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Venezuela: Prospects for 2013

Vice-president Nicolás Maduro with Hugo Chavez.

By Steve Ellner

January 16, 2013 -- New Left Project via Venezuelanalysis.com -- The illness of Hugo Chávez creates uncertainty over the future direction of his government, and specifically its commitment to revolutionary change and socialism. Throughout the 14 years of his presidency, the key to Chávez’s political success was the constant deepening of the process of change, which invigorated the rank and file of his movement. Chávez’s political capital, which enabled him to decree radical changes, was well earned. It stemmed from the extreme courage he demonstrated with the coup attempt he led in 1992 and the one that was led against him in 2002, as well as the compassion he has shown for the underprivileged. 

Venezuela: What is Chavismo?

A massive rally was held in Caracas in defence of the Bolivarian Revolution on January 23, 2013. Known as the "Day of Democracy" in Venezuela, it marks the day in 1958 when the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez was overthrown by a civilian-military movement.

By Elias Jaua, former vice-president of Venezuela, translation by Rachael Boothroyd

[Jaua was appointed Venezuela's foreign minister soon after this article was written.]

January 4, 2013 -- Aporrea via Venezuelanalysis.com --The Bolivarian civic-military organisation that began to be constructed as a political force under the leadership of Comandante Hugo Chavez is rooted principally in the rebellions of the people and the military in 1989 and 1992 respectively. However, the structure of the Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR200) as a presence in the streets began to take place at the beginning of 1994, when Hugo Chavez was released from prison and began a social and political pilgrimage throughout the country.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments against capitalism, for life and humanity -- 'Manifesto of Isla del Sol'

Click image for the original Spanish edition of the Manifesto of Isla del Sol. The cover shows Morales arriving at the Island of the Sun in a replica of the balsa rafts that Andean peoples used for centuries on Lake Titicaca.

[For more on Evo Morales and Bolivia, click HERE.]

January 15, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism/Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On December 21, 2012, at a solstice celebration in Lake Titicaca, high in the Andes, Bolivia's president Evo Morales introduced the Manifesto of Isla del Sol.  His talk, translated below, includes the full text of the manifesto.

Argentina: Kidnapping and forced prostitution verdict causes uproar

The case of Marita Veron would never have reached the courts except for the extraordinary courage, strength and persistence of Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco, who fought obstructions by police, highly placed politicians and the judicial system in an attempt to get justice.

By Robyn Marshall, Buenos Aires

January 8, 2012 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The failure of three judges in the province of Tucuman to convict 13 men and women accused of the kidnapping and forced prostitution of Marita Veron has caused national uproar here in Argentina. The Argentinian women’s movement, outraged by the verdict, has been united in its response to the judicial failure to convict the men, with demonstrations all over Argentina. The case has been in the newspapers for weeks, highlighting the horrendous situation of thousands of women who have been kidnapped at a young age and forced to live the life of a sex slave, locked up, bashed and terrified into submission, in order to make millions for brothel owners.

Salvador Allende, Cuba and internationalism, 1970–73

Fidel Castro with Chile's President Salvador Allende upon his arrival at Pudahuel Airport in Santiago on November 10, 1971.

[For more articles by John Riddell, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

January 6, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the US-inspired rightist coup in Chile that overthrew the leftist government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. The coup was a historic disaster for working people in Latin America and globally. Socialists worldwide saw it coming. How did they attempt to counter this danger?

Bolivia’s ‘process of change’: the balance sheet for 2012, challenges to come

[Click HERE for more on Bolivia.]

By Katu Arkonada, translation and notes for Bolivia Rising by Richard Fidler

December 18, 2012 -- La Epoca (Spanish) via Bolivia Rising, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- 2012 has been a year of transition for the process of change in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, notwithstanding the many events, problems and contradictions encountered by the executive branch during the last 12 months of its administration. A year of transition because we have left behind the 2010-2011 biennial of consolidation following the 64% victory of President Evo Morales in the December 2009 election and are now entering a new biennial, 2013-2014, which will take us very rapidly to the presidential elections of December 2014.

Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.

In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.

The issues he addresses are of great importance not only in Bolivia but throughout Latin America, and in fact in most of the countries of the imperialist periphery. They are especially important to understand in the “First World,” where there is an increasing campaign in parts of the left to turn against the progressive and anticapitalist governments in Latin America on the ground of their alleged “extractivism.”

