May 15, 2016
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday told a crowd of supporters that in order to increase productivity and help alleviate basic products scarcity al businesses and factories closed down by their owners would be given to the workers so production could be restarted.
“A stopped factory (is) a factory turned over to the people, the moment to do it has come, I’m ready to do it to radicalize the Revolution,” said Maduro.
Maduro has accused the factory owners of deliberately sabotaging production in order to cause harm to the government.
The demonstration was organized in support of the “communal economy,” which are small and medium production projects supported and coordinated by community councils and communes. These instances of grassroots and direct democracy are collectively known inside Venezuela as the “Communal Power.”
“I’m ready to hand over to the Communal Power any factory stopped by any rich person in this country … Whoever doesn’t want to work should leave and those who do are welcome, we will go united. This country needs all of its economic structure to be functioning,” stated President Maduro.
The president said he would approve the funding of seven large-scale projects of the Communal Power in order to kick start food production and distribution.
Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency on Friday, in part to address a shortage of food and medicine in the country.
The decree gives the president greater discretion to use funds to address the severe shortages and drought that Venezuela faces.
The president said the decree has three main objectives: to boost domestic production; to strengthen the new system of food distribution direct to people’s homes, and to strengthen the social programs or “missions.”
The Venezuelan government is trying to steer food production and distribution directly into the people’s hands through what are known Local Committees for Supply and Production, or CLAP.
Venezuelans have recent experience in handling the distribution of food. In 2002 amid a paralyzation of oil production, which crippled the economy, people took charge and ensured what was available was distributed.