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Venezuela

Canada's Socialist Project on the call for a Fifth Socialist International

The call by Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez for discussion of the formation of a "Fifth International" has generated a lot of debate amongst the left around the world. As an addendum to the "Caracas Commitment" of November 2009, a resolution was passed to form a preparatory committee to convene a global conference of left parties in Caracas in April 2010 to discuss the formation of a new international.

Beyond the World Social Forum ... the Fifth International

Eric Toussaint interviewed by Igor Ojeda for the Brazilian weekly paper Brasil de Fato. Translated from French by Judith Harris and Christine Pagnoulle.

February 2010 -- According to Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and one of the ideologists of the World Social Forum, now in its tenth edition, effective political action calls for the creation of a permanent national front of parties, social movements and international networks.

Eric Toussaint, a doctor in political science and a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF), is in favour of the WSF becoming a platform of greater political influence in social struggles throughout the world. He is not particularly worried about the resistance of certain sectors within the forum who would prefer this event to retain its original form. For him, the solution is simple. “If the World Social Forum cannot accommodate it, we must build another instrument, without leaving or scrapping the forum”.

How credible is Human Rights Watch on Cuba?

Human Rights Watch does not see the US blockade of Cuba as a human rights abuse.

By Tim Anderson

February 11, 2010 -- In late 2009 the New York-based group Human Rights Watch published a report titled New Castro Same Cuba. Based on the testimony of former prisoners, the report systematically condemns the Cuban government as an “abusive” regime that uses its “repressive machinery … draconian laws and sham trials to incarcerate scores more who have dared to exercise their fundamental freedoms”.

The group says it interviewed 40 political prisoners and claims to have identified extraordinary laws by which Cubans can be imprisoned simply for expressing views critical of their socialist system.

At first glance one might be forgiven for thinking that Cuba must be among the worst of human rights abusers in the Americas. A little reflection, however, might lead one to question such statements coming from the USA, a country with thousands held in an international network of secret prisons, many subject to torture regimes.

So how credible is this scathing report on Cuba? And who does Human Rights Watch represent?

The challenges facing 21st century socialism in Venezuela

``In Venezuela the biggest threat to the revolution does not come from the right-wing political opposition but from the so-called `endogenous' or `Chavista' right wing, in that chunks of the revolutionary bloc, including state elites and party officials, will develop a deeper stake in defending global capitalism over socialist transformation''' -- William I. Robinson

Interview with William I. Robinson, professor of sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara, by Chronis Polychroniou, editor of the Greek daily newspaper Eleftherotypia

February 1, 2010 -- ZNet

Chronis Polychroniou: There are scare stories coming from Venezuela. The border is heating up, infiltration is taking place, a new Colombian military base near the border, US access to several new bases on Colombia and constant subversion. Is the regime concerned about a possible invasion? If yes, who is going to intervene?

Venezuela: Alberto Muller Rojas on the danger of bureaucracy

Alberto Muller Rojas interviewed by Vladimir Villegas

February 2, 2010 -- This interview was first published at Indymedia Venezuela on November 24, 2009. Vladamir Villegas is the former president of the state-owned Corporación Venezolana de Televisión (Venezuelan Television Corporation, VTV) network based in Caracas, and ex-Venezuelan ambassador to Mexico. Alberto Muller Rojas is the vice-president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). It was translated by Sean Seymour-Jones and Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com.

* * *

Villegas: [You have said] 21st century socialism is a revision, a rectification of the socialist approach and that it isn’t trying to copy what happened in the Soviet Union. You believe that the Soviet model distorted itself because, among other reasons, it constructed a type of state capitalism. A public bureaucracy emerged, equivalent to that of any capitalist country and that bureaucracy totally disconnected itself from the masses.  And that isn’t happening here?

Fifth Socialist International -- Time for definitions; Hora de definiciones


By Luis Bilbao, translated by Janet Duckworth for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

February 2, 2010 -- The first step has been taken. It has extraordinary strategic implications. It will shake up the left and right, the West and the East. It will blow in like a whirlwind through every political organisation, trade union or social, in every corner of the planet. On the evening of November 20, 2009, the day before the opening of the first extraordinary PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] congress, a feeling of vertigo swept over tens of thousands of people who heard Hugo Chávez, either on TV or on the internet, speak before delegates of parties from 30 or so countries, and launch a proposal that was as long desired as it was unexpected: to set to work to build the Fifth Socialist International.

