On February 28, the first anniversary of the installation of Community Governments was commemorated in one of the main states of Venezuela, Miranda. The governor of Miranda, Héctor Rodríguez, stressed that “Community Governments strengthen participatory democracy, as well as social policies” in Revolution, especially against the background of pandemic and an international US blockade that strongly affects the Venezuelan population.
President Nicolás Maduro called to replicate the experience of Miranda’s Community Governments throughout Venezuela, establishing a commission headed by Governor Héctor Rodríguez himself and the Minister for Communes and Social Movements, Blanca Eekhout. This commission must present a proposal for the organization of these popular structures so that they can receive support from the national government for their activation and operation in all the territorial entities of the country.
“This model is a miracle that will come true through People’s Power. We have the leadership, the civic-military union, we have the people. This is the way to articulate and integrate the entirety of People’s Power in true direct, participatory and grassroots democracy,” commented the Venezuelan Head of State.
What are Community Governments and how do they work?
The Community Governments are instances of the articulation of the policies of the national, regional and municipal governments in each community within the framework of deepening the participatory democracy of the Bolivarian Revolution.
Its objective is to guarantee the territorialization of public policies that range from Citizen Security, through the so-called Peace Quadrants, to the other areas of “El vivir bien” such as Education, Health, Services; among others for the comprehensive care of the communities, seeking to improve their living conditions and expanding the participation and articulation of the people with various government agencies.
“Vivir bien” or good living seeks to recover the culture of life and the experiences of communities to generate harmonious relationships in society between human beings and nature, seeking consensus and complementarity as an alternative to the capitalist development model. The praxis of the good living has its origin and inspiration in the native peoples of South America.
This composition of various actors and institutions that make up the Community Governments seeks to integrate the Government structures that have a greater territorial presence in the following areas: Security, Education, Health and Popular Power.
At present, one year after its implementation, there are 361 Community Governments in the state of Miranda, the most important state in Venezuela after the capital city Caracas.
The Community Governments are made up of leaders of the Popular Power and officials / workers who provide fundamental services in the communities. The services with the greatest presence in the different territories are those of security, education and health, the following minimum composition has been defined for the functioning of the Community Governments: head of Citizen Security (police or military official); Head of Health (health personnel or Health spokesperson); community leader (leader of the Popular Power in the Quadrant); Head of Education (teacher of a Quadrant Campus); head of the Militia (militiaman).
Some of the achievements of the 1st year of Community Governments:
In the framework of efforts around the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the Community Governments were fundamental in the prevention and comprehensive care policy for the population of the Miranda state. Its main objectives and achievements were:
- Organization of house-to-house days.
- Incorporation of resources in sanitary hotels.
- Identification of vulnerable cases in the territory to be approached in a comprehensive manner (vaccination, schooling).
- Establishment of a social intelligence network, to generate early warnings in order to preserve peace in the territory.
- Decrease in the crime rate through Citizen Security bodies.
It is also important to note that the Community Governments of the Miranda state allowed the strengthening of the relationship between regional and municipal institutions and popular organizations through joint work with the 361 Community Governments. It was possible to establish a joint working method for the attention of the Coronavirus emergency based on direct and permanent communication, as well as constant monitoring of the development of dynamics in their communities, generating diagnosis and early alerts on risk situations in different areas: Health, Safety, Services, Public, Food Distribution.
In addition, there is constant communication between the regional authorities, in this case the government of the Miranda state and the Community Governments. Consultations are made with said Community Governments, Community Councils, Neighborhood Associations and other Miranda groups, to improve and transform management; identifying various needs, as well as the importance of reinforcing work in the field of public services during the year 2021.
Importance of Community Governments in the political context of 2021
On February 17, in his first press conference with international media this year, President Nicolás Maduro announced that in 2021 regional elections will be held in Venezuela. In this context, the Venezuelan president reiterated his invitation to the European Union (EU) to attend the governor’s elections as Observers: “All international organizations are invited, especially the European Union, Mrs. Executive Vice President, Delcy Rodríguez, Mr. Chancellor Jorge Arreaza, the invitation to the European Union must be ratified in time, we have plenty of time”, said Maduro.
For its part, the Council of the European Union issued a statement in which it assured that “the EU is willing to support an inclusive process” that puts an end to the Venezuelan political crisis, which “includes sending electoral observation missions”. But the EU also said: “The only way out of the crisis in Venezuela is to resume political negotiations promptly and urgently establish a process of transition and dialogue led by Venezuela that will lead to inclusive and transparent local, legislative and presidential elections.”
It is worth remembering that the EU did not send observers for the legislative elections on December 6, 2020, in which Venezuela renewed the members of its National Assembly, until then in the hands of the opposition, alluding that they did not receive the invitation with the necessary time to organize a European electoral mission. This, of course, is not true. The EU was then supporting (and still is) the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, even though it officially withdrew its support in January 2021. In this new electoral year in Venezuela, in a climate that seems to open paths or little hopes to relax international pressures on the political and economic affairs of the Bolivarian Republic, Community Governments serve as a pure expression of popular organization from the grassroots, and play a very important role in sustaining the local and regional structure of the Bolivarian Revolution. Hence, the proposal of President Nicolás Maduro to replicate the successful experience of the Miranda Community Governments for the rest of the Venezuelan states (the country has 23 states and a Capital District: Caracas) is both strategic and necessary as pure manifestation of the voice of the people in local, regional and national public policies, but also as a real political machine with electoral objectives that guarantee the continuity of the Bolivarian Revolution, in a majority in the federal states of Venezuela.