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Venezuela

Join the 2010 `May Day’ solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 24 - May 2, 2010

The AVSN brigade marches in Caracas, May 1, 2008.

Registrations close February 1, 2010

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s brigades to Venezuela are a once-in-a-lifetime experience - the opportunity to see first-hand an unfolding revolution that is not only radically transforming the lives of Venezuelans, but is challenging the greed, exploitation and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible.     

Join the AVSN’s “May Day” solidarity brigade, to run from April 24 to May 2, 2010, and visit worker-run factories and cooperatives; free, high-quality public health and education programs; Indigenous controlled programs of sustainable economic development and environmental repair; and community controlled TV and radio stations.

Observe “popular power” at work in Venezuela’s new communal councils, and speak to a wide range of grassroots organisations, community activists, trade unions and government representatives about the radical changes being implemented by the Venezuelan people.

Venezuela: Socialists debate party's direction

PSUV members vote in delegate elections on November 15, 2009.

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

November 16, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held nation-wide delegate elections on November 15 for its First Extraordinary Congress which will be held over the next several weekends in Caracas.

Up for discussion at the congress are the party’s program, principles, organisational structure and most likely the mechanism for selecting candidates for the national parliamentary elections of 2010.

A total of 7800 members competed in the elections for 772 delegate places to the congress. Although the PSUV nominally has nearly 7 million members, voting in the delegate elections was open only to the 2,450,377 “active” members of the party.

Cuba and ALBA let down Sri Lanka’s Tamils

By Ron Ridenour

"Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies… Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers." -- Fidel Castro.[1]

“The revolutionary [is] the ideological motor force of the revolution…if he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.” -- Che Guevara.[2]

November 14, 2009 -- I think that the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua let down the entire Tamil population in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as well as “proletarian internationalism” and the “exploited”, by extending unconditional support to Sri Lanka’s racist government.

US-Colombia military deal: Threat of imperialist-backed war on Venezuela

By Kiraz Janicke

November 9, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com  -- The possibility of an imperialist-backed war in the Americas came a step closer on October 30, when Colombia and the United States finalised a 10-year accord allowing the US to massively expand its military presence in the Latin American country. The move comes as the US. seeks to regain its hegemony over Latin America – which has declined over the past decade in the context of a continent-wide rebellion against neoliberalism spearheaded by the revolution in Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chavez.

In order to regain control of its “backyard”, the US is increasingly resorting to more interventionist measures. This is reflected by the recent military coup in Honduras, the destabilisation of progressive governments in Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay, and a massive military build up in the region, including new military bases in Panama and the reactivation of the US navy's Fourth Fleet.

Michael Lebowitz on Venezuela: `Socialism requires a new state from below'

November 5, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- On the question of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, Michael Lebowitz is one of the thinkers who has penetrated deepest into our process. He plunges his scrutinising gaze into its most diverse and conflicting issues, in order to calmly and forcefully reveal its truth with knifelike clarity. He talks like a peasant or a worker who dips into the reality that they experience, that they suffer and feel.

At the Centro Internacional Miranda, I had a chance to converse with Lebowitz, a professor from the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia (Canada).

Why the international media lies about events in Latin America

Chavez returns toVenezuela following the defeat of the April 2002 coup. Venezuela's private media actively supported the coup with lies and distortions.

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Francesca Denley and Judith Harris

October 21, 2009 -- It may be useful to assess the dangers of the systematically hostile attitude of the overwhelming majority of major European and North American media companies to the current events taking place in Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. This hostility is only matched by an embarrassed, complicit silence towards those involved in the putsch in Honduras and the repression of the Peruvian army against the Indigenous populations of the Amazon.

To demonstrate this, here are a few recent facts:

Hugo Blanco: Indigenous people are the vanguard of the fight to save the Earth

October 13, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- Peruvian peasant leader Hugo Blanco, who edits the newspaper La Lucha Indigena, was interviewed on August 28, 2009, in Arequipa, in southern Peru. The previous day he gave a presentation at a conference entitled “40 Años de la Reforma Agraria” at the city’s Universidad Nacional de San Agustín.

You said last night that today the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon are in the vanguard of the struggle in Peru. Can you say more about this?

Venezuela plans deeper popular democracy to address economic crisis

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 24, 2009 -- Faced with the growing impact of the global economic crisis, Washington’s intentions to establish seven military bases in Colombia and growing challenges in solving structural problems, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reaffirmed the need to build a new state.

