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Venezuela

Venezuela: Coups, media and stalemates -- what the violent right-wing protests mean

Thousands of Chavistas marched through central Merida on February 12. Chants condemned the recent spate of right-wing violence and called for support for Nicolas Maduro. (Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis).

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Ewan Robertson and Tamara Pearson

February 14, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Venezuelanalysis.com’s staff writers offer their insights on the violent protests that have been occurring in the country: the opposition’s strategy, how the media have reacted and the implications of the protests for the Bolivarian Revolution.

No a la violencia y provocaciones de la extrema derecha en Venezuela!

¡Alto a la guerra de los medios en contra de la revolución bolivariana!

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3709. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Red de Solidaridad Australia-Venezuela

14 de Febrero, 2014 -- La Red de Solidaridad Australia-Venezuela condena los recientes actos de violencia instigados por sectores opositores de extrema derecha en varias ciudades de Venezuela.

Las primeras protestas lideradas por la oposición se iniciaron el 4 de febrero en la ciudad de San Cristóbal, en el estado occidental de Táchira. Dos estudiantes fueron detenidos por presunto quebrantamiento de la paz durante una manifestación. Los estudiantes fueron puestos en libertad al día siguiente.

Los próximos días estuvieron marcados por una escalada de protestas estudiantiles en los estados de Mérida y Táchira, con pequeños grupos de individuos enmascarados y encapuchados participando en actos de violencia en las ciudades capitales. Afirmaron que estaban luchando contra la “inseguridad”.

No to far-right violence and provocations in Venezuela!

Opposition protesters with slingshots during clashes on February 12. Photo by Angel de Jesús/AVN.

[For more detail, read Steve Ellner's "Venezuela: Right-wing provokes violence in time-worn practice". For more on Venezuela, click HERE.]

End the media war on the Bolivarian revolution!

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

February 14, 2014 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network condemns the recent violent actions instigated by far-right sections of the opposition in various cities across Venezuela.

The first opposition-led protests were initiated on February 4 in the city of San Cristóbal, in the western state of Tachira, when two students were arrested for alleged breach of the peace during a demonstration. The students were released the following day.

Venezuela: The political economy of inflation and investment strikes

Hugo Chavez addresses oil workers in 2007, pushing for more national control of the country's oil.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Oliver Levingston

February 10, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This paper adopts a Marxian class analysis to dispute the orthodox critique of high inflation in contemporary Venezuela. It draws a parallel between the 2002-03 oil industry lock-out and the capital strike in the Venezuelan foodstuffs industry today. In each case, capital has suspended production to bid up the price of basic goods and create widespread shortages.

Orthodox economists have cited worsening output and rising inflation in the aftermath of the capital strike to demand fiscal austerity and restrictive monetary policy.

Visit revolutionary Venezuela: registrations open for 2014 AVSN solidarity brigade

Click HERE for more on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

February 7, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Join this year’s Australian solidarity delegation to Venezuela, December 2-13, 2014. Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 2014 solidarity tour to revolutionary Venezuela.

The tour -- to run from Tuesday, December 2 to Saturday, December 13 (inclusive) -- will be a unique an opportunity to observe first hand, learn about and be inspired by a grassroots movement that is transforming not only Venezuela, but Latin America, and is challenging the greed and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible.

Since 1998, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of the country’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority. Despite the challenges created by the United States-backed opposition’s campaign to stall and destroy the revolution, this people-powered process of change continues to flourish.

Venezuela: A year since Hugo Chavez’s death -- special edition of the AVSN broadsheet

By the Embassy of Venezuela in Australia

February-March 2014 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialisr Renewal with permission -- Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. As the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Chavez promoted a political doctrine of participatory democracy, socialism and Latin American and Caribbean cooperation. He was also a critic of neoliberalism, globalisation and United States foreign policy.

A career military officer, Chavez founded the left-wing Fifth Republic Movement after orchestrating a failed 1992 military rebellion against former President Carlos Andres Perez.

Chavez was elected president in 1998 with a campaign centred on promises of aiding Venezuela's poor majority, and was re-elected in 2000, 2006 and 2012.

Domestically, Chavez established nationwide Bolivarian Social Missions, whose goals are to combat disease, illiteracy, malnutrition, poverty and other social ills.

Abroad, Chavez acted against the Washington Consensus by supporting alternative models of economic development and advocating cooperation among the world's poor nations, especially those in Latin America.

Witnessing a revolution: Report of Australian 2013 solidarity delegation to Venezuela

The AVSN brigadistas at the state-owned Diana Industries.

January 28, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attached below is a report, plus photos, on the activities undertaken during the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network's (AVSN) brigade to Venezuela last month (December 2013).

A 2014 solidarity brigade will run from December 2-14, 2014. Further information and registration forms will be available on the AVSN website soon, at www.venezuelasolidarity.org.

For more information about the 2014 brigade, please contact info@venezuelasolidarity.org

In solidarity,
Lisa Macdonald
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

Download the report HERE, or read on screen below.

