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Chavismo: Christian, pro-Muslim, pro-Jewish and anti-Nazi

By Roy Chaderton Matos, Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States. Translated by Yoshie Furuhashi for MRZine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

January 30, 2009 -- Watching television footage of one of the necessary and legitimate protests against the Israeli Embassy in Caracas, I spotted a lone sign with a slogan that left me thunderstruck.  The slogan was something like: "We condemn Hitler for not having completed his work of extermination..."

The frightening message, totally alien to the Bolivarian process and the Chavista commitment to liberty, democracy, equality and social justice, shows that, every now and then in our struggles and protests, "loose cannons" come dog us and that we have to detect them and neutralise them and expel them like any foreign body.

Luis Bilbao: Venezuela and `the rebirth of the idea of revolution'

Photo by Coral Wynter.

Interview with Luis Bilbao, conducted by Agustina Desalvo for the Argentinian journal Razón y Revolución, issue #18 (second semester 2008). Translated by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes and published with the permission of Bilbao.

Luis Bilbao is a central participant in the construction of the mass United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); founding editor of the Latin America-wide monthly magazine América XXI. Luis Bilbao will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.

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Bolivia's vice-president:‘We are consolidating our process of change’

Alvaro Garcia Linera with Bolivia's President Evo Morales

Interview with Bolivia's vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera conducted by Pablo Stefanoni from Argentina's Clarin newspaper. Introduction and translation by Green Left Weekly's Federico Fuentes.

January 31, 2009 -- The people of Bolivia on January 25 voted overwhelming to approve a new constitution, a demand first raised by the indigenous movements in the early 1990s. It was also a key promise of the successful 2005 election campaign of the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales.

The new constitutional text will dramatically increase the rights of the indigenous majority within a “plurinational” state. This includes official recognition of the languages of Bolivia’s 36 indigenous peoples and the right to “self government and the exercising of self-determination”, allowing for greater indigenous control over local development and natural resources.

Along with indigenous autonomy, the new constitution also establishes autonomy at the departmental, provincial and municipal level, but within the framework of defending national integrity.

Brazil: Landless Workers' Movement marks 25th anniversary, announces `new phase' in struggle

Joao Pedro Stedile addresses the January 24, 2009, national meeting of Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement, marking the MST's 25th anniversary. Stedile is co-founder of the MST. Below the videos Michael Fox reports on the MST's ``new phase'' in the agrarian reform struggle, against Brazil's mainly US-owned agro-industry.

Part 1

What does Obama mean for the world?

By Barry Sheppard, San Francisco

January 23, 2009 -- More than 1 million people gathered in bitter cold in Washington DC to witness the historical inauguration of an African American as president.

The crowd was disproportionately Black, but majority white — and jubilant. Celebrations were held in Black communities throughout the country, and in other sectors of the population.

He was sworn in by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, itself historic. In the aftermath of the election, he enjoys overwhelming support according to polls, far higher than his margin of votes. This indicates a large swing of whites among those who voted for the Republican candidate John McCain.

Hopes are running high that he will do something to turn around the accelerating downturn in the economy. On “inauguration day”, it appeared that the crisis in the banks and other financial institutions was once again critical.

With rising unemployment, rising home foreclosures, falling wages, failing retail chains and US$1 trillion poured down what one economist called a bottomless pothole to apparently no avail, the working and middle classes have experienced a massive shock.

The “free markets will solve all” ideology is a dead duck. US people are demanding that the government take action. Obama has promised to do just that.

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez is shaking up global politics and inspiring millions of ordinary people with the evidence that a better – a peaceful, democratic and socially just – world is possible.

* Whereas in Australia, health, education and public infrastructure is being privatised, in Venezuela, major industries are being nationalised and put under workers’ control, and universal access to health, education and social welfare is now guaranteed.

* Whereas in Australia, workers are being sacked, wages and conditions are being eroded and trade unions are under attack, in Venezuela, wages are increasing, and union membership and organisation is growing.

* Whereas in Australia, the government sends troops into Indigenous communities, and Aboriginal people continue to live in Third World conditions and are killed in custody, in Venezuela, indigenous people have Constitutionally guaranteed land rights and representation in parliament, and are exercising self-determination.

Venezuela: Mass support for constitutional reform campaign

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

By Tamara Pearson

Mérida, January 19, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) -- Over the January 17-18 weekend, committees from various sectors of society swore to campaign hard to win the approval by public vote of the amendment to the constitution to get rid of the two-term limit on all elected offices in Venezuela.

