Venezuelan presidential candidates deliver millions for community projects
Wednesday, 09 May 2012
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s administration handed over millions in funding for the self-governing community organizations created under the 2010 People’s Power Law, as has opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in the regional state where he is governor.
In the name of Chavez, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba, Vice President Elias Jaua and the head of state’s older brother, Barinas Gov. Adan Chavez, presided over two ceremonies at which the equivalent of $1 billion were provided to community councils. Both events were aired on state television. “These actions don’t suit the Venezuelan right because they keep that money from being shared out among the elite,” Jaua said, and asked that “people not let themselves be fooled” by Capriles “when he says he’ll support the social programs” created by Chavez.
Jaua said that in the presidential elections next Oct. 7, in which Chavez will seek his third reelection, “it’s a battle between truth and the lies of the right...against the fraud signified by platform of the right.” At the same time Capriles, as governor of the central state of Miranda, which includes the Caracas metropolitan area, delivered funding for 55 of the 413 community projects that he said have been made possible by “the scant amount of money” provided for them by the central government over the last four years.
The opposition said that the total amount Miranda state has received for these projects since 2008 is “not quite 100 million bolivars,” the equivalent of $23.2 million. Under the People’s Power Law, local self-governing community councils carry out works that complement those of the national government, chiefly involving drinking water, electricity, sewage systems and a variety of socially productive projects. “They attack us with lies, with messages to confuse the people,” Capriles said in denying that he had any plans to eliminate the social works launched by the Chavez government.
Capriles recalled that when he was elected governor of Miranda four years ago “they also said we weren’t going to work with the community councils, that we were going to take away their funding.” “The only ones who have taken funds away from the community councils are those who are running things from the central government,” he said, adding that if he wins in October he will maintain and improve the initiative, principally by not providing money on the basis of the beneficiaries’ political party affiliations, something he accuses Chavez of doing.
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