page 7 | Analysis:
page 8 | Opinion
Venezuelan opposition pledges relations with Israeli extremists
Saul Landau on the machismo and violence of Miami cubans
Friday | May 18, 2012 | Nº 109 | Caracas
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
President Chavez to the front line of battle Venezuelan racer wins Grand Prix
The Venezuelan head of state returned home after completing nearly two months of radiation therapy in Cuba
Formula 1 driver Pastor Maldonado became the ﬁrst Venezuelan in 52 years to win a Grand Prix race last Sunday in an event that saw the South American country make its mark on the international racing circuit. The 27-year old Maldonado received high praise from his fellow citizens, including President Hugo Chavez who has supported the young driver in the past. Some opposition politicians had previously criticized the government’s support for the racer as a “spending excess”. | page 5 Integration
Venezuela & Ecuador advance ties New accords were signed between the two South American nations. | page 3
Despite the cancer for which he has received both chemotherapy and radiation treatment during the past year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains the top presidential candidate for this October’s elections. The latest polls show him maintaining a comfortable double digit lead over his opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski.| page 2
Poll conceals Chavez win A survey conducted by opposition pollster Datanalisis in April confirms President Hugo Chavez leads by 17 points over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski in the run up to the elections in October. The poll was revealed Wednesday by television host Miguel Angel Perez Pirela on his news analysis program “Cayendo y Corriendo”. According to Perez Pirela, the Datanalisis poll had been unpublished and concealed by the company, owned by known anti-Chavez loyalist Luis Vicente Leon, due to the positive showing for Chavez. Leon has stated he could not “affirm or deny” the poll’s results. The survey also shows that 65% of Venezuelans approve of President Chavez’s government, while only 32% found the opposition candidate “likeable”. An additional 67.2% evaluated the situation in their country as positive. According to Datanalisis, 43% of those polled would vote for Chavez, while only 25.7% would vote for Capriles Radonski.
German government to support opposition
Venezuela’s social security reform to beneﬁt millions
Germany has backed an antiChavez coalition seeking the presidency. | page 4
Chomsky on world affairs The linguist discusses Wikileaks, Obama and Latin America. | page 6
here are about 3.7 million independent workers in Venezuela, all of whom will beneﬁt from reforms to the Law of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security signed on April 21 by President Hugo Chavez. “This reform allows independent workers to contribute [to social
security] without any limitations. Article 6 of the Law on Social Security and articles 6 and 7 of the norm used to contain legal obstacles concerning the number of contributions or the continuity of their payment”, said Carlos Rotondaro, president of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS). Under the old system, if a worker became unemployed or began
working independently, he or she could continue to participate in social security only if they had already made 250 contributions in the last 10 years, and anyone who stopped contributing for more than 6 months would be dropped from the system. Now, with the reform, independent workers such as taxi and motorcycle-taxi drivers, hairs-
tylists, carpenters, artists, and others can voluntarily contribute the equivalent of 13 percent of minimum wage (about $50 per month) or an amount of their choice. “It’s important to know that this reform will beneﬁt not only the low-income sectors, but also independent professionals”, Rotondaro said during a public assembly about the new norms in a central square in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela.
2 | Impact
NoÊ£äÊU Friday, May 18, 2012
The artillery of ideas
President Hugo Chavez returns to Venezuela, prepares to ascend to the “front line of the battle” T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
resident Hugo Chavez arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas last week Friday after successfully completing his latest round of radiotherapy treatment in Cuba At approximately 10pm local time, Chavez touched down in Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia where he was met by various members of his executive cabinet including Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Vice President Elias Jaua. “I should inform you that in past few days we’ve successfully concluded the entire cycle of radiotherapy”, the socialist head of state informed upon arrival. “Beyond a few pains which are normal with this kind of treatment, there was nothing which would have obliged us to stop or suspend the original plan. As such, it was carried out in its entirety”, he said of his therapy. Chavez had been in Cuba for 11 days for treatment of the cancer in his pelvic region ﬁrst discovered in June of last year. His absence from Venezuela for medical reasons was ratiﬁed by the country’s congress, the National Assembly, on April 30 in compliance with the Caribbean nation’s constitution. During his brief address to the nation on Friday, the 57 year-old President rebuffed “the permanent speculations” and rumors about his health propagated by right-wing sectors in the country and touched on some of the recent advances being made by his administration. With respect to economic growth, the vibrant head of state expressed his contentment with the performance of Venezuela’s GDP and its diminishing inﬂation. “Inﬂation continues to decrease and the ﬁrst trimester of economic growth is going to be very good... GDP growth is going to be very, very good. Especially if we compare it with what’s happening around the globe”, Chavez noted.
