Venezuela: President Chávez in good health and full campaign swing
by Olivia Kroth
Sources: Blog Hugo Chávez, Correo del Orinoco, Patria Grande, Pravda, Prensa Latina, Venezuelanalysis, Voltaire Network
On the 11th of June, Hugo Chávez registered as a presidential candidate with the Electoral Committee of Venezuela. He has been nominated as the official party candidate by 11 political parties, including the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and the Tupamaros.
On the 1st of July, he officially started his campaign rally in Maracay, state of Aragua, accompanied by large crowds chanting "Bolivarian Hurricane" and "Pa'lante Comandante" (Forwards, Commander).
He announced that his latest medical tests showed a clean bill of health and he laughed at the right wing opposition who accuse him of "lying" about having cancer because he is still alive and kicking. Of course, they had hoped for his death, but he won't do them the favor. On the contrary, he plans to govern Venezuela for another seven years, from 2013 to 2019.
The 11th of June, the date of his registry, is of special importance to Hugo Chávez. Just one year ago, on the 10th of June 2011, he underwent his first cancer operation in La Havana. Cuban doctors helped him to survive. In his public campaign speech, he thanked the Cuban brothers, Fidel and Raúl Castro, his Cuban doctors and the Cuban people for their support and friendship.
President Chávez handed out numerous copies of the new government plan for 2013-2019, a 40 page compendium of proposals and intentions, regarding five main themes.
The first theme is "consolidating national independence." Sovereignty over Venezuela's national income forms the base, mainly to be achieved through the oil and mining industries, also by strengthening agricultural production and exports to such non-aligned countries as China, Russia and Iran.
"Venezuela is an OPEC member country. Today, OPEC is threatened by the imperialists who invaded Libya, who threaten to invade Iran. Who knows if Venezuela could be next," the President asked in his electoral campaign speech. "All OPEC countries are threatened because the imperialists are greedy for oil," he pointed out.
"We managed to break the chains of imperialism, we are independent. For a long time, Venezuela was dominated and manipulated by imperialist interests. Our country was only allowed to maintain an economy in subordination to multinationals' needs," the President said.
He reflected on Venezuela's economic, political, military and strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, all three playing no small role in the steadfast self-assurance of the Venezuelan President.
Hugo Chávez evoked the spirit of Simón Bolívar, El Libertador, by quoting his famous sentence, "Independence is our most precious possession, independence will be the open door for our homeland in the future."
China, Iran and Russia have been invited through this open door to help Venezuela shape its independence by equipping and training the Venezuelan Armed Forces, by jointly drilling oil in the Faja del Orinoco, the world's largest crude oil reserve, by building homes, cement factories, tractor and car plants on Venezuelan territory, to name just a few of the many shared enterprises.
The second theme of the new government plan 2013 - 2019 is "constructing Bolivarian Socialism for the 21st century." Basic participatory democracy is the core of Bolivarian Socialism, with democratized means of production in cooperatives, communal enterprises, socially owned companies and banks.
Afro-descendent and indigenous minorities, youths, seniors and women are all invited to participate in the grass roots organizations of the Great Patriotic Pole to advance human rights and social justice. The vision is to create a just and egalitarian society which will "make it impossible to return to poverty."
Strengthening Bolivarian Socialism also means increasing cultural infrastructure, free medical services, community sports and recreational facilities.
Hugo Chávez, who likes reading books on a variety of topics, and is always ready to use them as a reference in his public speeches, quoted a sentence from the Bible, "I have worked hard in the service of my people, especially the suffering and the poor." Knowing poverty and suffering in his early childhood, he will always be on the side of the weakest members of society, helping them with their self-empowerment.
Regarding free socialist medical services, Hugo Chávez thanked the thousands of Cuban doctors working in Venezuela. They were at the vanguard of setting up the Socialist Medical Mission (Misión Barrio Adentro).
The President said, "You probably know that we pay with oil for all the medical help we get from Cuba: About 30.000 doctors, nurses, medical specialists, diagnostic centers, technological equipment, rehabilitation facilities, medicines, etc. All of this is offered to the Venezuelan people free of cost, but of course the Government pays for it with oil."
