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Venezuela

Venezuela: Luis Bilbao -- Reasons to be on alert after the referendum victory

By Luis Bilbao, translated by Federico Fuentes

Luis Bilbao is a central participant in the construction of the mass United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). He will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. To book your tickets for the conference go to http://www.worldatacrossroads.org/register.

February 14, 2009 -- A string of provocations in the days leading up to the constitutional amendment referendum points to the employment of a disturbance plan that could well be followed up with destabilisations attempts after the poll.

Venezuela: Democracy, revolution and the `president for life' lie

Chavez arrives at the polling place on February 14, 2009. The referendum on term limits was passed with a 54% majority vote.

By Chris Kerr

Caracas, February 6, 2009 -- “The reform is aimed as a personal project. This is neither revolution nor socialism, but personal ambition”, argued Federico Black of the student organisation Furthering the Country to the virulently anti-Chavez Venezuelan daily El Universal

Black was referring to an amendment to Venezuela’s constitution that will be voted on in a referendum on February 15 to remove limits on the number of times an elected official can stand for election to a public office. If passed, it would allow Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to stand in the presidential elections in 2012.

According to Black, “We have been educating the public about why you should vote ’no’. The point at issue is to explain to ordinary people and the whole country that indefinite reelection is anti-democratic and a mere personal desire …”

Economic and social advances during the Chávez decade in Venezuela

Washington, DC – February 5, 2009 -- The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released a report today on the Venezuelan economy on the tenth anniversary of President Hugo Chávez’s tenure, which began in February 1999.

“Looking at the economic data and social indicators, it’s not difficult to see why Chávez remains popular and has won so many elections, despite overwhelmingly hostile media coverage”, said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of CEPR and lead author of the report, The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators.

Among the highlights:

World Social Forum returns to Brazil, marks Latin America's `swing to the left'

Latin America's leftwing presidents meet with WSF participants. Photo by Marc Becker.

By Marc Becker

February 5, 2009 -- After an absence of four years, the World Social Forum (WSF) returned to Brazil during the last week of January 2009. More than 100,000 people descended on the city of Belem at the mouth of the mighty Amazon River to debate proposals and plan strategies for making a new and better world.

The forum first met in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2001 as a gathering of social movements dedicated to fighting neoliberalism and militarism. Nine years later, Latin America has shifted significantly to the left, and the forum has played an important role in that process.

The forum began on January 27, 2009, as all of the forums have, with a massive march through the streets of Belem. The theme of the march was from Africa, where the last unified forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in

2007, to the Amazon. A drenching tropical rain momentarily stalled the planned events. The march concluded with a massive rally featuring speeches and music.

Chavismo: Christian, pro-Muslim, pro-Jewish and anti-Nazi

By Roy Chaderton Matos, Venezuela's ambassador to the Organization of American States. Translated by Yoshie Furuhashi for MRZine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

January 30, 2009 -- Watching television footage of one of the necessary and legitimate protests against the Israeli Embassy in Caracas, I spotted a lone sign with a slogan that left me thunderstruck.  The slogan was something like: "We condemn Hitler for not having completed his work of extermination..."

The frightening message, totally alien to the Bolivarian process and the Chavista commitment to liberty, democracy, equality and social justice, shows that, every now and then in our struggles and protests, "loose cannons" come dog us and that we have to detect them and neutralise them and expel them like any foreign body.

Luis Bilbao: Venezuela and `the rebirth of the idea of revolution'

Photo by Coral Wynter.

Interview with Luis Bilbao, conducted by Agustina Desalvo for the Argentinian journal Razón y Revolución, issue #18 (second semester 2008). Translated by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes and published with the permission of Bilbao.

Luis Bilbao is a central participant in the construction of the mass United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR); founding editor of the Latin America-wide monthly magazine América XXI. Luis Bilbao will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.

* * *

What does Obama mean for the world?

By Barry Sheppard, San Francisco

January 23, 2009 -- More than 1 million people gathered in bitter cold in Washington DC to witness the historical inauguration of an African American as president.

The crowd was disproportionately Black, but majority white — and jubilant. Celebrations were held in Black communities throughout the country, and in other sectors of the population.

He was sworn in by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, itself historic. In the aftermath of the election, he enjoys overwhelming support according to polls, far higher than his margin of votes. This indicates a large swing of whites among those who voted for the Republican candidate John McCain.