Inﬂation in Venezuela fell for the ﬁfth consecutive month last April, reaching 4.4 percent in the ﬁrst quarter of 2012. The goal for this year, as stated by the Ministry of Finance, is to lower the indicator to between 20 and 22 percent. On Friday, Chavez made it a point to congratulate his cabinet and supporters for “continuing to carry forward a positive dynamic” during his convalescence in Cuba. “The positive direction and the advances on different fronts are evident. I’ve been following closely the social advances and the organization of the people as well as the missions, the great missions, our social development, education, health and our different programs”, he reported. The leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela also reafﬁrmed his intent to stand in October’s presidential elections, declaring his eagerness to begin the campaign and move forward with his Bolivarian political project. “We ask our Lord to help us and to continue to provide us with the miracle of life to carry out His will and the redemption
of the poor through the construction of a socialist nation”, Chavez said. The two-time incumbent will face opposition candidate Capriles Radonski in Venezuela’s presidential elections slated for October 7. All polls in the country give a sizeable lead to the current head of state with some margins exceeding 30 points. “As the hours and the next few days go by, I’m sure that I will be returning to where I need to be - in the front line of the battle, next to the Bolivarian people, pushing forward the socialist revolution... the Revolution of peace and love”, Chavez asserted. MOTHERS HONORED THROUGH SOCIAL PROGRAMS “Mothers, mothers, mothers, receive my congratulations and love from this child and compañnero of yours!” read the Twitter message written by the Venezuelan head of state on Sunday, Mother’s Day, honoring the women of his country. Although the message served as a recognition of the role that women have played in the transformation of Venezuela during
the past 13 years of the Chavez administration, the real recognition that the current government has provided has come in the form of important social programs. This includes the Mothers of the Barrio Mission, founded in 2006, which grants low credit loans for socially productive projects run by women living in critical economic conditions. Since its founding, Mothers of the Barrio has been able to assist more than 900 thousand women working in over 4,000 productive projects including manufacturing, services, and agriculture. In this year alone, more than seven thousand credits have been disbursed to over ﬁve thousand women while last April, President Chavez further boosted funding for the mission by approving 234 million bolivars ($54.4 million) for enrollees in the program who are still hampered by severe economic disadvantages. “This is a measure of support while [the women] overcome critical poverty that many mothers are still dealing with”, Chavez said at the time, explaining that the beneﬁt will pro-
vide 80 percent of the country’s minimum wage of 2,047 bolivars ($476) monthly to women in extreme poverty. In addition to the Mothers of the Barrio program, the government also launched at the end of 2011 another beneﬁt initiative, called the Children of Venezuela Mission, to assist women living exceedingly difﬁcult conditions. For the women registered with the program a small stipend for the number of children for whom they are raising will be granted by the state as a temporary relief measure. The new program has already registered more than 1 million enrollees and has disbursed more than 50,000 beneﬁt packages. “Our life’s work isn’t only giving birth, it’s being an example for our children because they mimic us and they observe us in every moment. That’s why we have to teach them to transmit what we have gained, such as the missions”, said Jacqueline Faria, head of the government of Caracas last Sunday. “Today we see women in every job position... because we have our rights enshrined by the Revolution”, Faria said.
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Integration | 3 |
Venezuela and Ecuador advance bilateral relations T/ COI P/ Agencies
la’s Tributary and Customs Administration Services (Seniat) and Ecuador’s Internal Revenue Services (SRI) to crack down on tax and tariff evasion.
enezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas welcomed his Ecuadoran counterpart, Ricardo Patino, to Caracas on Monday in a meeting that further strengthened relations between the two Andean nations through the signing of four new bilateral accords. The new agreements focused on energy and commerce while the talks of the two diplomats reviewed earlier deals focused on the ﬁght against drug-trafﬁcking and other issues including the execution of future cooperative projects. The ﬁrst of the four pacts deals speciﬁcally with the exchange of crude between the two OPEC member’s state oil companies, Petroleos de Venezuela (pdvsa) and Petroleos de Ecuador (EP). The second accord stipulates the supply of Venezuelan crude to the Eloy Alfaro reﬁnery, currently under development in Ecuador. The new reﬁnery was ﬁrst proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa in July 2008 and is to be built
under the auspices of a joint venture between the allied South American countries. “This reﬁnery is advancing in its different phases and this has been a vital element for the process which involves the consolidation of investment
and the possibility of thirdparty investors in the development of this important reﬁning complex in Ecuador”, said Foreign Minister Maduro on Monday. Two other agreements signed between the South
Chavez’s economics lesson for Europe T/ Richard Gott
ome years ago, travelling on the presidential plane of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela with a French friend from Le Monde Diplomatique, we were asked what we thought was happening in Europe. Was there any chance of a move to the left? We replied in the depressed and pessimistic tones typical of the early years of the 21st century. Neither in Britain nor France, nor anywhere in the eurozone, did we see much chance of a political breakthrough. Then maybe, said Chávez with a twinkle, we could come to your assistance, and he recalled the time in 1830 when revolutionary crowds in the streets of Paris had come out waving the cap of Simon Bolivar, the South American lib-
