[News] Venezuela’s Chavez to Ministers: Now is the Time for Self-Criticism

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 23 14:27:49 EDT 2012

  Venezuela’s Chavez to Ministers: Now is the Time for Self-Criticism

By Rachael Boothroyd


Caracas, October 23^rd 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In a cabinet 
meeting with his top ministers on Saturday, Venezuelan president Hugo 
Chavez strongly criticised his political team for failing to show 
commitment to the participatory democratic model currently being 
proposed by his government and urged them to undertake serious 

The meeting was the first cabinet meeting to have taken place since the 
Venezuelan national elections were held on 7 October, in which Chavez 
won a third presidential term with over 55% of the vote.

During the televised meeting, Chavez made many criticisms of his party, 
especially with regards to the construction of the country’s communes, 
which group together communal councils in a given region.

“Where are the communes?” he asked newly appointed Vice-president 
Nicolas Maduro.

“In (socialist city) Belen, we keep giving houses to people, but you 
can’t see a commune anywhere. Not even the spirit of the commune, which 
right now is more important than the commune itself; a communal 
culture... this is a matter for all of us, this (the communes) are part 
of the soul of this project,” he said.

Although the Law of the Communes was passed in 2010 and a Ministry of 
the Communes established, many of the local self-government bodies have 
not made it past the initial stages of registration.

During the meeting, Chavez suggested that one of the problems impeding 
the construction of the communes was to have made a ministry responsible 
for their management, and suggested eliminating the government body.

“I am going to have to eliminate the Ministry of Communes... We have 
assumed that the problem of the communes is a matter for a ministry, and 
that is a huge error, we cannot make this error any more, Nicolas,” he said.

The head of state also made a series of comments relating to what he 
referred to as “a lack of organisation and cooperation” amongst the 
country’s public media stations and stated that it was necessary to 
create a more unified system to group together Venezuela’s progressive 

“We don’t have a national network for public media, that’s why we should 
create it, and it should be connected to other networks, such as the 
community media and international networks”.

He also spoke critically on the content of public media and charged 
state channels with excluding grassroots voices.

“Sometimes I am watching television and I think, good Lord, is this the 
most important thing that there is at the moment? ... A person who has 
nothing to say to the country? Why don’t we do programmes with the 
workers, with self-criticism? It is necessary, that is what nourishes 
us; we should not be afraid of self-criticism!” he added.

The meeting comes just a week after the socialist president reshuffled 
his cabinet, seeing his Vice-president replaced by foreign minister 
Nicolas Maduro and the Minister of Communes also removed from her post 
to stand in Lara in the country’s upcoming regional elections. The 
Chavez government has stated that the next six years will be aimed at 
deepening and radicalising its socialist project and will also be marked 
by a period of “self-criticism”.

On Saturday, Chavez spoke at length about the Venezuelan transition to 
socialism, stating that the path to the Bolivarian model is inseparable 
from a project to deepen the country’s democratic system in “every sphere”.

Although he stated that this transition “must be planned and debated at 
each step of the way,” he also said that this effort must include a 
profound transformation of the country’s productive model, which should 
be democratised both “essentially and substantially”. He also added that 
this democratisation of the nation’s economic system would be a 
“determining” factor in the country’s path to socialism.

In other comments the president also pledged that his government would 
attempt to be more efficient during its next term and ensure that it 
delivered on promises, as well as increase auditing on social projects.

“We need to step up our level of interaction, communication and 
coordination,” he said .

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