Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denied Tuesday he was planning a blue print of the Cuban model but confirmed his conviction that Socialism is the only way to construct a fair society of equals.
"Some are saying that we want to copy the Cuban model. No ... It would be a very serious mistake for Venezuela to copy a model like the Cuban, or any other?" said Mr. Chavez during a public ceremony which was mandatory for all radio and television stations to air.
Mr. Chavez added that Venezuela needs to create a "Socialist system" adapted to the reality of the country where most of the population lives in poverty despite the fact that "their homeland is the world's fifth exporter of crude oil". "I have set as my task working to convince Venezuelans ... that the only way to build a society of equals is with Socialism. There is no other way. ... The challenge is not to copy other models" he emphasized.
The Venezuelan leader is a great admirer of Cuban President Fidel Castro whom he regularly quotes in his speeches as a worthy political and human example, contrasting with the "anti-values of savage capitalism".
Mr. Chavez presided Tuesday the graduation of some 20,700 people who completed a program called "Ribas Mission" designed by government to incorporate the poor into secondary education and train Venezuelans "for the social battle".
The Venezuelan president announced that a first group of 300 graduates has been granted scholarships and will soon travel to Cuba to train in "integral community medicine".
"Brother Fidel offered 10,000 places for the Ribas Mission integral community medicine training", indicated Mr. Chavez without specifying who is paying for the scholarships offered by the Cuban government.
The scholarship beneficiaries will be trained in Cuba to foster "the social, political and economic revolution" currently sponsored by Venezuela's "Bolivarian" government, said Mr. Chavez.