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Venezuela: Pace of land expropriations to continue for 'agrarian socialism'

The latest land occupation facilitated by the National Land Institute is underway in the south-western state of Apure. Photo by Victor Hugo Majano/Aporrea.org.

By Ewan Robertson, Merida

January 13, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis -- This year the Venezuelan government plans to continue its pace of land expropriations in order to move towards what it terms “agrarian socialism”.

According to the 2014 national budget, the government’s National Land Institute (INTI) aims to expropriate 350,000 hectares of land this year.

This compares with the goals of 350,000 and 397,000 hectares of land to be expropriated in 2012 and 2013 respectively, after the government began to increase the pace of land expropriations in 2011.

It is estimated that in the decade between 2001, when former president Hugo Chavez passed a law promoting land redistribution, and 2011, the INTI expropriated 3.6 million hectares of agricultural land.

20 years since the Chiapas rebellion: the Zapatistas, their politics and impact

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

By Dan La Botz

January 14, 2014 -- Solidarity (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Chiapas rebellion led by the Zapatistas took place 20 years ago this month. What was the importance of the rebellion and of the Zapatistas? What was the impact at the time? And what has been its political legacy? What is the role of the Zapatistas in Mexico today?

The Chiapas rebellion had an enormous impact at the time, not only in Mexico but around the world. The EZLN had led the first leftist, armed rebellion since the fall of Communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union just a few years before, suggesting that contrary to claims about the death of the left and the “end of history”, a new left had arisen in the Lacandón Jungle of Chiapas.

Venezuela and Chile: Election wins advance left agenda

Michele Bachelet won a resounding victory in the Chilean presidential race with 62% of the vote.

By Roger Burbach

January 7, 2014 -- América Latina en Movimiento -- Elections in Venezuela and Chile in December 2013 molded the political panorama of Latin America for the coming year, providing a new opening for left-leaning governments and the advance of post-neoliberal policies in the region.

In Venezuela, the decisive victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the municipal elections on December 8 gave a boost to the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, enabling him to advance the 21st century socialism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

After Maduro's narrow victory margin of 1.5% in the presidential elections in April 2013, the opposition went on the offensive, declaring fraud and waging economic war in an effort to destabilise the country. If the opposition coalition had won in the municipal elections, or even come close in the popular vote, it was poised to mount militant demonstrations to destabilise and topple the Maduro government.

Venezuela: Chavistas celebrate important victory in municipal elections

By Ewan Robertson, Caracas

December 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Supporters of Venezuela's revolutionary government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement.

The first results announced gave the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) victory in 58% of the country’s municipalities. The PSUV and its allies gained more than 49% of the total vote share versus 43% for the opposition.

After the results were announced, President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech from the Plaza Bolivar in central Caracas to celebrate the win.

“Without a doubt we’ve obtained a great victory today, the people of Venezuela have said to the world that the Bolivarian revolution continues with more strength than ever,” he said.

Maduro mentioned that the right-wing opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition had now lost four national elections over the past 14 months.

He also responded to opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ argument that the municipal elections would be a “plebiscite” on the government’s mandate: “There you have your plebiscite, Caprichito, fascist. I hope that he learns about humility and shows his face to the country and resigns from the political leadership of the MUD.”

Venezuelanalysis: 10 years reporting on the Bolivarian Revolution

[To help keep Venezuelanalysis.com going for another year, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to donate here.]

Tamara Pearson interviews Gregory Wilpert

December 4, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- Though activists, academics and other readers rely on Venezuelanalysis.com (VA) daily and weekly for contextual, thorough, on the ground, non-corporate perspectives on the Bolivarian Revolution, few people know the site’s story.

VA’s small dedicated crew of journalists live in Venezuela, are immersed in the country’s political struggles, write from home under hot iron roofs, meet every morning and weather the constant English-language media lies about our country then decide on news to cover and analysis to translate or write. We go to events to photograph them, report them and do interviews. Formed after the 2002 coup and currently depending on donations, how has the site survived for ten years? VA talked to one of its founders, Gregory Wilpert.

Why was Venezuelanalysis.com founded when it was?

Xiomara Castro de Zelaya: 'We will defeat them in the streets!'

Video original del discurso de Presidenta Xiomara Castro de Zelaya el 29 de noviembre, 2013 en español: Parte 1.

