Venezuelan Municipal Elections

Venezuelan Municipal Elections
by Stephen Lendman
On Sunday, Venezuelans voted. A follow-up article will discuss results. More on what’s at stake below.
Last week, Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) passed Chavez’s Second Socialist Plan 2013 – 2019
It followed his National Project Simon Bolivar 2007 – 2013. It focused on ethics and morals. The new plan goes further. It aims to strengthen and expand existing programs.
It calls for greater participatory democracy. It focuses on grassroots control. It discusses serious unresolved problems. 
It aims to take Bolivarianism to the next level. It’s fair, ambitious and realistic. It states in part: 
“This is a program for the transition to socialism and the radicalization of a pre-eminent and participatory democracy.”
“We start from the principle that the speeding up of transition necessarily requires the speeding up of the process of reinstatement of people’s power.”
It’s “an indispensable condition for the Bolivarian socialism of the 21st century.”
“We shouldn’t let ourselves be deceived: the social and economic system that still prevails in Venezuela is a capitalist and rentier system.”  
“Certainly, socialism has just begun to impose on us its own internal dynamics.” 
“This is precisely a program to strengthen and consolidate socialism, looking for a radical suppression of the logic of capital.” 
“This program should be implemented step by step without slowing down our advance towards socialism.”
“Final independence is our cause and our permanent task.” It’s “not complete; we are forging it through our daily and permanent struggle.” Five objectives are discussed:
(1) Consolidating national independence
Achieving it depends on full control of national income. It’s mostly oil related. It aims for greater grassroots management. Administering social programs is largely local.
It stresses expanding Venezuela’s agricultural potential. It aims for greater food sovereignty. It wants large landowners (latifundios) eliminated.
It wants ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) strengthened. It stresses people’s participation in national defense.
(2) Constructing 21st century Bolivarian socialism
It seeks transitioning from centralized and corporate dominance to more people power. It wants new structures replacing old ones. It calls for greater transformation than earlier.
It promotes a new “moral, ethical and spiritual hegemony.” It stresses greater self-governance. It argues for:
“The development of social property of basic and strategic means of production that allows Venezuelan families and citizens to have full enjoyment of their economic, social, political, and cultural rights.”
It involves democratizing the means of production and much more. Transitioning from old to new ways isn’t easy. It’s a longterm project.
It’s ultimate aim is fully implemented grassroots participatory democracy. It features social justice. It wants human and civil rights institutionalized.
It wants poverty eliminated. It wants its reemergence made “impossible.” It wants equitable government of, by, and for everyone.
It wants social aims made reality. It wants grand ones achieved.
(3) Making Venezuela a Latin American and Caribbean social, economic and political power
Industrialization, technological independence and productivity are stressed. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. At issue is using their potential productively.
Specific projects are named. Advancing and modernizing them is stressed. They include energy, mining, electricity generation, steel, aluminum, autos, white goods, construction materials, forestry, plastics, agriculture, mobile phones, machinery, textiles and shoes.
Military defense involves “peaceful cooperation (among) nations.” It “pushes for Latin American and Caribbean integration.” It prioritizes “self-determination.” 
It opposes foreign meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.
It stresses nationwide social equity. It wants all regions benefitting. It wants everyone in them treated equitably.
(4) Developing a new geopolitical “multi-center” for world peace
It wants regional unity against imperial influence and dominance. It seeks a multi-polar world. It wants Venezuela playing a leading role.
It wants traditional international lending agencies shut out. It wants Latin America free from their control. It wants a polar opposite world from today’s. It wants freedom from Western dominance.
(5) Preserving planetary life and humanity
Environmental sanity is stressed. It calls for a “harmonic relationship between man and nature that guarantees the rational and optimum use of natural resources, respecting nature’s processes and cycles.”
It promotes a new socially productive ethic. It involves alternative productive models. It stresses responsible economic cooperation globally.
It urges biodiversity and conservation. It argues against commercializing nature. It wants Bolivarian principles advanced responsibly. It wants them taken to a higher level.
Last week, Maduro delivered a copy of the new law to the military museum where Chavez is buried. 