erator from Venezuela who was to die at the end of that year. Fighting for liberty, Latin American style, was held up as the path for Europe to follow. At the time, I was encouraged but not persuaded by Chavez’s optimism. Yet now I think that he was right; it was good to be reminded that Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s radical left party, Syriza, had visited Caracas in 2007 and inquired about the future possibility of receiving cheap Venezuelan oil, much as Cuba and other Caribbean and Central America countries do. There was a brief moment when Ken Livingstone and Chavez conjured up an oil deal between London and Caracas which looked promising until it was rejected by Boris Johnson. More important than the prospect of cheap oil is the pow-
er of example. Chavez has been engaged since the turn of the century, even before, on a project that rejects the neoliberal economics that afﬂicts Europe and much of the western world. He has been opposed to the recipes of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and has fought hard against the policies of privatisation that harmed the social and economic fabric of Latin America and with which the European Union is now threatening to destroy the economy of Greece. Chavez has renationalized the many industries, including oil and gas, that were privatized in the 1990s. The words and inspiration of Chavez have had an effect beyond Venezuela. They have encouraged Argentina to default on its debt; to reorganize
American countries involve anti-fraud measures to shore up problems in the customs enforcement of both nations and ensure transparency in commercial activity. This has taken the form of a joint accord between Venezue-
ECONOMIC SOVEREIGNTY As part of this growing bilateral relationship, the diplomats discussed the creation of a commercial fair to take place in Caracas on June 14 as well as increasing the amount of trade occurring between the two countries via the Sucre virtual currency. The Sucre was ﬁrst introduced in 2009 as a way to facilitate commercial exchanges between members of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) regional block and to liberate the continent from the hegemony of the US dollar in ﬁnancial transactions. Maduro reported on Monday that the goal is to raise the value of transactions carried out with the Sucre between Venezuela and Ecuador to $800 million this year. “Commerce is complementing our efforts to build a new, holistic relationship that is beginning to take shape”, the Foreign Minister said.
its economy thereafter and to renationalize its oil industry. Chavez has helped Evo Morales of Bolivia to run its oil and gas industry for the beneﬁt of the country rather than its foreign shareholders, and more recently to halt the robbery by Spain of the proﬁts of its electricity company. Above all, he has shown the countries of Latin America that there is an alternative to the single neoliberal message that has been endlessly broadcast for decades, by governments and the media in hock to an outdated ideology. Now is the time for that alternative message to be heard further aﬁeld, to be listened to by voters in Europe. In Latin America, governments following an alternative strategy have been re-elected time and time again, suggesting that it is effective and popular. In Europe, governments of whatever hue that follow the standard neoliberal template seem to fall
at the ﬁrst fence, suggesting that the will of the people is not engaged. Chavez and his co-religionaries in the new “Bolivarian Revolution” have called for “21st-century socialism”, not a return to Soviet-style economics or the continuation of the mundane social democratic adaptation of capitalism, but, as the Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has described it, the re-establishment of national planning by the state “for the development of the majority of the people”. Greece has a wonderful chance to change the history of Europe and to throw their caps of Bolivar into the air, as once the Italian carbonari did in Paris all those years ago. Lord Byron, who planned to settle in Bolivar’s Venezuela before sailing off to help liberate Greece, named his yacht Bolivar; he would certainly have been pleased with contemporary developments.
4 | politics
T/ Julia Symmes Cobb- Reuters
illy Martinez was a highly-ranked Venezuelan boxer at the age of 18 when an enraged man chopped off his hand with a machete. Martinez’s boxing days were over -- but not his athletic ambitions. Now aged 27 and a father-of-three, he is training to qualify as a sprinter for the London Paralympics with the help of President Hugo Chavez’s socialist government. “The machete appeared so quickly. When my hand was chopped off I didn’t feel anything, but there was blood everywhere”, he said, recalling the traumatic incident over a pre-training breakfast. Martinez, who said he was defending a family member against a violent man, ran several miles for help at his parents’ house, but it was too late for doctors to reattach his hand. His story is one of many harrowing tales among the South American nation’s Paralympics team heading to London in August. The roughly 40-person team is grateful to the government of Chavez, which has poured unprecedented resources into grassroots sports. Many of the Paralympians live in government-funded housing close to their training grounds in Caracas and receive a gamut of other beneﬁts. The athletics team are guided
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The artillery of ideas
Venezuela's paralympians aided by Chavez's socialism by husband-and-wife Russian coaches with experience of that country’s famous Soviet-era sports programs. “It’s a change from past governments - if you’d won an international award they would only say ‘well good, that’s your obligation’”, said Juan Valladares, a wheelchair racer who lost movement in his legs to polio when he was a baby. “But with this government there is so much support, so much incentive. They’ve given us all the resources we need”, he added during a break in early morning training at a bustling stadium in west Caracas also hosting school groups and a soccer team. Valladares is ranked ﬁrst in the world in his category of the 400 meter race, and third in the 800 meters, according to the International Paralympic Committee. RUSSIAN TRAINERS Stretching his legs a few feet away is fellow sprinter Samuel Colmenares, who lost one of his hands in a car crash when he was a teenager. Colmenares won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics in the 400 meter sprint.
