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Venezuela

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

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.

Revolutionary health care in Cuba and Venezuela: Beyond Western 'sickness-based' medicine

Monthly Review Press has kindly given permission to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care by Steve Brouwer. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen HERE.

Readers of Links are also urged to purchase copies of Revolutionary Doctors. Those in Australia can order copies from Resistance Books; in other parts of the world, please click HERE to order.

Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care
By Steve Brouwer
New York, Monthly Review Press, 2011, 245 pp.

Review by Don Fitz

Venezuela: Communes in Caracas

Concrete block production by the Ezequiel Zamora Commune, Antimano, Caracas.

September 7, 2011 -- Cuidad CSS, translated by Owen Richards for Venezuela: Translating the Revolution. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Among the aims of community organisation is that of building the communal state, where power is exercised directly by the people, through self-government, with an economic model of social property and local self-development.

Based on this premise, 236 communes and more than 9000 communal councils have been established, according to information from the Ministry of Popular Power for the Communes.

Through this process the city of Caracas has turned into a space full of examples of self-government.

Socioeconomic model

In the Capital District around 44 sectors exist that are in the process of building communes in order to lay the foundations for Venezuelan socialism.

In the Antimano ward, 18 communal councils of the Carapita sector and part of Santa Ana organised to establish the Victoria Socialist Commune.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, August 2011 issue

September 3, 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.

Venezuela: Communist Party backs Hugo Chavez, builds workers' control movement

By Rachael Boothroyd, Coro

August 10, 2011 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – On August 7, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) concluded its 14th congress in Caracas following three days of discussions. More than 526 national delegates and 43 international representatives attended the conference, which was convened in conjunction with the PCV’s 74th anniversary.

Issues on the agenda included leadership, the 2012 presidential elections, an assessment of the Bolivarian revolution’s progression to date and the creation of the “Patriotic Pole” – a coalition of pro-Chávez political forces. Carolus Wimmer, PCV secretary of foreign relations, stated that the conference would be influential in determining the party’s “new national direction”.

“The PCV must adapt its structure to the historical moment. We have 80 years of history and the recognition of the Venezuelan people; that is why we exist, if it were any other way, we would just be a sect”, said Wimmer.

Chavez

On the meaning of ‘popular front’

The Bolivarian movement led by Hugo Chávez contains bourgeois forces and has been the scene of repeated struggles between popular and bureaucratic wings. But far from subordinating workers to bourgeois leadership, it has served as the instrument to mobilise the masses in struggles that have won significant gains.

By John Riddell

August 8, 2011 -- also availabe at johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with John Riddell's permission -- In a comment posted July 16 to my article “Honduras Accord: A Gain for Ottawa?” Todd Gordon warns against the danger of “popular-front style organization” and a “popular front electoralist strategy” (see his comment below this article). Socialists often use the term “popular front” or “people’s front” as a form of condemnation. But what exactly does the term mean, and how does apply it to poor, oppressed countries like Honduras?

Capitalism is just depressing

By Mark Harris

July 23, 2011 -- Resistance.org.au -- There is no denying it, depression is on the rise across the world. The World Health Organization says depression will be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease by 2020. For young people this is already the case. Depression leads to about 850,000 deaths every year.

But why is depression on the rise? In some instances it is a product of more readily available methods of diagnosis and public understanding of the disorder. But increases in suicide rates and other indicators suggest that the increase in depression is well beyond this statistical readjustment.

Depression is not always caused by a chemical imbalance or as a result of human biology. It is a result of social factors such as loneliness, lack of social support, financial strain, lack of purpose and unemployment. These are endemic under capitalism.

Even in a wealthy country like Australia, youth often look to a future that is at best unfulfilling. Furthermore, capitalism is based on competition. In all sorts of ways we can only succeed if someone else fails. Obvious examples are job interviews or exams to get into uni.

Capitalist culture

Capitalist culture emphasises competition and individualism. Even the main form of transport — cars — means being physically separated from, and often in competition with, other people travelling on the same road.

Excerpt from 'Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care'

July 19, 2011 -- Monthly Review Press has kindly given permission to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish an excerpt from one of their latest books, Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care by Steve Brouwer. You can download the excerpt HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

Readers of Links are also urged to purchase copies of Revolutionary Doctors; click HERE to order.

* * *

Peru: Humala's win consolidates gains for left, and a more independent and democratic South America

Ollanta Humala.

By the Center for Economic and Policy Research

June 6, 2011 -- Center for Economic and Policy Research, via MRZine -- Ollanta Humala's apparent presidential electoral victory in Peru represents a consolidation of the gains made by left-leaning leaders in South America over the past decade, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) co-director Mark Weisbrot said.

"Democracy, national and regional independence, and economic and social progress have gone hand-in-hand with South America's leftward political shift over the past decade", said Weisbrot. "This election continues these trends, for sure."

Venezuela: Discussing the workers' control movement: An interview with 'Cayapa' radio show

The workers at Grafitos del Orinico are proud of their collectively run factory. Photo by Ewan Robertson.

By Ewan Robertson

June 3, 2011 -- AlertaQueCamina via Venezuelanalysis -- On Sunday, May 22, 2011, Spanish-language radio program Cayapa, based in Windsor, Canada, broadcast a program discussing the social and political changes underway in Venezuela, in the context of a recent solidarity brigade to the country by activists from the English-speaking world, and the country’s growing workers' control movement. This article provides an overview of the program in English, followed by a translation of an interview with the program about the workers' control movement in Venezuela, particularly in the Guayana region in the east of the country. You can listen to the full program (in Spanish) here or in the player below (apologies for the strange advertisement at the beginning!).

