[OPE-L] Venezuela

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Jan 12 2007 - 09:44:40 EST

Hugo Chavez was sworn in for a 2nd term the other day.  I expect we will
be hearing less news about Venezuela and '21st Century socialism' now that
Mike L has left the list, especially since there is  no indication
(despite pleadings on my part) that he will return anytime soon.  We now
have no listmembers in Venezuela. Of course, his commentary on other
topics will be
sorely missed as well. This is a HUGE loss for the list, a loss that is
(imo) reflected in the lack of postings (including my own) and list
participation since his resignation.

In solidarity, Jerry


    Chavez Sworn In to Second Full Term as Venezuela’s
President     Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was sworn
in to his second full term as President, promising to
dedicate himself to the construction of Venezuelan
  By: Gregory Wilpert – Venezuelanalysis.com
Published: 10/01/07
Caracas, January 10, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)—
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was sworn in to his
second full term as President, promising to dedicate
himself to the construction of Venezuelan socialism. In his
speech following the oath of office Chavez provided few new
details about his second term, outlining a program that
would lead Venezuela towards “21st century socialism” and
that the process would be “radicalized” and
“deepened.”Chavez began by reminding his listeners that he
first swore the oath of office eight years ago. This first
term was cut short, after one and a half years, when the
new constitution required the “relegitimation” or renewed
election of all elected officials. In August 2000 he was
thus reelected for his first full six year term in
office.The oath of office that Chavez gave was rather
unusual, in that he swore it in the name of Jesus Christ,
who was “the greatest socialist of history,” his children,
the country’s liberators, and the people of Venezuela that
he would “not give rest to my arm nor rest my soul, that I
will give my days and nights, my entire life to the
construction of Venezuelan socialism, of a new political
system, of a new social system, of a new economic system.”
He ended with, “Fatherland, socialism or death!”A large
part of Chavez’s two-hour speech consisted of an analysis
of Simon Bolivar’s writings on social justice, which,
according to Chavez, implied that capitalism cannot achieve
social justice, but that only socialism could. Simon Bolivar
is Venezuela’s most important independence hero, who
liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
from Spanish colonial rule in the early 19th century.To be
clear about what he meant by achieving social justice,
Chavez stated, “The time has come for the end of
privileges, the end of inequality, and nothing and no one
can make us stop the car of the revolution, cost us what it
may.”The second half of Chavez’s speech repeated the five
“motors” of his new term, which he had first mentioned two
days earlier, during the swearing-in of his new cabinet and
which are designed for establishing 21st century socialism
in Venezuela. However, he added little new information to
his earlier announcements. Also, he notably did not repeat
any mention of his interest in nationalizing key sectors of
Venezuelan industry, when he singled out the country’s main
telephone company CANTV and the electricity companies for
nationalization.With regard to the five “motors” for the
transformation, Chavez reiterated that the first one was
the “law of laws,” referring to his request to the National
Assembly to pass an “enabling” law, which would allow the
president to pass laws as decrees on certain specified
issues for a period of one year. He said that such an
enabling law would be necessary to correct a number of old
laws that come from the pre-Chavez period and that are
written in the interest of private capital. Here he
specifically singled out the Commerce Law, the laws that
govern the distribution of state budget (FIDES and LAEE).
On Monday, Chavez had said that part of the enabling law
would be the nationalization of previously privatized
industries.Next, Chavez provided a few more details about
constitutional changes he has in mind, the second motor,
such as the change of article 302, which reserves oil
exploitation to the Venezuelan state, but does not mention
natural gas. Also, Chavez mentioned article 303, which
states that parts of the state oil company PDVSA could be
privatized. This section, according to Chavez, had to be
eliminated. Chavez then repeated his earlier proposal of
allowing for an indefinite number of reelection of the
president, which is currently limited to two terms.The
third motor, the launch of a program of popular education
throughout the country for the whole of 2007, Chavez did
not add anything to his announcement of two days
earlier.The fourth motor, the creation of a new “geometry
of power,” which was left quite unclear in Monday’s
announcement, Chavez explained today that it had to do with
the re-configuration of how municipalities are divided in
Venezuela’s geography. According to Chavez, many
municipalities do not make much sense because they have
either too large a population or too much territory, while
others are too small.Finally, with regard to the fifth
“motor,” Chavez repeated the proposal to create an
“explosion” of communal power. One of the proposals for
this would be to create federations of communal councils
that might eventually supplant the existing state
structures. This type of federation of communal councils
could go all the way to the national level.Currently there
are thousands of communal councils that were launched in
2006, with each gathering between 200 and 400 families in a
direct democratic framework. The communal councils are
receiving over $1 billion directly from the central
government to engage in a wide variety of community
improvement projects.Chavez then said he recently “had an
idea” that he was articulating now for the first time as a
proposal, which is to construct socialist cities, either
from scratch or from existing ones, where communal councils
are the only form of political power.In the course of his
speech Chavez also referred to his decision not to renew
the radio frequency concession to the oppositional TV
station RCTV, saying that to do this is a right of the
government and no one should interfere in the decision,
such as the OAS Secretary General and Venezuela’s Cardinal
Urosa Savino, who both recently urged Chavez to reverse the

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jan 31 2007 - 00:00:05 EST