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By Any Means Necessary

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The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Crosshairs: A Short Introduction Kwame-Osagyefo Kalimara

Venezuela is a nation on the northern coast of South America colonized by Spain in 1522. The indigenous population resisted the invasion of the Spanish but were unsuccessful. Spanish rule over the colony soon faced internal contradictions. Rebellion became commonplace and under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda. Venezuela declared independence from Spain in 1811. This was considered the first Venezuelan republic. The second occurred in 1813 lasting only for a few months. It was not until Simon Bolivar took leadership in 1821 that sovereignty was attained. In 1823, New Granada assisted in consolidating Bolivar’s victory by giving him control over its army. Bolivar went on to liberate a number of countries and founded Gran Colombia. One of his generals, Antonio Jose de Sucre, liberated Ecuador and became the second president of Bolivia. In 1830 Venezuela seceded from Gran Colombia under the leadership of Jose Antonio Paez and he became Venezuela’s first president of the new nation. The cost of the wars it is estimated 800,000 deaths, perhaps 1/3 of the country’s population. The flag of Venezuela has three colors, yellow, blue and red. Yellow symbolizes the wealth of its nation, blue representing the sea which separates Venezuela from Spain, and red for the blood (loss of lives) by the independence fighters. With the enslavement of the African and indigenous population ending in 1854, Venezuela’s challenges persisted. Paez served as president three times between 1830 and 1863. The Federal War (1859–1863) saw hundreds of thousands die in this civil war. Its population at the time was at least one million people. Dictatorships, political and military, dominated the country until 1958 when democracy took some root. In the 1980s and 1990s, economic contradictions created chaos for Venezuela. The Caracazo riots in 1989, two coup attempts in 1992, and the 1993 impeachment of Carlos Andres Perez for embezzlement were some outcomes of the contradiction.1 It was in 1998 that Venezuelan people began to have confidence in its government. They elected career military officer Hugo Chavez, whom they saw as a leader who had integrity and had conviction in the pursuit of programs for the benefit of the masses. Chavez was a former coup leader and in 1999 wrote a new Constitution of Venezuela, launching the Bolivarian Revolution. The Bolivarian Revolution evidenced a significant power shift in Venezuela. President Chavez in 2002 was the subject of a coup d’état led by opposition forces. The poor populous waged demonstrations, coupled with actions by the military, for two days in Caracas, the capital city, returning Chavez to power. Although there was a national strike later that year until February 2003, the people steadfastly supported him. A strike and a lockout of the state oil company PDVSA (Petroleum of Venezuela) also produced great economic hardships, effecting currency vis-à-vis devaluation, less import and export goods, oil being the primary export.2 In 2004 there was a recall referendum, a 2006 election, and in October 2012 Chavez was re-elected to a third term as the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution. However, he transitioned after a two-year struggle with cancer before starting that term in office. Nicolas Maduro succeeded Chavez as President of Venezuela, was elected last in 2018, and in February this year he was inaugurated. Chavez’s popularity with the masses of Venezuela was a result of his establishment of populist social welfare policies, to reduce economic inequality and poverty. Further, his administration was actively working to support the Afrikan-descendent and indigenous populations. Although, Chavez made some economic errors according to 1) 276 people died according to the official count. Other estimates put death toll above 2,000. 2) Citgo oil is an American subsidiary of its state-owned oil company.

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By Any Means Necessary  

Congratulations on reading the first edition of the BAMN News Journal (volumes 1 and 2). This journal will be delivered to you each quarter...

By Any Means Necessary  

Congratulations on reading the first edition of the BAMN News Journal (volumes 1 and 2). This journal will be delivered to you each quarter...

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