“We have inherited a capitalist state that serves the interests of the bourgeoisie and is still penetrated by interests contrary to the revolution. We need to carry out an internal shake up of the government structures”, Chavez said on September 19 during the second expanded council of ministers meeting, which also involved governors and mayors aligned with the Bolivarian revolution.

The meeting was called to discuss a series of new measures the revolutionary government plans to announce in coming weeks to confront some of the challenges it faces on the economic, political and social fronts. In all, 54 new measures have already been approved by his cabinet.

Global economic crisis

New figures released by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) showed the national economy contracted by 1% in the first half of the year, including a 2.4% drop in the second quarter.

Western Sahara: Venezuela's President Chavez calls for liberation of the Sahrawi people

By the Bolivarian News Agency

September 21, 2009 -- The president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias, expressed his solidarity to the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic to reach their independence from Morocco.

The statement was issued by President Chavez during his talk with Mohamed Saui, who studies in Cuba and is now visiting Venezuela together with a delegation of young African students who are to take part on the Third Cultural Festival of the People of Africa, from September 20 to 25, on the way to the Summit of Presidents Africa-South America.

“As Fidel [Castro] told you, I tell you on behalf of Venezuela: We support and we will always support the cause of your people, the cause of the freedom of the Sahrawi people”, Chavez expressed.

Moreover, he reaffirmed his commitment of eventually visiting the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and he categorically affirmed that “it is necessary that we have more awareness and solidarity with the Sahrawi people”.

The Venezuelan president expressed as well that the Bolivarian government has travelled up to the country located in the western Sahara. “Minister Ramirez was there; there are some students from here; and we have been modestly cooperating.”

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

Young Venezuelan revolutionary and environmentalist: `Tomorrow is too late’

August 23, 2009 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network national co-convenor Frederico Fuentes spoke to Heryck Rangel (pictured), an environmental activist and leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV), about the challenges that the global environment crisis poses for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, and the planet. He also discussed the role of young people in Venezuela's revolution.

“More than just an economic crisis, what humanity faces today is a systemic crisis”, Rangel said. “We can see this if we look at the energy crisis, and the social crisis that is generating a lot of poverty and misery. But above all, we can see this in the ecological crisis. There is a grand ecological crisis in the world today and I believe we are at a pivotal point, a moment when we need to make tough decisions. The current mode of development is incompatible with life.”

Rangel explained that this is why, “in Venezuela, we believe in a model for life and sustainable development where we can generate the greatest possible sum of happiness, not only for this generation, but for future generations”.

Photo essay: Venezuela's Comuna 'Renacer del Sur' -- people's power in practice

Faces from the Comuna `Renacer del Sur'. Photos by Peter Boyle.

By Peter Boyle

August 20, 2009 -- At the base of the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela are some 30,000 communal councils. These are pictures of some of the people active in communal councils in poor barrios (neighbourhoods) in the south of the city of Valencia. They were taken in November 2008 when members of the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Netwok brigade were hosted by the Comuna ``Renacer del Sur'' (Rebith of the South Commune).

Daniel Sanchez, a leader of the Rebirth of the South Commune, and Yoly Fernandez, a community organiser in Mission Mercal, Venezuela’s subsidised food program, are touring Australia in August and September to explain how “people’s power” is transforming their country and creating a new socialism of the 21st century.

* * *

The coup in Honduras, ALBA and the English-speaking Caribbean

Venezuela and the Caribbean.

By Faiz Ahmed

The military coup carried out by masked soldiers in the early hours of June 28against the democratically elected President of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was a bandit act with differing messages intended for different audiences.

One such audience is the oligarchical groupings throughout the hemisphere, who will be emboldened by Washington's tacit tolerance of the coup makers. Another audience is the Latin American leftist and popular governments, who are being told that their agendas can be trumped by non-democratic means.

And there is yet another audience: the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean governments who, like Zelaya, are far from ideologically opposed to capitalism, but are aware of their inability to improve the overall quality of life of their societies within capitalism's current configuration. As a result, many of these island governments are edging towards regional agreements based on principles antithetical to the capitalist system.

Australia: ABC TV's `Foreign Correspondent' program censors Venezuela's majority

By the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

August 12, 2009 -- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Foreign Correspondent current affairs TV program screened on August 11, titled “Hugo Chavez: Total Control” did nothing to shore up the ABC’s reputation for well-informed, accurate reporting. Eric Campbell's report from Venezuela was riddled with inaccuracies, half-truths and transparent biases that need to be corrected.

