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More right-wing attacks in Venezuela: Stop the killing of trade unionists! Bring hired killers to justice!

A statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

December 10, 2008 -- The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network condemns the murder of Venezuelan trade unionist Simon Caldera, who was shot in Aragua state on December 4. Caldera was a leader of the pro-revolution Bolivarian Construction and Industry Union.

Caldera is the fourth trade unionist to be murdered in one week in Aragua. His murder follows the shocking killings of three pro-revolution militants from the National Union of Workers (UNT) – Richard Gallardo, Luis Hernandez and Carlos Requena – on November 27. All four were victims of drive-by shootings.

The assassination by hired killers of activists organising oppressed people to win their rights has mainly been used in recent years by large landowners against supporters of land reform in Venezuela. More than 150 land reform activists have been killed since the revolutionary government of President Hugo Chavez began its land reform policies in 2001 – policies that benefit impoverished campesinos at the expense of large landowners.

Venezuela: US-backed right wing murders unionists, attacks revolutionary gains

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

November 28, 2008 -- In the aftermath of the November 23 regional elections, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition has launched, in the states it won, an all-out assault on grassroots community organisations.

President Hugo Chavez and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a clear mandate in the elections for the project to build socialism of the 21st century: the PSUV won 17 states with 5,730,774 votes nationwide, compared to the opposition’s 3,948,912 votes. The opposition’s vote was concentrated in key strategic areas, giving them the governorships of five states and the mayor of Greater Caracas.

In the days following the elections, grassroots activists in Caracas, Miranda and Tachira have reported that the public community health clinics (part of Barrio Adentro, the free universal healthcare program), communal councils and other centres where social programs operate are being shut down or attacked by opposition party, despite the public assurances of at least one right-wing govenor-elect that the legal frameworks would be respected.

Venezuela’s regional elections: Another vote for the revolution and Chavez (now with video, audio)

Real News Network report, November 28, 2008: The media and the Venezuelan elections -- US media covers Chavez victory and calls it a defeat

Audio: Federico Fuentes on speaks to Latin Radical about election outcomes

November 28, 2008

Chavez calls for ‘revolution in the revolution' -- On the spot reports from Venezuela on the eve of the Nov. 23 elections

By Barry Healy & Annolies Truman, Caracas

November 22, 2008 -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for a “revolution within the revolution” at an 8000 strong United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) rally here on November 18.

Chavez called upon the PSUV ranks to hold successful PSUV candidates to account if they failed to act in the interests of the people after the election.

The rally was organised to inspire PSUV organisers and local committee members in the lead-up to the vote for state governors and local government positions on November 23. Poliedro Stadium, on the edge of Caracas, was a sea of red T-shirts and banners, and echoed with energetic revolutionary singing and chanting.

Contingents of local PSUV battalions and international solidarity groups from Argentina, Peru and Australia listened to Jorge Rodriguez, PSUV candidate for mayor of the Caracas municipality of Liberatador, and candidate for mayor of Greater Caracas, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Rodriguez was Venezuelan vice-president during 2007, while Isturiz is a former education minister.

Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela: An echo of US propaganda

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

September 30, 2008 -- As a broad network of organisations and individuals that has closely studied the significant changes in Venezuelan society since 1998 – including organising eight study tours to Venezuela involving more than 150 Australians from diverse backgrounds -- we are obliged to respond to the biases, distortions and lies contained in the Human Rights Watch report A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, released in September 2008.

The key theme of the report -- that “Ten years ago, Chavez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda” -- bears no relation to the reality in Venezuela today.

Venezuela's young militants: An antidote to the weaknesses of the revolution

By Tamara Pearson

July 30, 2008 -- We stayed up until 2 am two nights in a row -- students from a range of faculties, and young people from various movements and revolutionary organisations. In the campsite of La Mucuy in the Andean city of Merida, we discussed and debated the role of youth in Venezuelan’s revolution and the construction of a youth wing of the PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), while around us clouds hugged the buildings and mountain slopes, horses slept in the foreground and mosquitos made meals of our legs and faces.

Following the call for a youth wing of the party, various revolutionary youth in Merida had organised the camp as a space to meet and ensure that this new youth organisation would be specifically revolutionary, and that it wouldn’t contain the errors of the current PSUV. As well, it was important that this organisation be built by the youth from the ground, rather than declared by the leadership and built downwards.

Too often, in my opinion, the initiatives of the revolution come from Chavez rather from the base. When Uribe, the right-wing president of Colombia, came to Venezuela recently, Chavez came out against calls for protests against him. In Merida, it was the young people who protested anyway.

Eyewitness report from Venezuela's May Day



June 13, 2008 -- LatinRadical -- Coral Wynter is back after coordinating the distinctive presence of the Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network's ``May Day'' brigade to Venezuela that included, appropriately, a large contingent of Australian trade unionists. The previous Australian government of John Howard had the Australian embassy in Venezuela closed down when a Washington-inspired coup against President Hugo Chavez failed, but hopefully that will change, if Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown (with the Australian brigadistas) returns after his own visit with the news that President Hugo Chavez is not a ``dictator'', but a popularly elected leader who has increased his electoral popularity regularly at each electoral contest.

8.4Mb 64kbps mono 18mins 19secs

Venezuela's labour movement at the crossroads; Stalin Borges Perez on May Day

 

See http://www.links.org.au/node/388#comment-527 for a report on the Caracas May Day March.

* * *

Venezuela's labour movement at the crossroads

By Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes

US/Colombia hands off Venezuela and Ecuador! Act now to stop war in Latin America

Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

March 5, 2008 -- What only a few days ago seemed like a remote prospect has suddenly become a real possibility. The Colombian military’s brutal massacre of 21 (at last count) guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia -– Peoples Army (FARC-EP), including Raul Reyes, the FARC's chief negotiator and spokesperson, in Ecuador on March 1 marks a dramatic leap in the United States' plan to potentially trigger off an armed confrontation between Colombia and Venezuela.

These events should be of major concern for all supporters of the Venezuelan revolution, and anti-war and peace activists the world over.

Venezuela: Building popular power through Communal Councils

By Jim McIlroy

October 3, 2007 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Living in Caracas, Venezuela, for a year during 2006, the most striking impression one gained is of a tumultuous mass movement, in which the social energies of the people have been released in an outpouring of revolutionary enthusiasm and creativity. One was constantly reminded of Vladimir Lenin’s description of revolution as a “festival of the oppressed”.

My partner Coral Wynter and myself spent last year in Venezuela as the Caracas Bureau of the Australian socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly. It was a life-changing experience. As long-time members of the revolutionary socialist movement in Australia, the practice of being a radical activist in the West has been, generally speaking, a hard slog over the past couple of decades.

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