During a telephone call from Cuba last Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the government would carry out an “economic revolution” within the coming years as he approved more funds for the industrial development of the country.
Speaking to a meeting of Vice-ministers in Caracas, Chavez said that his administration would build a “new industrialised model in Venezuela,” capable of satisfying the collective needs of the nation.
Making reference to Marxist intellectual Ivan Meszaros, Chavez spoke of the necessity to make Venezuela’s transition towards socialism “irreversible”, explaining that the country had experienced a political revolution but that the government “now had to make the economic revolution”.
“Throughout the past few years there is no doubt that we have made a political revolution,” he stated, “but the economic revolution is there, creaking in the background, something unfinished”.
“The political revolution is there following its path, and of course we have to look after it, a revolution based on knowledge, consciousness, revolutionary ethics…the political revolution which has been advancing like a river, we can’t let it be rolled backwards… but if we don’t make the economic revolution, what use is the political revolution?” he concluded.
Although Chavez said that this economic revolution would have to begin in the Venezuelan countryside, he also approved funding for the development of the country’s industrial sector, which he said would also be important in overcoming Venezuela’s rentier and oil dependent economy.
Some of the funding approved by the president include US$100 million to construct iron and steel processing plants as part of state company Ferrominera in Bolivar state, US$2 million to start production at a socialist food factory in Portuguesa, as well as US$24 million for the mixed socialist coco-processing plant in Sucre as part of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).
The Venezuelan president also announced the forced expropriation of the Guanare Sugar processing plant and its associated businesses after a farmers’ collective complained that the factory was affecting the wellbeing of the local population and its workers earlier this month.
During the meeting, Chavez, who is expected to sweep to victory in this year’s October presidential elections, affirmed that the country was currently moving towards the construction of a socially productive economy based on the 5 stages set out by Venezuelan Finance Minister, Jorge Giordani, in his book “Venezuela’s Transition to Socialism”.
These 5 stages are comprised of the modification of the productive forces in the country, a change in the state’s role in relation to the economy, collective self-management in production, as well as a move towards consolidating the country’s independence in the face of the “globalisation of the capitalist system”.
Advances in Agricultural Production
On Sunday, the Venezuelan president also stated that fishing and seafood farming had gone up by 300% since the end of the 1990s.
“Agricultural production is one of our fields of action and one of the lines for strategic development in the 2013-2019 period, and we are already working on this,” he concluded.
Between 1998 and 2010, the Bolivarian government managed to increase national agricultural production by 44%, national cattle farming by 82% and the amount of land used for cultivation by 48%.
The government has attributed these figures to its agrarian programmes, which have benefitted over 168,000 farming families with regulated land since 2003, as well as to the passing of progressive legislation which favours the small producer and state social programmes aimed at stimulating national production through providing training and micro-credits to small scale farmers.
Chavez went on to confirm that increasing national agricultural production would be central to the government’s planned economic revolution and stated that the goal for this year was to further increase agricultural and fishing production by 20%.
“We have to make sure that all the good land produces,” he said, adding that the increase in agricultural output would be achieved through credits for farmers, the Zamora fund, technical support, machinery and training.