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Marta Harnecker interviewed: From Allende’s Chile to Chávez’s Venezuela


For more by or about Marta Harnecker, click HERE.

Marta Harnecker interviewed by Isabel Rauber, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

April 21, 2015 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Marta Harnecker (above), a Marxist writer and lecturer of Chilean origin, is one of the foremost international exponents of the revolutionary process in Latin America today.

In the following interview she outlines some of the lessons she has derived from her experience with the Popular Unity government of Chile’s Salvador Allende (1970-73) that are applicable to current attempts in Latin America to build “an alternative society to capitalism that is essentially democratic”.

'Extractivism' debate continues: Beyond lithium (and other poisons)

The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia are home to over half the world's lithium deposits.

By Don Fitz

April 17, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Policies that expand “extractivism” in progressive Latin American countries bring up a host of contradictions: How do the short-term benefits of financial gain from extraction compare to its long-term destructiveness? What options are available for reducing poverty without increasing mining, logging and GMO monocultures? Could the climate change effects of extraction actually hurt the world’s poor more than helping them? How can struggles against extractivism chart a path to economies based on human need rather corporate profits?

The lithium fantasy

Raúl Castro: 'Cuba will continue to defend the ideas for which our people have sacrificed'

President Raúl Castro Ruz thanked the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for their solidarity.

By Raúl Castro Ruz, president of Cuba

[Council of State transcript of Castro's speech to the Summit of the Americas in Panama.]

April 14, 2015 -- Granma, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was high time I spoke here on behalf of Cuba. I was told at first that I could make an eight-minute speech; although I made a great effort, along with my foreign minister, to reduce it to eight minutes, and as I’m owed six summits from which we were excluded, six times eight, 48 (laughter and applause), I asked President Juan Carlos Varela [of Panama] a few moments before entering this magnificent hall, to allow me a few minutes more, especially after we have been hearing so many interesting speeches, and I am not only referring to that of President Obama, but also that of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, President Dilma Rousseff and others.

Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet: 'Venezuela is not a threat'

“This is how much I care about your sanctions, Mr Obama.” Placard at anti-imperialist rally in Caracas held in the wake of Obama's March 9 declaration.

Click HERE for more on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

April 2015 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialisr Renewal with permission

[The following letter was written by Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and was originally published on March 17.]

By Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela

We are the people of Simon Bolívar, our people believe in peace and respect for all nations.

Freedom and independence

More than two centuries ago, our fathers founded a Republic on the basis that all persons are free and equal under the law.

Our nation made the greatest sacrifices to guarantee South American people their right to choose their rulers and to enforce their own laws today. The historical legacy of our father, Simón Bolívar, is always remembered. Bolívar was a man who gave his life so we would inherit a nation of justice and equality.

We believe in peace, national sovereignty and international law 

Venezuela: 'No more coups! No more interventions! Repeal the Executive Order, Mr. President!'

April 9, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letter, signed by 30 academics, municipal councillors, trade union officials, journalists, solidarity organisation convenors and political party leaders from around Australia, was initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Melbourne. It will be handed over the US consulates in Melbourne and Sydney on April 10. If you would like to add your name please email Denis Rogatyuk at denis_rogatyuk@mail.ru.

* * *

President Barack Obama
White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr President,

We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, reject your March 9, 2015, declaration deeming Venezuela as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”.

We also oppose the sanctions your administration has placed on a number of Venezuelan state officials and call for the immediate repeal of your Executive Order on Venezuela.

The reality is that Venezuela today is not at war with any nation, nor does it have military bases outside its borders. In fact, Venezuela is helping to mediate an end to the war in Colombia and has constantly championed peace in the region.

Bolivia: Voters reaffirm ‘process of change’ but warn governing MAS

Bolivia Elections

Voting in Bolivia’s elections, March 29, 2015.

For more on Bolivia, click HERE.

By Richard Fidler

April 6, 2015 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Up to 90% of the electorate voted in Bolivia’s “subnational” elections March 29 for governors, mayors and departmental assembly and municipal council members throughout the country. These were the second such elections to be held since the new constitution came into force in 2009, the first being in 2010.

Cuba eradicates syphillis, HIV transmission to babies

A Cuban doctor examines a young patient at the health centre in the city of Jiquitaia in the state of Bahia, north-eastern Brazil.

