August 26, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez officially launched a new anti-poverty program during his TV show Alo Presidente on Sunday. The anti-poverty program, which was first announced last April, will be known as “April 13 Mission,” named after the day Venezuelans took to the streets in 2002 to demand the return of President Chavez when he was temporarily removed from power in a coup attempt.
Chavez explained that the April 13 Mission would coordinate plans between different government agencies to rehabilitate run-down neighborhoods. Speaking from the low-income Caracas neighborhood of Petare, Chavez explained that the mission will coordinate the repair of old buildings, including roofs, façades, and elevators, and the improvement of water supply, sewage systems, and electricity networks.
“This mission will be the synthesis of many things, but above all of three elements… First, residential infrastructure, where the April 13 Mission will engage in an integral urban transformation… Second, synthesize the social missions in order to achieve a superior aggregate… And, in third place is the communal economy of social property, which will bring productive forces to the barrio,” said Chavez on Sunday.
As part of the creation of a communal economy, Chavez suggested that La Bombilla, the community in Petare where the TV program was being held, could open up a petrochemical processing plant, where the community could make bags, toys, or pipes, all made from plastic.
The ultimate aim of the mission is the creation of “socialist communes” – a project that Chavez once described as local participatory democracy where the community is governed entirely by associations of communal councils, rather than a mayor. Communal councils are elected from citizen assemblies of 200 to 400 families.
The initial funding for the April 13 Mission will amount to $200 million and will launch in 74 of Venezuela’s most populous and poorest municipalities.