The third theme of the new government plan for the coming years is "empowering Venezuela" within the Latin American and Caribbean community, particularly ALBA, CELAC, PetroCaribe and UNASUR, also Mercosur to which Venezuela has recently been admitted as a new member.
Hugo Chávez wants to consolidate these regional alliances, whose common father is Simón Bolívar, the visionary of Latin American unity. The President calls him "our father forever," and is proud that the Liberator's mortal remains were transferred to the National Pantheon in Caracas.
The electoral campaign speech was full of Simón Bolívar quotes, it seems that Hugo Chávez has learned all of them by heart. "Simón Bolívar said in Angostura, 1819: The most perfect government is that which can give to its people the greatest amount of social security, the greatest amount of political stability and the greatest amount of felicity." Clearly, Hugo Chávez wants to emulate his great idol in all three aspects, striving for his own government's perfection.
Interacting with the Latin American alliances means creating regional and transnational tourism. VENETUR, Venezuela's state-owned travel organization, offers interesting package tours to the neighboring countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Uruguay.
More Latin American interaction also means creating more geopolitical infrastructure through road and railway development. The bus and railway connections need to be improved and extended, not only within Venezuela but across the borders as well.
The fourth theme in the new government program for the coming years is to help in "creating a pluripolar world." The Venezuelan Government wants to get more involved with BRICS (Brasil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and build close relationships with Africa and Asia. The Chávez administration plans to participate in international forums of non-aligned countries to make itself heard and seen.
Extended telecommunications will also be necessary. TeleSUR and Radio del Sur are preparing programs in foreign languages to increase their global reach.
The fifth and last theme of the new government plan focuses on "saving life on the planet" based on a "harmonic relationship between man and nature," an eco-socialist scheme to "make rational and optimum use of Venezuela's natural resources, respecting nature's processes and cycles."
President Hugo Chávez referred to the concept of saving Pachamama, the Latin American indigenous peoples' Mother Earth. He pointed out that models of alternative energy production are already being tested in Venezuela, for example producing wind energy in the windy Caribbean Peninsula Paraguaná and Isla Margarita, also in the Andes state of Mérida.
The Tree Mission (Misión Arbol) is an eco-socialist project of reforestation, planting large quantities of trees in the entire Venezuelan territory.
On his campaign trail, Hugo Chávez will be accompanied by many Venezuelan musicians. On the 1st of July, some popular Llanos singers sang for the masses: Cristóbal Jiménez, Raina Lucero, Cristina Maica and Eladio Tarife.
In between, the President sang himself. He loves singing and intonated Alí Primera's song, "La Patria Bonita" (The Good Homeland). He also sang the national anthem and the anthem of Venezuela's Armed Forces.
Another 30 musicians, soloists and groups will surround the President in the coming weeks, proving that Venezuela is a music loving nation. Some of the participants who signed up are Lilia Vera, a specialist of folklore since the 1970s, Paul Gillman, a rock star, Antonio Martínez, a singer of Afro-Venezuelan music, Edgar Aponte, an Afro-Venezuelan percussionist, Arcade Lírico, a young hip hop artist from the Peninsula Paraguaná. Among the groups, there is the Symphonic Orchestra of Coro, state of Falcón.
Diosdado Cabello, First Vice-President of PSUV, reported that the party has already won 50 million new members with the system 1x10. On the PSUV 1x10 sheets, each party member hands in the names and addresses of 10 more people willing to join PSUV and vote for President Chávez on the 7th of October.
The Socialists go from house to house, from street to street, campaigning with very good results. Diosdado Cabello announced that PSUV counts on receiving one million more filled-in PSUV 1x10 sheets before the elections.
Hugo Chávez won the 2006 elections with over seven million votes, 63 percent. Polls indicate that he might come close to this result again in October 2012. A poll by IVAD, conducted in May this year, showed that 67 percent of voters in the Llanos states of Apure, Barinas, Cojedes, Guárico and Portuguesa want to vote for Hugo Chávez. He is a Llanos man himself, born in the grasslands of Barinas.
