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Venezuela leads on UN human development goals (Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, November 2011)

Primary school student with her free Classmate laptop.

November 21, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the lead story of the November 2011 broadsheet of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Click here to download the broadsheet (in PDF) or read it on screen below.

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In 2000, the Bolivarian government of Venezuela embraced the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to achieve a better standard of living for the entire population. Venezuela’s remarkably rapid achievement of most of the MDGs compared to every other country in the world is a result of the Chavez government’s implementation of economic and social policies based on the principles underlying 21st century socialism, which give priority to social investment for collective welfare and development. Since the election of President Hugo Chavez in 1989, social investment in Venezuela has grown from just 8.4% of GDP to 18.8% of GDP in 2008. In contrast, social spending in all the advanced capitalist countries has declined in real terms.

The Millennium Development Goals and Venezuela’s achievements

Colombia: The mass movement re-emerges

By Anthony Boynton, Bogotá, Colombia

November 10, 2011 -– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At times masked beneath decades of paramilitary repression and hidden behind headlines about Colombia’s armed guerrilla armies, Colombia’s mass movement has survived against all odds. It is now reemerging into the light of day, seemingly without notice in the international press.

On November 9, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos seemed to retreat in the face of a massive nationwide student strike that has lasted since October 12. Santos offered to withdraw his “educational reform” bill from the Colombian congress and sit down to negotiate with the student movement.

Students responded with a massive demonstration today that closed all of the major thoroughfares of the city. (See photos from El Tiempo, the main newspaper of Colombia.)

Nicaragua: FSLN-led Alianza Nicaragua Triunfa wins; Daniel Ortega re-elected in landslide (+ audio interview)

On November 12, Toni Solo from Nicaragua spoke to Latin Radical's Warwick Fry about the landslide electoral victory for the Alianza Nicaragua Triunfa and Daniel Ortega.

Part 1

Part 2.

By Toni Solo

Cuba: 'Information on results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution'

Introduction by Marce Cameron, translator

November 12, 2011 -- Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Here is the complete English translation of the booklet Information on the results of the Debate on the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines for the Party and the Revolution, an explanatory document published together with the final version of the guidelines adopted by the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) Congress in April. As far as I'm aware there is no official translation of this document. Please note that this is an unofficial translation.

You can view or download it as a PDF file here, or read it on screen below.

Rapa Nui/Easter Island: Blaming the victims -- Jared Diamond's myth of ‘ecocide’

Sculpture of the flag of independence for Rapa Nui, featuring a representation of the rongorongo script, unique to the island, in the shape of a boomerang, and headstones of Moai at either end. Photo by Coral Wynter.

By Coral Wynter

November 5, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have always been fascinated by the story of Easter Island, the European name for Rapa Nui, due to a complete accident in my childhood education, when at age 10, I did a school project on the strange, mysterious statues on the island, known as Moai.

[Please note: Rapa Nui refers to the island and Rapanui is used when it refers to the people or the language.]

My partner has always laughed at my obsession, referring to the Moai as those weird statues of Malcolm Fraser, adding why would you want to see that? (Fraser was the archetypal right-wing leader of Australian politics in the 1970s, who had dismissed a prominent Labour Party leader, Gough Whitlam, in shonky circumstances).

In fact, the 887 statues represent ancient and revered leaders of an ancient island society and the sculpture on top of their heads represents a hairstyle -- a red coloured topknot and not a hat. They bear little resemblance to Malcolm Fraser, wearing a hat.

Chile: When triumphant neoliberalism begins to crack

By Franck Gaudichaud

October 2011 -- International Viewpoint, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On September 22, 2011, wearing a dark suit, a purple tie and a light blue shirt, president Sebastián Piñera went up to the rostrum of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The head of the Chilean government -- and nevertheless a successful multimillionaire businessman – had a wide smile on his face. In these times of a worldwide crisis of capitalism, he could claim to have a flourishing economy, judged by a growth rate of more than 6 per cent of GDP (at the beginning of 2011). In the course of his short speech before the main leaders of the world’s states, he also made a point of referring to the social conflict for education which has traversed his country for several months: “We must win the race for development and the battle for the future in the classrooms”, he insisted.

