Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has thrown caution to the winds and is moving quickly to turn his country into a full-blown socialist state.
From the Miami Herald
CARACAS – In the clearest sign yet that Venezuela is moving toward a strong form of socialism, President Hugo Chávez Monday announced he will nationalize the country’s telecommunications and electricity companies, which include a major U.S.-owned firm.
”The nation should recover its ownership of strategic sectors,” Chávez said during the swearing in of his new Cabinet. “All of that which was privatized, nationalize it.”
Chávez, who won a second six-year term in a landslide election victory in December, also hinted at moves to increase state control over privately run oil refineries, change the laws governing private business and revoke the constitutional autonomy of the Central Bank of Venezuela.
”The Central Bank of Venezuela shouldn’t be autonomous,” he said, arguing that autonomy has allowed the bank to maintain reserves in foreign countries and bolster a “neoliberal model.”
”We’re moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution,” Chávez said. “We are in an existential moment of Venezuelan life. We are moving toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it.”
Chávez, a virulent critic of the Bush administration and close ally of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, also peppered his televised speech with admiring references to Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and declared that he was “very much of [Leon] Trotsky’s line — the permanent revolution.”
On Monday, Chávez openly referred to himself and his former vice president, José Vicente Rangel, as ”communists” and said those who wanted to understand his proposed ”21st century socialism” should look at the works of Marx and Lenin, as well as the Bible.
He ended his speech with the call Fidel Castro used to wind up his speeches throughout his nearly five decades in power: “Patria o Muerte, Venceremos — Fatherland or Death, We will triumph!”