Mérida, August 4, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— At a meeting with communal councils on Thursday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez emphasized the power of the grassroots as one of the most important changes of the proposed constitutional reform. The communal councils are a part of the new political model being promoted by the Chavez government to transfer power from the state to the communities in what is called the "Explosion of Communal Power."
With the purpose of evaluating the progress of community organizing through the communal councils, Chavez met with councils from around the country yesterday at an event in
"This is a demonstration of the successful advance of communal power, and that the people can administrate economic resources and even surpass the management of the national government," said Minister of Social Protection and Participation David Velasquez.
Since the communal councils were founded in 2005, the Venezuelan government has granted them to date more than 2.5 billion dollars, according to President Chavez. And more than 25,000 communal councils have already been formed throughout the country with 17,000 of those formed just last year according to Minister Velasquez. The goal is have 50,000 of these community organizations by the end of 2007, which would cover the entire country
President Chavez emphasized the importance of including this organizational structure in the national constitution, and for that reason the communal councils will be an important part of his upcoming constitutional reform proposal.
"The most important thing is the inclusion of popular power as a power of the state," in addition to the legislative, judiciary, executive, electoral, and prosecutorial powers, said Chavez. He explained that the inclusion of popular power as a power of the state implies that certain powers and duties that now belong to the national, state, or municipal governments be assigned to the communities through the communal councils. According to the president, his proposed constitutional reform would change the political system more towards a participatory democracy and away from the traditional representative democracy.
"We have to break away from the classic system made up of an executive, legislative and judicial power and go toward popular power," explained Chavez.
The program to transfer power to the communities is a part of the new power structure announced by Chavez at the beginning of 2007 and made up of what the government has called "The Five Motors." The fifth of these motors, the "Explosion of Communal Power" has the intention of strengthening the role of communal councils.