More than 20,000 people attended the swearing in of the heads of logistical and operational patrols of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in Caracas on January 17.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez stated at the event that there are now about 100,000 “Yes committees” organised, or in formation, to campaign in favour of changing the five articles of constitution so that all popularly elected positions are not limited to two terms.

The committees are organised along various fronts and community lines, including women, youth, workers, communal councils and the PSUV.

African American students discuss Cuba’s healthcare revolution

Radio Open Source carried this interview with three medical students from the United States studying in Cuba.
But the core of our long conversations is medicine, the Cuban way. This is aggressive, free, hands-on healthcare that makes house calls, and lingers for the feel of emotions and homelife. Doctors’ training -- like doctors’ care -- is free: the payback required of the students here from all over the hemisphere is only that they return to under served areas of their home countries...Their thinking on social determinants of health, on the primacy of public health and the vital role of prevention strategies are unmatched in the world. With spending of less than US$200 per person per year for health care, they have achieved health outcomes no different than in the USA where expenditures now exceed $7000 per person annually!”.

El Salvador: Election results add to tension as presidential race heats up

celebracion2

FMLN members celebrate victories on January 18.

 [For the latest information of the FMLN's election campaign, click HERE.]

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January 20, 2009 -- Amanda Peters was on the spot as an official observer, and as part of a delegation from CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). She spoke with community radio's Latin Radical as the first results started coming in, and gives her nervous prognosis for the presidential round coming up on March 15.

Critical elections in El Salvador; FMLN activists assassinated

Latin Radical -- Burke Stansbury from the Washington office of the US-based Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) talks with community radio about the first round of the El Salvadoran elections -- legislative and municipal -- to be held on January 17, 2009. Burke reports that the chances of an FMLN victory (supported by a 10 to 15 point lead in the polls over the last year) are good, with the voting population shrugging off the scare tactics of the ARENA party's media blitz.

There are still fears that ARENA, with a history of violence, intimidation and terror (the founder of ARENA was also the head of the notorious death squads of the 1980s), may resort to more drastic tactics, before the presidential elections in March. There is a loud call from the opposition FMLN party for international observers to ensure the integrity of the elections.

50 years of people's resistance and strength -- Interview with Cuba's President Raúl Castro

Raúl Castro speaks on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

December 31, 2008 -- Interview with Raúl Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, conducted by Talía González Pérez for Cuban Television’s News System. From Granma Internacional.

Talía González Pérez: During the initial years of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Commander of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz affirmed to the people that, although the Revolution had been victorious, nobody should think that everything would be easier in the future, but that everything might be more difficult in the future. How difficult has it been in the last 50 years to construct a socialist Revolution in the face of imperialist aggression and the complex international panorama?

Cuba: Rebuilding after the hurricanes, sustainably

Hurricane Gustav hits Cuba

Professor Fernando Martirena is from the Centre of Investigation into Structures and Materials (CIDEM) research institute at the University of Santa Clara, Cuba. He visited Australia in November 2008 to speak at a number of meetings organised by the Australian Green Development Forum. In 2007, Martirena's team won the World Habitat Award from the Building and Social Housing Foundation, an independent research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing. Trent Hawkins caught up with Martirena, to find out how the CIDEM is helping to build houses in Cuba using sustainable building materials.

The US economic blockade forced the Cuban government to rely almost entirely on the Soviet Union for trade. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost half its oil imports and much of its food imports leading to a major food crisis.

The future of socialism and LGBTI rights in Cuba -- Interview with Mariela Castro Espín

January 1, 2009 -- In Havana, Mariela Castro Espín speaks to Anastasia Haydulina of Russia Today Television. Mariela Castro is director of CENESEX –- the National Center for Sexual Education -- and a leading authority and proponent of LGBT freedoms in Cuba and globally. She addresses how Cuban society is dealing with changing perceptions of sexuality and concrete measures benefiting LGBTs. Castro also reflects on new legislation, transsexualism, same-sex unions, gay rights, AIDS, her father President Raúl Castro, her mother Vilma Espín, founder and President of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the woes caused by the US economic blockade of Cuba and her views on US President-elect Barack Obama, as well as the history of the revolution. Sections of the interview have been translated and transcribed below.

