Venezuela Chavez says full employment if re-elected

Sun May 1, 2011 11:00pm GMT

* Chavez and supporters confident he will win 2012 vote

* Says will create jobs in construction, oil and farming

By Mario Naranjo

CARACAS, May 1 (Reuters) - Addressing tens of thousands of red-clad workers at a May Day march on Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez set a goal to create more than 3 million jobs in eight years and end unemployment in the OPEC nation.

Chavez arrived at the rally waving a Venezuelan flag from an open-topped truck that made its way through one of the largest crowds seen on the streets of Venezuela in recent years.

"I am absolutely sure we will incorporate 3.5 million jobs in the next eight years," Chavez told the workers, who traveled on buses to Caracas from across the vast country.

The strong turnout reflected a mood of optimism among Chavez supporters as money from higher oil prices helps an economic recovery after two years of recession, lifting both the president's popularity and confidence he can fight off opposition challengers in next year's presidential election.

"I have a year and a half more in this government, then six more in the next one," Chavez said with a grin.

Chavez has missed many targets he has set himself during 12 years in office, but his promises still resonate with large parts of the Venezuelan population whose standard of living has improved as he spends oil income on social projects.   Continued...

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