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Venezuela

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Venezuela: Blockade, crisis and ‘right turn’

 

 

By Chris Slee

July 18, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Links recently published an interview with Venezuelan activist Antonio Gonzalez Plessmann. He speaks of a "turn to the right" by the Venezuelan government, headed by President Nicolas Maduro.

The Communard Union, Chávez’s Ideas in Action: A Conversation with Juan Lenzo

 

 

Interview with Juan Lenzo by Cira Pascual Marquina

June 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — The Communard Union is a grassroots organization that has set communal society its strategic horizon. For two years the Union has been working throughout the country in a heroic effort to re-politicize and reactivate Venezuelan communes and related projects. In this interview, we talk to Juan “Juancho” Lenzo. He is a co-founder of Tatuy Televisión, a media project that is committed to the Chavista grassroots movement, and the Communard Union’s communications coordinator.

Venezuela's Maduro ‘turns right, represses left’: An interview with Venezuelan human rights activist Antonio González Plessmann

 

 

Interview with Antonio González Plessmann by Federico Fuentes.

June 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the face of a prolonged and deep economic and political crisis, Venezuela’s government has embarked on a “turn to the right” in economic policy, while resorting to repression against the left.

This is the conclusion of a new report released by human rights organisation Surgentes, Turn to the right and repression to the left: Human rights violations against Venezuela’s popular camp (2015-2020).

The report says this shift — publicly defended by the government as a tactical turn — directly clashes with “the essential pillars of Chavismo”, the political movement forged by former president Hugo Chávez.

Its findings, which are the result of extensive interviews and fieldwork, echoes what some sections of Chavismo have been arguing for a while.

Link International Journal of Socialist Renewal's Federico Fuentes spoke with Surgentes’ Antonio González Plessmann about the investigation.

Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current: ‘The people have to guarantee that the anti-blockade law is implemented correctly’

 

 

Interview with Yonatan Vargas by Federico Fuentes

November 1, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ) is a radical grassroots current that operates as a public tendency of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Largely set up by activists from the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) and Simón Bolívar National Communal Front (FNCSB), it has a presence in a majority of Venezuela’s states and members that have elected as parliamentarians, mayors and local councillors on the PSUV ticket.

In this interview, Yonatan Vargas, an member of the CRBZ international relations team, outlines some of the CRBZ’s views on current developments in Venezuela, including the rise in protests over basic services, the impact of sanctions, the debate generated by the new anti-blockade law and the upcoming National Assembly elections.

Reinaldo Iturriza: ‘Un parte importante del chavismo está reclamando ubicarse nuevamente en la cresta de la ola'

 

 

[Available in English here

Entrevista con Reinaldo Iturriza por Federico Fuentes

31 de octubre de 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  Como activista revolucionario que trabaja con los movimientos populares de Venezuela y sociólogo que ha estudiado y teorizado ampliamente el surgimiento del chavismo como un movimiento político de las clases populares, Reinaldo Iturriza está bien situado para proporcionar una descripción general de la situación actual dentro de la Revolución Bolivariana. Iturriza también se desempeñó como Ministro de Comunas y Movimientos Sociales, y luego Ministro de Cultura en el gabinete del presidente Nicolás Maduro entre 2013 y 2016.

En esta entrevista, Iturriza expone sus puntos de vista sobre la ley anti-bloqueo recientemente aprobada por la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente y el debate que ha generado, las divisiones electorales que se han abierto dentro la revolución y el estado actual del chavismo.

Reinaldo Iturriza: ‘An important part of Chavismo is demanding its rightful place at the crest of the wave'

 

 

[Disponible en castellano aqui.]

Interview with Reinaldo Iturriza by Federico Fuentes

October 31, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As a revolutionary activist working with Venezuela’s popular movements and a sociologist who has extensively studied and theorised the rise of Chavismo as a political movement of the popular classes, Reinaldo Iturriza is well placed to provide an overview of the current state of play within the country’s Bolivarian Revolution. Iturriza also served as Minister for the Communes and Social Movements, and then Minister for Culture in President Nicolas Maduro’s cabinet between 2013 and 2016.

In this interview, Iturriza outlines his views on the recently approved anti-blockade law and the debate it has generated, the electoral divisions that have opened up with the revolution, and the current state of Chavismo.