He called it “the result of centuries of struggle written by the exceptional, extraordinary leader who still commands the hearts  of the majority of the people in this country.”
On December 5, political campaigning ended. On Sunday, Venezuelans voted. They elected municipal mayors and other officials. Nearly 2,800 positions were up for grabs.
On Thursday, Maduro’s United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Greater Caracas candidate Ernesto Villegas addressed followers, saying:
“I feel the duty to govern for everyone. Let’s have a government of inclusion.”
Maduro campaigned actively for weeks. He visited 21 municipalities in 17 of Venezuela’s 23 states. He declared December 8 “The Day of Love and Loyalty to Hugo Chavez.”
Polling data show security, inflation and scarcity most on voters minds. Significant efforts are being made to address them.
On December 4, National Electoral Council (CNE) head Tibisay Lucena said:
“We are ready to organize and manage the electoral process by installing polling stations so Venezuelans can decide the country’s future.”
Venezuela’s electoral process was improved, she added. At issue is encouraging more people to vote.
The gap between registered and unregistered citizens “narrowed to the smallest amount ever,” she said. 
It’s 3.5%. CNE instituted “a sustained policy based on serious research to fix the problems that the electoral register used to have,” she explained.
More places for people to register and vote were established. Auditing was improved.
“All the electoral processes have been guaranteed, and they’re getting more secure all the time,” she said. 
“This means that we have been establishing new security measures in all the elections, and this one is no different.”
Machines were tested for accuracy. Observers from all political parties were present. So were independent observers. Around 50 monitored Sunday’s elections.
Venezuelan democracy is real. Its electoral system is world’s best. It’s scrupulously open, free and fair. It shames America’s sham process.
Monied interests run things. Duopoly power rules. Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime’s worth of difference separates them.
Each replicates the other. Corporate interests control them. Voters have no say. American democracy is more illusion than reality. It’s the best money can buy. Venezuelans get the real thing.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of military and other security personnel were deployed nationwide. Their mandate was maintaining law and order. 
Key was preventing violence and other disruptions. Dark force opposition elements threaten them any time. Washington’s dirty hands manipulate things covertly.
Maduro urged Venezuelans to vote. Doing so “strengthen(s) and consolidate(s) democracy,” he said.
“We have the most transparent and perfect electoral system in the world,” he stressed. It’s a model for other nations to emulate.
Sunday’s election was the 19th since Chavez took office in February 1999. All were judged open, free and fair.
Washington-supported dark opposition forces act disruptively. They want Bolivarianism ended. They want Venezuela returned to its bad old days. They want exploitive predatory capitalism re-entrenched.
They deplore real democracy. They want unchallenged control. They’re willing to go all out to get it. Washington generously funds them.
Following Maduro’s April election, US-orchestrated destabilization followed. Violence took 11 lives. Dozens were injured.
Government buildings were targeted. Public health centers were set ablaze. Fascist opposition elements operate this way. It bears watching what they have in mind this time.
They’re sore losers. They abhor constitutional law. They operate extrajudicially. They want Maduro to go. They want PSUV governance unseated.
Opposition figure Maria Corina Machado said Maduro’s legitimacy won’t be decided constitutionally. It’ll be “determined on the streets.”
She barely stopped short of urging a national insurrection. She wants dark forces running things. So do other opposition elements.
Washington’s role matters most. It supported destabilization throughout Chavez’s tenure. It targets Maduro. He suspects Obama wants him dead. Opposition candidates are openly supported. 
Longstanding US plans call for regime chance. Independent governments aren’t tolerated. Venezuelan oil reserves makes it a prime target. It’s a prize Washington covets. It wants unchallenged control.
US/Venezuelan relations remain tense for good reason. Both countries have no ambassadorial relations. It’s been this way since 2010.
Muduro accused Washington of anti-Venezuelan destabilization plots. He said evidence shows US involvement in power grid sabotage. 
It engaged in numerous other disruptive activities. Perhaps it plans more post-election. Imperial hegemons operate this way. 
America is by far the world’s most disruptive force. It seeks unchallenged global dominance. 
It’s waging political, economic, financial and hot wars to get it. At stake is humanity’s survival. It’s very much up for grabs.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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