CARACAS.— Speaking on January 15, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, noted that 2017 was a year of important social advances and progress in combating the non-conventional war being waged by right wing sectors both in and outside the country.
During his annual State of the Nation Address, before the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), the Head of State highlighted the democratic spirit of the Venezuelan people and their commitment to consolidating peace over the course of the year, citing the success of the Bolivarian Revolution in constituent, regional and municipal elections, after the violent street protests encouraged by radical sectors of the opposition and supported by the U.S.
During this remarks, Maduro noted that the establishment of the ANC in July 2017, following a nationwide vote, “is a privilege for the country” which must be protected given its importance toward renovating institutions.
Meanwhile, he described the National Assembly, composed of a majority opposition following parliamentary elections in December 2015, as the biggest political failure in the Republic’s 200 year history.
The Venezuelan President also recalled Parliament’s continual disregard for the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings, and denounced illegal and unconstitutional actions carried out within this body.
Regarding the presidential elections scheduled for this year, Maduro noted that the opposition is planning to withdraw from this democratic process, while reaffirming his complete faith in the Venezuelan people and another victory for the Bolivarian Revolution.
Commenting on corruption scandals linked to state oil company PDVSA, the Venezuelan President stated that it is a victim “of an internal conspiracy attempting to silently shut down our oil industry through a network of corrupt mafias. Thanks to Attorney General Tarek William Saab a genuine clean-up phase has begun.”
ANNUAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS FOR 2018
During his speech,Maduro presented a review of the achievements of the past year and offered a glimpse of what’s to come in 2018.
In 2017, social investment increased to 74.1%, he reported, describing the year as one of “social investments, social advances, and political advances, which have enabled us to create the conditions for the arrival of a new year, of a new future.”
Commenting on Venezuela’s Great Housing Mission (GMVV), an initiative launched by Comandante Hugo Chávez, Maduro noted that an expansion plan involving youth, workers and the middle classes, has been designed for this year with the country on target to meet its goal of building two million homes.
Regarding education, he stated that a national meeting involving all teachers from across the country will be held in order to draw up a National Education Plan, during which important announcements regarding the sector will be made.
Meanwhile, Maduro explained that the Great Homes of the Homeland Mission – which currently provides benefits to 1.5 million Venezuelan families through special subsidies – will be expanded to four million homes.
The President also noted that all seniors will receive a pension through the Homeland I.D. Card system.
He also called on the National Constituent Assembly to apply the Agreed Prices Law, in order to control the country’s high inflation rates, and instructed the Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission – a state food and medicine distribution program created to address nationwide scarcities – to immediately start work to regulate all goods and prices.
Maduro also described the country’s new digital currency (Petro), as the Bolivarian Revolution’s solution to a hegemonic financial world dominated by the U.S. and its allies.
The Venezuelan President also reaffirmed his commitment to continuing to lead the struggle to provide the Venezuelan people with their economic and social rights: “This is what I have defended against the guarimbas (violent street protests), assaults, lies, personal attacks, economic war, and price war. This is what I have defended and will continue to defend because I declared myself to be the protector of the Venezuelan people against the oligarchy.”