For more on socialist Cuba's health gains, go to http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/746

March 20, 2015 -- TeleSUR English via Portside, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit Cuba soon to review if the country can be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

In order to receive the certification from the WHO, a country must have a transmission rate in less than 0.5 per cent of live births in the case of syphilis and less than 2 per cent in the case of HIV. Medical care for pregnant women and access to HIV tests must exceed 95 per cent and antiretroviral treatment must be available for 95 per cent of seropositive pregnant women.

Brazil's right wing exploits scandal to promote coup calls

Demonstration by opponents of the calls for a coup.

March 14, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Government supporters say the opposition is inventing a crisis in order to undemocratically remove President Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers Party of Brazil, from power. The political forces organising marches on March 15, 2015, against the democratically elected government of Dilma Rousseff began conspiring immediately after it became known that she had won the run-off election in October 2014 against the candidate of the Brazilian elites, Aecio Neves.

The right-wing political opposition in Brazil has been reluctant to accept the results of that election, seeking to implement their neoliberal agenda by whatever means they can. The opposition, like their right-wing contemporaries in the rest of Latin America, have become frustrated at their repeated electoral defeats. The left-wing Workers Party (PT) has been in power since Rousseff’s predecessor, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, was elected president in 2002.

Who is behind the impeachment campaign?

El Salvador: Left wins national elections, right blocks final results

Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) observers present preliminary observations to the Salvadoran media.

March 9, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has won 86 of the 262 mayorships of El Salvador in March 1 elections, including the capital San Salvador, according to preliminary reports, TeleSUR English said on March 4.

The ruling FMLN also announced it won a legislative majority in the National Assembly and the Central American Parliament.

The FMLN said it would now govern areas covering more than 65% of the population, compared to 45% in the past.

FMLN Secretary-General Medardo Gonzalez told the Salvadoran people his party would continue efforts in favour of the more vulnerable sectors of society.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) is yet to release the official electoral results, but Gonzalez said the preliminary results were accepted by “practically all the parties”.

The TSE said it might take at least a week to finalise the election results. TSE president Julio Olivo said on March 4 that unidentified persons or groups had sabotaged the transmission of results.

Venezuela and Greece strengthen partnerships

Venezuela's foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez (right) and Greece's foreign minister Nikos Kotzias. Photo: MPPRE.

For more discussion on SYRIZA's struggle against austerity, click HERE

March 7, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela has proposed trade and economic agreements that would make Athens one of Caracas' main trading partners. Venezuela and Greece solidified their bilateral partnership this week, when Venezuelan officials visited the Mediterranean country to meet the new SYRIZA government.

Venezuela's minister of foreign relations Delcy Rodriguez met with the new Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras on March 6, who said that solidifying the relationship between the two countries would mutually benefit the Greek and Venezuelan people.

ALBA after ten years

ALBA
By John Riddell

February 23, 2015 --  Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following talk was given at a celebration of ALBA in Toronto, February 21, 2015.

* * *

Today we celebrate a decade of achievement of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). For 10 years ALBA has stood on the world stage as a defender of peace, solidarity and popular sovereignty.

Before ALBA, Cuba stood alone for many years against the U.S.-led empire. But through ALBA, an alliance of countries, with wide influence and many friends among governments and peoples, now challenges imperialism on a range of issues. While representing only a few small and poor countries, ALBA exercises great moral authority and carries weight in world affairs. ALBA is the most effective international alliance based on solidarity in modern history.

Thoughts on reform, revolution, social change and elections in light of SYRIZA's win

Hugo Chavez and supporters at Chavez’s final campaign rally in Caracas on October 4, 2013, three days before his re-election as president.

Click for more discussion of SYRIZA, Latin America and revolutionary organisation

By Mike Treen, director of the Unite union in Aotearoa/New Zealand

February 19, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party in Greece and a possible victory of the similarly radical party Podemos in Spain has raised the hopes of millions of people across Europe and the globe that we can put an end to austerity-type policies, put in place policies that will protect working people from the capitalist crisis and advance society to a new era of social justice governments.

(Updated Feb. 20) Asia-Pacific socialists condemn latest US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela

Protest on April 11, 2004, commemorates the April 11, 2002, coup attempt that almost succeeded in overthrowing Hugo Chavez.

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

February 17, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the recent coup attempt that sought to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela in order to reverse the achievements of the socialist Bolivarian process.

The failed coup attempt was crafted around a plan that involved creating an economic assault on the country, creating an international debate around a supposed humanitarian crisis, a political coup involving officials who would turn on the government, and finally a military coup that would lead to the installation of the transitional program. The coup plotters even planned to bomb Miraflores [presidential] Palace and the TeleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as conducting assassinations of both members of the opposition and the government, including President Maduro, during the ensuing chaos once the coup unfolded.

