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Venezuela

'Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions': compelling contribution to our understanding of the 'pink tide'

Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Fernwood Publishing and Zed Books, 2013. Order Here

Review by Richard Fidler

March 11, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Latin America was the first region targeted by the neoliberal phase of capitalism, and it suffered some of its worst consequences. But it is in Latin America that neoliberalism has been most contested in recent years by new social movements of landless peasants, Indigenous communities and urban unemployed.

In a number of countries, this powerful democratic ferment has led to the election of anti-neoliberal, anti-imperialist governments — a process that started with the initial electoral victory of Hugo Chávez Frias in the late 1990s.

Hugo Chavez presente!

March 6, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela's revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez has died. The Venezuelan people will face the enormous challenge of continuing their socialist revolution without unifying and mobilising figure of Chavez, who has been at the forefront of deepening and extending its radical course.

Green Left Weekly's Ryan Mallett-Outtrim, reported from Venezuela:

Venezuelan media today announced that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died.

At approximately 5.30pm local time on March 5, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro addressed the nation, stating that after nearly three months of treatment in Cuba and Venezuela, Chavez passed away in the Dr. Carlos Arvelo military hospital in Caracas.

“Those who die for life, can’t be called dead”, he stated, after announcing that the president has lost his two year battle with cancer.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Die Linke salute Hugo Chavez's socialist vision

Above: March 6 press conference by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche, Left Front) on the death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez Frias.

l’Humanité interview with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, spokesperson Front de Gauche (Left Front), France, translated by Dick Nichols

March 7, 2013 -- You have always supported the revolutionary process in the Venezuela, why?

We need to place the Bolivarian Revolution in its continental and historical context. The collapse of state communism was presented to the whole world as the end of history for communist and socialist sentiment and aspiration. But the flame flared up again in South America because the new age of capitalism had made that continent its proving ground. Neoliberalism was tried out there by military dictatorships on the one hand and by Operation Condor and CIA acts of violence on the other. The policies which then got applied were the same everywhere: free and unbridled competition, monetarism and deregulation, leading the whole continent to disaster. It is in this context that the revolutionary flame flared up again. Bolivarian Venezuela has occupied a special place: not only has been it been built on democratic foundations, but it has outmaneuvered the criminal plans of the opponent by peaceful and popular action.

African solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution and tributes to Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez's funeral, March 8, 2013.

[Below are statements issued by left and progressive organisations in Africa. More will be posted as they come to hand.]

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Taking forward the revolutionary life and symbolism of hugo Rafael Chavez Frias

March 10, 2013 -- The Democratic Left Front (DLF) of South Africa joins the millions of poor and working people and their mass movements in Venezuela, the Caribbean, Latin America and across the world who celebrate the revolutionary and emancipatory life and symbolism of Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. Since his tragic passing away on March 5, our hearts have drawn inspiration and courage from his example and symbolism.

As the 9 million people who attended his funeral on March 8 showed, Chavez represented and personified immense hope and possibility: hope for the wretched of the Earth, hope and faith in the ability of the mass of exploited and oppressed people to self-organise and challenge inordinate power relations in society, and thereby be their own liberators, and realistic hope in the possibility of constructing a socialist alternative to the barbarism of capitalism.

Eyewitness Venezuela: 'The people will become Chavez'; Millions farewell Chavez, declare 'the revolution is not dead'

March 9, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- VenezuelAnalysis journalist and Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network activist Tamara Pearson's passionate and insightful report on the feeling among the Venezuelan people after the passing of President Hugo Chavez, the antics of the right-wing opposition, the determination to continue the revolution, and the importance of solidarity. Plus pictures from the outpouring of grief and solidarity in the wake of Chavez's death. [More video coverage below.]

Media lies exposed: Venezuela's economic and social performance under Hugo Chávez, in graphs

Jim McIlroy, an activist from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, interviewed by ABC TV News, on March 8, 2013, on the significance of Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez. He successfully refutes the misinformation of the hostile "interviewer".

March 10, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Following the tragic death of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez from cancer after 14 years in office, the world's big-business media has gone into overdrive to dishonestly describe Chavez's record as being "authoritarian", "dictatorial" and having made the Venezuelan economy a "basket case", as was rudely interjected by an Australian Broadcasting Corporation "journalist" in the video above. Such media lies have been refuted by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and VenezuelAnalysis.

Marta Harnecker: 'Chavez's legacy: with the people, building a socialist alternative to capitalism'

Thousands turn out in Caracas to remember Chavez.

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Yoshie Furuhashi for MRZine

March 6, 2013 -- La Segunda -- When Hugo Chávez triumphed in the 1998 presidential elections, the neoliberal capitalist model was already floundering. The choice then was whether to re-establish the neoliberal capitalist model -- clearly with some changes including greater concern for social issues, but still motivated by the same logic of profit seeking -- or to go ahead and try to build another model.