Tariq Ali on #Occupy: ‘The fog of confusion has finally lifted’

#Occupy Sydney march, November 5, 2011. Photo from Occupy Sydney.

For more reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

By Tariq Ali

October 25, 2011 -- Tariq Ali -- “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at”, wrote Oscar Wilde, “for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”

The spirit of that 19th century socialist is alive among the idealistic young people who have come out in protest against the turbo-charged global capitalism that has dominated the world ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

From La Violencia to the War on Terror: A re-examination of Colombia’s FARC-EP inside Bolivar’s 'Gran Colombia'

FARC guerillas.
La revolución no será calco ni copia, sino creación heroica (The revolution will not be traceable or a copy, but a heroic creation).

-- Jose Carlos Mariategui (1894–1930)

[For more discussion on Colombia, click HERE.]

By Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle

November 3, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Colombia is the first Latin American country to become subjected to the theatre of United States anti-guerrilla warfare. Colombia has also one of the richest histories of revolutionary politics on the continent extending well over half a century. It is throughout this time, that Colombia has been the battleground of an undeclared civil war.

Two mutually complementary causes are traceable. First, Colombia’s compradores, the national business and landlord classes have waged a life and death battle against the landless poor. Second, a policy of repression and repossession has been pursued by the Colombian ruling class with the financial and military support of the USA.

'A revival of collectivist solidarity' -- Hugo Blanco, veteran Indigenous revolutionary, on Occupy Wall Street

October 30, 2011 -- Ecosocialists Unite -- Hugo Blanco led a successful peasant revolution in Peru for land rights in 1961 when peasants were being killed by landowners. Praised by Che,  Blanco -- then a leader of the Fourth International -- was captured and placed on death row. He lived due to an international campaign of solidarity launched by figures like Jean-Paul Sartre.

Now in the his late 70s, he publishes Lucha Indigena ("Indigenous Struggle"). The uprising in Peru of the Awajan and Wampis and other Amazon people, of the Aymara and Quechua, have shown that Indigenous and workers can organise to challenge the destruction of the Earth and to build a democratic alternative to capitalism.

Hugo Blanco argues that the revolution must be global and that the Occupy movement shows that people in the global North are joining the revolt against the 1% and for a democratic, ecological society for the 99%.

This Lucha Indigena editorial on the occupy movement and the global fightback against neoliberalism has been roughly translated by Derek Wall and Martin O'Beirne.

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Bolívia: As ONGs equivocadas com relação a Morales e à Amazônia

[Available in English at and]

Federico Fuentes

28/09/2011 -- -- Declarações, artigos, cartas e petições circularam na Internet durante o mês passado pedindo o fim da "destruição da Amazônia".

O objeto dessas iniciativas não têm sido as corporações transnacionais nem os poderosos governos que as respaldam, mas o governo do primeiro presidente indígena da Bolívia, Evo Morales.

No centro do debate está a proposta do governo boliviano de construir uma estrada através do Território Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (TIPNIS).

O TIPNIS, que cobre mais de 1 milhão de hectares de florestas, obteve o estatuto de reserva indígena do governo de Evo Morales em 2009. Cerca de 12.000 pessoas de três grupos indígenas diferentes vivem em 64 comunidades dentro do TIPNIS.

Bolivia: NGO's geven verkeerd beeld over Morales en Amazonewoud

Mars in Trinidad tegen de snelweg op 15 augustus.

[Available in English at and]

Federico Fuentes, vertaald uit het Engels door Sabrina Verswijver

28/09/2011 -- -- Het doelwit van de acties waren deze keer niet de transnationale bedrijven of machtige overheden die dergelijke bedrijven steunen, maar wel de eerste inheemse president van Bolivia, Evo Morales.

Aan de basis van het debat ligt het controversiële voorstel van de Boliviaanse overheid om een snelweg aan te leggen door het Isiboro Secure Nationaal Park en Inheems Gebied (TIPNIS).

