Celebrating his Birthday, Venezuela’s Chavez Calls for End to Sectarianism

Yesterday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated his 57th birthday by making a number of public announcements; reiterating his plans to stand in next year’s presidential elections, calling for an end to the sectarianism and dogmatism that could prevent “the construction of a new hegemony” in Venezuela, and setting a new date for the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC).

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Merida, July 29th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Thursday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated his 57th birthday by making a number of public announcements; reiterating his plans to stand in next year’s presidential elections, calling for an end to the sectarianism and dogmatism that could prevent “the construction of a new hegemony” in Venezuela, and setting a new date for the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC), the regional organization to include all American states except the United States and Canada.

Calling to greet those gathered at a meeting between Venezuelan Executive Vice President Elias Jaua and representatives of Venezuela’s agricultural sector, Chavez told listeners and viewers that he has every intention of running for reelection in December 2012.

“I will run for reelection and, God willing and with my determination to live, I will be reelected by a large majority of the people. I invite you to join me,” he said.

Chavez, who spent the day with his family at the Miraflores Presidential Palace, told his supporters that winning next year’s presidential elections would require unity among different sectors of Venezuela’s left and an end to “sectarianism and dogmatism.”

“Our fellow countrymen and countrywomen, the cadre and grassroots leadership at all levels of the Socialist Revolution, members of the Party [PSUV], the parties [allied parties]; we all must demolish, struggle against, remove those ills known simply as sectarianism and dogmatism.”

“The consolidation of a new hegemony, as (Antonio) Gramsci once said, is achieved with ideas and not with bayonets,” said Chavez.

Celebrating his improved health after recent chemotherapy treatment in Cuba, Chavez said he felt like a “phoenix” and that while he had previously stated he might step back from political life after one more presidential term (2013-2019), “now, not at all. Perhaps I’ll leave (political life) in 2031, perhaps, who knows, when I’m 70,” he said.

Chavez also told supporters they should consider a modification of the commonly used slogan “Socialist Homeland or Death” or “Homeland, Socialism, or Death”, to “Independence and Socialist Homeland, We Will Live and We Will Win.”

“We can’t choose between winning and death. Winning is a necessity, so that the Bolivarian Republic lives on and so that the great, united, South American, Latin American and Caribbean homeland lives on,” affirmed Chavez.

Chavez went on to state that Latin America “has everything needed, from Mexico down to Argentina, with our (political) differences included, to be one of the great powers for centuries to come and to remove that decadent empire from off of our backs.”

Earlier this week the Venezuelan president announced the new date for the foundational meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC).

Originally scheduled for 5 July 2011, the date of massive bicentennial independence celebrations held across Venezuela, the CELAC conference was postponed to allow the Venezuelan president to recover from emergency surgery in Cuba. The meeting has been rescheduled for 8 December this year.