Venezuelans began to hold nation-wide community meetings last Saturday to discuss the creation of a new Homeland Plan ahead of this year’s presidential elections.
The plan will define the Maduro government’s policies for 2019-2025 should it win reelection, and will be drafted through a series of assemblies with Chavista activists before being approved by the leadership of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
On January 3, current Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on the Venezuelan people to make proposals for the programme and to help orientate his plan for government.
“I call on all of the people, so that in perfect unity we elaborate a Homeland Plan 2019-2025, continuing the immortal legacy of our commander Hugo Chavez,” he tweeted.
During his end of year speech, Maduro also called on state governors and mayors to help the national government organise the assemblies in their respective areas, to ensure the greatest participation possible amongst Venezuelans.
“It must be a written plan, thought up and made by all Venezuelans. It is a popular plan to keep making a socialist revolution, our revolution of the 21st Century,” he said.
The current Socialist Plan of the Nation 2013-2019 was approved by former Venezuelan President and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution Hugo Chavez Frias prior to his victory in October 2012 presidential elections. The plan, which outlines the second stage of Venezuela’s socialist transition, was also drafted through nationwide assemblies, securing the input of tens of thousands of people.
The former plan included five sections to orientate the Venezuelan government, including consolidating Venezuelan independence, building socialism of the 21st Century, turning Venezuela into a “social, economic and political power”, promoting a multi-polar world internationally and preserving the environment. It replaced the First Socialist Plan for the Nation 2007-2013 and was voted into law by the then-majority Chavista National Assembly in December 2013.
Since discussions were launched last weekend, several social movements and Chavista politicians have come forward to make contributions to the debate over how to shape the Venezuelan socialist project in the coming years.
During an assembly in Caracas’ working class western region of Catia, Libertador Mayor Erika Farias suggested that the development of urban agriculture should have its own section in the Homeland Plan, while other initiatives put forward by participating Chavista organisations included consolidating the Bolivarian militia and the communal state, as well as diversifying national production.
At least 891 assemblies are expected to take place in Caracas alone, and will be organised by local groups known as the UBCH or the Hugo Chavez Battle Units, led by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela rank and file activists.
The meetings will be open to the public and carried out across the country’s more than 300 municipalities, as well as across different organised sectors of society, including with elected spokespeople for workers, rural workers, women, young people, indigenous groups, and communal councils and communes.
Approximately 184 meetings were held across the country between Saturday and Sunday.