Venezuela: Chavez’s socialist party wins 20 of 23 states in regional elections; PSUV activists debate party's role

Supporters rally for PSUV candidate for Merida, Alexis Ramirez. Photo from YVKE Mundial.

By Tamara Pearson, Merida

December 16, 2012 -- VenezuelAnalysis -- With all votes counted to the point of results being irreversible, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has won 20 states, and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, three states in the December 16 regional elections.

The opposition lost control of Zulia, Tachira, Carabobo, Monagas and Nueva Esparta, but retained Amazonas and Miranda and Lara states.

In Miranda, one of the key states at stake, contested by PSUV ex-vice-president Elias Jaua, and the opposition presidential candidate and current governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, the opposition won with 50% to Jaua’s 46%.

In Bolivar state, where the results were very close, the opposition candidate Andres Velasquez is refusing to recognise his defeat and has called on locals to “defend” his “victory”.

Venezuelans and residents chose 23 state governors and 237 state legislators. The results of the state legislative voting have yet to be announced.

In the 2008 regional elections the PSUV won 17 of the 22 states being contested.

For state by state results see below.

Why is Cuba’s health-care system the best model for poor countries?

Cuba-trained medical student examines Peruvian child, Lima, Peru, December 2010. Photo by Don Fitz.

[Read more about Cuba's health-care system and its international health-care solidarity HERE.]

By Don Fitz

December 8, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Furious though it may be, the current debate over health care in the US is largely irrelevant to charting a path for the poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. That is because the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system. The waste is far more than the 30% overhead by private insurance companies. It includes an enormous amount of over-treatment, making the poor sicker by refusing them treatment, exorbitant over-pricing of medications and medical procedures, creation of illnesses, exposure to contagion through over-hospitalisation, and disease-focused instead of prevention-focused research.[1]

Poor countries simply cannot afford such a health system. Well over 100 countries are looking to the example of Cuba, which has the same 78-year life expectancy of the US while spending 4% per person annually of what the US does.[2]

'The Greek people are at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis'

Speech given by Eric Toussaint at the SYRIZA youth festival in Athens on October 6, 2012 (transcript below). More than 3000 people were present to listen to four speakers: Marisa Matias, EU deputy, member of the Left Bloc (Portugal); Lisaro Fernandez, miners’ union leader (Asturias, Spain); Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA (Greece); Eric Toussaint, president of Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM, Belgium).

* * *

By Eric Toussaint, translated by “Snake” Arbusto and Judith Harris

October 6, 2012 -- We are now experiencing one of the worst crises of the worldwide capitalist system. But capitalism will not die a peaceful, natural death. Crises are part of the metabolism of capitalism. Only conscious action by the people can destroy and supersede capitalism in order to open the way to democratic socialism.

The Greek people are currently at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis. The way in which the Greek people mobilise to confront and respond to this capitalism crisis will be a crucial factor for finding a solution at the international level. You are at the epicenter of both the crisis and the solution to this crisis.

Rafael Correa discusses Ecuador's 'Citizens' Revolution' and answers his left critics

Rafael Correa speaks at a rally in support of his re-election in next year's poll, Quito, November 10.

By Federico Fuentes

November 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- While European governments continue to impose policies aimed at making working people pay for a crisis they did not cause, the Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa has taken a different course.

“Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country”, a November 1 Reuters dispatch quoted Correa as saying. He was announcing a new measure to raise taxes on banks to help fund social security payments.

Ecuador’s banking sector has registered US$349 million in after-tax profits, a November 8 El Telegrafo article said. “The time has arrived to redistribute those profits,” said Correa.

Reuters reported that by lifting the tax rate on bank holdings abroad and applying a new tax on financial services, the government hopes to raise between $200 million and $300 million a year.

The proceeds will fund a rise in the “human development bonus payment” from $35 to $50 a month. About 1.2 million Ecuadorians receive the payment, mainly single mothers and the elderly.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2012 issue

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

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Marta Harnecker: A la conquista de una nueva hegemonia

Por Marta Harnecker

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3038.]

