The Socialist Movement Party of Venezuela was only formed in 1973 as a breakaway from the Communist Party-but it is already the country's third political force, after the ruling Democratic Action and the main opposition Christian Democrats.
GV: Campaign platform with poster PULL BACK TO crowd gathering.
GV: Crowd with banners. (TWO SHOTS)
LV & SV : Crowd raising satirical dolls representing opposition candidates. (TWO SHOTS)
GV: Crowd waving banners and portrait of Che Guevara.
GV: Pompeyo Marquez waving to crowd.
CU: Jose Vicente Rangel seated.
GV: Crowd singing and dancing, wearing red helmets. (TWO SHOTS)
LV: Rangel, Marquez and Teodoro Petkoff on platform.
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Background: The Socialist Movement Party of Venezuela was only formed in 1973 as a breakaway from the Communist Party-but it is already the country's third political force, after the ruling Democratic Action and the main opposition Christian Democrats. Campaigning primarily on a platform which they claim will improve the lot of Venezuela's millions of "underprivileged slumdwellers" by attacking the "Capitalistic structure of past and present Governments", the Socialists are mounting an impressive challenge for next year's general elections.
SYNOPSIS: Despite earlier rain, a Socialist rally got under way on Thursday (27 October) in Caracas main square and the turnout was eventually a massive 50,000
Opposition candidates were satirized by huge dummies-said to be bloated by Government corruption, favourable health conditions, and big business profits. Although the Socialist Movement claims to be politically independent, it maintains close ties with Cuba.
Pompeyo Marquez, the Socialists' General Secretary, is a popular young figure among their many student supporters. While Jose Rangel is the elder statesman of the Party-and their candidate for the Presidency in the forthcoming elections.
Red helmets are symbols of the Party-both as a colourful emblem and as recognition of the supporters' working-class backgrounds.
Such is the growing strength of the Socialist Movement, that it is feared the military might interfere if they appeared close to triumph in the elections.