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Colombia

Hondurans organise historic welcome for Zelaya; 'Democracy Now!' interview with Manuel Zelaya


More at The Real News
May 28, 2011 -- Real News Network report on Manuel Zelaya's return to Honduras.
Zelaya: "Without democracy there are no human rights ... No blood was shed in vain because we are in an ongoing struggle."
Hugo Chavez: "Mel Zelaya has returned to his homeland, a great victory of the Honduran people, down with the dictatorship, long live the people's power ... "

Honduras: Agreement signed for democratic rights

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer and John Riddell

May 24, 2011 -- http://johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On May 22, Hondura's president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and former president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales signed an agreement 'For National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras".

Lobo was elected in November 2009 in a rigged vote organised by the regime installed through the June 28, 2009, military coup that overthrew Zelaya. The majority of Latin American and Caribbean nations refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Lobo government, despite the strong support it received from the United States and Canada.

The present agreement, finalised in Cartagena, Colombia, also bears the signatures of Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuela's foreign minister Nicolás Maduro (on behalf of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías) as witnesses.

This agreement opens the door to significant changes in the Central American political landscape and to the re-entry of Honduras into the Organization of American States (OAS) and SICA (Central American Integration System).

Colombia must free Joaquin Perez Becerra

Statement from the Socialist Alliance in Australia

May 14, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.

Perez Becerra, a refugee from Colombia, is a Swedish citizen. We also call on the Swedish government to do its upmost to defend the rights of one of its citizens.

Under Article 33(1) of the Geneva Convention, no refugee shall be returned “in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

We also call on the Venezuelan government, which complied with Colombia's request to deport Perez Becerra to Colombia, to demand that Colombia respect the rights due to Perez Becerra under international conventions.

Perez Becerra, a strong voice in defence of human rights in Colombia, was forced to leave Colombia in 1993 following the murder of his wife and constant death threats against him due to his membership in the Union Patriotica (UP).

As a member of this democratic and legally registered party, Perez Becerra was elected city councillor in Corinto, Valle del Cauca. However, a state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror against the UP resulted in the assassination of more than 4000 UP members.

Ecuador: Coup attempt encouraged by Washington

Huge numbers of people took to the streets of Quito, demanding the liberation of their president.

By Mark Weisbrot

October 1, 2010 -- the Guardian -- In June of last year, when the Honduran military overthrew the social-democratic government of Manuel Zelaya, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador took it personally. "We have intelligence reports that say that after Zelaya, I'm next," said Correa.

(updated Sept. 26) United States: Solidarity needed! FBI raids left activists under guise of `anti-terrorism'

Against the Current -- On September 24, the FBI conducted raided the homes of antiwar and left activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. These provocations, under the guise of "anti-terrorism", appear to have targeted leaders of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which publishes the Fight Back! newspaper and website. The articles below are from Fight Back! News, Twin Cities IndyMedia and War Times

Video interviews with two activists whose homes were raided

Declaración Conjunta de Solidaridad Detener la amenaza contra Venezuela ahora!

03 de agosto 2010

Nosotros, las organizaciones abajo firmantes, vemos con gran preocupación la posibilidad de una agresión militar contra el pueblo de Venezuela por el Gobierno colombiano, que podría ser apoyada por los EE.UU. desde sus siete bases militares instaladas recientemente en Colombia.

El 22 de julio de 2010 la República Bolivariana de Venezuela fue acusada en una Sessión Extraordinaria de la Organización de Estados Americanos en Washington por el Gobierno colombiano, de promover, apoyar y mantener relaciónes con las organizaciones armadas de Colombia, como por ejemplo las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) y el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). Las acusaciones se basaron sólo en imágenes que nunca han sido comprobadas o sometidas a verificación.

Estas maniobras actuales por el Gobierno colombiano de derecha son un claro intento respaldado por los EE.UU. para justificar un ataque preventivo contra Venezuela y su pueblo. Ha habido una series de denuncias falsas contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez en los últimos recientes años como parte de la campaña respaldada por EE.UU. para desmantelar el proceso revolucionario que tiene lugar en Venezuela.