“It is so emotional, to stand on the podium, to hear the national anthem of your country, it’s very happy, and makes you want to cry”, said Colmenares. “To win a gold, that would be even better”. The athletics team practices at least four hours a day, encouraged -- and occasionally playfully teased -- by their Russian coaches. Mikhail Poliakov trains the wheelchair racers, while his wife Elena Goncharova oversees the sprinters. They came to Venezuela a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, lured by a contract offer at the sports ministry. Neither had coached disabled athletes before, but Goncharova said that does not matter. “There’s no difference between conventional athletes and disabled ones - they’re the same, they’re my children”, she said, laughing. Such is the Chavez government’s commitment to sports, said Venezuela’s Paralympic Committee president Ahiquel Hernandez, that the state even paid for Paralympic swimmers
Germany asks European Union to step up support for Venezuela’s opposition T/ Rachael Boothroyd
German news website has revealed that the German government has been pushing for Eurozone countries to adopt a more active role in backing the current Venezuelan opposition coalition, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), in the run up to this year’s presidential elections. In an article published by Amerika21 earlier this week it was revealed that German diplomats had taken advantage of a recent European Union Council meeting on Latin American af-
fairs to call on members to offer “greater and more open support” to the MUD and its candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, who will stand against incumbent President Chavez in October. According to the website, German delegates at the meeting in April had said that support for Venezuela’s opposition “should not be hidden from the public”, despite calls from other European nations such as France and Portugal who argued for a “more discreet” approach. The news was disclosed as a team of representatives from the
German Parliament took part in a governmental delegation to Venezuela, where they met solely with members of the country’s political opposition. According to Prensa Latina news, which had access to the delegation’s agenda, the diplomats met with leading ﬁgures from the Venezuelan political opposition such as MUD Secretary General, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, and other leading ﬁgures from opposition parties such as Democratic Action (AD). The representatives are also reported to have met with antigovernment NGOs during their
to go to Japan for specialty training. “In Venezuela sports are a constitutional right. Since
1999 we’ve had digniﬁed sports participation for the disabled”, she told Reuters. “For the government it’s an obligation of conscience”.
stay, including organizations such as the Venezuelan Prison Observatory, which has previously been accused of carrying out acts aimed at sabotaging the national government and receives funding from the US government. Meetings with the head of Venezuela’s business federation, Fedecamaras, and the head of Venezuela’s chamber of commerce, were also amongst the delegation’s agenda. “In Venezuela we met almost exclusively with opposition forces, while in Chile, our next stop, we met with people from the government”, reported German representative Heike Hansel from the German Socialist Party, Die Linke, in an interview with Prensa Latina.
The German government currently led by Angela Merkel has recently come under ﬁre for its open backing of French rightwing candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, who lost his bid for reelection to socialist candidate, Francois Hollande, earlier this month. The MUD currently receives direct ﬁnancial support from US institutions such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), although President Chavez has warned that the US government may expand its support for the opposition into other areas as the elections draw nearer. The Venezuelan President has also stated that the MUD is developing a strategy to contest this October’s election results in league with the US government.
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Culture | 5 |
Venezuela's Maldonado makes history in Formula 1 T/ COI P/ Agencies
ormula 1 driver Pastor Maldonado became the ﬁrst Venezuelan in 52 years to win a Grand Prix race last Sunday in an event that saw the South American country make its mark on the international racing circuit. “I told you! Our Pastor Maldonado won and he has made history! Bravo Pastor! Congratulations to you and your combative team!” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wrote via his Twitter account. The win at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend was not only the ﬁrst of Maldonado’s Formula 1 career but was also the ﬁrst time since 2004 that team Williams had resulted victorious. “I think it’s a wonderful day, not just for me but for all the team. We have been pushing so hard since last year to try to improve race by race and here we are. Yesterday we were here after a great qualifying and today we did it again”, the 27-year old said on Sunday. Maldonado, the native of Aragua state in central Venezuela, had been sponsored for years by his country’s state oil company Pdvsa as well as a number of other publicly owned businesses including the telecommunications ﬁrm, Cantv. He had participated in a number of government awarenessraising campaigns including appearing in public safety posters in the Caracas Metro and has also expressed his gratitude to Venezuelan President Chavez on numerous occasions for the support of his socialist government. Although Maldonado’s victory last weekend was celebrated by political ﬁgures of the Venezuelan opposition, including opposition presidential candidate, Capriles Radonski, members of the conservative opposition coalition have publicly criticized the government’s support of the Aragua-native in the past. Legislator and former opposition presidential candidate Maria Corina Machado declared a few months ago she would cut funding to Maldonado and other athletes were she elected president.
