Our Democracy is for the Many

In Venezuela, we have a rite and a foundational myth. We have Bolívar and Chávez. They are not past, but they are history. And being history, they are also our present because they are the sense from which we guide our future
Our democracy is different from all. Because all the others, in practically every country in the world, democracies are formed by and are for the elites. They are democracies where what is fair is what suits a few. They are class democracies, where the many are seen as mere quantity, not quality. Not in Venezuela. In Venezuela, democracy is for the many, and what is right is what is good for all the people. And as the needs of people change, articulate and renew, so does our revolutionary project constantly change.For example, 20 years ago, it was normal to be born in Venezuela in the midst of obstetric violence. And it was hard for us to even imagine that at the moment of birth, not only the health of the newborn is important, but also the health and rights of the mother and her family. But the revolution changed and it became feminist. And among all of us, we decided to remove sexist violence from our health system and empower women through the national human birth programme, respecting each mother’s project and decisions about delivery and upbringing.Twenty years ago, before the Bolivarian revolution, it was normal to blame the young people for unemployment, and the idea that the poor were poor was because they were lazy, and thus, deserved poor health, low salaries, hunger and living without a roof. But with us in the Government, things changed. And we knew to say with a force that it is not justice that someone continues being poor if he works all day. That is why during the Chávez Governments, we promoted a policy of full employment, and in my Government, we have launched, thanks to the country’s new digital, “Homeland Card” – which is a system that digitally integrated all Venezuelans – the Chamba Juvenil plan (a youth work programme), to guarantee our youth, an access to jobs and a brighter future.
We also said 20 years ago that it was unfair that the home itself was a dream for the people, but a reality only for the elites, and then we created the Great Housing Mission plan, with which we have built and delivered more than two million housing units. Quality and free for poor families, and with which we have projected to reach, in a few years, the goal of five million homes built. As of this year, I will also implement a new social security plan so that Venezuela will have that education and health that it had before the attacks and the economic war, and that had us as an example of quality for Latin America. A social security that will be sustained on a stable productive economy, sovereign and prosperous, and not subject to the swings of oil prices.
The economic revolution of this new Bolivarian period has to be innovative and creative. Because we decided to respond to the inhumane commercial blockade to which the Governments of the United States and Europe have subjected us , and which have caused so much damage to our people, with the invention of the first cryptocurrency backed by the world’s wealth, the petro , whose benefits we are already investing, immediately, in the people, as we have always done.Because for us it is essential in our democracy that he economy is at the service of the people, and not the people at the service of the economy. An economy that is a pure speculation and does not consider as a priority, the prosperity and sovereignty of the people, is the hunger for today and tomorrow’s bread for the empire. The economy is the heart of our revolutionary project. But in my heart, it is first of all people. The economy is either for the people or it is abuse. For us, the Bolivarians, the economy is justice and democracy, protection. In Venezuela, we use a beautiful expression to call friends: My “pana”. It has several explanations but for me, it is because here, a friend is a part of one’s self. And that is the same, for us Bolivarians, democratic coexistence. Ours is a democracy of “panas”, because for us, the country is our friends and the other, a part of me. Because for us, there is only freedom and democracy when there is someone else who thinks differently in front of us, and there is also a space where that person can express their identity and their differences. That is why we have striven with passion to make ourselves transparent, to respect and enforce the electoral laws for the election next on May 20. We are competing with four other candidates, all different, but all respectful of the agreement of democratic guarantees signed by 14 of the 18 political parties in Venezuela. And that process will be clean and model, much more so even, than the dozens of elections in which Venezuelans have participated in the last two decades. What happens is that we get tired of living polarised and we decided to turn the political violence of the guarimbas (local word for the street violence last year in Venezuela) into a constituent power, and find ourselves in a Constitution made by the people and for the people. That is why I understand the desperation of the elites, who for decades, devoted themselves to convert the people into populism, into insult, into tyranny and into barbarism. Ours, on the other hand, is a proudly popular democracy, no doubt about it. It is a democracy of the people.A democracy that is also Latin American, African and indigenous. Because in Venezuela, we have a rite and a foundational myth. We have Bolívar and Chávez. They are not past, but they are history. And being history, they are also our present because they are the sense from which we guide our future.

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