Caracas, November 13, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Lara state communal leader Angel Prado succeeded Friday in registering his candidacy for local mayor after a protracted dispute with authorities.
Last week, the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) delegate for communes accused Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) of refusing to register his candidacy in the December 10 race for mayor of the Simon Planas municipality.
The CNE announcement came after nine days of protest by Prado’s supporters, who collected over 9,000 signatures, far surpassing the minimum threshold to register a candidate.
Speaking at a mass public assembly in Sanare Plaza on Friday, Prado said the victory belongs to the “Bolivarian people of Simon Planas that doesn’t lose hope”.
“This leadership is collective, belonging to each and every one of you, in the family, the home, the school, in our workplaces, it’s the sum of all our efforts,” he declared.
Prado, who was elected to the ANC with 80 percent of his community’s votes, will run on the ticket of the Communist Party and Tupamaro Revolutionary Movement.
He also has the backing of ten communes and 150 communal councils, among them his own commune, El Maizal, which has gained national renown for its corn production that reached 4,000 metric tons this year.
Communes are territorialized organs of self-governance that combine grassroots participatory democracy embodied in local communal councils with social ownership of the means of production. Lara is the state with the largest concentration of communes, which former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez regarded as the “cells” of the Bolivarian socialist project.
Prado has placed the question of communal power at the center of his campaign, vowing to “transform the mayorship and build ourselves up as a national referent in the consolidation of socialism territorially through the transference of power to the communes and the organized people”.
More specifically, the ANC delegate has made one of his central issues fighting contraband and speculation by making locally produced food directly available to communities.
Prado will compete against the candidate of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Jean Ortiz, whom residents complain was chosen without local consultation.
The PSUV’s decision to forgo local primaries has been met with backlash from allied leftist parties and social movements, which have fielded their own candidates in a significant number of municipalities throughout the country.
Non-PSUV candidates have been emboldened by an opposition boycott of the vote, opening the way for competition among leftist parties without the risk of a right-wing victory.