[News] Venezuela Creates Peasant Militias
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 23 11:58:56 EST 2010
Venezuela Creates Peasant Militias, Enacts Federal Government Council
Published on February 22nd 2010, by Kiraz Janicke - Venezuelanalysis.com
Caracas, February 22, 2010 (venezuelanalysis.com)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the
creation of a new Peasant Militia, which will
form part of the national Bolivarian Armed Forces
(FAB) and also enacted the new Law of the Federal
Government Council, during a ceremony to
commemorate 151 years since the Federal War lead
by peasant leader General Ezequiel Zamora in Venezuela on Saturday.
The peasant militia will be responsible for
protecting poor farmers from mercenary groups
organized and financed by ranchers and wealthy
landowners, Chavez explained in his weekly
column, Chavezs Lines on Sunday. More than 300
peasant leaders and activists have been murdered
since the government introduced the Law on Land
and Agricultural Development in 2001 and launched a program of agrarian reform.
Some 1,505 farms totalling 2.5 million hectares
have been recovered and redistributed under the
agrarian reform program. However, The landowning
oligarchy launched a violent agenda against the
rescue of the commons, Chavez said.
Manuel Heredia, president of the National
Ranchers Federation responded that As an
institution, we have never sought paramilitary
groups to protect us, but he did not rule out
the possibility that individual members maybe be
involved in financing paramilitary groups,
saying, If one of our members is proven guilty
of a crime, then they should pay for their crime.
Chavez argued, Faced with the backlash against
the peasants through an escalation of attacks,
sabotage, and paid assassinations by the most
retrograde forces in our society, the
non-delegable duty of the Bolivarian national
state and the revolutionary government is to
protect the peasantry: to defend them with all means at its disposal.
The peasant militia has been created to fulfil
that duty, placing emphasis on the protagonism
and responsibility of the peasantry as a
collective subject in function of their own defence, the president continued.
Rebutting opposition sectors who have alleged
that the new militias are paramilitary groups,
Chavez explained that the peasant militias will
form part of the Bolivarian Armed Forces, and
therefore, do not undermine it, nor are they
intended to supplant it and will be absolutely
regulated by the law, adding, What bothers and
annoys those who spread such lies, is that the
Armed Forces have been reunited with their
original identity: the people in arms.
The peasant militia will also assist the regular
army against any foreign aggressor, wrote
Chavez, who has warned that the U.S. military
could invade Venezuela in order to seize control of its vast oil reserves.
We have no plans to attack anyone, but we will
turn Venezuela into a country that is able to
defend every last inch of its territory, the
president told thousands of supporters on Saturday.
For Chavez, the peasant militias are just a
first sign of developing a popular armed force to
safeguard our integrity and our sovereignty and
are expressions of the new communal state; an
integral part of the new structures of communal power that we are building.
The peasant militias, which are active in rural
areas, will complement the primarily urban-based
Bolivarian Militias, which were incorporated into
the reform of the Armed Forces Law that came into force on October 22, 2009.
Major General and Defence Minister Carlos Mata
Figueroa described the peasant militias, which
began training in the state of Cojedes last week
as a strategic arm for the defence of our republic.
During the ceremony on Saturday, which was
attended by a contingent of the new peasant
militia, Chavez also signed the new Law of the
Federal Government Council, which aims to
decentralize a range of powers away from
traditional municipal and state authorities and
transfer those powers to grassroots communal
councils, involving more people in the evaluation
and approval of financial resources.
The Federal Government Council will consist of
elected governors, mayors, members of the
executive, as well as spokespeople elected in
popular elections and representatives of the communal councils.
The new Law of the Federal Government Council is
a powerful tool for the construction of a
to give shape to a new
geometry of popular, political, social, communal
and military power and to create a new organ of
revolutionary power to continue fighting against
the oligarchy and empire, to continue building
the independence of our nation, Chavez declared.
As part of the ceremony Chavez also unveiled a
new stature of Zamora in El Calvario Park in
western Caracas and renamed the park, Ezequiel Zamora Park.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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