Centre-left convergence in Venezuela: A blow to United States intervention

 

 

By Steve Ellner

October 30, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Like other Venezuelan centrists, Claudio Fermín – a protege of neoliberal president Carlos Andrés Pérez in the early 1990s – has changed course and now vehemently opposes both US interventionism and his nation’s radical right. His changes show just how much Venezuelan politics have been transformed over the recent past. Since the attempted coup of April 2002, leftist governments have been pitted against a united opposition intent on achieving regime change by any means possible. But now such extreme polarization seems to be weakening. 

Popular protagonism in Venezuela’s transition to socialism: A conversation with Michael Lebowitz

 

 

By Cira Pascual Marquina

July 12, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Michael Lebowitz is a professor of political economy, researcher, and prolific writer. He is the author of Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class (1992), The Socialist Imperative: From Gotha to Now (2015), and the upcoming Between Capitalism and Community (2021). From 2006 to 2011, Lebowitz was Development Director in the Program in Transformative Practice and Human Development at the Centro Internacional Miranda, in Caracas. In this interview, he explores the importance of participation and democracy in the construction of socialism, while reflecting on the internal contradictions of the Bolivarian Process.

Venezuela’s economy under siege: A conversation with Luis Salas

 

 

Interview with Luis Salas by Cira Pascual Marquina

June 22, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Former Venezuelan Vice President for Productive Economy Luis Salas is a founder of the online journal 15 y Ultimo and a member of the economic think tank Vortice. He is well known for his prolific analyses of the country’s economy, always carefully documented. In this interview with Venezuelanalysis, Salas explores the government’s general tendency towards economic liberalization in the midst of a complex economic scenario.

#8M2020 and uniting feminists in Venezuela: A conversation with Ketsy Medina

 

 

By Cira Pascual Marquina

March 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Ketsy Medina is an inventive writer, committed photographer, and brilliant conversationalist. On November 30, 2017, her mother, Maigualida Sifontes, was a victim of femicide. The assassin is still at large and crime-scene evidence was “lost” in police custody. This experience triggered Medina’s struggle for justice for her mother and other victims of femicide. In this interview, Medina talks about her personal journey and the recent efforts to build a united feminist movement in Venezuela.

Rebuilding the hegemony of Chavismo: A conversation with Gerardo Rojas

 

 

By Cira Pascual Marquina

 

August 18,2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Venezuela Analysis — Gerardo Rojas is a Barquisimeto‐based Chavista intellectual and blogger. His work as an organizer began in the early 1990s, when he was in middle school. Later in that decade, Rojas participated in the occupation of a building in the barrio where he was born, which became a community center and later, in 1998, the first community radio in Venezuela. Rojas was one of the founders of Voces Urgentes in 2002, a communication collective, and participated in the organization of one of the first urban communes, Ataroa Socialist Commune, in 2007. More recently, he was vice minister at the Ministry of Communes.

 

Washington intensifies its collective punishment of Venezuelans

 

 

By Kevin Young

 

August 17,2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from NACLA — On August 5, the Trump administration issued an executive order escalating its sanctions against Venezuela. The order froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and threatened third parties around the world with punitive action if they trade with the Venezuelan government.

 

The next day, National Security Adviser John Bolton delivered a speech to a meeting of foreign governments in Lima, Peru. “We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” he said. “There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States.”

 

In response, the Nicolás Maduro government cancelled its negotiations with self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, which had been scheduled for later that week in Barbados. The Venezuelan foreign minister plausibly speculated that Washington was “trying to dynamite the dialogue.”

 

The move is the Trump administration’s latest escalation of its coup campaign in Venezuela.

Venezuelans under siege

 

 

August 10, 2019 - U.S. sanctions have blocked the Venezuelan people from obtaining food and medicine. They have resulted in at least 40,000 deaths between mid-2017 and the end of 2018, according to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research – and that was prior to the more severe sanctions, announced in January, and the total embargo announced in August. VENEZUELANS UNDER SIEGE documents the impacts of the sanctions, plus the ways that ordinary Venezuelans are organizing to survive the crisis and to build new institutions of participatory socialism.

 

Capital paralysis: The scope and impact of Washington-imposed sanctions on Venezuela in the context of international law

 

 

By Richard Balzano, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

ABSTRACT: This work presents a comprehensive definition of modern sanctions through a synthesis of scholarly interpretations, followed by an outline of international legislation pertaining to sanctions and collective punishment, and a scope and evolutionary sequence of Washington-imposed sanctions on Venezuela. The article then explores the polarized arguments for the causes of Venezuela’s economic crisis and makes a determination that Washington-imposed sanctions cross the threshold of international law. While a case can (and should) be made that sanctions are issued in concert with “democratic intervention” (subversion) and a collaborative Washington-media narrative to hyperbolize Venezuela’s economic state as a means to make intervention palatable to domestic and international observers, those elements are introduced but that determination is outside the scope of this article. 

