By Caleb T. Maupin
Printed in the Exponent Campus Newspaper under the name "Hugo Plans Bolivarian Revolution"
On Sept. 1st the leaders of a town in Venezuela called Caita have declared that the local jail will be converted into the country’s first community controlled University. This is part of the governments current project of putting more and more power into the hands of the people.
It doesn’t stop with Universities. Venezuela will be building two hundred new “Socialist Factories”. These factories will not be owned by private capitalists, or by the government, but they will be in the hands of “communes” or democratic organizations of the people.
Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has just proposed to lower the work day from eight hours to six hours in order to create more jobs, and lower the burden on the average Venezuelan worker.
Leaders of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua have just gotten together and announced that they are creating a new “ALBA Bank”. This bank will be a bank that is not controlled by big corporations as most banks are. This bank, called ALBA, a Spanish acronym meaning Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, will not be for profit. This bank will be publicly owned by the people of the four countries, and it will be used to help the poor and working people, rather than rip them off with fines, mortgage schemes and high interest rates.
Another one of the recently passed changes in Venezuela is the replacement of a certain section of the army with organizations of the people themselves. In many areas people from the community, will be armed and trained to defend their homes and communities, not depending on corrupt and unaccountable police.
I believe that this kind of transformation would be great for our country. Imagine only having to work a 30 hour week. Imagine if you had a bank that wasn’t looking for every excuse to fine you with overdraft fees and such. Imagine working in a place that you and your fellow workers controlled and owned. Imagine knowing when you got pulled over, that the police officer was someone from your community who was accountable to you if you were mistreated.
This is all part of Hugo Chavez’s plans for Venezuela called the “Bolivarian Revolution”. Hugo Chavez is calling for a new society in Venezuela, based not only on his belief in Marxism and Socialism, but also on his devout Christian faith.
“Jesus Christ was the greatest socialist of history.” Chavez said in his inauguration address last spring.
It will be interesting to see the new kind of society that Chavez is building Venezeula. It will also be amazing to try and build a more fair, just, and equal society in the richest country in the world, our own United States.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF EXPONENT CAMPUS MEDIA