Wednesday, June 27, 2007
United Socialist Party of Venezuela Enters New Phase
Here's a post stolen from Venezuelanalysis.com on something i was literally just digging through the newspapers to write about. so thanks chris (who by the way has a blog titled 'gringo in venezuela'...oops. my bad).
By: Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com
Mérida, June 25, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— The formation of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) entered its second phase this past weekend as officials and party militants met for the National Meeting of Candidates for PSUV Militants in Caracas. Record numbers of Venezuelans have registered to be members of the new party and the grassroots process continues with wide participation in the formation of what will soon be the unified party of the Bolivarian Revolution.
In a process that began last April, the formation of the new united party has entered a new phase after having registered 5.7 million people in just over one-month's time. Vice-president Jorge Rodriguez explained that the second phase will be characterized by the formation of more than twenty thousand assemblies across the country to debate and discuss the political program of the new party. Party members will then elect representatives across the country over the next few months to form the party's founding congress.
"Another battle is upon us and I have no doubt that we will come out victorious. I'm referring to the formation across national territory of more than 20,000 socialist battalions, made up of 300 (party) candidates each," said Rodriguez, explaining that the new phase has the purpose of "advancing the formation process and calling for the founding congress."
It will be the task of more than 25,000 party "promoters" to organize and hold the assemblies in communities across the country. But first the party's technical committee must swear in 9,000 more promoters in addition to the 16,000 existing promoters already sworn in by President Hugo Chavez himself. The promoters will receive courses starting next weekend about the methodology of the assemblies and will have the responsibility of locating the place to hold the assembly and informing the party members in the community.
According to plans, the socialist battalions will start to meet in community assemblies beginning on Saturday, July 21st, when President Chavez himself will attend his neighborhood assembly in central Caracas. Each battalion will hold a total of three community assemblies before electing a battalion spokesperson to participate in the elections for the founding congress that is expected to be convened in August and last for three months.
The Vice-president also explained that those registered to be members of the party must study and debate the topics related to the creation of the new party during the battalion assemblies.
"The battalions and candidates will discuss important topics for the process of the foundation of the party such as its structural basis and concepts like democracy, socialism, sovereignty, and anti-imperialism," he said.
And according to Rodriguez, the battalion assemblies should continue to work after the founding of the party as the new centers of debate for the millions of pro-Chavez party militants. These new community assemblies could possibly be converted into the new nuclei of political discussion inside the revolution after the formation of the PSUV is complete.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also spoke at the event in Caracas stressing the importance of the formation of the united party. In front of some 15,000 party militants, Chavez explained that one important reason for the united party was to consolidate the revolution and not rely on the leadership of only one man but rather make a party that can last forever.
"Human beings are transitory," he said. "The party must be eternal, the most powerful revolutionary motor."
Chavez recalled his recent visit to Havana and that Castro had explained why he (Castro) can die and the Cuban Revolution will continue. On the other hand, Castro apparently said that without Chavez the Venezuelan "revolution would be carried away in the wind."
"I realize that unfortunately he is right," said Chavez on Saturday. "If I die this revolution will be carried away in the wind because we don't have a party, a big political machine, a big political direction," he said.
Announcing the official registration numbers of the new party, Chavez celebrated the success of the party formation thus far. Due to the high participation in the party replacing 24 smaller pro-Chavez parties, the president assured it would be "the biggest party not only in Venezuelan history, but in all of Latin America."
"It will be a party of organized masses, of organized fronts, of mass movements, of big groups and of different political blocks," he said.
PSUV Registration Numbers
Participation in the formation process has been remarkably high. Of the 7.3 million people who voted for Hugo Chavez in last December's presidential elections, 5.7 million, nearly 80%, have already registered in the new party. Of the 5.7 million, 2.88 are men and 2.78 million are women, according to the numbers announced by Chavez.
The numbers also indicate that nearly one-third of those registered are younger than 30 years old, around 100,000 are only 18 years old, and more than 42,000 of the new members are over 80 years old. Chavez also is going to allow the entry of thousands of youth under the age of 18 after receiving a letter signed by thousands of teenagers asking for the right to join the new party.
Also among the millions of newly-registered are 285,000 housewives, 1.4 million laborers, and 745,000 professionals.
The states with the highest percentage of registered members are Apure, Cojedes, and Delta Amacuro where the number of registered members actually reached more than half of the total electorate. In Apure more people registered for the PSUV party than actually voted for President Chavez in the December elections. And in Cojedes the same amount as voted for Chavez in December also registered in the party.
Some of the lowest turnouts were in the states of Monagas, Nueva Esparta (Margarita), and Sucre where 78%, 64%, and 59% of those who voted for Chavez in December's elections have registered in the PSUV party.