Hopes are running high that he will do something to turn around the accelerating downturn in the economy. On “inauguration day”, it appeared that the crisis in the banks and other financial institutions was once again critical.

With rising unemployment, rising home foreclosures, falling wages, failing retail chains and US$1 trillion poured down what one economist called a bottomless pothole to apparently no avail, the working and middle classes have experienced a massive shock.

The “free markets will solve all” ideology is a dead duck. US people are demanding that the government take action. Obama has promised to do just that.

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Join the next Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela! April 15-25, 2009

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez is shaking up global politics and inspiring millions of ordinary people with the evidence that a better – a peaceful, democratic and socially just – world is possible.

* Whereas in Australia, health, education and public infrastructure is being privatised, in Venezuela, major industries are being nationalised and put under workers’ control, and universal access to health, education and social welfare is now guaranteed.

* Whereas in Australia, workers are being sacked, wages and conditions are being eroded and trade unions are under attack, in Venezuela, wages are increasing, and union membership and organisation is growing.

* Whereas in Australia, the government sends troops into Indigenous communities, and Aboriginal people continue to live in Third World conditions and are killed in custody, in Venezuela, indigenous people have Constitutionally guaranteed land rights and representation in parliament, and are exercising self-determination.

Venezuela: Mass support for constitutional reform campaign

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

By Tamara Pearson

Mérida, January 19, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com) -- Over the January 17-18 weekend, committees from various sectors of society swore to campaign hard to win the approval by public vote of the amendment to the constitution to get rid of the two-term limit on all elected offices in Venezuela.

More than 20,000 people attended the swearing in of the heads of logistical and operational patrols of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in Caracas on January 17.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez stated at the event that there are now about 100,000 “Yes committees” organised, or in formation, to campaign in favour of changing the five articles of constitution so that all popularly elected positions are not limited to two terms.

The committees are organised along various fronts and community lines, including women, youth, workers, communal councils and the PSUV.

Palestine government salutes Venezuela's Hugo Chavez

Palestinian National Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deputy Office, Gaza

January 12, 2009

In the Name of God; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

President Hugo Chavez,

Your Excellency, President Hugo Chavez,

We, the people of Palestine, commend your courage to speak and act upon your conscience regardless of your detractors' criticism or cowardice.

Mr. President, we have watched death rain upon our families and children in Gaza for weeks; and yet we stand proud and ready for any outcome. We are a resilient people who wish for peace but will fight rather than bow to injustice. We live and die by the codes of our forefathers -- codes of honor, integrity, truth and bravery.

Throughout history, in a just conflict, there always emerges a champion, a single hero who, by his actions, embodies all the virtues the masses aspire to. You have demonstrated that you are such a man.

Bolivia breaks ties over Gaza, will take Israel to ICC/Bolivia rompe relaciones diplomáticas con Israel en solidaridad con Gaza

Bolivia severs ties with Israel

January 14, 2009 -- Al Jazeera -- Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, says he is breaking off ties with Israel in protest against its war in Gaza, which has left more than 1000 Palestinians dead.

Morales said on Wednesday that he would seek to get top Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with "genocide" in the International Criminal Court.

The Bolivian president also dismissed the United Nations and its "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis and said the general assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.

"Considering these grave attacks against ... humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia condemn Israel's massacres in Gaza

Haz click en cualquier video para verlo
Puedes ver otros en radiomundial.com.ve

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the Israeli embassy in Caracas on December 28, in opposition to what one speaker referred to as “genocide” by the Israeli “occupation forces”. The protests will continue in front of the embassy, according to a rally organiser, Hindu Anderi. Anderi, a Palestinian human rights activist, thanked the Venezuelan government for its position on the conflict, but demanded concrete action, saying “solidarity needs to mean taking measures that will affect Israel economically and politically, because otherwise the condition of the Palestinian people will not change”.

Venezuela 2008: Balance sheet of the revolutionary process

By Gonzalo Gomez

December 17, 2008 -- During 2008, our revolutionary process has had its ebbs and flows. Overall, we had significant progress, especially in the recuperation of sovereignty, with the nationalisations and the electoral victories in the great majority of governorships and mayoralties. The right-wing also had its successes, as it managed to retain and seize several strategic places. The process is not linear, but the revolution needs to move forward in a permanent manner or the hangover of a counterrevolution will raze the achievements obtained, including the crushing of the vanguard.