Venezuela steps up aid effort to Haiti, questions US military deployment

Aid from Venezuela bound for Haiti.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

January 20, 2010 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela has stepped up its aid effort to Haiti as a second earthquake rocked the Caribbean country again today. This follows a 7.3 magnitude earthquake which destroyed the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince last week leaving at least 75,000 people confirmed dead, 250,000 injured and millions homeless.

Echoing his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega, who accused the United States of “manipulating the tragedy to install North American troops in Haiti” and French Secretary of State for Cooperation Alain Joyandet, who criticised the US role in Haiti, saying the priority was “helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti”, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez also questioned the US military response to the disaster.

“It seems that the United States is militarily occupying Haiti, taking advantage of the tragedy, 6000 soldiers have arrived. Thousands are disembarking in Haiti as if it were a war”, Chávez said during his weekly television program Alo Presidente on January 18.

In defence of Hugo Chavez’ call for a Fifth Socialist International

By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

January 15, 2010 -- Critics who have planted themselves firmly on the sidelines have been lobbing all kinds of disapproving missives at Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez’ call for a new international, urging others who have been carried away by enthusiastic support to join them on the sidelines. The laundry list of complaints is extensive: Chavez is the head of a bourgeois government; Chavez only pursues reformism, not genuine revolution; he made his call in the presence of an audience that included avowed supporters of capitalism; and so on.

Party of Socialism and Liberty, Brazil: Chavez’s call to form the Fifth International and the world situation

By Pedro Fuentes

January 11, 2010 -- At the meeting of left-wing political parties and socialists held in Caracas on the eve of the congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez called for the formation the Fifth Socialist International. In a strong speech in which he summarised the history of international socialist organisations, Chavez said, Confronting the capitalist crisis and the threat of war that threatens the future of humanity, it is time to convene the Fifth International, towards the unity of the left parties and revolutionaries willing to fight for socialism … of the parties and socialist currents and social movements in the world to create a common strategy for the fight against imperialism, the overthrow of capitalism by socialism.

At that meeting, which had a clearly anti-imperialist tone, there were many parties that were out of place; including, the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the Chinese Communist Party and even the Brazilian Workers Party (PT). Others were missing, for example, the Brazilian Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), the French New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), the National Resistance Front of Honduras and the Revolutionary Tendency of El Salvador, among others.

Copenhagen: Morales and Chavez a `smashing success' -- an insider's report from the ALBA delegation

Evo Morales.

[See the ALBA countries' declaration on the Copenhagen talks below.]

By Ron Ridenour

December 23, 2009 -- “Nobel War Prize winner walked in and out of a secret door, and that is the way capitalism and the United States Empire will end up leaving the planet, through a secret back door.” So spoke Venezuela President Hugo Chavez from the plenary podium on the last afternoon, December 18, of the 12-day long Copenhagen climate conference (COP15).

“While the conference was a failure, it, at least, led to more consciousness of what the problem is for all of us. Now starts a new stage of the struggle for the salvation of humanity, and this is through socialism. Our problem is not just about climate, but about poverty, misery, unnecessary child deaths, discrimination and racism—all related to capitalism”, Chavez said at the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA) press conference held at the Bella Centre immediately following Chavez’ last remarks at the plenary.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales followed Chavez’ remarks by saying:

Democracy Now! interview: Hugo Chavez on how to tackle climate change: `We must go from capitalism to socialism'

December 21, 2009 -- Democracy Now! -- We speak with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez about climate change, the Copenhagen summit and President Obama. Chavez calls the COP15 summit undemocratic and accuses world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. “We must reduce all the emissions that are destroying the planet,” Chavez says. “That requires a change in the economic model: we must go from capitalism to socialism.”

AMY GOODMAN: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year.

Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes.

Hugo Chávez: `La Batalla de Copenhague'

Foto: Prensa Presidencial.
por Hugo Chávez Frías
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Caracas, 20 Dic. ABN -- Copenhague fue el escenario de una batalla histórica en el marco de la XV Conferencia del Convenio Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático. Mejor dicho: en la bella y nevada capital de Dinamarca, comenzó una batalla que no concluyó el viernes 18 de diciembre de 2009. Quiero reiterarlo: Copenhague fue apenas el comienzo de la batalla decisiva por la salvación del planeta. Batalla en el terreno de las ideas y en el de la praxis.