TIPNIS beslaat meer dan één miljoen hectare aan bos en kreeg in 2009 de status van inheems gebied toegewezen door de regering-Morales. Ongeveer 12.000 mensen van drie verschillende inheemse groepen leven in 64 gemeenschappen in TIPNIS.

Bolivia: le ONG sbagliano su Morales e l'Amazzonia

[Available in English at and]

di Federico Fuentes

25/09/2011 -- -- Dichiarazioni, articoli, lettere stanno circolando in Internet chiedendo la fine della "distruzione dell'Amazzonia".

L'obiettivo di queste iniziative non è rappresentato dalle corporazioni transnazionali né dai potenti governi che le appoggiano, ma il governo del primo presidente indigeno della Bolivia, Evo Morales.

Al centro del dibattito c'è la controversa proposta del governo boliviano di costruire un'autostrada attraverso il Territorio Indigeno del Parco Nazionale Isidoro Sécure (TIPNIS).

Il Tipnis, che copre una superficie di più di 1 milione di ettari di foresta, ha ottenuto lo statuto di territorio indigeno dal governo di Evo Morales nel 2009. Circa 2.000 persone vivono in 64 comunità all'interno del TIPNIS.

Bolivia: Las ONG equivocadas respecto a Morales y la Amazonía

[Available in English at and]

Federico Fuentes, traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

28-09-2011 -- Declaraciones, artículos, cartas y peticiones han estado circulando en Internet durante el pasado mes pidiendo un fin a la “destrucción de la Amazonía”.

El objetivo de esas iniciativas no han sido las corporaciones transnacionales ni los poderosos gobiernos que las respaldan, sino el gobierno del primer presidente indígena de Bolivia, Evo Morales.

Al centro del debate está la controvertida propuesta del gobierno boliviano de construir una carretera a través del Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (TIPNIS).

El TIPNIS, que cubre más de 1 millón de hectáreas de bosques, obtuvo el estatuto de territorio indígena del gobierno de Evo Morales en 2009. Cerca de 12.000 personas de tres grupos indígenas diferentes viven en 64 comunidades dentro del TIPNIS.

Todos contra Wall Street: `Foro Social Latinamericano', GLW's Spanish-language supplement, October 2011 issue

October 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, feminists, socialists and all progressive people, Latin America is a source of hope and inspiration today. The people of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador, among others, are showing that radical social change is possible and a better, more just society can be imagined and built.

The tide of rebellion and revolution now sweeping Latin America is posing a serious challenge to imperialism’s brutal global rule. For anyone who wants an end to war, exploitation and oppression, Latin America’s struggles to create alternatives are crucially important.

Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly is strongly committed to supporting the growing “people’s power” movement in Latin America. Through our weekly articles on developments in the region, GLW strives to counter the corporate media’s many lies about Latin America’s revolutions, and to give a voice in English to the people’s movements for change.

The continent-wide rebellion is weakening imperialism’s power. As a result, it is taking increasingly threatening steps to push back the power of the people. Our solidarity, to help the people of Latin America defend and extend their tremendous achievements, is vital.

New film preview: 'Growing Change: A Journey Inside Venezuela's Food Revolution'

October 7, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Growing Change: A Journey into Venezuela's Food Revolution follows filmmaker Simon Cunich's journey to understand why current food systems leave hundreds of millions of people in hunger. It's a journey to understand how the world will feed itself in the future in the face of major environmental challenges. 

The documentary begins with an investigation of the 2008 global food crisis, looking at the long-term underlying causes. Will expanding large-scale, energy-intensive agriculture be the solution? If we already produce enough food to feed the world, why do so many people go hungry?

After hearing about efforts in Venezuela to develop a more equitable and sustainable food and agriculture system, Cunich heads there to see if it's working and to find out what we might learn from this giant experiment.

Bolivia: Letter from mass Indigenous movement CONAIE to Evo Morales regarding TIPNIS controversy

The following letter was translated by Federico Fuentes. The translation first appeared on Bolivia Rising. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. See "Bolivia: Avaaz, NGOs wrong on Morales and Amazon protests; police attack condemned" for more on the highway conflict.

