On March 5, 2009, in the shade of a great Samán tree on the edge of unused farm lands rescued from a large landowner near the border of Lara and Portuguesa States, the people gathered with President Chávez and vowed to organize a commune which would collectively produce on those lands. Eleven years later, the El Maizal Commune has become a national and international reference for communal organization and production. The commune is also the driving force behind the creation of a national organization of popular power experiences, the Communard Union.
In a twist of fate, the date of the birth of El Maizal Commune coincides with the passing of the late President Hugo Chávez. However, El Maizal and the communes who gathered this March 5 proudly expressed that his legacy lives on through them as they continue to work towards a communal and socialist alternative to capitalism and the bourgeois state.
Celebrating the commune’s 11th anniversary and commemorating Hugo Chávez, communes, activists, revolutionaries and communards from across the country gathered in the corn fields of El Maizal Commune this March 5, 2020, to share their memories of Chávez and express their commitment to his legacy with “Communard Chávez” forum, followed by a colorful march which followed the Chávez’s to the great Samán tree and a solemn ceremony around the bust of the late President. Visitors were then invited to a palm cover pavilion where they could observe stands representing the communally owned companies (EPSDC) of cattle, buffalo production for meat, milk and cheese, pork production, gas distribution, agro-industrial mechanization, corn production and distribution. The evening ended with dance and music from local and communal cultural groups and plenty of pastries, provided by El Maizal’s EPSDC.