CARACAS, Monday October 29, 2012 | Update

Socialist plan provides for creation of 450 communes per year

The communal State is a "parallel" structure that coexists with traditional institutions

Venezuela's socialist plan 2013-2019, submitted by reelected President Hugo Chávez to the National Electoral Council, sets forth the creation of 3,000 communes (Photo: AVN)
Monday October 29, 2012  01:48 PM
You cannot see it at first sight, but it is there. It grows slowly in light of oil revenues. It has been boosted by a president who in his next six year in office intends both "to fully crush the bourgeois State we inherited, the one existing upon the continuity of old and harmful practices; and to maintain the making up of new political governance forms."

The communal State is under construction. You can feel it in communities. The Government's plan, presented by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and supported by 8,185,120 Venezuelans who reelected him on the elections held last October 7, sets the following historic goals: "Consolidation of and support to the people's power during 2013-2019, which will lead to the creation of 3,000 socialist communes, 450 communes per year, based on the demographic characteristics of the country's territorial development axis. Said communes will gather 39,000 communal councils, comprising 4,680,000 households, that is, 21,060,000 citizens. In other words, nearly 68% of the Venezuelan population in 2019 (30,550,479) will live under communes subsystems."

There it comes

Economist Claudia Curiel reckons that the Communal State is a "parallel structure" that coexists with traditional institutions. People are still not fully aware of it, but the moment is now. "When Venezuelans speak about the State, they refer to the traditional State, yet when they speak about the one solving problems in the community, they refer to the communal council," she explained.

The Government moves forward. It promotes "people's power." It provides funds and passes laws. Nevertheless, Curiel warns that lack of accountability prevents determining the efficiency of the communal State. She adds that today social monitoring "involves political control rather than an anticorruption struggle (...) Economy is not a priority. The political model comes first."

When more is less

For her part, professor Margarita López Maya points out that the communal State sets aside "universal, direct, and secret vote, pluralism, the alternation in the exercise of power, and the independence of state powers, thus featuring a significant authoritarian leaning." 

Maya warns that the communal councils may become cells of ruling party PSUV during election processes. "That explains why they usually become part of the structure of the State, conceived under an up-bottom approach which works as a vast patronage system."

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."

fotter Estampas
fotter Estampas