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Quito, September 26, 2011

Evo Morales
President of the Plurinacional State of Bolivia

Dear Brother,

Receive our cordial greetings on behalf of the Confederation of Peoples of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador CONAIE. We would also like to use this opportunity to send via your person a deep hug of solidarity to the brothers and sisters in the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

During these days we have paid witness to all the events that your government has had to confront in regards to the march by the brothers from the indigenous peoples of the Bolivian east in defence of TIPNIS. In the face of this, we would like to make known out deep concern regarding the events that have transpired, especially the events that occurred yesterday afternoon.

Being faithful to the principles of the struggle of the people, we reject the violent repression that the indigenous brothers from the march have suffered at the hands of the Bolivian police.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: Cooperatives and socialism in Cuba

September 26, 2011 -- First posted at Cuba's Socialist Renewal, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Cooperatives and Socialism: A Cuban Perspective is a new Cuban book, published in Spanish earlier this year. This important and timely compilation is edited by Camila Piñeiro Harnecker (pictured above). Avid readers of Cuba's Socialist Renewal will recall that I translated and posted a commentary by Camila, titled "Cuba Needs Changes" [also available at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal], back in January. Camila lives in Cuba and has a degree in sustainable development from the University of Berkeley, California. She is a professor at the Centre for Studies on the Cuban

(Updated Oct. 4) Bolivia: Avaaz, NGOs wrong on Morales and Amazon protests; police attack condemned

March in Trinidad, Bolivia, against a proposed highway that would go through part of the Amazon, August 15.

By Federico Fuentes

September 25, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Statements, articles, letters and petitions have been circulating on the internet for the past month calling for an end to the "destruction of the Amazon". The target of these initiatives has not been transnational corporations or the powerful governments that back them, but the government of Bolivia's first Indigenous president, Evo Morales.

At the centre of the debate is the Bolivian government’s controversial proposal to build a highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). TIPNIS, which covers more than 1 million hectares of forest, was granted Indigenous territory status by the Morales government in 2009. About 12,000 people from three different Indigenous groups live in 64 communities within TIPNIS.

Cuba: Voluntary work abolished -- a step forward?

By Luis Sexto, Havana

September 7, 2011 -- Progreso Weekly -- Voluntary work in Cuba, as a practice on weekdays or Sundays, has been abolished. In view of this action, neither original nor daring, one might suppose that the decision by the Cuban Trade Union Confederation (CTC) to end voluntary work, except in times of disaster or when enterprises face acute needs, has earned the implicit approval of most Cubans.

But to state the opposite, namely that many Cubans are not in agreement, might mean that one dons the mask of someone who is unthinking or opportunistic, or of a dogmatic person who does not understand the society in which they live and the circumstances that surround it.

To deny the decision's importance in the strategy of changes would not be accurate either, in my view. The effects of the measure – adopted during the 87th plenum of the CTC's national council on February 18 – are several. First, we must acknowledge that voluntary work, as it evolved, shortened leisure time for workers and reduced their status as free individuals through union and administrative pressures.

Cuban Five: Judge issues cruel and bizarre ruling

Judge Lenard order's René González to live in Miami on supervised release

[Below the article is a model protest letter; please adapt and send. For more background to the cases of the Cuban Five, click HERE.]

By Jose Pertierra

September 19, 2011 -- Counterpunch via the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society -- On September 16, a US federal district court judge made a bizarre ruling concerning one of the Cuban Five defendants who completes his jail sentence on October 7. Judge Joan Lenard ruled that René Gonzalez, who has already served 13 years in a federal penitentiary for being an unregistered agent of the Cuban government, will be forced for the next three years to live in Miami on what is called “supervised release”.

Gonzalez had asked the court to allow him to return home to Cuba to be with his wife, Olga, and his two daughters, Ivette and Irma. Several years ago, the US Department of State decided to permanently bar Olga from getting a visa to come to the United States. She has been able to visit her husband only once during the last 13 years. A cruel and unusual punishment for any prisoner.

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