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Venezuela To Construct Over 200 "Socialist" Factories

Mérida, September 5, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) - The Venezuelan government is planning the construction of more than 200 "socialist" factories around the country in the next two years, according to an announcement made yesterday during a meeting of the Central Planning Committee. President Hugo Chavez has explained that the new federal districts proposed in the constitutional reform play a role in the construction of these factories in different regions of the country.

The Venezuelan president hosted the meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday to discuss what has been called the Plan for Socialist Factories 2007, an initiative that has the goal of reducing dependence on imports and elevating national production in strategic sectors of the economy. The idea was first announced by the president last June as a part of a new economic model being promoted by the Chavez government.

At the meeting, Minister of Light Industry and Commerce Maria Cristina Iglesias presented the project to the president and the planning committee. Iglesias assured the viability of the plan and explained that the objectives would be carried out in several phases completing the construction of more than 200 factories by 2009.

According to initial reports, among the enterprises planned are factories in the areas of chemical products, health care products, housing and building materials, transportation, and the food industry. Also mentioned were the electrical, energy, and petrochemical sectors.

President Chavez also suggested other areas that they should consider developing. Among those he named ecotourism and biotechnology as possibilities given the ecologic and environmental potential that characterize the southern region of Venezuela. Chavez emphasized that the new plans need to be very well coordinated with maximum efficiency.

Many of the new productive projects will be done with cooperation from other countries that intend to provide technologies that Venezuela does not possess. Among the countries mentioned are Belarus, Vietnam, Italy, and Brazil, all of whom will provide the necessary technology in the production of items such as plastic tubes, kitchen utensils, electronics, motors, motorcycles, and trucks.

This project is part of a larger strategy of the Chavez government to increase national production and develop national industries with the expertise and technology of a variety of different nations. Chavez has explained how the new factories will be placed in different regions around the country in order to improve the socio-economic conditions in some of the poorer regions of the country.

In his recent proposal for a reform to the national constitution, President Chavez laid out in Article 16 the creation of new federal districts that would allow the national government to place certain regions of the country under direct control of the national government for a certain time period, and thus bypass state bureaucracy in carrying out development plans in different regions.

"Instead of putting the factories all in one place, we can put motor factory in one place, the transmission factory in another, and that way spread out the economic power so that it includes everyone," explained Chavez.

Article 16 of the proposed constitutional reform would also set up the so-called "communes" as basic organizational structures in the country. A "commune" according to the reform proposal, would be a self-governing body made up of several organized communities united together and organized as a form of participatory democracy. Each commune would be made up of several of the now-existing communal councils.

The Central Planning Committee discussed on Tuesday the creation of factories under the control of such "communes" as a way of developing a new form of socialist economy. President Chavez has stated on other occasions that the new "socialist" factories could eventually be put under the control of the "communes" as a form of "communal" property as is also laid out in the proposed constitutional reform.

On Tuesday the planning committee discussed with President Chavez the construction of this new type of economic structure such as the first of ten corn processing plants inaugurated on Sunday by the president. The corn processing plants, as is planned with other types of factories, are operated by the local communities organized into Communal Councils.

The strategy, according to plans laid out on Tuesday, is to create 10 corn processing plants, 10 milk processing plants, 8 plastics factories, and an auto parts factory under this same organizational scheme.

Published on Sep 6th 2007 at 11.15am