Diosdado Cabello, president of the socialist-dominated Venezuelan National Assembly pointed out the double-speak of the country’s right wing political organizations last weekend via his Twitter account. “We need to say it, the embittered opposition has been criti-
cizing Pastor and the government for two years. And today with all smiles they’ve come out to congratulate him. Shameless”, Cabello wrote. Not all opposition politicians were happy about the historic win. Youth opposition leader Yon Goicochea, who received
$500,000 in funding from the neo-conservative US think tank Cato Institute in 2007, wrote in a newspaper column on Tuesday that those who celebrated Maldonado’s win were “imbeciles”. Despite the divisions, what is certain is that the vast majority
Venezuela home to world’s youngest orchestra conductor T/ AVN P/ Agencies
he coastal state of Nueva Esparta in Venezuela is celebrating the fact that one of its own residents, Jose Angel Salazar, age 14, has just become the world’s youngest orchestra conductor. Salazar is a graduate of Venezuela’s famous national system of symphony orchestras and music training for youth, a program known as “El Sistema”. Last Saturday, at a ceremony in Caracas, Salazar was appointed conductor of the Regional Youth Orchestra of Nueva Esparta, a state located in northeastern Venezuela that is comprised largely of the touristy Margarita Island. The decision was made by El Sistema’s founder and legend, Jose Antonio Abreu. The news spurred celebrations when it
reached Salazar’s home state this week. “Maestro Abreu was impressed by Salazar’s talent and indicated that he should receive individual instruction and practice alongside internationally-acclaimed Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, also one of the world’s young-
est. This achievement demonstrates that the symphony orchestra program is one major attractive alternative for Venezuelan youth”, said Marisela Usuriaga, the regional manager of the Symphony Orchestra of Nueva Esparta. Salazar was born in Porlamar, Margarita Island, on
of Venezuelans, regardless of their political and social backgrounds, are taking pride in the victory of their native son in Formula 1. “Everyone is so happy in my country. I’m very lucky to have a country behind me, pushing so hard, to see me here in Formula One and especially to be here, between these guys. I’m pretty happy for Venezuela, I’m happy for Williams as well. They did a wonderful job to give me a great car for this race. We are getting better and better, race after race”, he said. Maldonado’s next race will be at Monaco from May 24-27 and the Venezuelan is already looking forward to participating on one of his favorite tracks. “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to be strong again. For sure I will be doing my best on the driving. The team is looking after the car so we need to continue like that. Keep pushing with the car, to develop it as soon as possible and consistency will be the important thing in this championship”, he said.
September 16, 1997, and began studying music at age eight. He then joined the Youth Orchestra of Nueva Esparta, where he continued to study violin and music theory under maestro Luis Villarroel, quickly earning the post of concertino. In 2011, after an audition, he joined the Symphony Orchestra of Nueva Esparta as ﬁrst violin. He then became part of the chamber music quartet Allegretto and the Venezuelan Musical Duo D2, with whom he has performed many times. Venezuela’s El Sistema currently includes 285 local “nucleos” which are attended by a total of 350,000 children and adolescents to form the national network of youth orchestras and choirs. El Sistema, founded in 1975, has received special support from the government of President Hugo Chavez. In November of 2011, the Venezuelan government announced a grant of $38 million to ﬁnance the program, which primarily beneﬁts young people from low-income families.
6 | Interview
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Chomsky on Wikileaks, Obama’s policies and Latin American independence T/ Amy Goodman & Noam Chomsky P/ Agencies WIKILEAKS don’t see anything that’s come out on WikiLeaks that was a legitimate secret. I mean, WikiLeaks is a service to the population. Assange should get an award for—presidential medal of honor. The whole WikiLeaks operation has helped inform people about what their elected representatives are doing. Nothing really sensational has come out, but it is interesting to know, for example, that when the Obama administration effectively supported the military coup in Honduras that kicked out the democratic government and put in a—what amounts to a military-backed government, that they knew exactly what they were doing, because we learn from WikiLeaks that the embassy in Honduras had presented a detailed analysis right at the beginning of the coup that expelled the president and said, “Yeah, this is unconstitutional, it’s illegal”. So, yes, they knew exactly what they were doing when Obama and Clinton were saying, “Well, you know, it’s not that bad. Everything is going ﬁne”. Or, for example, when Anne Patterson, the ambassador to Pakistan—this is some of the most interesting revelations. She supports US policy in AfPak, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but she did warn that US policies of assassinations, pressures on Pakistan, and so on, carry a real danger. They carry the danger of radicalizing Pakistan and—where opposition to these policies is enormous, and maybe creating even a situation where its nuclear facilities would be accessible to jihadi elements. So it’s creating terriﬁc danger. In fact, it’s quite striking that the policies are undertaken in ways which almost—it’s almost as if they’re consciously trying to increase the threat. Take the assassination of Osama bin Laden. I mean, I’m a small minority of people who think that was a crime. I don’t
