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Venezuela

Chavez calls for ‘revolution in the revolution' -- On the spot reports from Venezuela on the eve of the Nov. 23 elections

By Barry Healy & Annolies Truman, Caracas

November 22, 2008 -- Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for a “revolution within the revolution” at an 8000 strong United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) rally here on November 18.

Chavez called upon the PSUV ranks to hold successful PSUV candidates to account if they failed to act in the interests of the people after the election.

The rally was organised to inspire PSUV organisers and local committee members in the lead-up to the vote for state governors and local government positions on November 23. Poliedro Stadium, on the edge of Caracas, was a sea of red T-shirts and banners, and echoed with energetic revolutionary singing and chanting.

Contingents of local PSUV battalions and international solidarity groups from Argentina, Peru and Australia listened to Jorge Rodriguez, PSUV candidate for mayor of the Caracas municipality of Liberatador, and candidate for mayor of Greater Caracas, Aristobulo Isturiz.

Rodriguez was Venezuelan vice-president during 2007, while Isturiz is a former education minister.

On the spot reports from Venezuela: Right-wing seeks to undermine November 23 elections

Below Green Left Weekly/Links Caracas correspondent Federico Fuentes speaks to Latin Radical about developments and possible outcomes of November's regional and state elections in Venezuela. Following that, GLW's Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter also report from Caracas on the US-backed opposition's antics.

A crucial test for Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

Once again, the intricate process of the Bolivarian Revolution will put its strengths and weaknesses in play in the form of an electoral contest.

Michael Lebowitz: `Reach for the book: it is a weapon’

By Michael A. Lebowitz

[Presentation at the launch of El Camino al Desarrollo Humano: ¿Capitalismo o Socialismo? (The Path to Human Development: Capitalism or Socialism?) at the Venezuelan International Book Fair, Filven, in Caracas on November 8, 2008. The English version of the pamphlet will be published in a forthcoming edition of Monthly Review.]

Venezuela: ‘Our votes are for Chavez and the revolution’

Stalin Perez Borges

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, October 31, 2008 -- “On November 23, we will not just be voting for this or that governorship, we will be deciding the destiny of this revolutionary process”, Stalin Perez Borges, a national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (UNT) and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) militant, told Green Left Weekly

On that day, regional elections for 23 governorships, more than 300 mayors and hundreds of state legislative assembly members will occur — a crucial contest between the revolutionary forces lead by President Hugo Chavez (mainly grouped in the PSUV) and the US-backed right-wing opposition.

Perez Borges and militants from the different union currents that are also in the PSUV have been organising in their unions and workplaces to ensure a strong victory in these elections.

“Our position is that, despite some of the problems that exist, we as revolutionaries will be participating not just on voting day, but in the campaign. This is the best way to strengthen and deepen the process.”

Two poems by Dennis Brutus in Caracas

[Sad news. Comrade Dennis Brutus died on December 26, 2009. Please visit Links'tribute to this great poet-revolutionary HERE.]

Below are two poems presented by veteran anti-apartheid and global social justice activist Dennis Brutus, in Venezuela for the eighth meeting of the Network of Intellectuals and Artists in Defence of Humanity and the World Forum for Alternatives, October 18, 2008.

Dennis Brutus

Venezuela: Between assassination plots and abstention

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

October 25, 2008 -- Talk of assassination plots and rising concerns about a high abstention rate have marked the beginning of the November 23 regional elections race here in Venezuela.

Formally at stake are 23 governorships, more than 300 mayorships and hundreds of representatives on the state legislative councils. However, the result of these elections could also have an important impact on the future of the Bolivarian Revolution led by the Chavez government.

During the November 2004 regional elections, the pro-Chavez forces, on the back of the thumping victory in the August 2004 recall referendum on Chavez’s mandate, painted the electoral map red as they swept into 21 of the 23 governorships up for election (they later rewon the governership of Amazonas to make it 22 out of 24 all up).

CONFÉRENCE INTERNATIONALE D'ÉCONOMIE POLITIQUE: RÉPONSES DU SUD À LA CRISE ÉCONOMIQUE MONDIALE DÉCLARATION FINALE

Caracas 11 octobre 2008

Tenue au Venezuela, à Caracas, du 8 au 11 octobre 2008 en présence d’experts et de chercheurs en provenance d'Argentine, d'Australie, de Belgique, du Canada, du Chili, de Chine, de Corée du Sud, de Cuba, d’Egypte, d'Équateur, d'Espagne, des États-Unis, des Philippines, de France, d'Angleterre, du Mexique, du Pérou, d'Uruguay et du Vénézuéla, la Conférence Internationale d'Économie Politique « Réponses du Sud à la Crise Économique Mondiale » a ouvert un large débat sur l'actualité économique et financière de l'économie mondiale, les nouvelles perspectives et les défis que doivent relever les gouvernements et les peuples du Sud.

Latinoamérica: en pro de una integración regional y una desvinculación parcial del mercado capitalista mundial

Debemos aprender las lecciones del siglo XX para aplicarlas al comienzo del siglo XXI

Eric Toussaint

[Click HERE for the English translation]

La crisis económica y financiera internacional cuyo epicentro se halla en Estados Unidos tendría que ser aprovechada por los países latinoamericanos para construir una integración favorable a los pueblos y al mismo tiempo iniciar una desvinculación parcial.

