Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addressed the military for almost three hours, announcing the delivery of homes and additional funds for the armed forces while defending the manufacture of aircraft and armaments in his country.
A uniformed Chavez headed an event of the military high command Wednesday and urged the officers to defend independence as "our most precious asset," which, he said, the nation achieved 20 years ago, a reference to the failed coup he led in February 1992.
"If for some reason the nation's bourgeoisie regains national power, our independence will again be lost, you can be sure of that - the gates will be shut on it and who knows how many years will pass before it is seen again," he said about the upcoming presidential elections.
One month after arriving in Venezuela after the end of his radiation treatment in Cuba, Chavez formalized last Monday his candidacy for the presidential elections next Oct. 7, in which he will have as his principal rival the unified opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
After appearing before the electoral authority, Chavez, who was diagnosed with cancer last June, outlined for close to three hours before thousands of followers in a Caracas plaza the chief elements of his program for an anticipated 2013-2019 term and touted the accomplishments of his 13 years in power.
"This year is one of those defining years," he said Wednesday at his meeting with military commanders that was obligatorily broadcast on all radio stations and television channels.
During the official act, the president announced the delivery to the armed forces of 500 of the 3,000 homes being built jointly with Russia around Fort Tiuna in Caracas and elsewhere in the capital and other parts of the country.
"Not one of our fellow soldiers should be without a home between this year and next," he said.
He also approved funding for the troops including $18.3 million for military clothing, $8.9 million for campaign equipment and $194 million for infrastructure works.
And he defended the fact that Venezuela is developing a factory to make explosives and drone aircraft with "no plans to attack anyone," but rather to defend national independence and make the country into a "power" to be reckoned with.
Chavez announced that his Irani counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will visit Caracas "a few days from now" to continue developing their binational alliance "for peace," and that his Byelorussian counterpart, Alexandr Lukashenko, will do the same.
The head of state had announced that Lukashenko will visit the country next June 26.
Though he did not specify exactly when the Iranian president will arrive, he said that it will be after Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Brazil. EFE