Hugo Chavez Frias – visionary, fighter, companero (Asia-Pacific left statements) (updated Mar. 17)

[Below are statements issued by socialist and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. More will be posted as they come to hand.]

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Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

March 6, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia expresses its deepest sympathies with the people and government of Venezuela on the death of Companero Hugo Chavez Frias on March 5. His passing is a huge loss for all peoples, across Latin America and the globe, struggling for a world free of inequality, exploitation and oppression.

It is testament to Hugo Chavez’s great leadership that, while mourning his death, we are also confident that the Bolivarian Revolution and the new movement for socialism of the 21st century that Chavez inspired will be continued by the mass of people, to whom he worked so hard to give power.

Hugo Chavez, undefeated! Why the rich and powerful hated Chavez

'So let the corporate media lie about Chavez in their cynical way. Ignore them, and watch (or rewatch) the inspiring story of the People Power that defeated the 2002 coup, as told in the powerful Irish documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.'

By Derrick O'Keefe

March 6, 2013 -- Rabble.ca, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Hugo Chavez has died -- undefeated. Yes, undefeated. Chavez, no matter how many times the corporate media and the cheerleaders of the status quo call him a dictator, was elected repeatedly with overwhelming majorities.

No matter how many times this slur is moronically or mendaciously repeated, people know the truth. No less than former US president Jimmy Carter certified Venezuela's elections as amongst the most fair and transparent his organisation has ever observed. And the voter turnouts that elected Chavez were far, far higher than those in the US.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, March 2013 issue

March 2, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

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Michael Lebowitz: Working-class response to devaluation measures in Venezuela

By Michael A. Lebowitz

February 16, 2013 -- In view of the latest devaluation of the Venezuelan currency (see articles below), Venezuela-based Canadian socialist Michael Lebowitz has provided Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the following paper written in 2010 at the request of socialist group Marea Socialista.

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We agree that the government decision to devalue the bolivar can be an important step toward providing greater funds for social programs and the state budget at all levels, reducing the unacceptable current level of imports, encouraging the development of exports other than oil and helping to create the conditions for new national production. However, by itself the burden of the devaluation measures will fall upon the working class. Therefore, to break clearly with the neoliberal model, it is essential that the government supplement its devaluation decision by accepting the following proposals.

Our proposals are based on four central principles:

Venezuelan ecosocialist: Can the revolution be liberated from the oil economy?'

January 30, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- Part 1: The international mainstream media is misreading the Venezuelan people on President Hugo Chavèz (currently battling serious illness), argues Professor Miguel Angel Nuñez, an adviser to Chavèz on agro-ecology, in an interview with Green Left TV. The interviewers are Jim McIlroy and Coral Channel, authors of Voices from Venezuela. While in Australia Nuñez addressed meetings on ecosocialism in Venezuela organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Filmed and edited by Peter Boyle.

 

Part 2: The progressive redistribution of oil revenue has allowed the Venezuelan revolution to achieve remarkable social progress, in health, education, housing and social justice. But there are major contradictions, not least for the environment, which feeds back into health, food sovereignty and wellbeing, explains Nuñez.

Venezuela: Prospects for 2013

Vice-president Nicolás Maduro with Hugo Chavez.

By Steve Ellner

January 16, 2013 -- New Left Project via Venezuelanalysis.com -- The illness of Hugo Chávez creates uncertainty over the future direction of his government, and specifically its commitment to revolutionary change and socialism. Throughout the 14 years of his presidency, the key to Chávez’s political success was the constant deepening of the process of change, which invigorated the rank and file of his movement. Chávez’s political capital, which enabled him to decree radical changes, was well earned. It stemmed from the extreme courage he demonstrated with the coup attempt he led in 1992 and the one that was led against him in 2002, as well as the compassion he has shown for the underprivileged. 

Venezuela: What is Chavismo?

A massive rally was held in Caracas in defence of the Bolivarian Revolution on January 23, 2013. Known as the "Day of Democracy" in Venezuela, it marks the day in 1958 when the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez was overthrown by a civilian-military movement.

By Elias Jaua, former vice-president of Venezuela, translation by Rachael Boothroyd

[Jaua was appointed Venezuela's foreign minister soon after this article was written.]

January 4, 2013 -- Aporrea via Venezuelanalysis.com --The Bolivarian civic-military organisation that began to be constructed as a political force under the leadership of Comandante Hugo Chavez is rooted principally in the rebellions of the people and the military in 1989 and 1992 respectively. However, the structure of the Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR200) as a presence in the streets began to take place at the beginning of 1994, when Hugo Chavez was released from prison and began a social and political pilgrimage throughout the country.