For more on Honduras, click HERE.

Address by Xiomara Castro de Zelaya

November 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Honduras Resists -- Members of the national and international press, sisters and brothers of struggle, people of Honduras, beloved comrades,

Five days after the end of the electoral process in our country, after several public appearances, I am here once again before you, to reiterate that we have found innumerable proof of the disgusting monstrosity with which they are stealing the presidency of the republic from our people of Honduras.

Our position is unwavering and unceasing: while they don’t allow us access to the system of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, we will not accept the results emitted by that Electoral Tribunal.

Honduras: Huge political crisis as right steals election

For more on Honduras, click HERE.

By Elena Zeledon

November 28, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Large-scale electoral fraud affected every aspect of the November 24 general elections in the Central American country of Honduras.

This has sparked a huge political crisis, which matches and possibly surpasses the crisis produced by the coup d’etat that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

The fraud has denied victory to Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) party presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, the wife of Zelaya. LIBRE was formed by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which united many sectors that took part in the resistance to the coup.

In Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere and occupying an area about the size of Queensland, two decades of struggle has helped develop one of the most socially and class conscious movements in the world.

Honduras: Massive fraud attempts to deny LIBRE victory

Xiomara Castro addresses LIBRE's closing rally of the election campaign.

See also "The importance of Xiomara Castro's November 24 presidential election campaign".

By Elena Zeledon

November 26, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Three of the main political parties contesting the November 24 election in Honduras are accusing the oligarchy-controlled Supreme Elections Tribunal of vote manipulation and fraud following a massive voter turnout on election day.

Honduras: The importance of Xiomara Castro's November 24 presidential election campaign

Xiomara Castro on the campaign trail.

By Elena Zeledon

November 23, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 24 the people of Honduras will elect Xiomara Castro Sarmiento de Zelaya as the first woman, and the first avowedly socialist, president of the republic. Her election, if not stolen by fraudulent methods, which is extremely likely given the terror her potential election is causing in the ranks of the ruling oligarchy, will represent the fruits of nearly 20 years of direct and organised mass struggle for social, labour and human rights.

It has been a struggle against various forms of government, from military dictatorships to liberal and more accommodative forms of capitalist rule. It has been a struggle which has produced what could arguably be the most class and social conscious mass movement in the world. It has been a struggle that has produced more than its fair share of martyrs, murdered at the hands of killers hired by the oligarchs, and more than its fair share of sorrow.

New film: 'Viva Venezuela: Fighting for Socialism'

November 19, 2013 -- RCG -- In October 2012 Venezuela faced a choice: whether to deepen the Bolivarian Revolution that under the leadership of Hugo Chavez had brought dignity, health, education and hope -- or to return to a brutal, unequal, neoliberal society where oil wealth lined the pockets of multinational companies and Venezuela's elite. The people of Venezuela who voted for Chavez, voted to fight for socialism.

The Revolutionary Communist Group was on the streets of Caracas throughout the presidential elections in October 2012. We joined hundreds of thousands as they thronged the city, braving torrential rain or baking sun, to express their support. This film takes you on that journey, through the barrios, universities and workplaces to meet the political activists, students and workers who are changing their future.

The film premièred in London on October 25, 2013, where 150 people packed out Bolivar Hall to hear speakers from the RCG, the Venezuelan and Cuban embassy discuss the movement in Latin America and its relevance to the struggle here in imperialist Britain. It continues to screen all around the country, picking up momentum, not only increasing our understanding of the struggle in Venezuela, but helping us understand the tasks that face us here in Britain.

Uncle Sam's UN blues: Washington's anti-Cuba policy isolated -- again

Voting board for the 2012 General Assembly 2012 on resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. This year, the vote was 188 in favour, two against, with three abstentions. UN Photo.

By Ike Nahem

November 10, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Annually, a near ritual unfolds in the Autumn session of the United Nations General Assembly: the assembled states and governments dutifully, in near-unanimous consensus, vote in favour of a Resolution on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo by the United States of America Against Cuba".

Venezuela: Maduro, workers act to end big business' 'economic war'

Trade unionists marched against Venezuela’s main business federation on October 31 to protest the “economic war” that workers argue the federation is waging against the government.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Merida

November 7, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding, along with the creation of new government institutions to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange.

