Venezuela: Chavez calls for 'revolution in the revolution'

Issue 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for a "revolution within the revolution", at an 8000 strong United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) rally on November 18.

Chavez called upon the PSUV ranks to hold successful PSUV candidates to account if they failed to act in the interests of the people after the election.

The rally was organised to inspire PSUV organisers and local committee members in the lead-up to the vote for state governors and local government positions on November 23.

Poliedro Stadium, on the edge of Caracas, was a sea of red T-shirts and banners, and echoed with energetic revolutionary singing and chanting.

Contingents of local PSUV battalions and international solidarity groups from Argentina, Peru and Australia listened to Jorge Rodriguez, PSUV candidate for mayor of the Caracas municipality of Liberatador, and candidate for mayor of Greater Caracas, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Rodriguez was Venezuelan vice-president during 2007, while Isturiz is a former education minister.

Rally participants were urged to ensure the maximum turnout for voting on November 23. Rodriguez claimed that the PSUV had made a mistake in relation to the December 2007 constitutional reform referendum campaign by giving insufficient attention to turning out the voting support base.

The opposition won a narrow victory against Chavez's proposed reforms — that aimed to help open the way towards socialism — when close to 3 million people who voted for Chavez in the 2006 presidential elections abstained from the referendum.

Isturiz stressed the political and programatic content of the campaign, contrasting it with bourgeois marketing campaigns. He said PSUV activists need to construct an alternative to the capitalist model that is credible and sustainable.

"We need to end poverty and social exclusion. Public spaces need to be accessible to all", he said. He also argued that the PSUV campaign has an internationalist outlook.

The crowd greeted Chavez with loud enthusiasm. "Get up early on Sunday", he said. "We have to be as organised as we were for the 1998 presidential election [when Chavez first won office]."

At the end of his speech he lifted two children up to the podium. "We need Bolivar's vision of a Gran Colombia [united Latin America] so these children and all children can have a future", Chavez said.