think you should have a right to invade another country, apprehend a suspect—remember, he’s a suspect, even if you think he’s guilty—apprehend him, after he’s apprehended and defenseless, assassinate him and throw his body into the ocean. Yeah, civilized countries don’t do that sort of thing. The Navy SEALs were under orders to ﬁght their way out, if there was a problem. If they had had to ﬁght their way out, they would have gotten air cover and probably intervention. We could have been at war with Pakistan. Pakistan has a professional army. They’re dedicated to protecting the sovereignty of the state, very dedicated to it, and they wouldn’t take this lightly. A war with Pakistan would be an utter disaster. It’s one of the huge nuclear facilities, laced with radical Islamic elements. But they did it anyway. Then, right after it, when Pakistan was totally outraged, we carried out more drone attacks in Pakistan. DRONES AND ASSASSINATION There’s a good comment made by Yochi Dreazen. He was the military correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. He said that
there’s an interesting difference between Bush and Obama. I’m now paraphrasing in my own terms, so the way I would have said it is: if the Bush administration, didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers; if the Obama administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them, so you don’t have to have torture chambers all over. Actually, that tells us something else. Just take a look at the ﬁrst Guantanamo detainee to go to trial under Obama. Trial means military commission, whatever that is. The ﬁrst one was Omar Khadr. And what was his crime? His crime was that when he was 15 years old, he tried to defend his village against an attack by US forces in Afghanistan. So that’s the crime, therefore he’s a terrorist. So he was sent to Bagram, then to Guantanamo, eight years in these torture chambers. And then he came up for trial under Obama. And he was given a choice: you can plead not guilty and stay in Guantanamo for the rest of your life, or you can plead guilty and get another eight years. So his lawyers advised him to plead
guilty. Well, that’s justice under our constitutional law president, for a 15-year-old kid defending his village against an attacking army. And there was nothing said—the worst part is, there’s nothing said about it. Actually, the same is true of the Awlaki killing, you know, this US cleric in Yemen who was killed by drones. He was killed. The guy next to him was killed. Shortly after, his son was killed. Now, there was a little talk about the fact that he was a US citizen: you shouldn’t just murder US citizens. But, you know, the New York Times headline, for example, when he was killed, said something like “West celebrates death of radical cleric”. First of all, it wasn’t death, it was murder. And the West celebrates the murder of a suspect. He’s a suspect, after all. HOPE Take the Occupy movement. That’s very striking and dramatic. Or take where we are today. We’re in a meeting of Nacla, North American Congress on Latin America. What’s happened in Latin America in the last 10 years is just spectacular. I mean,
in the last 10 years, for the ﬁrst time in—since the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors—that’s half a millennium—Latin America has freed itself, substantially freed itself from Western domination and control, meaning mainly US. In fact, there was a just very dramatic example of it just a couple of weeks ago at the Cartagena hemispheric conference, which is very important. It was kind of suppressed here. There was some Secret Service scandal, but there were really interesting things that happened. This is a hemispheric conference. There were two major issues. There was no declaration, because you couldn’t get agreement. The two issues were Cuba and drugs. The whole hemisphere wants Cuba to be admitted to the hemispheric—to the summit. The US refused—US and Canada refused. On drugs, practically the whole hemisphere is pressing for decriminalization, because they’re suffering the brunt of the—you know, they are the ones who get hit in the solar plexus. The demand for drugs is here. The supply of arms is here. And they suffer from it. So they want to move towards decriminalization. US and Canada refused. US and Canada are isolated in the hemisphere. And in fact, there’s a new organization, just formed about a year ago, CELAC, which formally excludes the US and Canada, includes everyone else. It’s quite possible that that may replace the Organization of American States, which is US-run. One sign of it is the US has been essentially kicked out of its military bases in South America. They’re also moving towards dealing with some of their internal problems, which are severe. And the other thing that’s exciting there is the role of popular movements. I mean, there are mass popular movements of indigenous people, working people, others who have just been—you know, who have been extremely successful in substantially changing policy. That’s of historic signiﬁcance.
