On November 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Vice-President Elias Jaua headed a meeting including the regional vice presidents of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV — the mass party led by Chavez) as well as government vice-presidents. The two groups make up the Council of Vice-Presidents.
In a televised speech, Chavez explained the axis of the meeting’s discussion was a “point by point” revision of an internal document summarising “the last two months of intense debate, discussions, reports regarding the national and international situation and, more specifically, the situation of our socialist party”.
The campaign of “revision, rectification and re-launch”, called for by Chavez to tackle internal problems such as bureaucracy and corruption affecting Venezuela’s revolutionary process, was the first point of agenda.
Chavez said he would continue to promote debate on this campaign and actively participate in it.
Chavez called on the PSUV national leadership to stimulate this debate at all levels. He said the party must be “self-critical, open, without fear or complexes of any kind”. The only condition he placed on the debate was that it must be a process of constructive criticism that strengthened unity.
The second agenda item was a balance sheet of the state of the “internal counterrevolution” — the US-backed right-wing forces inside Venezuela that seeks to overturn the gains won by the revolution. Chavez said: “Some of them announce [their plans] openly, other are working covertly in order to destabilize and weaken the revolution.”
The third point was an analysis of the scenario until 2012, when presidential elections are scheduled. Chavez said the revolution’s “external enemy”, centred in Washington, was again attacking the process.
Next came a discussion on the revision of the PSUV: analysing its strengths and weaknesses, ideological issues and party-government relations. Alliances with other left political forces was also discussed, where Chavez ratified the creation, in the short-term, of the Great Patriotic Pole in,loving the PSUV and other groups such as the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV).
Chavez said the main task of the mass party is to “generate the best cadres of the revolution”. He said the PSUV had build a superior structure that is “much more that a political-electoral machine. It has to be the vanguard of the people, a political school, generator of political lines, in the ideological and the practical action of transforming Venezuelan reality.”
He stressed that the PSUV is the biggest political party in Venezuelan history, “not only in terms of membership, but also because of its political efficacy and revolutionary quality”. The PSUV has to be “a party of the masses that generates truly revolutionary cadres, a vanguard together with the people, together with the workers in the construction of socialism”.
The party must convert itself into a “powerful means of propaganda” and lead “the process of popular control over government management”.
Chavez welcomed the formation of currents in the PSUV, but said these must be done with a spirit of unity, in order to avoid fracturing the revolutionary movement and playing into the enemy’s hands.
Chavez said a second document entitled “Lines of Political Action for the Great Admirable Campaign” was also under discussion. It will be the basis for a large national debate, which aims to incorporate all the elements already evaluated by the leadership, as well as contributions from rank-and-file militants.
Chavez said the aim of the national debate was to help strengthen the party, develop the Great Patriotic Pole, help design and execute the Biennial Government Plan 2011-12, and work for a strategy victory in the December 2012 presidential elections to assure the continuity of the revolutionary process.
Chavez announced an intense political agenda to end the year and begin 2011. On November 27-28, there were orientation days for 98 pro-revolution deputies elected to the National Assembly in September, as well as the seven deputies elected to the Latin American parliament.
Chavez said he would participate in the Ibero-American Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina on December 3-4, as well as carry out an official visit to Ecuador.
On December 5, regional elections will be held for governors and mayor in two states and 11 municipalities.
Chavez also called for a national gathering of the PSUV, with invited guests from around the world, with the aim of “drawing up a strategic balance sheet, analysing the current conjuncture and looking to the future”.
Chavez called for the preparation of a number of workshops, meetings and regional meetings for January and February next year, which would take as their starting point the “Lines of Political Action” document.
He also raised the possibility of organising a second Extraordinary Congress of the PSUV for February. The next step would be creating the Grand Patriotic Pole, planned for March or April.
Chavez recognised the need to organise a meeting of progressive and left parties from Latin America and the Caribbean. “It seems as though it is up to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA — the anti-imperialist bloc launched by Cuba and Venezuela) to assume the vanguard in this task”, he said.
He said Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban President Raul Castro, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega (all of whose nations are ALBA members) were in total agreement with the initiative and had “decided to actively work on this issue”.
He said many other left, progressive and socialist parties, some of which were not in government, were interested in supporting the idea.
Chavez said it was necessary to continue strengthening the socialist alternative and asked Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro to invite a group of intellectuals to this meeting of parties.
However, he clarified that “the priority is the internal [struggle]”. Chavez concluded: “In order to carry out this international task, it is necessary to internally strengthen our party, our consciousness, our work, our movements, our alliances so that, from this base, we can have influence in the international sphere.”