Hondurans organise historic welcome for Zelaya; 'Democracy Now!' interview with Manuel Zelaya


More at The Real News
May 28, 2011 -- Real News Network report on Manuel Zelaya's return to Honduras.
Zelaya: "Without democracy there are no human rights ... No blood was shed in vain because we are in an ongoing struggle."
Hugo Chavez: "Mel Zelaya has returned to his homeland, a great victory of the Honduran people, down with the dictatorship, long live the people's power ... "

End the United States' sanctions against Venezuela

The government of Hugo Chavez has used Venezuela's oil wealth to radically improve the wellbeing of the people.

A statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

May 28, 2011-- AVSN -- On May 24, the United States' State Department unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), accusing it of undermining the US sanctions against Iran by sending two cargo ships delivering US$50 million worth of reformate -- a blending component used to improve the quality of gasoline. The sanctions, which will last for two years, prevent PDVSA from entering into contracts with the US government, and bar it from import-export finance programs and obtaining licences for US oil processing technology.

Venezuela: First national meeting of Socialist Workers’ Councils discusses workers' control

Photo by Prensa Sidor.

By Tamara Pearson

Mérida, May 24, 2011 – Venezuelanalysis.com – More than 900 workers’ council delegates from across Venezuela met at the Sidor steel plant in Puerto Ordaz to advance the organisation of Socialist Workers’ Councils and analyse progress, strengths and weaknesses of workers' control in Venezuela. The meeting, which took place on May 20, 21 and 22, opened with the singing of Venezuela's national anthem as well as the "Internationale".

It aimed to “strengthen the struggle for productive independence through workers' control”, Prensa Sidor (Sidor Press) reported. Workers, coming from a range of nationalised and worker-occupied and -run companies, and from most of Venezuela’s 23 states, evaluated the management model of  the “Socialist Workers’ Councils”.

Honduras: Agreement signed for democratic rights

By Felipe Stuart Cournoyer and John Riddell

May 24, 2011 -- http://johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- On May 22, Hondura's president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and former president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales signed an agreement 'For National Reconciliation and the Consolidation of the Democratic System in the Republic of Honduras".

Lobo was elected in November 2009 in a rigged vote organised by the regime installed through the June 28, 2009, military coup that overthrew Zelaya. The majority of Latin American and Caribbean nations refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Lobo government, despite the strong support it received from the United States and Canada.

The present agreement, finalised in Cartagena, Colombia, also bears the signatures of Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuela's foreign minister Nicolás Maduro (on behalf of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías) as witnesses.

This agreement opens the door to significant changes in the Central American political landscape and to the re-entry of Honduras into the Organization of American States (OAS) and SICA (Central American Integration System).

Colombia must free Joaquin Perez Becerra

Statement from the Socialist Alliance in Australia

May 14, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.

Perez Becerra, a refugee from Colombia, is a Swedish citizen. We also call on the Swedish government to do its upmost to defend the rights of one of its citizens.

Under Article 33(1) of the Geneva Convention, no refugee shall be returned “in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”.

We also call on the Venezuelan government, which complied with Colombia's request to deport Perez Becerra to Colombia, to demand that Colombia respect the rights due to Perez Becerra under international conventions.

Perez Becerra, a strong voice in defence of human rights in Colombia, was forced to leave Colombia in 1993 following the murder of his wife and constant death threats against him due to his membership in the Union Patriotica (UP).

As a member of this democratic and legally registered party, Perez Becerra was elected city councillor in Corinto, Valle del Cauca. However, a state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror against the UP resulted in the assassination of more than 4000 UP members.

Venezuela: Socialist party seeks shake up

Rally against bureaucratism and corruption, Caracas, November 2010.

By Federico Fuentes

May 1, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Since January, tens of thousands of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) militants, together with activists from other left parties and social movements, have been debating the future of Venezuela’s revolution.

Their sights are set on the crucial 2012 presidential elections.

This years’ pro-revolution May Day march will be the platform to officially launch Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s re-election bid.

The US-funded right-wing opposition is yet to decide its candidate, but the election will be critical to the future of a country undergoing a profound process of change.

A clear victory for Chavez — like the 63% he won in the 2006 elections — would give a powerful mandate to deepen the revolution.

However, the revolutionary forces face two key obstacles.

The first is US imperialism and its local allies in the opposition, who are desperate to get rid of Chavez.

Libya, imperialism and ALBA

A Libyan rebel walks past a military position decorated with the rebellion flag at the southern entrance to Benghazi. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Barry Sheppard

March 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThe struggle in Libya cannot be analysed except in the context of world and especially US imperialism, as I am sure all will agree. But its also cannot be analysed solely in terms of Libya itself in conjunction with the role of imperialism in that single country.

What is the context in which Libya must be placed? Or to put the question another way, could the civil war in Libya and the US military assault have happened four months ago? Of course not. Neither were even remote possibilities in anyone’s mind four months ago.

Australia: How Socialist Alternative misrepresents Socialist Alliance on Libya

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

March 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most interested observers of the public statements and activity of the Australian organisations Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and Socialist Alliance in regard to Libya would surely conclude that the two groups are in concord: a similar analysis of the pro-imperialist nature of the regime and enthusiastic support for the struggle of the workers and oppressed against dictatorship. Which makes it quite disappointing that Corey Oakley of SAlt has launched a swingeing polemic against Socialist Alliance about Libya[1]. [See Appendix 1 below]

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