Philippines: 'Forward, bayanihang sosyalismo!' Popularising a socialism 'with local colour'

The above video presents a summary of the activities of the Partido lakas ng Masa in 2012-2013.

Introduction by Reihana Mohideen

January 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is the English-language translation of a document on bayanihan socialism that was presented at the convention of the Philippines socialist party Partido lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) in December.2013.

It is an attempt to project more strongly the socialist character of PLM and at the same time to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Lessons were drawn from the Latin American experience, of linking the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions. It also flows from the understanding that it's no longer enough to struggle around specific issues, but that there is an urgent need to put forward an alternative vision or possibility, that is socialism, in a way that the masses can understand.

Another important question raised in the paper is the restructuring of the working class, towards contractualisation and the growth of the informal economy and the urban poor, which is an important area for ongoing discussion and assessment. 

Venezuela: Pace of land expropriations to continue for 'agrarian socialism'

The latest land occupation facilitated by the National Land Institute is underway in the south-western state of Apure. Photo by Victor Hugo Majano/Aporrea.org.

By Ewan Robertson, Merida

January 13, 2014 -- Venezuelanalysis -- This year the Venezuelan government plans to continue its pace of land expropriations in order to move towards what it terms “agrarian socialism”.

According to the 2014 national budget, the government’s National Land Institute (INTI) aims to expropriate 350,000 hectares of land this year.

This compares with the goals of 350,000 and 397,000 hectares of land to be expropriated in 2012 and 2013 respectively, after the government began to increase the pace of land expropriations in 2011.

It is estimated that in the decade between 2001, when former president Hugo Chavez passed a law promoting land redistribution, and 2011, the INTI expropriated 3.6 million hectares of agricultural land.

Venezuela and Chile: Election wins advance left agenda

Michele Bachelet won a resounding victory in the Chilean presidential race with 62% of the vote.

By Roger Burbach

January 7, 2014 -- América Latina en Movimiento -- Elections in Venezuela and Chile in December 2013 molded the political panorama of Latin America for the coming year, providing a new opening for left-leaning governments and the advance of post-neoliberal policies in the region.

In Venezuela, the decisive victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the municipal elections on December 8 gave a boost to the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, enabling him to advance the 21st century socialism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

After Maduro's narrow victory margin of 1.5% in the presidential elections in April 2013, the opposition went on the offensive, declaring fraud and waging economic war in an effort to destabilise the country. If the opposition coalition had won in the municipal elections, or even come close in the popular vote, it was poised to mount militant demonstrations to destabilise and topple the Maduro government.

Venezuela: Chavistas celebrate important victory in municipal elections

By Ewan Robertson, Caracas

December 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com -- Supporters of Venezuela's revolutionary government celebrated their victory in the municipal elections held on December 8. Analysts have commented that results indicate President Nicolas Maduro has “reconnected” with the social base of the Chavista movement.

The first results announced gave the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) victory in 58% of the country’s municipalities. The PSUV and its allies gained more than 49% of the total vote share versus 43% for the opposition.

After the results were announced, President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised speech from the Plaza Bolivar in central Caracas to celebrate the win.

“Without a doubt we’ve obtained a great victory today, the people of Venezuela have said to the world that the Bolivarian revolution continues with more strength than ever,” he said.

Maduro mentioned that the right-wing opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition had now lost four national elections over the past 14 months.

He also responded to opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ argument that the municipal elections would be a “plebiscite” on the government’s mandate: “There you have your plebiscite, Caprichito, fascist. I hope that he learns about humility and shows his face to the country and resigns from the political leadership of the MUD.”

Venezuelanalysis: 10 years reporting on the Bolivarian Revolution

[To help keep Venezuelanalysis.com going for another year, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to donate here.]

Tamara Pearson interviews Gregory Wilpert

December 4, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- Though activists, academics and other readers rely on Venezuelanalysis.com (VA) daily and weekly for contextual, thorough, on the ground, non-corporate perspectives on the Bolivarian Revolution, few people know the site’s story.

VA’s small dedicated crew of journalists live in Venezuela, are immersed in the country’s political struggles, write from home under hot iron roofs, meet every morning and weather the constant English-language media lies about our country then decide on news to cover and analysis to translate or write. We go to events to photograph them, report them and do interviews. Formed after the 2002 coup and currently depending on donations, how has the site survived for ten years? VA talked to one of its founders, Gregory Wilpert.

Why was Venezuelanalysis.com founded when it was?

Unite union leader on the struggle against climate change, and for socialism

Mike Treen on the picket line. If trade unions take up the challenge, they could become “the voice for a boldly different economic model, one that provides solutions to the attacks on working people, on poor people, and the attacks on the Earth itself".

By Mike Treen, national director of the Unite union (New Zealand)

December 2, 2013 -- Daily Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The continuing pretense that world governments will do anything about climate change was exposed once more at the latest round of climate negotiations held in Poland November 11-22. This was the 19th round of annual negotiations.

