We Demand Recognition for the Chavista & Communard Peoples’ Right to Political Participation

Dozens of Venezuelan intellectuals and social movement activists demand that electoral authorities and the National Constituent Assembly recognize commune leader Angel Prado as Mayor of Simon Planas municipality. 

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(RachaelBoothroydRojas)
(RachaelBoothroydRojas)
By Various
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"Sovereignty resides within in the people & is untransferable, whom may exercise it directly in the way foreseen in this Constitution and the law, and indirectly, by means of suffrage, through the state organs of Popular Power. The organs of the state emanate from popular sovereignty and are subject to it." – (CRBV, Article 5)

“The commune must be the birthplace of socialism. Socialism should emerge from the grassroots, it cannot be decreed; You must create it. It is a popular creation [...] The commune is the space where we are going to conceive and give birth to socialism, from the small-scale. A mountain is built grain by grain, stone by stone” – (Hugo Chávez, Aló Presidente Teórico Nº 1, 11.06.09)

"Nicolás, I entrust this to you as I would entrust my life to you: the communes, the social state of law and justice [...] Self-criticism is to rectify, not to keep [criticizing] in a vacuum, or to launch it out into space. It is to make us act now, gentlemen ministers, lady ministers, the communes, go look at the Law of the Communes, read it, study it” – (Hugo Chávez, Golpe de Timón, 20.10.12)

We as collectives and individuals on the left, committed to the Bolivarian Revolution and socialist democracy, faced with the violation of the human right to political participation of the Chavista and communal people of the municipality of Simón Planas (Lara State, Venezuela), make the following complaints and demands:

1. The accumulation of territorial  popular power through expanding communal councils and productive communes is one of the extraordinary ways for the Bolivarian political project to move forward in the transition to socialism. The communal movement of the municipality of Simón Planas, which Chávez encouraged and accompanied directly, is a beautiful expression of that territorial accumulation. Communes cover almost the entirety of this territory. Through its democratizing advance, this movement often clashed with state institutions that, although governed by militants of PSUV, defended bureaucratic and personal interests and, on some occasions, were working for the interests of local capital. For this reason, they decided to also take their  democratizing vision to the Mayor's Office, launching a candidate from their communal project: Angel Prado, who had already been elected as a delegate to the National Constituent Assembly a few months before.

2. The community members had to overcome many obstacles imposed upon them by the very people who are supposed to be their main allies in driving forward the Chavista project of territorial socialism:

A) Initially, the local branch of the National Electoral Council (CNE) denied their nomination of [of Angel Prado’s] candidacy put forward of their own initiative [without the support of a political party] and that was registered in the CNE with the signatures of 8,500 people (32% of the electoral registry of the municipality).

B) Subsequently, after four parties belonging to the Patriotic Great Pole (PCV, MEP, Tupamaros and ORA) managed to register Angel Prado as their candidate and one  of them (the PPT) managed to substitute their initial candidate (the PSUV candidate) for Ángel Prado, the local CNE informed them verbally that they could not accept his candidacy because the presidency of the ANC had mandated that any candidates holding positions as ANC delegates could not be registered without their backing. It is important to point out that there is no law in Venezuela that prevents a citizen from running for office if they are a constituent assembly delegate. Nor can it be assumed that the presidency of the ANC embodies the power of the full ANC assembly [of delegates], where that decision was never discussed. There is also no formal ANC decision (from the assembly or its presidency) over the permission to participate in this electoral process, which Angel and 1000 communards from the state of Lara solicited in person. Other ANC delegates, including delegates from Lara state, participated as candidates in the same municipal elections, without any problem. In this ambiguous situation, (information expressed verbally, decisions made by the ANC which were not endorsed by the assembly, the absence of laws which justify the CNE’s actions, the precedent of other ANC delegates standing), the communard candidacy [of Angel Prado] remained alive. The PPT’s ticket, whose candidate was Ángel Prado, appeared on the electoral card (although the other four parties were eliminated) and the community members of Simón Planas decided to vote for that ticket.

 C) One the day of elections, (10/12/2017), while the people of the community mobilized to vote, there were shameful incidents: three grassroots leaders were detained by the military counterintelligence, claiming that they were appealing for votes (one of them was detained for 24 hours); many comrades were seized and threatened by the National Guard (GNB); and the car in which Ángel was being transported was followed, during the afternoon, by a patrol of a tactical group of the GNB (the anti-kidnapping & anti-extortion military command, CONAS). None of this, however, could stop the people of Simón Planas  from expressing their will.

3. 57.45% of the population of the Simón Planas municipality that participated in the December 10 elections voted for the Chavista and communal candidate, Ángel Prado, on the PPT ticket, beating the closest candidate (Jean Ortiz, supported by the PSUV) by more than 21 points. Those results demonstrate the success of the proposal for democratic, socialist radicalization in that territory. This result was possible because the people mobilized, conscious of their class and their rights, with political and mutually-supportive productive organization and experiences that give them autonomy in the face of capital and the bureaucracy. In Simón Planas, the people have taken the slogan "We are all Chávez” seriously, and it is very evident that Chávez lives on in those communal people, because territorial socialism is advancing through the grassroots there. 

