Mérida, 7th June 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In an address to over 10,000 activists of the government’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), President Nicolas Maduro stressed that “unity” was necessary for the Bolivarian process to keep moving forward.
“Union is what will give us victory,” he declared to party activists in Caracas, while warning against internal sectarianism or factionalism.
Maduro was elected in April’s presidential election by a narrow 1.5% margin. Since then, his government has had to deal with both economic difficulties and an emboldened conservative opposition.
The Venezuelan president explained that when late President Hugo Chavez founded the PSUV in 2007, “he could have left it like this: Socialist Party of Venezuela. But no, the party had to be united, to be a uniting bloc capable of organising itself”.
Maduro added that Chavez had included the word “united” in the PSUV’s name “to construct forms and alliances that would permit the consolidation of the revolution”.
Building for the municipal elections
In his speech, Maduro proposed that the PSUV’s mayoral candidates for December’s municipal elections be chosen in conjunction with the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), a coalition of political parties and social movements allied with the government.
“I propose, thus, that the National Leadership [of the PSUV] sets up a working group of the highest level. For us there will be Diosdado Cabello [vice-president of the PSUV] and a team that designates [candidates], together with the leaders of the Great Patriotic Pole”, he said.
Although Maduro did not say so explicitly, the proposition of this method suggests that the PSUV will abandon its former plan of holding internal primary elections to select mayoral candidates. 335 mayoral posts will be at stake in the 8 December election.
Another element of Maduro’s speech was a set of proposals to renovate the grassroots of the PSUV ahead of the elections.
The president urged the revitalisation of the party’s grassroots electoral campaigning organisations, called “Hugo Chavez” Battle Units (UBHC’s), stating that one UHBC should exist for each voting centre in the country, a total of 13,683.
The PSUV will launch a campaign of house to house visits during June, July and August to try to attract new followers and win back those who have withdrawn support for the government. In April, Maduro won the presidential election with just under 7.6 million votes, around 600,000 less than Chavez won in October 2012.
“There are countrymen and women who have left us because they’ve become angry for some reason. Well, let’s meet up with whoever may feel discontented, let’s correct errors where they have been committed,” Maduro said.
Another idea offered by Maduro was the installation of PSUV community houses in each of Venezuela’s 1,132 “parish” districts.
“The parochial house is a level of parochial coordination for each UBHC, and they should be centres of work, education and happiness. Furthermore, they could have a musical ensemble and theatre groups,” he proposed.
The PSUV is set to hold a mass national congress on 28 July 2014, which would have been Hugo Chavez’s 60th birthday. According to information given to press recently by Diosdado Cabello, one of the tasks at that congress will be the selection of a new national leadership for the PSUV.