“We have to make real decisions for the benefit of the economy and society, whatever the cost and whatever happens”, Maduro stated from Miraflores Palace on November 6.

Describing the package of reforms as an “economic offensive”, Maduro pledged to “strike hard” at speculators and hoarders.

He announced the creation of a new national task force to inspect businesses across the country to complement current efforts by the government's consumer protection agency Indepabis to identify hoarders.

Venezuelan consumers have been hit with shortages of products ranging from milk to toilet paper in recent months. The opposition has blamed government policy, though Maduro has pointed to businesses that hoard goods for political reasons.

Argentina: Mid-term elections signal shift in political mood

By Raul Bassi

November 7, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Three key tendencies marked mid-term elections in Argentina: a continued decline in support for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (pictured) and her Peronist-allied Front for Victory (FPV), the re-emergence of new forces to its right, and what many have dubbed a “historic” vote for the Trotskyist left.

At stake in the October 27 national elections were half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and one third of the Senate, along with a number of elections for state parliaments and local councils.

The elections were also viewed as a crucial springboard for potential candidates looking to compete in the 2015 presidential election, in which Kirchner will be unable to contest due to constitutional limits on consecutive terms.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', October 2013 issue: Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement

[Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

October 27, 2013 -- 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 late president Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

Venezuela: Revolution brings substantial improvements to working-class neighbourhoods

Hillside barrios in Caracas. Photo by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis.

By Enric Llopis, Rebelion, translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Tamara Pearson

October 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- At the invitation of the Jose Marti Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba (Asociación Valenciana José Martí de Amistad con Cuba) and the Acontracorrent union, Yasmin Zabala and Hector Acosta -- social activists from the Caracas neighbourhood of 23 de Enero (January 23) -- have lectured at the social sciences faculty in Valencia. They come from a neighbourhood that has historically been very combative, with a strong tradition of community and mutuality.

This barrio of about 250,000 inhabitants, situated on a hill west of the city and near the Miraflores Presidential Palace, has been part of all the major revolutionary moments in Venezuelan history. 23 de Enero owes its name to the date on which the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country (in 1958) after his overthrow by a military-civilian movement.

Bolivia: Workers to take over closed or abandoned firms; The working class and the political process

By Richard Fidler, La Paz, Bolivia

October 10, 2013 -- Life of the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission − On October 7, Bolivia's President Evo Morales issued a government decree that allows workers to establish “social enterprises” in businesses that are bankrupt, winding up, unjustifiably closed or abandoned. These enterprises, while private, will be operated by the workers and qualify for government assistance.

Morales issued Supreme Decree 1754 at a ceremony in the presidential palace marking the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Confederación General de Trabajadores Fabriles de Bolivia (CGTFB – the General Confederation of Industrial Workers of Bolivia). Minister of Labour Daniel Santalla said the decree was issued pursuant to article 54 of Bolivia’s new constitution, which states that workers

in defense of their workplaces and protection of the social interest may, in accordance with the law, reactivate and reorganize firms that are undergoing bankrupty, creditor proceedings or liquidation, or closed or abandoned without justification, and may form communitarian or social enterprises. The state will contribute to the action of the workers.

Crónica de una jornada con Nicolás Maduro


[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3533. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

VÍCTOR RÍOS Y MIGUEL RIERA | septiembre 2013

Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.

El Viejo Topo

Mexico: Largest teachers' union actions in history win moral victory, struggle continues

Click HERE for more on Mexico. For more by or about Dan La Botz, click HERE.

By Dan La Botz

September 25, 2013 -- New Politics, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Since school began again on August 19, tens of thousands of teachers have been engaged in strikes and demonstrations throughout Mexico—including seizing public buildings, highway toll booths and border crossing stations, occupying public buildings and city plazas, and blocking foreign embassies—actions taken against the Education Reform Law and the new Professional Teaching Law and over local demands linked to wages and working conditions. While these are traditional tactics, these are the largest and most militant teachers’ union demonstrations in Mexican history.

Venezuela: A day with Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro interviewed by Spain's El Viejo Topo' Víctor Ríos and Miguel Riera, translated by by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

September 26, 2013 -- Very little is known about Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Spain. [There’s] scarcely four lines, mainly contributed by the mass media which is hostile to the revolutionary process. Spain's El Viejo Topo wanted to get to know him, and the Venezuelan president accepted the interview without any hassles.

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