You cannot build socialism in the bowels of capitalism. It requires qualitative leaps, in a timely manner and in accordance with the correlation of forces, to enable the break with capitalism and initiate a real transition to socialism. In capitalism there is no solution for the exploited masses; it undermines any economic, social or political conquest of the people, if they are not used to promote the deepening of the revolution, with the organisation and mobilisation of the workers, peasants and popular [sectors].

Two paths in the face of the capitalism’s global fracture

Some of the presidents of the ALBA bloc.

By Luis Bilbao, translated from the December 2008-January 2009 issue of America XXI by Federico Fuentes, for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Luis Bilbao will be a featured international speaker at the World at a Crossroads conference, in Sydney, April 10-13, 2009.

Venezuelan elections: Mixed results intensify class struggle

PSUV members rally before the November 23, 2008, elections.

By Christopher Kerr

Electoral politics in Venezuela are primarily an expression of the greater class struggle occurring around them. This general tendency occurs despite efforts by the government to institutionalise the mechanism of elections as the legitimate method of implementing the political project of both blocs of power, and ensuring the transparency and reliability of the electoral process in the eyes of the Venezuelan masses.

More right-wing attacks in Venezuela: Stop the killing of trade unionists! Bring hired killers to justice!

A statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

December 10, 2008 -- The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network condemns the murder of Venezuelan trade unionist Simon Caldera, who was shot in Aragua state on December 4. Caldera was a leader of the pro-revolution Bolivarian Construction and Industry Union.

Caldera is the fourth trade unionist to be murdered in one week in Aragua. His murder follows the shocking killings of three pro-revolution militants from the National Union of Workers (UNT) – Richard Gallardo, Luis Hernandez and Carlos Requena – on November 27. All four were victims of drive-by shootings.

The assassination by hired killers of activists organising oppressed people to win their rights has mainly been used in recent years by large landowners against supporters of land reform in Venezuela. More than 150 land reform activists have been killed since the revolutionary government of President Hugo Chavez began its land reform policies in 2001 – policies that benefit impoverished campesinos at the expense of large landowners.

Venezuela: Significance of the election results and the new struggles (with audio)

Supporters of the revolution mobilise in Miranda, in defiance of the opposition victory there. Photo by Winston Bravo, ABN.
By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

November 29, 2008 -- Supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution have come out with differing assessments post the November 23 regional elections, which Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez had defined as the most important electoral contest yet for the process of change.

Venezuela: US-backed right wing murders unionists, attacks revolutionary gains

A statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

November 28, 2008 -- In the aftermath of the November 23 regional elections, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition has launched, in the states it won, an all-out assault on grassroots community organisations.

President Hugo Chavez and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a clear mandate in the elections for the project to build socialism of the 21st century: the PSUV won 17 states with 5,730,774 votes nationwide, compared to the opposition’s 3,948,912 votes. The opposition’s vote was concentrated in key strategic areas, giving them the governorships of five states and the mayor of Greater Caracas.

In the days following the elections, grassroots activists in Caracas, Miranda and Tachira have reported that the public community health clinics (part of Barrio Adentro, the free universal healthcare program), communal councils and other centres where social programs operate are being shut down or attacked by opposition party, despite the public assurances of at least one right-wing govenor-elect that the legal frameworks would be respected.

Venezuela: After the regional elections, the workers propose a clean out and more revolution

Stalin Perez Borges

By Stalin Perez Borges, translated by Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

November 25, 2008 -- I want to give some preliminary and personal impressions, in the heat of the moment, where many comrades are very preoccupied by the significance of the [Chavista movement’s] loss of the Mayor of Greater Caracas and of some important or key governorships in the country.

It’s time to calm down and sit down together in order to evaluate in depth with the comrades. There are various points that we should analyse in order to draw conclusions that truly reflect reality. It is necessary to open a profound debate within the party [United Socialist Party of Venezuela – PSUV], to reflect and proceed with self-criticism, as President Chavez indicated on Sunday night.

Venezuela’s regional elections: Another vote for the revolution and Chavez (now with video, audio)

Real News Network report, November 28, 2008: The media and the Venezuelan elections -- US media covers Chavez victory and calls it a defeat

Audio: Federico Fuentes on speaks to Latin Radical about election outcomes

November 28, 2008

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