Venezuela: Defend and deepen the Bolivarian Revolution with an armed and mobilised people

By Marea Socialista, translation by International Viewpoint

July 28, 2010 -- Following the provocations of the Colombian regime, which threatens an armed intervention on Venezuelan territory under the false pretext that the latter was sheltering FARC guerrilla bases, President Hugo Chavez has decided to suspend all diplomatic relations with Colombia. It is clear that once again the Colombian regime is acting as a perfect satellite of the United States which is moreover currently dramatically increasing militarist manoeuvres and tensions all around the globe. We publish below a statement by the Venezuelan revolutionary Marxist organisation Marea Socialista, with which the Fourth International has fraternal relations.

The provocation from Uribe and the drugs traffickers who dominate the Colombian regime stretches to a limit of extreme tension relations between Colombia and Bolivarian Venezuela. The right, the oligarchy and the Venezuelan pro-Yankees present the attitude of President Chavez as an electoral manoeuvre or a problem exploited by the government out of propaganda concerns and chauvinism.

Asian socialists: `Stop the threats against Venezuela now!'

Joint statement initiated by Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Working People’s Association (PRP), Indonesia, and Socialist Alliance, Australia. See below for latest signatures.

[If your organisation would like to sign this statement, please email int.psm@gmail.com.]

August 1, 2010 -- We, the undersigned organisations, view with serious concern the possibility of military aggression towards the people of Venezuela by the Colombian government, which could be supported by the United State of America using its seven military bases recently installed in Colombia.

This matter has arisen from the recent events when the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was accused on July 22, 2010, at the extraordinary session of the Organization of American States in Washington by the Colombian government of promoting, supporting and maintaining a relationship with armed organisations from Colombia, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN). The accusations were only based on images which have never been substantiated or subjected to verification.

`South of the Border': An Interview with Oliver Stone & Tariq Ali

Oliver Stone with Hugo Chavez.

July 28, 2010 -- www.alborada.net -- Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border chronicles the emergence of progressive governments in Latin America, their quest for social and political transformation and their growing independence from Washington. Roberto Navarrete interviews Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali (one of the film’s scriptwriters) to find out some background.

Venezuela: The labour movement and socialist struggle today

Pedro Eusse, national secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela.

Pedro Eusse interviewed by Susan Spronk and Jeffery R. Webber

July 22, 2010 -- The Bullet -- In mid-June, 2010, we met with Pedro Eusse, national secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and part of the provisional executive committee of the labour confederation, Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (National Union of Workers, UNT). Revolutionary figures from times past stared down at us from the paintings hung on the walls in the office of the PCV in central Caracas. Refusing to be interrupted by the constantly ringing phone, Pedro spoke passionately for two hours about the centrality of organised workers in the revolutionary struggle and the need to unite the labour movement. He expressed his hopes for rebuilding the UNT at its third congress planned for fall 2010.

What was your political formation?

Colombia & United States threaten attack -- Stop the lies and aggression against Venezuela!

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

July 24, 2010 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network -- On July 22, Venezuela broke off all diplomatic relations with Colombia and placed its national borders on high alert. This follows accusations made by the Colombian government that Venezuela is harbouring “terrorists” from the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), and hosting several “terrorist training camps” near the border region that divides the two countries.

At an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington on July 22, called for by Colombia, Colombia’s ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, presented television and video images allegedly taken from computers confiscated during the Colombian military’s illegal invasion of Ecuadorian territory in March 2008, as well as some computer-generated maps and photographs of alleged members of the FARC, which he said were taken inside Venezuela. Hoyos called for “international intervention” in Venezuela, and gave a “30-day ultimatum”.

How credible is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?

Human Rights Watch does not see the US blockade of Cuba as a human rights abuse.

By Tim Anderson

February 11, 2010 -- In late 2009 the New York-based group Human Rights Watch published a report titled New Castro Same Cuba. Based on the testimony of former prisoners, the report systematically condemns the Cuban government as an “abusive” regime that uses its “repressive machinery … draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental freedoms”.

The group says it interviewed 40 political prisoners and claims to have identified extraordinary laws by which Cubans can be imprisoned simply for expressing views critical of their socialist system.

At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking that Cuba must be among the worst of human rights abusers in the Americas. A little reflection, however, might lead one to question such statements coming from the USA, a country with thousands held in an international network of secret prisons, many subject to torture regimes.

So how credible is this scathing report on Cuba? And who does Human Rights Watch represent?

