sphere, and in the same sixties, they created the Metropolitan University.
The Social Christian government firmly intends to put an end to any educational model capable of making students think beyond the classroom. The university education, the Pedagogical Institute of Caracas, the Industrial Technical School, the normal schools and even the traditional high school are progressively disjointed, all originally promoted with the valuable contributions of the European immigrant intelligentsia that arrived in the country after the Second World War and the Spanish Civil War, with the immeasurable help of Chilean pedagogues and scientists steeped in secular liberal thought.
The ruling class intends to get into the UCV without getting into the UCV. Already under the government of Raúl Leoni, from Acción Democrática, in 1967, they had taken a first step by eliminating the requirement of being a doctor to opt for rector of the UCV. It was a way of relaxing the discipline of ranks and promotions to make way for the incorporation into the university of "party companions."
With the raid, Operation Kangaroo, in 1969, the rector Bianco is dismissed and legal passage is opened to the designation by the National Council of Universities, CNU, provisional, of rector authorities related to the political or ideological positions of the ruling party, thus creating an atmosphere of anomie that, little by little, has dominated the UCV today, making subjectivity the criterion in decision-making, corroding the norms and academic requirements, inhibiting the healthy diatribe of the chair, weakening autonomy.
Yesterday, while De Venanzi and Bianco created and relied on academia and autonomy to fight for academia and autonomy, today we are witnessing autonomous universities run by politically and ideologically biased governing and union authorities, which, in the absence of their own merits, use and they abuse the once worthy reputation, not to achieve academic improvements, but to overthrow the legitimately elected government.
The ideological and political bias is so marked, so anti-academic, that even they themselves are hindered from advancing in their timid and timid projects of academic reform. They fear that the university could be useful to the country. His game is always to paralysis, to perpetuate himself in a static university as a formula to protect interests and privileges. It is on this exhausted political model of university management that President Nicolás Maduro walked in his journey through No Man's Land. Now the challenge is to stop and reverse the theft of teachers and researchers historically practiced by industrialized countries in the so-called Third World countries, a diaspora accelerated in Venezuela by the political intentions of the right and the blockade. It is urgent to dignify the teacher. Reverse the decline in student enrollment. Put an end to the spirit of the class-giving "Liceote" that tends to dominate universities today, and make it their duty to be: knowledge-generating teaching and research centers. Call government and co-government elections.
The author is a professor at the UCV School of Social Communication.