Venezuela: moving toward participatory democracy


Richard Moore


 News and opinions on situation in Venezuela 

Venezuela: Setting the new revolutionary parameters by Richard Smith guest commentarist Richard Smith writes: With
the political battle against the right wing opposition won Š
at worst in an impasse Š after the convincing victory at both
national and local level of the Venezuelan people in
democratic ratification of President Chavez, as well as the
group of political parties supporting the Bolivarian project,
Chavez did not waste any time in calling a meeting of all
Bolivarian State Governors and Mayors of last weekend in
Fuerte Tiuna, the Caracas garrison.

The meeting laid the groundwork for the next phase of
transformation and consolidation of Venezuela from what was
still in some ways a "representative" democracy to a real and
throbbing " participative " democracy Š which is vital for the
next phase of the revolution.

Details of the working groups have been sketchy so far to say
the least, but based on information obtained from reliable
sources, we can report the following:

The parameters discussed at Fuerte Tiuna meeting fit into the
ideas expounded in the article "Revolution in the
Revolution, or is it just cultural?" published in VHeadline on
November 7, 2004 Š especially terms of organization at the

It has now become official strategy to promote representatives
of the "people" (pueblo) to stand as local councilors in the
mayoralties for the elections on February 25, 2005.

The aim is to "deepen" the revolution from the base upwards,
and move away from the traditional influence of the leaders of
the political parties, by broadening the reach of social and
political action. One suspects that the architect of this
strategy is, in fact, the chief ideologue of the Bolivarian
Revolution, Commander William Izarra.

The spearhead of this strategy will be formed by the UBE's,
originally Units of Electoral Battle for the Presidential
recall referendum Š as Units of Endogenous Battle to organize
the communities to "battle" for their rights, and by mass
participation in social action, improve the quality of life of
the majority of Venezuelans who still live in conditions of

Local crime will also be combated in the popular areas by the
participation of the population with the police and security
forces if necessary. The pilot plan in Caracas has already
yielded more than acceptable results, as the number of
reported crimes has diminished by 43% since the operation
started eight weeks ago, according to statistics from the
Interior & Justice (MIJ) Ministry given on Venezuelan National
Radio (RNV) this morning.

Political objectives: With council elections just round the
corner in February 2005 and national parliamentary elections
due in 2005, government forces are already re-organizing
themselves with various key political objectives in mind:

Gain a solid 11 seat majority in the National Assembly by
revoking the mandate of the 9 opposition parliamentarians on
December 5 this year, so as to pass several important laws
with ease by December 15 - these include the Law on Social
responsibility in TV & Radio and the National Police Law.

A landslide in council elections with candidates from the
"pueblo," so as to deepen the "revolutionary process".

Win more than 110 out of 165 seats in the national
parliamentary elections due in December 2005, so as to have a
2/3 majority in the Assembly and thus pass the Enabling Law
for the President, so that new laws can be postulated in order
to solidify and consolidate the changes underway in Venezuela
- this is conventional and legal under Venezuelan
Constitutional Law.

With organization form the base upwards, increasing people
participation and political and social consciousness, pave the
way for the re-election of President Chavez with 10 million
votes (!) in 2006.

With the election of genuine peoples’ councilors in February
2005, exercise Social Controls & Audits on the actions of
Mayors and State Governors, so as to combat corruption,
inefficiency and bad bureaucracy, still rife throughout the

Other points discussed at the Fuerte Tiuna meeting were the
ideological education of the Venezuelan people - as Chavez has
said on more than one occasion - "without political ideology
and consciousness, there can be no revolution." The
strengthening of the civic-military alliance so as to push
forward social programs, protect the homeland from any foreign
incursion or invasion, create a stronger reserve armed force
and gather the "pueblo" into the cooperative movement in the
context of "endogenous development."

The direction of the Venezuelan process is now clear and with
"all quiet on the political front," Chavez can begin to
implement his plans which will eventually bring about a
cultural change in individualistic attitudes and by extension
lead to more social and human solidarity, especially at
popular level, aiming at a more egalitarian society as a

The dangers that still lurk in the shadows are ongoing
sabotage by bureaucrats, opposition inspired strikes, latent
assassination attempts and the actions of the US against the
self-determination of the Venezuelan people.

As soon as there are more details available from the Fuerte
Tiuna meeting, we will update readers and hope
to give concrete examples of the new parameters outlined above
Š so as to come out of the realm of the "theoretical" into the
world of "real accomplishments."

Richard Smith

 Richard Smith is based in La Victoria (Aragua).  He was born
1950 in Wolverhampton (UK), and obtained a Masters Degree from
the University of London and the University of
Marburg-an-der-Lahn (Germany) forming close contacts with
Latin America and more especially Venezuela since 1977. An
expert in international marketing, he is a regular contributor
to the specialized press directed at the leather industry
(Spanish and English), represents a global fair group in Latin
America and recently launched the cyber magazine Leather
Press. One of his main concerns are the establishment of some
form of "social justice" in Latin America since: "As I grew up
in a post WWII society where free health care, education, jobs
and social security were taken for granted, it came as an ugly
surprise to discover that these elements do not exist for 90%
of Latin Americans. Thus, social organization at the base is
essential if the dispossessed are ever to ease their way put
of the poverty trap." Richard Smith may be contacted at email
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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland
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