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Caracas, Venezuela
27 February 2010

Address by President Hugo Chávez Frías on the anniversary of the Caracazo  [1]

Zamora lives, the fight continues," is the motto brought to life by our people. There could not be a better occasion for the enactment of the Organic Law of the Federal Council of Government than the unveiling of the statue of the Peoples General Ezequiel Zamora in the El Calvario Park, Caracas downtown. We were accompanied by representatives of Community Councils from all around country and the legislative power.

It was the 151th anniversary of the beginning of the Federal War (1859-1863). On February 20, 1859, when Tirso Salaverría commanded the Takeover of Coro to later launch the Cry of Federation. We could not have paid a better tribute to Zamora than a law aimed at the peoples definite liberation.

I always put the community before individuals," wrote our Liberator Simón Bolívar on October 28, 1828 to General Antonio José de Sucre. This is the spirit and driving motor of our current Bolivarianism: communal and social issues above all things. Simón rodríguez was right when he wrote on his work called Sociedades Americanas (American Societies) in 1828: "You will see that there are two kinds of politics: the peoples and the governments, and that the peoples become political before governments."

Today, we can say that we have have a highly politicized, in the fair sense and meaning of this term, and that our Bolivarian Revolution is the direct consequence of such politicization, whose boiling point was February 27, 1989, the day of the peoples rebellion. Next Saturday will be its 21st anniversary. Lets recall what Kléber Ramírez, a great revolutionary man, said in august 1992: "... this is the time for the communities to take over the powers of the state; this will lead us to globally transform the state and the real exercise of the sovereignty by the society through communal powers."

These are the reasons why we have enacted the Organic Law of the Federal Council of Government on Saturday 20. With this Law, we open the doors wider in order to move forward with the distribution of power in the hands of the people, by giving the state a greater efficiency and, especially, unity to fulfill its duties granted by the Constitution.

I have repeatedly said it:

The reality of the Venezuelan territory must be transformed, and that’s the reason why there is a need to shape a new geometry of power that later becomes the peoples, communal and socialist realignment of the nations geopolitics.

By socialism we mean endless democracy. Thus, our strong conviction that the best and most radically democratic option to defeat bureaucratism and corruption is the construction of a communal state capable of trying out an alternative institutional plan as we permanently reinvent.

With this law, we must really and seriously start the dismantling of the rusted colonial structure on which a territorial organization that was used to try to shatter the national unit rests. And, of course, the Peoples Power wil play a leading role in the radical transformation of our geography.

Since the Law of Lands and Agricultural Development came into force in 2001, the landowning oligarchy set in motion a violent agenda against the recovery of lands and the full exercise of the right established in the Law of Lands and the Constitution. Faced with the attacks against the peasant people by using sabotages and hit men of the most reactionary forces of our society, the Bolivarian states and the Revolutionary governments duty is to protect the peasant population by all means. The Peasant Militia is has been created to fulfill this duty by laying emphasis on the leading role and responsibility of the peasant population as collective subjects for their own defense.

The first exercises of the Peasant Militia are just the first display of development of a peoples armed corp to safeguard our integrity and sovereignty in the rural areas of Venezuela. Who is better at this than the community, which knows better than anybody the dynamics, activities, faults, and essential aspects in the field of security in their locality; as well as in the geographic, spiritual and material fields?

The Peasant Militia , as well as the Bolivarian Militia, are not paramilitary forces, as some "analysts" have claimed, let alone that we understand this word within the Colombian reactionary semantics. On the contrary, the Bolivarian Militia (an absolutely law-ruled corp), and the Community Councils embody the new communal state; it is a comprehensive part of the new structures of the communal power we are building.

The Bolivarian Militia is one of the components of the Bolivarian Armed Force and, therefore, it does not undermine it, nor does it try to replace it. What bothers and annoys those who spread all kinds of lies is that the Armed Force has been reborn with its original identity.

The Peasant Militia embodies today a very important precedent: the defense of the land, of our land. It is a defense against the eventual foreign aggressor, but also against the domestic aggressor that has hidden behind a state of impunity in connivance with the corruptness of certain courts of the Republic, which protect landowners and criminalize peasants who want to enforce the Law of Lands.

Last February 15 was the 191st anniversary of the Angostura Address. the Independence War was not over, but our Liberator embodied, as he does today, the reconquest of our identity as a Homeland. Lets recall some enlightened words confirming the raison d’être of our Peasant Militias:

Slavery broke its chains and Venezuela has seen herself surrounded by new sons, by grateful sons, who have converted the implements of their slavery into liberating arms. Yes, those who were formerly slaves, are now free; those who were formerly the enemies of their godmother, are now the defenders of their country.

Lets go, together with Zamora, Robinson and Bolívar, towards the Communal State!

Towards Socialism!

We will triumph!

Source: Government of Venezuela

[1] The street riots of February 1989 in the Venezuelan capital are known as the Caracazo. The protests, sparked by a series of economic restructuring measures which included price rises on fuel and public transport, left hundreds dead. Some groups say as many as 3,000 people were killed.
Very few public figures were put on trial over the violence and it has stained Venezuela’s reputation ever since.
Since coming to power, Hugo Chavez - who was a lieutenant in the army at the time - has described the event as a massacre by the state, and ordered a tribunal to investigate the Caracazo.