Buenos Aires (CNSNews.com) - Despite the defeat of last month's referendum on changing Venezuela's constitution, President Hugo Chavez is urging his supporters to resume the fight for "21st century socialism" in the country in 2008.
"Here we are, as always, accustomed to fighting, and [we will] fight as long as it is necessary," he said during his weekly radio and television show "Hello, President" early this week, the official Bolivarian News Agency ABN reported.
He said 2008 would be the year to relaunch the revolution, on the basis of "three Rs - revision, rectification and resume."
Chavez told his supporters that they could not afford to lose ground, ahead of regional elections later this year.
"The counterrevolution won't rest for a second trying to recover ground," he said. "Imagine for a second if that happened."
Next Saturday, Chavez' new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) holds its founding congress. He first announced the party after winning presidential elections in late 2006, saying it was necessary for the many parties that supported him to come together.
"Now, more than ever, it is necessary to strengthen our unity, and have greater will and self-criticism so that the revolutionary process doesn't fail, and so we can leave our future generations a socialist homeland," he said in the prime time radio and TV program.
Chavez also announced the appointment of 13 new cabinet ministers. Among those to lose their posts was former vice president Jorge Rodriguez, blamed by many for last month's referendum defeat. The proposed constitutional amendments included an end to presidential term limits.
"The message voters gave to President Chavez on Dec. 2 was 'slow down,'" Jennifer McCoy, professor of political science at Georgia State University told Cybercast News Service Tuesday.
She said his comments this week "indicate that he received this message." At the same time, McCoy concluded that Chavez was slowing down, only to gain momentum later.
"His government and party are going through a self-reflection, and the reorganization of his cabinet this week is to focus more on Venezuela's concrete problems, like crime and insecurity," she said.
"I don't think he's giving up on 21st century socialism, but he will revamp his strategy to take into account the message from Dec 2."
In his message, Chavez also referred to what he calls the five "motors" driving his socialist vision. These are: enabling legislation allowing the Executive to pass laws to further the socialist model; constitutional reform; promotion of culture and education; the reconfiguration of state power; and the "explosion of communal power."
Blow for Chavez as Voters Reject Constitutional Changes (Dec. 3, 2007)
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