Cuba, 50 years on ... and the same challenge of making a revolution

By Lázaro Barredo Medina

Granma International -- October 30, 2008 -- "The dictatorship has been defeated. The joy is immense. And yet, there still remains much to do. We won’t deceive ourselves by believing that everything will be much easier from now on; perhaps it will be much more difficult." This is what Commander in Chief Fidel Castro told the people on January 8, 1959, the day of his entry into Havana. Many people could never imagine the immense challenge that they would live to experience.

Suffice it to say that just a few days later, Fidel proclaimed the right to self-determination in terms of relations with the United States and immediately, the aggressions, attempts on his life and anger on the part of US politicians began, evidence of which can be seen in speeches and articles of the time, as in an editorial of Time magazine, the mouthpiece of the most conservative sectors, entitled: "Fidel Castro’s neutralism is a challenge for the United States."

1959-2009: 50 years of the Cuban Revolution -- Fidel Castro: the Untold Story

Part 1


To mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959, here is filmmaker Estela Bravo's remarkable portrait of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. Click HERE for more.

Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia condemn Israel's massacres in Gaza

Haz click en cualquier video para verlo
Puedes ver otros en radiomundial.com.ve

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Israeli embassy in Caracas on December 28, in opposition to what one speaker referred to as “genocide” by the Israeli “occupation forces”. The protests will continue in front of the embassy, according to a rally organiser, Hindu Anderi. Anderi, a Palestinian human rights activist, thanked the Venezuelan government for its position on the conflict, but demanded concrete action, saying “solidarity needs to mean taking measures that will affect Israel economically and politically, because otherwise the condition of the Palestinian people will not change”.

El Salvador: Video -- Unidos por el cambio (Democracy and the 2009 Salvadorean election)

By Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)(USA)

Recent polls in El Salvador show that the leftist FMLN party is 15% ahead over the right-wing presidential candidate from the ruling party. This only confirms what Salvadorans in the social movement, members of the FMLN, and the general public have been saying all along: El Salvador is the next in line to join the Latin American shift to the left!

The Committee with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) has a long solidarity relationship with the Salvadoran people. One way CISPES continues to support real democracy in El Salvador, opposing US economic, military, and political intervention, is by bringing international observers delegations to El Salvador. You too can support free and fair elections and learn about the current situation in El Salvador by joining the CISPES delegation from March 9-19, 2009.

Venezuela 2008: Balance sheet of the revolutionary process

By Gonzalo Gomez

December 17, 2008 -- During 2008, our revolutionary process has had its ebbs and flows. Overall, we had significant progress, especially in the recuperation of sovereignty, with the nationalisations and the electoral victories in the great majority of governorships and mayoralties. The right-wing also had its successes, as it managed to retain and seize several strategic places. The process is not linear, but the revolution needs to move forward in a permanent manner or the hangover of a counterrevolution will raze the achievements obtained, including the crushing of the vanguard.

You cannot build socialism in the bowels of capitalism. It requires qualitative leaps, in a timely manner and in accordance with the correlation of forces, to enable the break with capitalism and initiate a real transition to socialism. In capitalism there is no solution for the exploited masses; it undermines any economic, social or political conquest of the people, if they are not used to promote the deepening of the revolution, with the organisation and mobilisation of the workers, peasants and popular [sectors].

Two paths in the face of the capitalism’s global fracture

Some of the presidents of the ALBA bloc.

By Luis Bilbao, translated from the December 2008-January 2009 issue of America XXI by Federico Fuentes, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Luis Bilbao will be a featured international speaker at the World at a Crossroads conference, in Sydney, April 10-13, 2009.

Photo essay: Oaxaca, Mexico -- `Living Under the Trees'

A photo essay by David Bacon

December 23, 2008 -- About 30 million Mexicans survive on less than 30 pesos per day -- not quite US$3. The minimum wage is 45 pesos per day. The Mexican federal government estimates that 37.7 per cent of its 106 million citizens -- 40 million people -- live in poverty. Some 25 million, or 23.6 per cent, live in extreme poverty. In rural Mexico, more than 10 million people have a daily income of less than 12 pesos -- a little more than $1.

It's no accident the state of Oaxaca is one of the main starting points for the current stream of Mexican migrants coming to the United States. Extreme poverty encompasses 75 per cent of its 3.4 million residents, according to EDUCA, a Mexican education and development organisation.

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