Interview: With General Confederation of Workers – Independent CGT-I
Exclusive Interview with Carlos Salgado Membreño, General Secretary of the CGT-I, General Confederation of Workers – Independent, May 22, 1982.
Question: According to the CGT-I, is the mixed economy that is being implemented by the Nicaraguan government in accordance with the programmatic goals of this revolution?
C. Salgado: The mixed economy is determined by the nature of the Nicaraguan revolution. It is a democratic, popular, agrarian and anti-imperialist revolution which has set out to accomplish a series of objectives which neither the Nicaraguan upper classes nor the followers of Somoza were able to achieve due to their submission to the dictates of North American imperialism. The revolution of July 19th determined three types of property: property created with the expropriation of Somoza and his followers’ estates, now called APP (Area of People’s Property); mixed ownership property; and finally, private property. These three forms of property undoubtedly come to characterize a series of actions put into practice by the revolutionary Nicaraguan government.
Question: Do you find a relation between the mixed economy and political pluralism in Nicaragua today? Does the CGT-I as a workers confederation accept this “philosophy”?
C. Salgado: We believe that the mixed economy is determining the political pluralism which is evident in our revolution. Because there are different forms of property ownership, it is logical that different sectors with their political organizations will play a role in the revolution. We recognize that the participation of all sectors in the national reconstruction is necessary during this transition period.
Participation ought to be given to different political groups. There is no intention to nullify the good will or the opinions of these sectors. Rather in political affairs, the government is providing all of the necessary mechanisms for participation. For example, in the Council of State, all the different political lines and parties are represented.
Question: What is the main observation of limit which the CGT-I finds in the mixed economy as the economic basis of the present government?
C. Salgado: The CGT-I has always demonstrated its support for the revolutionary project of a mixed economy which includes all the nation’s political sectors. While we believe the most important, perhaps the decisive factor is that the workers have a more effective participation in public management. We also feel that it is necessary that the People’s Property (APP) continue its consolidation and development. We think that the mixed economy has to be in effect for longer than just the transition period. The People’s Property Area will have to develop, set forth its criteria, and designate the course which our Sandinista Popular Revolution should take. The direction which the revolution takes will be determined by the outcome of the competition between the APP and private property.
Question: What role should the workers fulfill now in their workplaces?
C. Salgado: Worker’s participation should not be limited to problems such as productivity, savings, austerity, but should also be extended to management-level decision. Only in this way, will workers be able to assume a greater responsibility for the entire operation. This is where we run into obstacles; there is even some opposition on the part of government administrators. Many times management decisions of the People’s Industrial Corporation (COIP) or the APP can not be questioned. By the very fact that they are management-level decision, the workers have no voice. So what happens? Many times the workers reject the decisions. Why? Because first they’re told to participate fully, to incorporate themselves completely in their work, but when the workers want to point out the faults in management, they find they’re without voice or vote. When workers ask to participate in administrative management, it’s because they see errors being committed. The administrators are not infallible.
The CST is doing a good job to achieve more worker participation in administrative management. Also we are having serious talks with the Labor Coordinating Committee about joining forces with them so that here in Nicaragua we can authorize worker participation in administrative management though legislation.