On Sunday, October 31, millions of Venezuelans will go to the polls to elect governors of the country’s 24 states and mayors for 337 municipal councils. Coming after the massive victory of the Bolivarian movement in defeating the presidential recall referendum on August 15, this election offers the possibility for the Bolivarian movement to take control of some key states and local councils.

Partial results of this weekend’s local elections in Venezuela indicate a dramatic turnaround in many states. Former opposition strongholds have been won by Bolivarian candidates. This confirms the solid support for Chavez that was clear to all in the August 15 recall referendum. Capitalism could be overthrown very easily in these conditions, but decisive action needs to be taken now.

At a mass rally of 10,000 people on Monday January 10, Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez announced a new decree aimed at speeding up land reform. Since the Land Act was passed in December 2001, the National Land Institute has already distributed 5.5 million acres of land to peasant cooperatives. Up until now all the land distributed has been state-owned land and there have been no expropriations. The new decree is aimed at the large landed estates (latifundia) that have been left idle or are poorly used.

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