Hugo Chávez writes on `The battle of Copenhagen'

By Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, translated by Kiraz Janicke for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

December 20, 2009

``I will not tire of repeating to the four winds: the only possible and viable alternative is socialism. I said it in each of my speeches to all the world representatives gathered in Copenhagen, the world's most important event in the last two hundred years: there is no other way if we want to stop this heartless and debased competition that promises only total annihilation." – Hugo Chávez

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Copenhagen: ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15 speak


Joint press conference of the ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela) representatives at COP15, December 10, 2009.

Copenhagen: Full speech -- Chavez salutes protesters, calls for system change to save planet

Hugo Chavez speaking to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. Photo from Telesur.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

December 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – During his speech to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP15) in Copenhagen, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez slammed the “lack of political will” of the most powerful nations to take serious action to avert climate change, and called for systemic change to save the planet.

Copenhagen: Venezuela accuses -- `Thirty industrialised countries are destroying the world'

By Telesur, translated by Kiraz Janicke

December 15, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- The Venezuelan delegation to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, denounced today the attitude of developed countries in the world meeting for not committing to reduce emissions of polluting gases because this would presumably affect their economies. The delegation said that developing nations “will not let them get away with it” because it is unacceptable that they do not take into account that they are responsible for the future of the planet.

In an interview with Telesur, Claudia Salerno, director of the Venezuelan environment ministry’s Office of International Cooperation, explained that the 30 industrialised countries have the potential to “change the destiny of the world, but today they are telling us that it is too expensive and they are unwilling to let the GDP of their economies be impacted by the response measures to climate change.”

“That is unacceptable, I not only point out to them, but I accuse them… not only are they going to be responsible for climate change but they will be responsible for the future of this planet”, said the official.

Australian Socialist Alliance's address to the International Encounter of Left Parties, Caracas, November 2009


One of the delegates of Australia's Socialist Alliance, Federico Fuentes, addresses the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009.

Marta Harnecker on the Fifth International and the left movement in Latin America

December 10, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com/Correo del Orinoco -- Marta Harnecker remains ardent, audacious, reflective and perceptive. A collaborator of the Miranda International Centre [in Caracas], she will today [December 3] attend a reception in her honour in the Teresa Carreño Theatre for her outstanding career, fundamentally in the study of the mechanisms to effective take power at the community level and her contributions to Marxist theory.

In carrying out an assessment of the correlation of forces in Latin America, she laughs at those who reproached her about the “failure” of the left... She is passionate about journalism, although she never studied the profession. In fact she was the editor of the magazine Chile Hoy (Chile Today), published during the government of Salvador Allende.

Between Caracas and Delhi -- two important conferences of the international left

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez addresses the conference of left parties in Caracas.

By Reuven Kaminer

December 7, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- It seems more than a coincidence that two important conferences of the international left took place in November 2009. One, the 11th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, was held in Delhi, India, on November 20-22 and issued the “Delhi Declaration” (DD) and the other, a World Meeting of Left Parties, met in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 19-21 and issued a document entitled the “Caracas Commitment” (CC). There were approximately 50 organisations at each conference. I will try to relate here to some of the main issues raised by these two meetings and the calls that they issued.

Australian and New Zealand socialists support Chavez's call for a new international organisation of the left

Socialist Alliance members in Caracas.

Dear comrades,

December 3, 2009 -- On behalf of the Socialist Alliance of Australia, we would like to send warm, socialist greetings to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), thanking you once again for the invitation to participate in the International Meeting of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, 2009.

The outcomes of this event are already having an important impact on the world, particularly among left and progressive forces, and we are grateful that we could be part of it and contribute to its success in our own modest way.

Similarly, we believe that the PSUV’s Extraordinary Congress, which began on November 21, is of great significance, not just for revolutionary forces in Venezuela, but for the left internationally. We hope to follow the proceedings of the congress, particularly through the reports and articles that our members Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes will be sending us from Venezuela, where they are currently based.

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