Michael Lebowitz: Socialism for the 21st century -- re-inventing and renewing the struggle

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

[The following presentation was delivered to launch La Alternativa Socialista, the Chilean edition of The Socialist Alternative, in Concepcion, Santiago and Valparaiso, November 2012.]

By Michael A. Lebowitz

January 9, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Every socialist in the 21st century should try to answer two questions.

First, why don’t workers put an end to capitalism – given its destruction of human beings and the environment (something Marx was so conscious of). In particular, given the declining standards of life for decades in the United States, the economic disaster in Europe and the current crises, how is it that the system is reproduced without a significant challenge by the working class?

Second, why did the working class within what has become known as “real socialism” [the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe] allow those systems to revert to capitalism without resistance from the working classes, who were presumably its beneficiaries?

Venezuela: Chavez’s socialist party wins 20 of 23 states in regional elections; PSUV activists debate party's role

Supporters rally for PSUV candidate for Merida, Alexis Ramirez. Photo from YVKE Mundial.

By Tamara Pearson, Merida

December 16, 2012 -- VenezuelAnalysis -- With all votes counted to the point of results being irreversible, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has won 20 states, and the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, three states in the December 16 regional elections.

The opposition lost control of Zulia, Tachira, Carabobo, Monagas and Nueva Esparta, but retained Amazonas and Miranda and Lara states.

In Miranda, one of the key states at stake, contested by PSUV ex-vice-president Elias Jaua, and the opposition presidential candidate and current governor of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, the opposition won with 50% to Jaua’s 46%.

In Bolivar state, where the results were very close, the opposition candidate Andres Velasquez is refusing to recognise his defeat and has called on locals to “defend” his “victory”.

Venezuelans and residents chose 23 state governors and 237 state legislators. The results of the state legislative voting have yet to be announced.

In the 2008 regional elections the PSUV won 17 of the 22 states being contested.

For state by state results see below.

Venezuela's Doha climate talks delegate: 'Rich countries profit from pollution'

December 7, 2012 -- Democracy Now! -- Claudia Salerno, top negotiator for Venezuela at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, famous for her dramatic action at the conference three years ago in Copenhagen when she bloodied her fist while banging it on the table, demanding to be heard, says "this is not an environmental process. This is a process that is going to have impact in economics, so that is why it is so difficult for developed countries to make the necessary changes in their economics."

December 7, 2012 -- Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Claudia Salerno, you are the chief climate negotiator for Venezuela here. You are famous for, three years ago in Copenhagen, hitting your fists against the table to get attention, to be recognized, and bloodying your hand. Talk about what’s happening today, and take it back to three years ago in Copenhagen, why you were so distressed.

'The Greek people are at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis'

Speech given by Eric Toussaint at the SYRIZA youth festival in Athens on October 6, 2012 (transcript below). More than 3000 people were present to listen to four speakers: Marisa Matias, EU deputy, member of the Left Bloc (Portugal); Lisaro Fernandez, miners’ union leader (Asturias, Spain); Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA (Greece); Eric Toussaint, president of Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM, Belgium).

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By Eric Toussaint, translated by “Snake” Arbusto and Judith Harris

October 6, 2012 -- We are now experiencing one of the worst crises of the worldwide capitalist system. But capitalism will not die a peaceful, natural death. Crises are part of the metabolism of capitalism. Only conscious action by the people can destroy and supersede capitalism in order to open the way to democratic socialism.

The Greek people are currently at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis. The way in which the Greek people mobilise to confront and respond to this capitalism crisis will be a crucial factor for finding a solution at the international level. You are at the epicenter of both the crisis and the solution to this crisis.

Palestine: Hugo Chavez condemns Israel's “savage” assault on Gaza Strip

Hugo Chavez criticised Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip as “savage” (Telesur).

By Ewan Robertson

November 16, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has condemned Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip as “savage”, and called for an end to “aggression” against the Palestinian people. “Another aggression against the Gaza Strip has begun. Savage, savage: the state of Israel bombing the Gaza Strip again”, said Chavez to ministers yesterday in reference to Israel’s ”Pillar of Cloud” airstrike campaign against the Palestinian territory.

Israel began its offensive on November 14 by killing the military chief of the Palestinian organisation Hamas. Agencies report that 28 Palestinians and three Israelis have died in the conflict so far, with a further 250 Palestinians wounded.

The Venezuelan president argued that Israel's operation is occurring “because the [Palestinian] president Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that he’s going to request, once again, the entrance of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations”.

`Foro Social Latinamericano', Green Left Weekly's Spanish-language supplement, November 2012 issue

November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.

We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.

We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”

GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.

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