Tuesday, Jul 31, 2007

By: Chris Carlson – Venezuelanalysis.com

Mérida, July 31, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)- As part of a policy to promote a new socialist production model for the country, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has inaugurated several new “socialist production centers” around the country in the last few days. Last Thursday and Friday the president traveled around the country to inaugurate companies to increase agricultural production as well as the production of housing. On Sunday, the construction of a cotton-processing plant was inaugurated.

“This is the agrarian revolution, agrarian socialism that has begun now,” said Chavez during the inauguration of the Antonio Nicolás Briceño Socialist Production Center in the state of Trujillo. “We are building it, but for this there will have to be patience and more patience, work and more work to have a socialist homeland,” he said.

This “socialist center,” located in the Andes Mountains of Trujillo, is part of a joint project between Venezuela and Argentina with the purpose of activating the agricultural production in the country. According to government websites, the objective is to promote “citizen participation in the regional and national agricultural production plans with the intention of guaranteeing a permanent and growing supply of meat and dairy products, as well as their derivatives, under a socialist production model.”

The Venezuelan government invested 12 billion bolivars (US$ 5.6 million) in the project, which includes the purchase of almost 500 Argentinean dairy cows to increase milk production. The center also will be used to increase the production of semen and embryos in order to increase national beef production.

This center, like another similar center opened in the state of Barinas, consists of almost 750 hectares of land equipped with an irrigation system, a Barrio Adentro health clinic, educational facilities and space for the construction of animal corrals to house horses, goats, pigs, sheep, and cattle. These centers will be used to plan and develop agricultural projects, to offer technical assistance to farmers, carry out studies and research, and develop programs for the production of genetic material to strengthen national supply.

Petrocasa

On Friday, Chavez headed to the state of Carabobo west of Caracas to inaugurate a new company that is using the nation’s petroleum to produce houses. The state company Petrocasa, part of the Venezuelan petrochemical industry Pequiven, will build houses out of oil derivatives like polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Planks made out of the oil derivatives will be filled with concrete, creating solid building materials to substitute the traditional wood beams and bricks.

The new factory, of which similar ones Chavez said will be built in other parts of the country, is part of the national development plan being carried out by the government, as well as a way to supply much-needed housing to the Venezuelan population, many of whom still live in inadequate slum housing. And in addition to new housing, the new company has created an immediate 441 jobs directly and more than a thousand jobs indirectly.

“This is part of the new national strategy: stretch our arms and expand the development capacity of the country,” said Chavez. “That day has to arrive where there is not one single shanty in Venezuela. There must be respectable houses for respectable people.”

Chavez also pointed out that building houses with PVC is a viable option in Venezuela since it is a derivative of natural gas, which Venezuela has in abundance. He also stressed other possible uses of PVC in building schools and other buildings given its advantage for hot climates and ease of use.

The main mission of Petrocasa will be to construct houses for the housing projects of the Ministry of Housing and Habitat. The company was built with an investment of 60 billion bolivars (US$ 28 million) from the government that went to the construction of infrastructure as well as the purchase of the required special equipment for production of PVC.

According to the president of Pequiven, Saul Ameliach, houses made with PVC are “resistant to any bad weather, to ultraviolet rays, to fire, and totally safe and suitable to live in.” He also explained that the houses made by Petrocasa are large and comfortable, 70 square meters, and have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Each house takes only 8 days to build.

Cotton Processing Plant

On Sunday, during his TV and radio program Aló Presidente, Chavez also inaugurated the construction of a “socialist” cotton processing plant. The Cabruta Socialist Agro-industrial Cotton Processing Plant will be built in the central state of Guarico with a total cost of 50 billion bolivars (US$ 23 million).

On the northern coast of the Orinoco River, the construction of the first phase of the plant will begin next month to finish in April of 2008, and will be equipped to carry out the first phase in cotton processing. The plant is intended to process the cotton produced around the Orinoco River in the states of Guarico and Apure.

In addition, six thousand new hectares of cotton were planted in preparation for this project. Chavez added that the long fiber cotton grown in this region is among the best in the world.

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