Chavez Outlines Proposed Social and Economic Structure for Venezuelan Socialism

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez outlined his conception of how his constitutional reform proposal change the political and territorial organization of the country and will provide more political power to community organizations.
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez on his TV program Aló Presidente this Sunday (ABN)

Mérida, October 9, 2007 ( On Sunday, Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez outlined his conception of how his constitutional reform proposal
change the political and territorial organization of the country and will
provide more political power to community organizations. Chavez made his
presentation during his weekly TV and radio program Aló Presidente.

"With the approval of the Constitutional Reform, with the power that it
will give to the people, we will break from this straightjacket that the
colonial model imposed upon us," said Chavez on Sunday from the Humboldt
Hotel on the mountain above Caracas.

Chavez spent much of his show this week explaining what he calls "the new
geometry of power," which will reorganize the political, territorial, and
economic structure of the country. Chavez has said that these changes will be
fundamental to the planned transition to a socialist system in the country.

The president explained the proposed territorial distribution, which will be
made up of states, federal districts, municipalities, communes, federal
territories, and island districts. Chavez has explained before that organized
communities will unite to form communes throughout the country, which will
basically be self-governing entities.

As for political organization, the communities will exercise power through the
communal councils, workers councils, and farmer and producer councils. Chavez
emphasized that in this way the communities will have increased decision-making
power with regards to the administration of public resources and public works.

"It's not bringing power closer to the people, but rather giving power to
the people," emphasized Chavez.

The national government will be assigning a total of Bs. 3.2 trillion (US$ 1.4
billion) to communal councils in 2008, according to Chavez. He said that the
money would be progressively administered to the communities over the next year
as they get organized.

"For next year, once we have popular power included in the constitution,
the government will be ready to transfer resources, duties and responsibilities
to the communes, starting in January of 2008," said Chavez.

He went on to explain the proposed economic configuration that will set up
productive units under the management of communes and in the form of socialist
enterprises and cooperatives. Chavez emphasized that the economy would be
centered on satisfying the needs of the Venezuelan communities and decreasing
inequality in the population so that "there are not such extreme
differences among Venezuelans."

"Popular power is the essence of full democracy, of socialism, of
socialist democracy. Only in socialism can we achieve it," he said.

Along these lines Chavez also proposed transferring the management of the
national community health system Barrio Adentro to the communities. He said
that with the changing of the constitution, an automatic 5 percent of the
national budget will go directly to the communities, and along with this each
community could manage the primary health clinics, the first tier of the Barrio
Adentro health system.

He also proposed that with the constitutional reform the communities will be
able to manage other programs, such as administrating money for educational
scholarships in each community, as well as the maintenance of the public
schools and other public services. Chavez assured that his constitutional reform
proposal would be approved by 60 percent of the population.

Humanitarian Accord
in Colombia

The Venezuelan president also made several references on Sunday to his efforts
to mediate in the conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). During his show he called on Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe to help him in arranging a meeting with the leader of
the FARC Manuel Marulanda.

A meeting between Chavez and the FARC leaders has been in the works for several
weeks, and was eventually set for Saturday, October 8th, but had to be
postponed for security reasons. Chavez insists that the meeting is essential to
the efforts to reach a humanitarian exchange of hostages, but the Colombian
government has not guaranteed secure conditions for the guerrillas in meeting
with Chavez.

"I think the government of President Uribe needs to help us in that
respect. The statements of the Colombian defense minister didn't help much,
when once the meeting was announced he said that the FARC guerrillas would be
moving at their own risk, and that they would continue carrying out operations
to capture them. That, as they say in Colombia, seemed like a stick in
the spokes," said Chavez.

Chavez assured that he would continue to work to arrange a meeting with the
FARC leaders and to achieve a humanitarian agreement between the Colombian
government and the guerrilla organization. He assured that he will work with
patience, but will not stop efforts to mediate in the conflict.