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The artillery of ideas
Analysis | 7 |
Venezuelan opposition promises “renewal” for Venezuela-Israel relations T/ COI P/ Agencies
ver the weekend, Venezuela’s anti-Chavez minority conﬁrmed reports that one of their own recently met with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and promised to re-establish ties with Israel if the opposition is somehow successful in this year’s presidential election. Speaking on behalf of the opposition’s socalled Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma is said to have promised both economic and political rewards in exchange for Israeli support of MUD presidential hopeful, Henrique Capriles Radonski. Though the MUD have been totally unable to improve their standing in polls which predict a sweeping electoral victory for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this October 7, Ledezma’s comments in Israel provide a troubling glimpse at wishful opposition thinking in a post-Chavez period. “SOLIDARITY” WITH ISRAEL? Though he was in Jerusalem last week for the 28th International Mayors Conference, opposition lawyer and politician Antonio Ledezma took advantage of his publicly-ﬁnanced trip to meet privately with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the country’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. Asked about the closed-door meetings, Ledezma said he had used his time in Israel to spread “the message that the Venezuelan nation has respect for Israel”. Ledezma told reporters he spoke with Netanyahu and Liberman about “the Venezuelan people’s solidarity with the Jewish community” and, “in addition, our (opposition) disposition to reestablish relations with the State of Israel under a new government presided by Henrique Capriles Radonski”. “In contrast to the current political policy in Venezuela”, he
said, “Capriles will re-establish our historical ties”. Not needing to say so openly, Ledezma’s reference to “historical ties” includes both the United States and Israel, in contrast to Chavez administration policies favoring relations with the entirety of the Global South, including China, Russia, Iran and Cuba, to name just a few. Pleased with the opposition spokesman, and in direct reference to the Chavez administration, Israel’s Foreign Minister responded to Ledezma’s comments by stating, “nations in the global village of today need reasonable governments that help encourage cooperation among peoples”. Guaranteeing an opposition victory, Ledezma added that “our people, who don’t know how to mistreat, who value peace and love for one’s neighbor, mustn’t be confused with the decisions of an intemperate administration which has broken our historical relations and is on its way out”. The right-wing mayor, who withdrew from opposition primaries for lack of electoral potential, told Israeli media he believed “the opposition’s chances are equal (to Chavez’s) and even greater, mostly because it is bringing a message of renewal to all of Venezuela”. Ledezma added that he hopes “the current government will allow for democratic elections”. President Chavez, who holds a double-digit lead against Capriles Radonski in every poll taken to date, instructed his government to break relations with Israel after the Israeli military killed some 1,500 Palestinians and wounded another 5,000 during its 2009 siege on Gaza. At that time, the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release stating that “Israel has repeatedly ignored the calls of the United Nations, consistently and shamelessly violating the resolutions approved by overwhelming majorities of member countries, increasingly placing itself on the margin of international law” and added
that “Israel’s state terrorism has cost the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent: children, women, and the elderly”. During his 3-day trip to Israel, the opposition’s Ledezma made no mention of Israel’s segregationist policies towards the Palestinians, the widely-condemned but ongoing blockade against those in Gaza, nor did he question the inhuman prison conditions currently under international scrutiny as several Palestinian hunger strikers near death. PROMISING RESOURCES Late last week, Venezuelan philosopher and TV journalist Miguel Angel Perez Pirela denounced the meeting between Ledezma and the Israeli Prime Minister, calling it “further evidence” of opposition plans to “destabilize” the country. Pirela reminded viewers that MUD spokesmen have now met with former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, with right-wing members of the anti-Chavez community in Southern Florida, and, now, with Israel’s Netanyahu. Pirela explained that Ledezma spent tax-payer funds to ﬁnance his trip to Israel, and used his time in the Middle East to request Israeli support for MUD presidential hopeful Capriles Radonski. In
exchange for support, he said, Israel was promised “access to the country’s resources” if the opposition were to somehow take this year’s presidential election. “He who doesn’t want to see has the right not to; he can joke things off and accuse us of paranoia”, said Pirela, “but this smells rotten”. “There are strong signs that they [opposition ﬁgures] are showing us the exact location from which the bullets will be ﬁred”, he said, suggesting recent opposition meetings in Colombia, Miami, Florida, and Israel are evidence of a larger opposition strategy to destabilize Venezuela with international support. With respect to Israel, in December 2011 and with no evidence to back his assertions, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya´alon accused Venezuela of working with Iran to create a “terrorist infrastructure” across the Americas that could be used to “attack the interests of the United States”. In response to his statements, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry afﬁrmed, “such abusive and tendentious statements, which come from the
representative of a government that itself participates in terrorist attacks against the Arab peoples, are part of a continuous campaign of aggression against our people”. DEFENDING REVOLUTION Speaking at a pro-Chavez rally on Friday, Mayor of the Caracas Libertador Municipality and head of the Chavez re-election campaign Jorge Rodriguez denounced the opposition’s international positioning. In the border state of Tachira backing grassroots efforts to re-elect Venezuela’s socialist President, Rodriguez accused Capriles Radonski of traveling to Colombia “to seek advice from known drug trafﬁcker and confessed paramilitary ﬁgure, (former President) Alvaro Uribe”. Rodriguez told those gathered, “the lazy Mayor of Caracas, Mayor Ledezma, recently made his way to Israel and is also meeting with representatives of the extreme right”. “They’ve already lost hope in winning the election”, Rodriguez afﬁrmed, “but if they try taking the path of destabilization they’ll face the people and homeland, ready to defend the Revolution”.