 

Venezuela — Interview with Stalin Pérez Borges: “It will be very difficult to defeat us.”

 

 

March 3 2019 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Stalin Pérez Borges is a union leader and veteran socialist militant. He is currently a member of LUCHAS (acronym for Unitarian Unionist Chavista League, and also ‘Struggles’ in Spanish) and of the Bolivarian Socialist Workers’ Central (CBST) Advisory Council. Intersecciones spoke to Pérez Borges about the current crisis in Venezuela. The original Spanish version was published on February 7. Translated by Pedro Alvarez from Aporrea

 

Before commenting on the current political crisis, how would you describe the social and economic crisis in Venezuela today?

 

This question leads to a very long answer, so I apologise if it gets tiresome. The economic and social crisis has grown exponentially for about five years now, and has got to this rotten state of hyper-inflation that we’re barely coping with, and which is breaking world records. This is the cause for the huge discontent that we have at this stage and for the important change in the correlation of political power in this juncture. In my opinion this is a consequence of three fundamental facts: two of them circumstantial, and one structural.

 

Venezuela: Taking a look at the anti-Maduro narrative

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

February 19, 2019  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The recognition by Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden of Juan Guaidó as Venezuelan president is the latest demonstration of the consensus in Washington over the nefariousness of the Nicolás Maduro government. Not since Fidel Castro’s early years in power has a Latin American head of state been so consistently demonized. But the 1960s was the peak of the Cold War polarization that placed Cuba plainly in the enemy camp, and unlike Venezuela of today that nation had a one-party system in the absence of political pluralism.

 

The scope of the consensus was put in evidence by the recent faceoff between two figures as far apart as Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In his State of the Union address, Trump attributed Venezuela’s economic crisis to the failed system of socialism. Ocasio-Cortez responded by arguing that the Venezuelan case is “an issue of authoritarian regime versus democracy.”

 

Venezuela and disaster capitalism

 

 

By Reinaldo Iturriza López, translation by Nicolas Allen

 

February 10, 2019
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso Blog — On Monday, January 28, the Department of the Treasury of the United States announced it was placing a “block” on all of Petróleos de Venezuela’s (PDVSA) assets under US jurisdiction, prohibiting its citizens from engaging in any type of transaction with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company.[1] Secretary Steve Mnuchin added that “if the people of Venezuela want to continue to sell us oil”, we will only accept it on the condition that our money goes to “blocked accounts”, which would later be made available for the “transition government”.[2]

 

Venezuela defines the future of the region

 

 

By Claudio Katz, translation by Nicolas Allen

 

February 10, 2019
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso Blog — Guaidó’s self-proclamation as Venezuelan president is the most ridiculous and dangerous coup attempt in recent years. With the shameless backing of Washington, the Venezuelan rightwing intends to place a complete stranger at the helm of the state.

 

This time around, the starting signal was neither a terrorist attack nor an assassination attempt directed against Maduro. Trump has chosen a group of conspiracy experts (Abrams, Pence, Bolton, Rubio) to pursue escalation and has opted to seize the Venezuelan oil enterprise operating in the United States (CITGO). He has brushed aside all principles of legal guarantee in his quest to appropriate the world’s largest concentration of crude oil reserves.

 

Regime change in Venezuela: “Made in the USA”

 

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

February 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  republished from NACLA: Report on the Americas —  Since its outset, the Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Venezuela and radicalized its positions. In the process, the Venezuelan opposition has become more and more associated with—and dependent on—Washington and its allies. An example is the opposition protests slated for February 4. The actions were timed to coincide with the European Union’s “ultimatum” stating that they would recognize the shadow government of Juan Guaidó if President Nicolás Maduro did not call elections within a week’s time.

 

Spain’s ‘socialist’ government to US: ‘Coup against Maduro? We’re in!’

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 9, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On February 15, 2003, in the face of the looming US-led war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Spanish state saw the biggest demonstrations in its history. Part of a worldwide anti-war outpouring, about four million people turned out on the day, with 1.3 million in Barcelona, a million in Madrid and half-a-million in Valencia.

 

Leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) were among those at the head of these oceanic demonstrations, which directly targeted the conservative Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of prime minister José María Aznar.

 

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