The challenges facing 21st century socialism in Venezuela

``In Venezuela the biggest threat to the revolution does not come from the right-wing political opposition but from the so-called `endogenous' or `Chavista' right wing, in that chunks of the revolutionary bloc, including state elites and party officials, will develop a deeper stake in defending global capitalism over socialist transformation''' -- William I. Robinson

Interview with William I. Robinson, professor of sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara, by Chronis Polychroniou, editor of the Greek daily newspaper Eleftherotypia

February 1, 2010 -- ZNet

Chronis Polychroniou: There are scare stories coming from Venezuela. The border is heating up, infiltration is taking place, a new Colombian military base near the border, US access to several new bases on Colombia and constant subversion. Is the regime concerned about a possible invasion? If yes, who is going to intervene?

US-Colombia military deal: Threat of imperialist-backed war on Venezuela

By Kiraz Janicke

November 9, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com  -- The possibility of an imperialist-backed war in the Americas came a step closer on October 30, when Colombia and the United States finalised a 10-year accord allowing the US to massively expand its military presence in the Latin American country. The move comes as the US. seeks to regain its hegemony over Latin America – which has declined over the past decade in the context of a continent-wide rebellion against neoliberalism spearheaded by the revolution in Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chavez.

In order to regain control of its “backyard”, the US is increasingly resorting to more interventionist measures. This is reflected by the recent military coup in Honduras, the destabilisation of progressive governments in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay, and a massive military build up in the region, including new military bases in Panama and the reactivation of the US navy's Fourth Fleet.

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

Venezuela: Socialist party prepares for ‘transition to socialism’; PSUV discussion document

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

August 8, 2009 -- On August 1, United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) members across the country participated in 1556 local assemblies to discuss the reorganisation of the party’s base into local ``patrols''. 

This push to strengthen revolutionary organising comes at a time when attacks on Venezuela’s revolutionary process revolution “from outside and within have intensified”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, also president of the PSUV, said on August 4.

“Each time that the revolution advances and accelerates its march, the attacks intensify. I will continue to put my foot down on the accelerator of the Bolivarian revolution. That is my role, that is my task and there is no time to lose. Today, in Venezuela, we are creating a true socialist democracy.”

After his re-election in the December 2006 presidential elections, Chavez issued a call to build a “new party… from the base” and at the service “of the people and the revolution, at the service of socialism”.

Colombia: Open letter by Liliana Obando/Carta publica de Liliana Obando

September 20, 2008 -- At the end of the background information below (and HERE) is a link to an open letter to the national and international community sent by imprisoned Colombian trade unionist and human rights campaigner Liliana Obando.

Background

Colombian trade union and human rights activist Liliana Obando was arrested and detained in a maximum security prison on August 8 by the anti-terrorism unit of the Colombian National Police. She was charged with “rebellion” against the state, a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the largest recipient of US military aid in the region.

At the time of her arrest, Obando, the sole breadwinner in her family of two young sons and her mother, was carrying out a study on assassinations of Agricultural Workers Union Federation (Fensuagro) members by paramilitary death squads and government security forces.

Free Colombian trade unionist Liliana Obando!

We write to you with a request for urgent action in solidarity with Ms Liliana Obando representative of the Agricultural Workers Union Federation (FENSUAGRO) who on Friday 8th August 2008 was arrested by Colombian government forces.

Ms Obando has been detained on charges of "rebellion" against the state a catch-all charge that is regularly used to imprison those who speak out against the government for long periods without trial. 'Rebellion' also allows the regime to smear those accused of it as being 'terrorists' and helps to delegitimise their work.

The attached statement provides further information on this new act of persecution and intimidation of trade union and human rights activists.

Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC) seeks your urgent solidarity action and asks you to write to the Colombian authorities to protest against this act of persecution; to demand her immediate release from custody, to demand the dropping of all the alleged charges against her and for the government of Colombia to guarantee her safety and well being.

Fidel on Colombia, FARC and opposition to US intervention: `Pax Romana'

By Fidel Castro Ruz

July 5, 2008 -- I basically drew the data [below] from statements made by William Brownfield, US ambassador to Colombia, from that country's press and television, from the international press and other sources. It's impressive the show of technology and economic resources at play.

While in Colombia the senior military officers went to great pains to explain that Ingrid Betancourt's rescue had been an entirely Colombian operation, the US authorities were saying that “it was the result of years of intense military cooperation of the Colombian and United States’ armies”.

“`The truth is that we have been able to get along as we seldom have in the United States, except with our oldest allies, mostly in NATO', said Brownfield, referring to his country's relationships with the Colombian security forces, which have received over US$4 billion in military assistance since the year 2000.''

“…on various occasions it became necessary for the US Administration to make decisions at the top levels concerning this operation.''

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