4. Despite the results, the National Electoral Council (CNE) decided to award Ángel's votes to the candidate of PSUV (who had received only 34.07% of the votes), in spite of the PPT having met all the requirements to substitute their candidate (See Resolution Code 136124 of the CNE).

5. This conflict between the constituent power of the communal people of Simón Planas and the bureaucracy, clearly expresses a revolutionary disjuncture. If the state (the CNE and the ANC presidency) and a part of the ruling elite continue to deepen the decisions they have been making, they will be moving away from democratic legality and their commitment to socialism. In the emancipatory socialist experiences of the 20th century, the substitution of popular power for state power, the party and the ruling elite, marked its authoritarian drift and its emancipatory closure. Chávez was always very clear on this and warned against this possibility (See the theoretical Aló President N ° 1 and his last speech of 08/12/12). Let’s not allow that to happen. Fraternally, and as protagonists or allies of the Bolivarian political process, we demand:

A) That the assembly of the ANC respect and recognize the popular will of the Chavista people of the municipality of Simón Planas, declaring null any previous order given to the CNE which could be interpreted as non-recognition of the communal candidacy of Angel Prado.

B) That the CNE respect the popular will and the rights of the Chavista people of Simón Planas, and assign the votes of the PPT party to the candidate Ángel Prado, declaring him formally mayor of the municipality.

Signed by:

Reinaldo Iturriza. C.I. 11.820.025

Surgentes. Colectivo de DDHH

Soraya El Achkar. C.I. 8.505.722

Red de Colectivos La Araña Feminista

Javier Biardeau. C.I. 7.089.113

Movimiento de Inquilinos

Alba Carosio. C.I. 11.858.059

Trabajadoras Residenciales Unidas de Venezuela

Miguel Ángel Contreras Natera. C.I. 6.876.757

ALBA Movimientos

Gerardo Rojas. C.I. 13.083.076

Colectivo Voces Urgentes

Ana Graciela Barrios. C.I. 5.451.122

Colectivo Códigos Libres

Martha Lía Grajales Pineda. C.I. 29.565.914

Frente Cultural de Izquierda

Antonio González Plessmann. 10.866.332

Colectivo Cimarrón

Leonardo Bracamonte. CI. 6.721.296

Chavismo Bravío

Amaylin Riveros. CI. 10.349.643

Barrio TV

Maryluz Guillén Rodríguez. C.I. 11.577.841

Colectivo Avanzada Popular

Vicmar Morillo Gil. C.I. 7.958.276

Ejército Emancipador de Liberación

Marvelys Sifontes. C.I. 13123818

Colectivo Revolucionario Los Caribes

Iván González. C.I. 7.379.876

Ociel López. C.I. 7.948.665

Efraín Ruiz. CI 14.215.695

María Paula Herrero. CI 14.444.733

Helga Malavé. C.I. 6.117.565

Bárbara Tineo. C.I. 14.531.267

Maureen Riveros. CI: 6.280.434

Yoel Amaya. C.I. 8.741.151
Gioconda Mota Gutiérrez. C.I. 11.917.394

Rosa Difalco. C.I. 6.891.760

Alejandra Morales Hackett. C.I. 10.310.372

Indhira Libertad Rodríguez. C.I. 12.470.016

María Centeno. C.I. 3.740.492

Marieva Caguaripano. C.I. 10.378.016

José Manuel Iglesias. C.I. 7.144.500

Roger Fuentes Saavedra. C.I. 11.411.234

Claudia Poblete Viloria. C.I. 13.648.903

Migneddy Maldonado. C.I. 11.921.677

Jael Irene Palacios Villanueva. C.I. 13.716.123

Joel Alfonzo. C.I 10.532.851

Kristel Velazquez. C.I. 19.586.468

Samuel Petit Villanueva. C.I. 17.561.487

Indira Carpío. C.I. 16.356.484

Ernesto Navarro. C.I. 11.254.332

José Negrón Valera. C.I. 15.709.748

Aimee Benitez. C.I. 4.563.851

Maria Antonieta Izaguirre. CI. 2.934.033

Luigino Bracci Roa

Ángel Custodio Velásquez. C.I. 4.189.634

Angely Nuñez. C.I. 15.438.746

Rander Rodríguez. C.I. 13.612.018

Janette Rodríguez Hererra. C.I. 6.125.388

Oscar Sotillo. C.I. 9.486.083

José Sánchez. C.I. 17.980.721

Isaloren Quintero. C.I. 10.895.621

Joel Linares. C.I. 11.601.596

Orlando Acosta. C.I. 4.582.126

Eduardo Samán. C.I. 6.431.696

Elba Niño. C.I. 20.015.452

Carla Guerrero. C.I. 15.232.278

Luisa Calzada. C.I. 13.225.885

Miguel Suarez. C.I. 16.656.857

Hindu Anderi. C.I. 7.108.084

Andrea Quiñones. C.I. 81.162.859

Keudy López. C.I. 11.675.845

Ana María Reyes. C.I. 16.887.361

Frenzel Hernández. C.I. 6.480.903

Pablo Sepúlveda Allende. C.I. 84.549.856

Luis Salas C.I. 12.880.219

Fernando Pintos C.I. 11.863.458

Douglas Aponte C.I. 6.348.106

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