Friday | May 18, 2012 | Nº 109 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
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The macho violence of the Cuban exiles /ÉÊ->ÕÊ>`>Õ
ou can disagree with violent anti-Castro dogma, but such dissent could also get you killed – or your business torched as happened on April 25 to Airline Brokers Co. Some Cuban exiles apparently take free speech so seriously that they punish those who use it in “inappropriate” ways. Miami has witnessed countless incidents for ﬁve plus decades where those who consider their own views on how to bring freedom to Cuba as so pure and irreproachable, that anyone who challenges their doctrine merits a bomb, a bullet, or an accelerant. Ironically, these extremists don’t do their macho violence in Cuba. They choose safer places. Orlando Bosch and his cohort Luis Posada Carriles said they were trying to free Cuba when they masterminded the bombing of the Cuban passenger plane over Barbados in 1976. If you believe in freeing Cuba, so their logic goes, you become free to kill all 73 on board. How this helped to free Cuba – well, you know. By ﬁghting for freedom in Cuba – or claiming to – you get a license from God to destroy and intimidate in the United States or anywhere else. Indeed, in Miami hundreds of bombings, shootings, and arson have occurred – all this mayhem in the name of that glorious cause of freeing Cuba. Although no one has yet actually explained how a ﬁre or shooting in Miami helps liberate Cuba. Instead, the majority of this “liberating” violence has targeted civilians in the United States. Did killing Cuban UN diplomat Felix Garcia in New York in 1980, and bombing and torching movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles (where my “Fidel” ﬁlm was supposed to open in 1970) because they didn’t like the movie they hadn’t even seen help free Cuba? In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a bomber put a charge on the wall of Marazul Travel – an agency providing legal travel to Cuba. Three Molotov cocktails got tossed
into Marazul ofﬁces. Travel to Cuba became a sin against the religion of “ﬁghting for freedom in Cuba”. From the 1960s through the 1980s, “Bombs Away” could have referred to Miami rather than a video game about space aliens. And this “violence against people who disagree with violence in the United States will free Cuba” equation continues. On April 25, 2012, ﬁfty three plus years after the Cuban revolutionaries took power, God’s licensed terrorists burned the ofﬁces of an airline charter company ostensibly because it ﬂew pilgrims to Cuba. How such actions advanced their cause of freedom for Cuba remains a logical mystery – or perhaps simply a pretext for baser motives. The targets for violence have shared two qualities: 1) they disagreed with the dictates laid down by the extremist wing of exiles who demanded everyone submit to their views or suffer the con-
sequences; 2) they had no chance to defend themselves. The most recent “sinner,” who offended the self-anointed arsonists owned Airlines Brokers Co. Vivian Mannerud told Miami’s Channel 10. “It’s not that it’s burned. It’s pulverized”. She stared at the ashes that once housed her charter company. “I have never seen a ﬁre pulverize things. I’ve seen it in pictures of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima”. Investigators aided by dogs trained to recognize the odor of accelerant determined that the ﬁre was “deliberate”. So, the arsonists did a professional job, just as their predecessors, the bombers and shooters did in their countless acts of murder and mayhem in Miami, New York, San Juan and Washington, DC – all to free Cuba, of course. In March, the Miami Archdiocese, which had received bomb threats in
1998 during a previous Pope’s (John Paul II) visit to Cuba, contracted with Mannerud’s company to transport several hundred of the faithful from South Florida to the island. Was this the motive? Or did it relate to a sin of her father who started the charter company in 1982 and had testiﬁed in the trial of Eduardo Arocena of the Cuban Nationalist Movement and its “action arm” Omega 7. The jury convicted Arocena. If the Cuban Five network had remained in Miami they might have inﬁltrated the group that torched Mannerud’s company and tipped the police to the caper. But those anti-terrorists remain in federal custody, while arsonists roam the Miami streets and a bomber, like Luis Posada Carriles, has a publicized painting exhibition in a Coral Gables bank. The “patriots” have no plans to “free Cuba”, only rhetoric with phrases like “return Cuba to freedom” (non-existent in Cuba before the revolution), and “get rid of the dictatorship” (which some of them supported under Batista). But decades of violence in the United States has hurt this country, but had no effect on Cuba. Ironically, the macho perpetrators even deny their deeds, but nevertheless get honored for doing them and accept the honors. They can’t explain how destroying a Coral Gables travel agency helps free Cuba. “The money visitors spend in Cuba supports the Castro regime”. As if bombing travel agencies stops travel! Reach beneath the unconvincing rhetoric and into baser motives. Do the violence makers make their living from violence? After the April 25 ﬁre, did Coral Gables business neighbors of the Airline Charter Co. receive visits? “Hey, you got a nice store here…” You know the dialogue from the Sopranos. Except Cuban exile criminals cover their shakedowns with “patriotic” rhetoric. I feel certain, however, that Miami area elected ofﬁcials have strong feelings against this act of terrorism despite their deafening silence. ->ÕÊ>`>Õ½ÃÊÜÊÌ iÊÀi>ÊÌiÀÀÀÃÌÊ «i>ÃiÊÃÌ>`ÊÕ«Ê>`Ê ÃÊ`iÊ>ÀiÊ`ÃÌÀLÕÌi`Ê LÞÊVi>ÊLÀiÊÃÌÕ`°Ê
President Chavez to the front line of battle