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Venezuela’s Communes: a Great Social Achievement

By: 
Katrina Kozarek

Over the years we have all heard a great deal about the great social achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution, the government subsidized health program Barrio Adentro, the subsidized food program Mercal, the housing mission which provides free and affordable government organized housing to the poor and middle class, the Canaima program which provides computer to students, Madres del Barrio and now Hogares de la Patria which provide government subsidies to housewives as a recognition of their domestic work, Amor Mayor, the government pension program, among so many other great advances that have  moved the country forward in terms of social justice and closing the economic gap.

What is a Socialist Commune in Venezuela?

Most people, though they may have heard the term mentioned, have heard very little about the reality of communes in the Bolivarian Revolution.  A commune is made up of the habitants within a self-defined territory based on a shared historical memory, cultural features, practices and customs, which are recognized in the territory (geographical space) they occupy as well as the productive activities that serve as sustenance.  To give that a concrete example, the commune where I live, the Comuna Ataroa defined the area of the commune because of a common history of struggle for access to water and health services that was held in the 1980s between several adjacent communities. These communities also share a central market and a local health center.