The IVAD poll indicated that 58 percent of voters would cast their vote for Hugo Chávez in the western states of Falcón, Lara, Yaracuy and Zulia, while his approval rate in the Andes states of Mérida, Táchira and Trujillo amounts to 57 percent. In the eastern states of Anzoátegui, Bolívar, Monagas, Nueva Esparta and Sucre, about 53 percent would vote for him. In the central states of Aragua, Carabobo, Miranda, Vargas and the Capital District, he can count on 50 percent.
Similar to Vladimir Putin in the Russian Federation, Hugo Chávez is an ardent patriot who loves his country with great intensity. "I have been a patriot since childhood," he emphasizes.
His love for the homeland and his compatriots is mirrored in the names for his Great Socialist Missions, where "amor" (love) is a key word, for example in the "Gran Misión En Amor Mayor," which gives senior citizens of Venezuela pensions and social benefits.
One of the President's favorite phrases is "Amor con amor se paga" (Love is remunerated by love). The campaign logo shows a heart with yellow, blue and red stripes, the colors of the Venezuelan flag, and the words "Chávez corazon de mi patria" (Chávez heart of my homeland).
The Venezuelan masses love Hugo Chávez. Nothing can break this love. Jaqueline Faria, Governor of the Capital District, explains that his forte is his direct connection to the population.
Hugo Chávez shows his love and is requited with love. In the streets, people hold up signs: "Primero Dios, segundo tú, mi Comandante" (First God, second you, my Commander). Lots of Venezuelans are not only loyal Socialists but also faithful Catholics. On facebook and twitter, there are thousands of messages wishing the President good health and God's protection: "Que Dios le bendiga" (May God bless you).
This emotional, spiritual component, is hard to grasp for cool Northerners who tend to weigh the pros and cons of a candidate intellectually. The passion, almost religious fervor, typical for Latin America, is hardly found elsewhere.
There is a blog on the internet, "Why we vote for Chávez," interviewing one person a day. A 72 year old woman from Chacao writes under the name of "Caperucita Roja" (Little red riding hood), "In 1998, I had enough of so much misery. I remember that 80 percent of us then voted for Chávez, but they stole tons of votes from us. I know, because I was there as a witness at the polling station. He is the only President that has worried about educating his people and developing Social Missions. Do you know how valuable that is for a nation?"
Enrique Hernández D'Jesús says, "My reason is Chávez himself: his sensitivity, his social consciousness. Deep down, he is a poet and outwardly a creator. He is like no other leader in history that I have known in my life."
José Roberto Duque's reasons, "I can see this is a stellar moment for the people of Venezuela. Chávez remaining in Miraflores Palace means the guarantee for us people to keep building the country we never had; the country taken away from us by the rich and by Anglo-Saxon powers."
Carmín Narvas R. gives two types of reasons, objective reasons and reasons of the heart. "First, there are the objective reasons, the material improvement in living conditions for our population, such as the steady increase in minimum wages, the significant reduction of poverty, the increasing empowerment of people, all the while, dignifying our international profile and making sure that our voice is increasingly heard and recognized".
Carmín Narvas R. continues, "But I would like to concentrate on the reasons of the heart. Chávez symbolizes what for me is the most authentic expression of the Venezuelan character: a tireless fighter, unsubmissive, at the same time tender and frank. I see myself reflected in him. I see my brothers, my sisters, I see the best of us reflected in Chávez. He is the idealization of the father, the image of the mother. He is the person that pushes us not to give up. He is the hope for better times."
Facing this popular and successful President, the right wing opposition candidate has very small chances of winning the upcoming elections. Even with the funding of USAID and other CIA outlets, the "Majunche" (Mediocre) will probably go down into history, if at all, as another imperialist puppet, soon to be forgotten.
He was involved in the attempted coup d'état of 2002, storming the Cuban Embassy in Caracas, threatening to kill the Cuban Ambassador. What new shenanigans are he and his Zionist friends preparing for October 2012?
Hugo Chávez needs well-trained, loyal Secret Services and Armed Forces, but above all, he needs God's protection.
Que Dios le bendiga, Comandante Chávez.
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