Translation by Owen Richards
The year just begun is one of the most difficult of the process of change initiated in 1999. The year before a huge election, it will put the political consciousness of the majority of Venezuelans to the test. Some challenges will appear on the horizon over the next few months that will be dialectically connected to the most important events of 2012. Here are some of them:
Economically, the main challenges are: One, to recover the path of economic growth. The indicators allow for optimism. Another, to reduce and control inflation—which is the worst tax the poor can pay and reduces their capacity of consumption—turning all efforts toward combating poverty. To reach greater levels of economic efficiency and effectiveness in state activities is also crucial this year—the superiority of the socialist state over the capitalist private sector must be demonstrated in all spheres of the economic process.
In the social sphere, to continue the process of poverty reduction, which means strengthening the social missions, starting with the production of a poverty map that will enable us to attack poverty directly in its most obvious hiding places. At the same time, it is necessary to complete the work of social inclusion begun in the education missions, providing permanent employment to all new graduates in their professions.
Reaching the proposed goals in the area of housing appears as an unavoidable challenge, above all as this problem has been taken on directly by President Hugo Chavez. Great determination, courage, and a sense of urgency will be required to reach these goals.
Politically, there are several challenges. The first is turning the PSUV into a political tool for building socialism. The PSUV should not just be an electoral machine, but the political vanguard of society, able to focus the people's social action towards the big goals of the revolution. The second has to do with the construction of a large, inclusive Patriotic Pole, in which elements and sectors can converge, including those that don't identify with socialism, but with a clear national identity, those with an unquestionable democratic profile and all lovers of progress and social peace. The third challenge in this field involves defeating the destabilising strategy led by the opposition forces from within the National Assembly, supported by their external allies. Popular power plays a decisive role in this task, providing critical support for the parliamentary politics of the Bolivarian revolution.
The forces for change have built up enough power to tackle these challenges, some of which will continue to be around for the next few years. This year it becomes necessary to unleash all this power, understood as the capacity for self-transformation of the revolutionary protagonists and the transformation of the multiple determinations of reality.
In 2011 and 2012 we will witness the end of a cycle of the Bolivarian revolution. Hence, events of these two years will be united by a dialectical, causal link. Hence the importance of understanding—without falling into determinism—that to a certain extent what happens in 2012 will depend on what we are able to do in 2011. There is no time to lose.