Latin America: In support of regional integration and a partial delinking from the world capitalist market

By Eric Toussaint, translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[Click HERE for the Spanish version]

October 8, 2008 -- The economic and financial crisis, whose epicentre is found in the United States, has to be utilised by Latin American countries to build an integration favourable to the peoples and at the same initiate a partial delinking from the world capitalist market.[1]

Final declaration of the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis

October 11, 2008 -- Academics and researchers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis, held in Caracas October 8-11, 2008. The conference stimulated a wide-ranging debate on the current economic and financial health of the global economy, the new perspectives and the challenges to the governments and peoples of the South posed by the international financial crisis.

The meeting concluded that the situation has worsened in the last few weeks. It has progressed rapidly from being a series of crises in the financial markets of countries in the centre and has turned into an extremely serious international crisis. This means that countries in the South are in a very difficult situation.

The crisis threatens the real economy and, if energetic and effective actions are not taken immediately, all peoples in the world could be drastically punished; especially the least-protected and most-neglected sectors.

Capitalist versus socialist state intervention in the economy

By Martin Saatdjian

October 1, 2008 -- Venezelanalysis -- The current financial crisis reveals the first symptoms of a major, perhaps revolutionary, socioeconomic change in world affairs. Much has been said how, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism overshadowed socialism and "the end of history" was decreed in much of the intellectual world. Not surprisingly, less has been mentioned that while socialism was dying in Europe, it was also blossoming in Latin America. In 1989, events known as El Caracazo -- major protests in Venezuela against neoliberalism and the "Washington Consensus" aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy -- erupted. The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 was a reaction not only to people's dislike [of neoliberalism] and the failure of neoliberalism, but also to the strong repression that followed the 1989 protests.

Classic documentary: Venezuela --The revolution will not be televised (2002)

Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Brian

Shifting focus, they followed the events as they occurred. During their filming, the crew recorded images that contradicted explanations given by the anti-Chávez opposition, the private media, the US State Department and then White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. The documentary reveals that the coup was the result of a conspiracy between various old guard and anti-Chávez factions within Venezuela and the United States.It also graphically shows how Venezuela's poor and working people -- the overwhelming majority of the population -- mobilised in their hundreds of thousands to defeat the coup.

Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela: An echo of US propaganda

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

September 30, 2008 -- As a broad network of organisations and individuals that has closely studied the significant changes in Venezuelan society since 1998 – including organising eight study tours to Venezuela involving more than 150 Australians from diverse backgrounds -- we are obliged to respond to the biases, distortions and lies contained in the Human Rights Watch report A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, released in September 2008.

The key theme of the report -- that “Ten years ago, Chavez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda” -- bears no relation to the reality in Venezuela today.

Venezuela's revolutionary youth: `Socialist youth will be guarantors of the deepening of the revolution'

[Below is the political declaration of the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth, JPSUV, held on September 11-13, 2008. Translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke. The original in Spanish can be downloaded at http://juventud.psuv.org.ve/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/declaracion-de-cachamay.doc]


Venezuela: Chavez's 26 decrees -- US, opposition lies debunked

September 23, 2008 -- Venezuelanalysis -- The following is a translation of a document produced by the Venezuela's Ministry for Communication and Information. It is a summary of the content of the 26 laws passed by the Venezuelan executive and also seeks to debunk some of the myths spread by the right-wing opposition. The actual laws are 30-60 pages each, so it is an accessible way to learn what they are. The Venezuelan government is distributing this summary across Venezuela.

Truth suffers in Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela

By the Venezuela Information Office

On September 18, 2008 Human Rights Watch released a report entitled "Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chávez." The report contains biases and inaccuracies, and wrongly purports that human rights guarantees are lacking or not properly enforced in Venezuela. In addition, while criticising Venezuela's human rights in the political context, it fails to mention the many significant advancements made by the government on other essential human rights, such as access to education, healthcare, nutritious food, clean water and housing.

MYTH: "Discrimination on political grounds has been a defining feature of the Chávez presidency."  

Venezuela: New mission, laws to extend popular power; trade union movement rebuilds

By Federico Fuentes

Caracas, September 6, 2008 -- The August 24 announcment by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to officially launch the social mission April 13, and the decreeing of 26 new and reformed laws on July 29, represent a further push to empower the poor communities.

Moreover, these moves represent a new offensive as part of Chavez’s stated aim of building “socialism of the 21st century” and eradicating poverty by giving power to the people.

Among other things, the new mission and laws build upon the communal councils that have been established across the country with the goal of organising the Venezuelan people, in order to transfer responsibilities until now in the hands of the state bureaucracy inherited by the Bolivarian revolution.

Mission April 13 is named in honour of the successful struggle of the poor majority, who along with the majority of the armed forces, defeated the coup organised by Venezuela’s business federation, Fedecamaras, on April 11, 2002. The coup briefly removed Chavez from the power, but an uprising resorted him two days later.

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