Venezuela: US-backed coup plot thwarted

President Maduro during the televised press conference February 14, 2015.

February 12, 2015 -- TeleSur English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A coup plot against Venezuela's government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed on February 12 in a televised address.

Those involved were being paid in US dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

Venezuela’s president stated that the coup plotters already had a “transitional” government and program lined up once the plan, which included bombings on the Miraflores [presidential] Palace and the teleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as assassinations of members of the opposition, Maduro and others, was carried out.

Maduro explained that a video of masked military officials speaking out against the government had been recorded, which was set to be released after the planned assassination was carried out.

Obama’s new Cuba policy: McDonald's in Old Havana?

Cuban students march in Havana on December 17, 2014, after the US released the last of the Cuban Five political prisoners.

By Marce Cameron

February 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17, 2014, announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade.

Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.

Hordes of American tourists and a hotel boom to accommodate them may well be inevitable, but a US corporate invasion is not. Fears or hopes that Obama’s new Cuba policy will unleash a US corporate take-over and cultural recolonisation are unfounded. These fears and hopes are based on the dubious assumption that what holds back the tide of capitalist restoration on the Cuban archipelago is, ironically, the US blockade.

Cuba: The 'solarisation' of Granma province

By Laurie Guevara-​Stone

January 14, 2015 -- Rocky Mountain Institute, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he wants to begin normalising relations with Cuba generated news around the world. But the Cuban province of Granma may soon be making headlines for another reason: its embrace of renewable energy.

While Cuba is an island full of sun, rivers and windy coasts, only 4 per cent of the island’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. The island hopes to soon change that, with a goal of generating 24 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030, and Granma is leading the way.

Report on 15th Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network brigade to Venezuela

By Paul Dobson, brigade leader, Caracas

January 12, 2015 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Following months of organisation and planning, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 15th solidarity brigade touched down in Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas on December 1, 2014, at a highly important time for the Bolivarian revolution.

With imperialism increasing its efforts to undermine the revolution and exacerbate internal weaknesses, and with the Venezuelan people still reeling from the blow of the premature death of former president Hugo Chavez, international solidarity is needed like never before to maintain the revolutionary advances made by and for the Venezuelan people.

The 2014 brigade, which was made up of activists of Australian, New Zealand and Malaysian nationalities, spent two weeks in Venezuela, during which time it fulfilled all three of its objectives. These were:

Mexico: 2014 saw a resurgence of the broad opposition movement

Click the following links for more by Dan La Botz, and more on Mexico.

By Dan La Botz

January 8, 2015 -- New Politics -- Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, who had been so successful in advancing his fundamentally conservative economic program during his first year and a half in office, suddenly faced a serious challenge beginning in September 2014 when police, apparently cooperating gangsters, killed six students, injured at least 25 and kidnapped 43 in the town of Iguala in the state of Guerrero.

Protest demonstrations demanding that the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College be returned alive, led by parents, students and teachers quickly spread from Guerrero to Mexico City and around the country. An international solidarity movement has also developed, with demonstrations at consulates in several countries.

Mexico: First congress of the Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores

By Nevin Siders

January 5, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The People’s and Worker’s Political Organization (Organización Política del Pueblo y los Trabajadores, OPT)  held its first national congress in Mexico City on the weekend of December 12 and 13, 2014.

Since its founding in 2011, the party has grown to have local units registered in 16 of Mexico’s 32 states. According to convention organisers, 200 members attended the convention held in the headquarters of the Mexican Electricians Trade Union (SME), which was the protagonist for its founding in 2011 and has continued to press for it as an alternative to the parties of capital and their hangers-on.

Marxist economist Claudio Katz on the Cuban Revolution and its economic reforms

Small businesses in Havana, 2014.

By Claudio Katz, introduction by Richard Fidler

December 29, 2014 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The release December 17 of the remaining three of five Cubans held for 15 years in US prisons is an historic victory for the Cuban people, their government and supporters around the world.

Ramon Labañino, Geraldo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero joined Fernando González and René González, released earlier, in an emotional reception in Havana with President Raúl Castro.

The five were arrested in 1998 while working in Miami to uncover terrorist plots against the people of Cuba being masterminded by anticommunist extremists in Florida. In a 2001 report to the United Nations, the Cuban government catalogued 3,478 deaths on the island as a result of terrorism, aggression, acts of piracy and other actions. Many of these actions were attributed to operatives of the CIA.

For background information on the case of the Cuban Five, see http://www.freethefive.org/.

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