29 Octunbre 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- En este texto pretendo reflexionar sobre los temas abordados en la mesa de trabajo que se realizó sobre el tema Estado, Revolución y Construcción de Hegemonía, en el VI Foro Internacional de Filosofía realizado en Maracaibo, del 28 de noviembre al 1 de diciembre 2011. Como es lógico, aquí retomo la mayor parte de las ideas de otros trabajos míos, pero en un ordenamiento diferente y agregando algunos matices. Las numerosas notas a pie de página sólo tienen la intención de permitir al lector interesado ir a las fuentes de las ideas aquí expuestas.

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El futuro del 'socialismo del siglo XXI' tras las elecciones

[In English at Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory.]

Por Federico Fuentes, traducido para Rebelión por Paco Muñoz de Bustillo

La reelección del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez el pasado 7 de octubre con más del 55 % de los votos fue vital por dos razones.

En primer lugar, el pueblo venezolano impidió el retorno de la derecha neoliberal al poder. De haber ganado ésta, hubiera intentado dado marcha atrás, con el apoyo de Estados Unidos, a los importantes avances conseguidos por la mayoría pobre desde el primer triunfo de Chávez en 1998. Entre estas mejoras se incluye un enorme aumento de los servicios básicos prestados por el gobierno (como educación, sanidad y vivienda), la nacionalización de sectores estratégicos anteriormente privatizados y la promoción de la participación popular en las comunidades y lugares de trabajo.

Paul Kellogg on Chavez: Are the Venezuelan people's gains `solely because of oil'?

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Paul Kellogg

November 1, 2012 – PolEcon.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with author's permission  -- While most eyes in North America have been on the presidential election in the United States, for people in the South America another election last month was actually of more interest. In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, incumbent president Hugo Chávez was up against a strong challenge, from a – for once – united opposition.

Gwynne Dyer (2012) was not alone when he speculated, days before the vote, that this could be “Hugo Chávez’s swan song”. However, when the vote came, it wasn’t really close, with Chávez winning a third term as president with 55.08% of the vote, far ahead of the 44.3% obtained by his challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski (CNE 2012). Neither candidate in that other presidential election in the Americas can even dream about this kind of a victory margin.

Puerto Rico elections: New Partido del Pueblo Trabajador to challege neoliberal parties

By Antonio Carmona

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organised alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working class and marginalised sectors of the island’s population. On November 6, 2012, the new Working People’s Party (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador, PPT) will run 71 candidates, from governor to members of the municipal legislative assembly. “Breaking the electoral barrier” and “Puerto Rico should be governed by those who sweat for it” are the slogans that the PPT brings to the 2012 elections.

The PPT represents a radical break with traditional politics on the island, as it welcomes people who believe in social justice, democratic rights, (local) sustainable development and environmental protection, independently of the positions that individuals may hold concerning the country’s political status.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez's six-year plan for the Bolivarian Revolution

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document is the political platform on which Hugo Chavez successfully sought re-election as the president of Venezuela. It was released in Spanish in June 2012. English translation courtesy of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Canberra, Australia.

Proposal of the Candidate of the Homeland,
Commander Hugo Chávez,
for the Socialist Bolivarian Government, 2013–2019

INTRODUCTION

I

Venezuela: The future of ‘21st century socialism’ after Chavez's victory

Supporters celebrate the president's re-election on October 7 outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas. Photo by Tamara Pearson/Venezuelanalysis.com.

Click HERE for more coverage and analysis of the Venezuelan revolutionary process.

By Federico Fuentes

[En espanol @ http://links.org.au/node/3085]

October 28, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’s re-election on October 7 with more than 55% of the vote was vital for two reasons. First, the Venezuelan people blocked the return to power of the neoliberal right. Had they won, these US-backed forces would have worked to roll back important advances for the poor majority won since Chavez was first elected in 1998.

These include a huge expansion in government providing basic services (such as education, health and housing), the nationalisation of previous privatised strategic industries, and the promotion of popular participation in communities and workplaces.

Cuba: The legacy of the October 1962 Missile Crisis

By Ike Nahem

[This is the third in a series of articles by Ike Nahem. The first can be found HERE and the second HERE. For more articles on Cuba, click HERE.]

October 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- October 1962 marks the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis”. The last two weeks of that October was the closest the world has come so far to a widespread nuclear exchange.

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