They talk excitedly about plans to repair crumbling walls, clear sewage and help local enterprises. It is the business of civic leaders everywhere - yet this gathering is also the vanguard of Leftist president Hugo Chávez's 21st-century "socialist revolution".No word yet on how El Commie-dante plans on dealing with the mob he's armed when they turn on him.
By the time they have been trained and armed, they will also be ready to defend Venezuela against outside interference, including the US invasion that Mr Chávez says he expects.
"El Comandante (Mr Chávez) told us to create communal groups and to tackle problems ourselves," said Lenny Guerrero, 35, to nods of assent from others in the room. "Some government officials came here to help us create the groups. Power will now rest with the people."
On Mr Chávez's order, 17,000 communal councils have now been set up across the country, and an estimated £1 billion earmarked to fund them. As the official slogan, "Build power from below", proclaims, their stated purpose is to promote grass-roots democracy and hand power directly to the people - in particular the urban poor who make up the bulk of his most fervent supporters.
But as well as grappling with the grim conditions in slums such as Catia, members of these voluntary groups will constitute a nationwide militia, schooled in Cuban-style tactics for both guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Good news from Venezuela: Chavez arming future foes
Still under the delusion that the US will invade his country, Venezuela's commie Buffoon-in-Chief Hugo Chavez has taken the unusual measure of arming "community groups".