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Venezuela

Venezuela: Chavismo on the horns of a dilemma

Over three months in the early part of last year, Venezuela was subjected to a campaign of violence and disruption known as the guarimba, organised by elements of the right-wing, US-backed opposition.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE and more by Steve Ellner HERE.

By Steve Ellner

May 22, 2015 -- VenezuelAnalysis, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Leftists in Venezuela put forward a number of different explanations for the pressing economic difficulties and growing discontent that has beset Venezuela and increases the possibility of an opposition takeover of the National Assembly in this year’s elections.

John Riddell on Michael Lebowitz: Dissecting the failure of Soviet ‘socialism’

Real Socialism

For more articles and videos by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.

For more by or about John Riddell.

Review by John Riddell

The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted
by Michael A. Lebowitz
New York: Monthly Review 2012.

May 19, 2015 -- JohnRiddell.Wordpress.com, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In current discussions of twenty-first century socialism, the work of Michael Lebowitz has a unique merit: it is rooted in the experience of Cuba and Venezuela, where efforts in recent decades to move toward socialism have been the most vigorous. Quotations from Che Guevara and Hugo Chávez set the tone.

Maduro and the market: Can Chavistas keep the revolution on track?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE and more by Steve Ellner HERE.

By Steve Ellner

May 13, 2015 – versions of this article were published in Red Pepper (April-May issue) and Alborada.net, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission of the author -- It’s a point of honour for Venezuela’s government that despite the sharp plunge in oil prices and acute shortages of goods, President Nicolás Maduro has ruled out austerity measures. In a recent TV interview conducted by former vice-president José Vicente Rangel, Central Bank president Nelson Merentes explained why, when he asked: “Do you remember what happened on February 27, 1989?”

On that date massive nationwide disturbances broke out after the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez announced sharp price hikes and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, setting the stage for the 1992 military uprising led by Hugo Chávez. The memory of February 27 and the decision of the formerly left-leaning Pérez to come to terms with powerful economic groups as a way out of pressing economic difficulties undoubtedly weigh on Maduro’s response to the current situation.

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

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.

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.

Eric Toussaint: SYRIZA, Podemos and the way towards power for the people

Click for more on SYRIZA, Podemos, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Adam Clark-Gimmig

February 18, 2015 -- Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experience proves that left-wing movements can come to be in government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more.

The problem is currently being faced in Greece with SYRIZA, and will have to be faced in Spain with Podemos (if that party wins the general elections in late 2015), as it was faced in the past, in Venezuela with the election of Hugo Chávez as president in December 1998, in Bolivia with Evo Morales in 2005, in Ecuador with Rafael Correa in December 2006, or several decades earlier with Salvador Allende in Chile in 1970 |1|.

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.

(Updated Jan. 28) Greece: Venezuela welcomes SYRIZA victory; International left celebrates

[Please return regularly for updates.]

January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela's government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, 2015, reports TeleSur English. Tsipras has been inaugurated as the country's prime minister.

A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”

Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua tweeted: “The Greek people, after a long and historic battle against neoliberalism, has crowned itself a wonderful victory. Syriza is fresh air for Europe!”

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:

Venezuela: After Chávez, has the Maduro government stalled the revolution?

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Steve Ellner

December 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Nearly two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, the key question that many on the left are debating, in Venezuela and elsewhere, is whether his successors have been true to his legacy, or whether the “revolutionary process” initiated more than a decade ago has now stalled or even been thrown into reverse.

The recent emergence of a number of pressing problems has convinced some Chavistas that the revolution has either been betrayed or, at best, that President Nicolás Maduro is severely lacking in Chávez’s political acumen.

Marta Harnecker: Decentralised participatory planning based on experiences of Brazil, Venezuela and the state of Kerala, India

Marta Harnecker.

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Federico Fuentes

[Paper presented at the International Scientific Academic Meeting on Methodology and Experiences in Socio-environmental Participatory processes, Cuenca University, November 13-15, 2014.*]

December 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These words are aimed at those who want to build a humanist and solidarity-based society. A society based on the complete participation of all people. A society focused on a model of sustainable development that satisfies people's genuine needs in a just manner, and not the artificial wants created by capitalism in its irrational drive to obtain more profits. A society that does all this while ensuring that humanity’s future in not put at risk. A society where the organized people are the ones who decide what and how to produce. A society we have referred to as Twenty-First Century Socialism, Good Living or Life in Plenitude.

Lateinamerika: Ende der 'Rosa Welle' vorschnell prognostiziert

Dilma Rousseff.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4184.]

Von Federico Fuentes; Übersetzung: Christian Klar

01.12.2014 -- amerika21.de -- Seit Anfang des Jahres haben zahlreiche Zeitungen vorhergesagt, dass sich ein Niedergang der sogenannten "Pink Tide" abzeichnet. Der Begriff "Pink Tide" wird verwendet, um die Welle von Regierungen links der Mitte in Lateinamerika zu bezeichnen, die in den vergangenen Jahren durch Wahlen an die Regierung kamen. Eine Reihe von ihnen waren bereits wiedergewählt worden und Meinungsforscher und Kommentatoren gleichermaßen erörterten, dass für viele nun ihre Zeit an der Regierung um sei.

Stattdessen sahen die Brasilianer am Sonntag, den 26. Oktober, Dilma Rousseff als wiedergewählte Präsidentin eine vierte Amtszeit in Folge für die Arbeiterpartei beginnen. Noch am selben Tag gaben die Wähler im benachbarten Uruguay der amtierenden Frente Amplio (FA) eine Mehrheit in beiden Kammern des Parlaments, und FA-Kandidat Tabaré Vasquez geht als heißer Favorit in die zweite Runde der Präsidentschaftswahlen, nachdem er 49,5 Prozent der Stimmen in der ersten Runde gewann – im Vergleich zu 32 Prozent für seinen zweitstärksten Rivalen.

Latin America: Why predictions of an ebb in the 'Pink Tide' proved premature

On October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration.

By Federic Fuentes

December 7, 2014 -- first published in TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Since the start of the year, numerous newspapers have dedicated article after article to predictions of a looming demise of the so-called “Pink Tide”. The term is used to refer to the wave of left-of-centre governments elected to power in Latin America during recent years.

A number of these governments were up for re-election this year, and pollsters and commentators alike argued that for many, their time in government was up.

Instead, on October 26 Brazilians re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president, ushering in a fourth consecutive Workers’ Party administration. That same day, voters in neighboring Uruguay handed the incumbent Broad Front (FA) a majority in both houses of parliament, and FA candidate Tabare Vasquez went into the second round of the presidential elections as hot favorite after winning 49.5% of the vote in the first round (compared with 32% for his nearest rival).

Marta Harnecker talks about 21st century socialism to TeleSUR English

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

October 17, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greg Wilpert interviews the well-known theoretician of the Latin American left Marta Harnecker. The Chilean-born author and activist is known worldwide for her writings on Marxist philosophy, Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, and the challenges facing the Latin American left in the 21st century.

Her latest book A World to Build-New Paths to 21st Century Socialism will soon be out in English. In the interview Harnecker discusses the differences between 20th and 21st century socialism and key strategic issues posed for left-wing movements today.

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