Sunday, 22 April 2007

Formation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Moves Forward

By: Chris Carlson -

Merida, April 20, 2007 ( Venezuela President Hugo Chávez took another step on Thursday in the formation of the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The President presided over the swearing in of thousands of new "promoters" of the party at an event in Caracas. During his speech, Chávez called out to two pro-Chávez governors who oppose the PSUV to join the opposition, and called on voters in their states to revoke their mandates.

The formation of the new party moved forward yesterday with the swearing in of more than 16,000 "promoters" of the party. This is part of the second step in the formation process. The first step in the process took place in March with the designation and swearing in of the first wave of "promoters."

The second stage, which began on March 24th and lasts until June 24th, entails the activation of promoters across the country to discuss the PSUV. These promoters of the party have the responsibility of carrying out the census and registration of party members and motivating the participation of the people. Party members will then elect representatives to a Founding Congress which will design the political program and ideology of the party.

The President announced that registration for the party will begin on April 29th and will last until June 2nd. He also said that the National Electoral Council (CNE) will supervise the process. The PSUV hopes to reach 70,000 promoters to be sworn in on May 26th who will then make up the "socialist battalions."

"This bigger group will then make up the 22,000 socialist battalions all over the country to organize the party on a national level," said Chávez. Each of the battalions will then elect a spokesperson for the party assembly.

Chávez, who first proposed the idea of a United Socialist Party during his 2006 presidential campaign, emphasized the importance of the creation of a unitary force and stressed that the Bolivarian Revolution needs true revolutionaries.

"A tree that is born crooked never straightens its branches," he said to the party promoters yesterday, urging the promoters not to deviate from revolutionary principles. "Let's make sure, then, that our tree, the PSUV, is born straight, without deviations." he said.

In that light, Chávez criticized the position of certain party leaders who have rejected the idea of a unified party. Chávez said that he did not need the support of the governor of Sucre, Ramón Martínez, calling him "counterrevolutionary" and a "coward," and told him to join the ranks of the opposition.

"I don't accept cowardliness or deceit, Governor. Go to the opposition! I don't want you here with us. I don't accept your support. It is you that is a farce, a counterrevolutionary," he said to the Sucre governor. "Find your place, I don't consider you with us, I consider you against us!"

The President also warned the governor of Aragua, Didalco Bolívar, telling him that if he wants to take the same position as Martínez that he can go too.

"We don't need him here either," said Chávez, who then called on the people of those states to convene recall referendums to revoke their mandates, a right afforded to Venezuelans under the 1999 Constitution.

Both governors, leaders of the center-left pro-Chávez party PODEMOS, had criticized the idea of the United Socialist party after Chávez called on all pro-Chávez parties to unite behind one party with one political platform. Political leaders of other pro-Chávez parties hesitated as well, waiting to analyze the party profile, but now have slowly agreed to unite.

Chávez welcomed Communist Party leader Roberto Hernández to the PSUV yesterday. Hernández has been a militant in the Communist Party of Venezuela, but was present at the event. He also thanked Aristóbulo Isturiz, ex-Minister of Education and militant of Patria Para Todos (PPT) for his support of the PSUV.

Chávez said they had "given a true example of conciousness," and called on those who were still undecided to "come with us, our arms are wide open."

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