The program’s main message –- that President Hugo Chavez is “the dominator… aiming for total control” in Venezuela -– is the stock-standard propaganda being peddled by a mainstream media that refuses to recognise or reflect the voices of the poor majority in Venezuela.

What  “evidence” does Foreign Correspondent present for Chavez’s supposed megalomania?

Venezuela: Socialist party prepares for ‘transition to socialism’; PSUV discussion document

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

August 8, 2009 -- On August 1, United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) members across the country participated in 1556 local assemblies to discuss the reorganisation of the party’s base into local ``patrols''. 

This push to strengthen revolutionary organising comes at a time when attacks on Venezuela’s revolutionary process revolution “from outside and within have intensified”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, also president of the PSUV, said on August 4.

“Each time that the revolution advances and accelerates its march, the attacks intensify. I will continue to put my foot down on the accelerator of the Bolivarian revolution. That is my role, that is my task and there is no time to lose. Today, in Venezuela, we are creating a true socialist democracy.”

After his re-election in the December 2006 presidential elections, Chavez issued a call to build a “new party… from the base” and at the service “of the people and the revolution, at the service of socialism”.

The Economist forced to back down over lies on Venezuela and Bolivia

The Economist echoed the lies of the Santa Cruz `autonomy' thugs (captured on video above).

By Francisco Dominguez

August 3, 2009 -- The July 18, 2009, edition of The Economist contained an article on Bolivia ("Bolivia's divisive president. The Permanent Campaign") which asserted that, “Venezuelan troops helped quell a rebellion centred on the airport at Santa Cruz in the east in 2007”. The article did not bother to substantiate such a serious charge against Venezuela and was one of several unjustified and unsubstantiated allegations against the president and government of Bolivia.

Venezuela: `The democratisation of the mass media has begun'

By Kiraz Janicke

Caracas, August 3, 2009 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- The head of Venezuela's telecommunications agency (CONATEL) and minister of housing and infrastructure Diosdado Cabello announced on August 1 the immediate closure of 32 privately owned radio stations and two regional television stations, because their broadcast licences had expired or they had violated regulations. Cabello said the recovered licences would be handed to the community media. The minister said many of the stations were operating illegally and had failed to register or pay fees to CONATEL. Decisions are still pending on a further 206 stations.

Nelson Belfort, president of the Chamber of Radio Broadcasters and the Caracas-based Circuito Nacional Belfort, which owns five of the closed radio stations, described the move as a government "attack" that aims to limit freedom of expression. He said the CNB would appeal the decision.

Venezuela: Class struggle intensifies over battle for workers’ control

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas -- July 25, 2009 -- On July 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez again declared his complete support for the proposal by industrial workers for a new model of production based on workers’ control.

This push from Chavez, part of the socialist revolution, aims at transforming Venezuela’s basic industry. However, it faces resistance from within the state bureaucracy and the revolutionary movement. Presenting his government’s “Plan Socialist Guayana 2009-2019”, Chavez said the state-owned companies in basic industry have to be transformed into “socialist companies”.

The plan was the result of several weeks of intense discussion among revolutionary workers from the Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana (CVG). The CVG includes 15 state-owned companies in the industrial Guayana region involved in steel, iron ore, mineral and aluminium production.

The workers’ roundtables were established after a May 21 workshop, where industrial workers raised radical proposals for the socialist transformation of basic industry. Chavez addressed the workshop in support of many of the proposals.

Venezuela: Marea Socialista -- Firmness and participation needed; The best defence is to deepen revolution

[Translators' note: The following editorials come from Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), a magazine published by an organised tendency of the same name within Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV), headed by Hugo Chávez.]

Marea Socialista editorial, issue 20, July 12, 2009. Translated by Sean Seymour-Jones for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Preview of new documentary, Chasing Chavez

July 21, 2009 -- This is a taste of a new documentary about Venezuela by Australian-based filmmakers Katrina Channells and Nikolas Lachajczak, which is now in production. It explores Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution through the eyes of Australian Coral Wynter, an activist with the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, as she seeks a meeting with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. Wynter and Jim McIlroy are authors of a new book about Venezuela's participatory democracy, Voices from Venezuela: Behind the Bolivarian Revolution.

 

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