It is 21 years since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Emissions are 60-70% higher than they were then. Global warming has proceeded at an accelerating pace. As a great article by economic historian Richard Smith notes:

New film: 'Viva Venezuela: Fighting for Socialism'

November 19, 2013 -- RCG -- In October 2012 Venezuela faced a choice: whether to deepen the Bolivarian Revolution that under the leadership of Hugo Chavez had brought dignity, health, education and hope -- or to return to a brutal, unequal, neoliberal society where oil wealth lined the pockets of multinational companies and Venezuela's elite. The people of Venezuela who voted for Chavez, voted to fight for socialism.

The Revolutionary Communist Group was on the streets of Caracas throughout the presidential elections in October 2012. We joined hundreds of thousands as they thronged the city, braving torrential rain or baking sun, to express their support. This film takes you on that journey, through the barrios, universities and workplaces to meet the political activists, students and workers who are changing their future.

The film premièred in London on October 25, 2013, where 150 people packed out Bolivar Hall to hear speakers from the RCG, the Venezuelan and Cuban embassy discuss the movement in Latin America and its relevance to the struggle here in imperialist Britain. It continues to screen all around the country, picking up momentum, not only increasing our understanding of the struggle in Venezuela, but helping us understand the tasks that face us here in Britain.

Venezuela: Maduro, workers act to end big business' 'economic war'

Trade unionists marched against Venezuela’s main business federation on October 31 to protest the “economic war” that workers argue the federation is waging against the government.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, Merida

November 7, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding, along with the creation of new government institutions to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange.

“We have to make real decisions for the benefit of the economy and society, whatever the cost and whatever happens”, Maduro stated from Miraflores Palace on November 6.

Describing the package of reforms as an “economic offensive”, Maduro pledged to “strike hard” at speculators and hoarders.

He announced the creation of a new national task force to inspect businesses across the country to complement current efforts by the government's consumer protection agency Indepabis to identify hoarders.

Venezuelan consumers have been hit with shortages of products ranging from milk to toilet paper in recent months. The opposition has blamed government policy, though Maduro has pointed to businesses that hoard goods for political reasons.

John Riddell: Do we need an anti-capitalist government? United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries (videos)

[Click HERE for more by John Riddell.]

November 11, 2013 -- SocResVideo, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- John Riddell, editor and translator of Towards the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922, speaking in London on November 3, 2013, at the "Building Unity, Taking Power: Left Histories and Contemporary Practice" seminar organised by the Anti-Capitalist Initiative, International Socialist Network and Socialist Resistance. The above talk is "Do we need an anti-capitalist government". The second below is "United fronts in the 20th and 21st centuries". They are followed by some of the discussion.

Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited and translated by John Riddell
Brill, 2011 (hard back), 1310 pages, 200 euros
Haymarket Books, 2012 (paper back) US$55

Russell Brand is right, we need a revolution (but his sexism is wrong)

Russell Brand versus Jeremy Paxman.

By Stuart Munckton

November 2, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Comedian, Hollywood star and former host of MTV and Big Brother's Big Mouth Russell Brand took on veteran BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman in a Newsnight interview subsequently viewed millions of times on YouTube (see above).

The journalist, veteran of many bruising encounters with politicians of all stripes, decisively lost.

Brand was interviewed because he had just guest-edited a special edition of left-leaning magazine The New Statesman on the theme of revolution.

As well as a 4500-word essay by Brand arguing that the status quo totally fails ordinary people and only revolutionary change could save humanity from destruction, the edition includes contributions from radical writers Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, as well as a range of actors and singers.

Venezuela: Revolution brings substantial improvements to working-class neighbourhoods

Hillside barrios in Caracas. Photo by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim/Venezuelanalysis.

By Enric Llopis, Rebelion, translated by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim and Tamara Pearson

October 10, 2013 -- Venezuelanalysis -- At the invitation of the Jose Marti Valencian Association of Friendship with Cuba (Asociación Valenciana José Martí de Amistad con Cuba) and the Acontracorrent union, Yasmin Zabala and Hector Acosta -- social activists from the Caracas neighbourhood of 23 de Enero (January 23) -- have lectured at the social sciences faculty in Valencia. They come from a neighbourhood that has historically been very combative, with a strong tradition of community and mutuality.

This barrio of about 250,000 inhabitants, situated on a hill west of the city and near the Miraflores Presidential Palace, has been part of all the major revolutionary moments in Venezuelan history. 23 de Enero owes its name to the date on which the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country (in 1958) after his overthrow by a military-civilian movement.

Crónica de una jornada con Nicolás Maduro


[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3533. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

VÍCTOR RÍOS Y MIGUEL RIERA | septiembre 2013

Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.

El Viejo Topo

Venezuela: A day with Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro interviewed by Spain's El Viejo Topo' Víctor Ríos and Miguel Riera, translated by by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

September 26, 2013 -- Very little is known about Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Spain. [There’s] scarcely four lines, mainly contributed by the mass media which is hostile to the revolutionary process. Spain's El Viejo Topo wanted to get to know him, and the Venezuelan president accepted the interview without any hassles.

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