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During his speech delivered from the “People’s Balcony”, in the Miraflores presidential palace, president Hugo Chávez commented that although he might have made mistakes throughout his six years so far as head of the Bolivarian Government, what he would never do is to betray the people.

“I may make mistakes, and I began to make mistakes from the first day, to appoint people who later turned out to be what they turned out to be, and I admit that it was my fault. (...)I started out making mistakes, but those mistakes are useful to ratify a commitment, I might make mistakes but what I will never do is to betray the Venezuelan people, that I will never do”, he stressed.

He pointed out that he fulfilled his first oath taken on the “dying” 1961 Constitution in that he summoned the constituent power and gave the Venezuelan nation “a new Magna Carta that meets the standards of the new times we began to live, and thus we have this extraordinary Constitution, the most democratic, advanced, and profound of all that have existed in Venezuela”

“We do not mind the attacks from the adversary, no matter how fierce they may be or how powerful they think they are. We repeat what Sancho said to Quixote: ‘If the dogs bark, it is because we are riding’. Let us continue our ride towards the great Nation, the free Nation, the good Nation”, said president Hugo Chávez

Upon recalling the first moments after he was sworn in as Head of the National Executive in February of 1999, he pointed out that “that day, the history of Venezuela began to change(...), and consequently, so did the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, because this revolution has been able to establish deep roots and to extend its arms towards a whole geopolitical context that places it (this revolution)at a high level in Latin America and the world”.

He affirmed that from the first moment, the Bolivarian Government arrived with a natural characteristic: governing democratically. “How many tyrants have been elected, how many false democrats have passed through this place (the presidential palace), acts of treason, (how many presidents)willing to yield (to imperialism and to the oligarchy), and (how many) lackeys of imperialism and of the oligarchy”, he emphasized.

“We still have a long way ahead. We still have two years of this constitutional presidential period left and, God willing, (we will have) six more years -until 2013, when I will turn the presidency over and take it to the streets. I will no longer be here, I will go to Barrio Adentro (free Medicare program in the depressed areas) to an Endogenous Center(of development from within), to continue working until 2021”, he asserted.

He deemed particularly important the fact that his government is the first to have lasted in Miraflores more than five years since 1935. “This reflects the fortitude of the people that supports its government, because here we are not celebrating Chávez’ six years in the presidency . I am just an instrument of the owners of power in Venezuela, which is not anyone else but (Simón) Bolivar’s sovereign people”.

“You are the ones who control the government, the ones who brought me here exactly six years ago today, the ones who have supported me, the Bolivarian people, the great majority of Venezuelans, and (you were) the ones who -when the counterrevolutionary force drove me out of out of Miraflores (presidential palace), that night before dawn, activated the popular power, and in less than 48 hours brought me back”, recalled the president.

“We are here facing the most serious problem in Venezuela, which is not other but poverty, accumulated throughout a century of exploitation, of hegemony, of imperialism and dominance; imperialism that has always been helped by internal traitors, by stateless people who kneel before the empire and give the country away, like Juan Vicente Gómez”, he said.

He said that this alliance between imperialist powers and national oligarchies prevailed for 90 years. “From 1908 to 1958. Pérez Jiménez is overthrown and 40 more years of government elapsed, and they continued to give the country away and to betray the people just the same until December of 1998, when the Venezuelan people did away with the, two-party -and readily yielding to imperialism- puntofijista [1] tyranny”, he recalled.

Following the strategic guidelines

Chávez pointed out the need for following, during the new stage of the revolutionary process, the 10 major strategic guidelines of the Leap Forward, brought forth in order to attain far reaching achievements, that would enable him to be in good conditions to win -by the end of 2006 the presidential elections, with 10 million votes, and thus begin a new six year period-until 2013 of Bolivarian Government.

During his speech, he reminded the guidelines of the new stage of the revolutionary process: In the political ground, the deepening of popular participation and of participatory democracy, in which the people play the leading role. In the social ground, accelerating the payment of the social debt, thus paving the way towards a society of equal citizens. In the economic ground, strengthening the different sectors and restarting agricultural production and diversification of production. In the communicational ground, a new strategy which is currently being worked on. The fifth guideline refers to the launching of a new electoral strategy. Two other guidelines refer to an all out war on corruption and to the creation of a new institutionalism within the structure of the State, in order to curb bureaucracy.

Other guidelines mentioned by the president were the acceleration of the strategic line of endogenous development (development from within the country); the acceleration of the new Venezuelan military doctrine on security, sovereignty , and defense of the country, the increase of the people’s military reserve; and continuing the cooperation with international multipolar relations and with the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially in South America.

Also, the Head of State reiterated his call upon the opposition to join the Bolivarian Government in the endeavors it is carrying out, and explained that so far, it has been shown that the Government governs for all Venezuelans and not for just one sector.

Revolutionary goals

Among the achievements and challenges announced, Chávez mentioned the beginning of the formation process of 20,000 young Venezuelans in the Sucre Mission and in six other public universities throughout the country in the field of medicine, with the purpose of replacing the Cuban doctors working in the Barrio Adentro Mission. Another goal is the acceleration of the construction of modules for this mission, furnishing the 600 diagnostic centers with high tech equipment, including ophthalmology and dentistry equipment.

He commented that that 140 million cases have been attended in this national health Mission, at a rate of two million cases per week, and pointed out that this service is provided for free. In the field of education, he referred to the alphabetization of 1.3 million fellow countrymen in the Robinson Mission, and the inclusion of over 700,000 Venezuelans in the Ribas Mission (aimed at providing free high school education while the students receive a scholarship).

“Unemployment has dropped to almost 12% in 2004, but we have to break the 10% mark and lower it much further; that is why I have set my soul, heart, and mind on the Vuelvan Caras Mission (a program that provides a scholarship and training on productive activities that guarantees the trainees insertion into the national economy), training and employment”, he indicated that there is also a deepening of the agrarian revolution in order to transform Venezuela into a food producing nation.

[1] referring to Punto Fijo, the name of the house where the alliance of three parties, AD, Copei, and the virtually extinct URD; was formed