Venezuela: Commune leader blocked from running for mayor

Angel Prado is also a leading member of the El Maizal commune in Lara state
December 1, 2017

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has denied permission to one of its grassroots delegates to stand as a mayoral candidate in the upcoming December 10 municipal elections.

Angel Prado was elected to the ANC on July 30 as a territorial delegate for his municipality of Simon Planas. Prado is also a leading member of the El Maizal commune in Lara state.

For the past several weeks, he has been involved in a lengthy battle with Venezuela’s electoral authorities to have his mayoral candidacy for the Simon Planas municipality recognised.

This is despite the communal leader having the backing of four leftist political parties and more than 9000 signatures from local residents.

Prado was to go head to head with the official handpicked candidate for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

The move to block his candidacy comes after nearly a thousand members of the El Maizal Commune marched on the ANC in Caracas on November 27 to demand the body authorise their candidate for local mayor.

The CNE had informed Prado on November 24 that he must have permission from the ANC leadership to launch his candidacy, though this instruction was reportedly communicated to the electoral authority’s state office a full 17 days prior.

The ANC has not made public its reasons for disallowing Prado’s candidacy, while critics point out that several other ANC delegates will stand in the upcoming elections. 

“The governor of Lara state is a delegate, the governor of Falcon is a delegate, and [defeated Anzoategui gubernatorial candidate] Aristobulo [Isturiz] is also a delegate, and they gave them permission to compete,” observed El Maizal member Jose Peraza.

“Why don’t they give this permission to someone from the communes movement? … If Chavez said ‘commune or nothing’, why do they fear a communard participating in municipal elections?” he added, alluding to late president Hugo Chavez’s strong support for the communes as the vanguard of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution.

Former Communes Minister and public intellectual Reinaldo Iturriza called the ANC’s decision a “defeat” for all of Chavismo in a post on Twitter. 

The decision by the bulk of Venezuelan opposition parties to officially boycott the upcoming elections has opened up spaces in certain municipalities for grassroots movements to field alternative candidates to those put forward by the PSUV.  Nonetheless, they have met significant resistance from both the CNE and the governing socialist party. 

Following the announcement of the decision, Prado told his supporters that he would now dedicate his efforts to building the “Communal City of El Maizal” in his municipality. 

Comprised of 22 communal councils, the El Maizal Commune is one of the largest and most successful agricultural communes in the country. The commune has numerous communally-owned and operated businesses and an annual yellow corn production that surpasses 4000 metric tons. 

[Compiled from Venezuela Analysis.]

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