page 7 | Analysis:
page 8 | Opinion
The challenges faced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Dan Rather’s false reporting on Venezuela & Chavez
Friday | June 1, 2012 | Nº 111 | Caracas
Region rejects US human rights report
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
Venezuela to become an agricultural power
Countries around the world have rejected the US State Department’s annual human rights report, published last week. The report, based on “evidence” collected by US-funded NGOs worldwide and US embassy personnel, shows clear bias against nations unsubordinate to US agenda. Many countries, including Venezuela, question the US government’s moral authority to pass judgement on others, while basic human rights remain unprotected in the United States. | page 3 Politics
Socialist Party gears up for campaign The PSUV has begun grassroots organizing for the upcoming presidential elections. | page 4
University workers ﬁght for rights Workers at the University of the Andes demand the institution respect the new labor law. | page 5 Interview
Venezuela represents “hope” An interview with Andalucia’s mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo. | page 6
In a move intended to boost domestic food production and increase employment opportunities for small farmers, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced further state support for a number of community-led agricultural projects. The projects compliment the Chavez administration’s push to increase agricultural production in the country and fortify national food sovereignty. | page 2
Venezuela to London So far, 52 athletes have put their names in the list of Venezuelans who will participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games, a number that “has overcome the goal we had set, which was over 40”, said Vice Minister Yuri Quinones of the Venezuelan Ministry of Sports. “This was an Olympic weekend”, he said referring to the places gained in 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays at the Athletics Brazil Grand Prix last Sunday. “We are waiting to know, by the end of the month, if the International Cycling Union (UCI) grants another spot to our country”, Quinones added. The vice-minister underscored the performance of athletes in different national and international tournaments and the support they receive from the current government. “No matter if they win or not, if they go to the podium or not. There is a strong support that comes directly from President (Hugo) Chavez and it encourages the athletes”.
Latin American ofﬁcials praise south american currency T/ Agencies
n Tuesday, Bolivia’s Economy Minister Luis Arce outlined the advantages of the virtual currency used by the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), called the Unitary System of Regional Compensation (Sucre). “The currency seeks to eliminate the US dollar as a means to carry
out international transactions, and create a South America currency, initially as a mechanism to compensate payments”, Arce said during a workshop in Bolivia with members of the Sucre executive board of directors. “We believe this mechanism will help us to begin thinking about Latin America with our own mentality and vision”, he added. The beneﬁts of implementing the Sucre were also highlighted by
delegates from Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The Bolivian Minister of Productive Development and Plural Economy, Teresa Morales, said the Sucre is vital for her country and, as an example, mentioned textile exports to Venezuela. For his part, Cuban expert Benigno Regueira said the virtual currency will help Cuba overcome the commercial and economic embargo imposed by the US.
“Cuba has a dynamic commercial exchange with Venezuela – and now more recently with Ecuador – of bio-technology products, medicines, pesticides, food, among others”, he said. The Sucre was created in 2010 to facilitate integration among countries in Latin America and the Caribbean based on the principles of solidarity, complementarity, justice and cooperation.
2 | Impact
NoÊ£££ÊU Friday, June 1, 2012
The artillery of ideas The government also highlighted last week a 4-year old national plan to ensure domestically produced seeds in order to free the South American country from the monopoly held over seed production and distribution by transnational corporations. “We’ve shown that we can produce vegetable and bean seeds. We have an enormous potential to produce vegetables, black beans, and pinto beans while maintaining our sovereignty”, said Tatiana Pugh of the National Agricultural Investigation Institute.
Hugo Chavez: Venezuela to become an agricultural power T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
n a move intended to boost domestic food production and increase employment opportunities for small farmers, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced last Saturday further state support for a number of community-led agricultural projects. The declarations were made during a phone call to the state television station Venezolana de Television (VTV) and coincided with the country’s Vice President and Agriculture Minister, Elias Jaua’s tour of the Abreu e Lima agrarian development project in the state of Anzoategui. Chavez took advantage of the government broadcast to converse with Jaua regarding the state of agricultural production in the country and reafﬁrm his administration’s commitment to developing Venezuela’s previously neglected countryside. “Venezuela is going to be a world agricultural power”, the socialist President said during the call. The Abreu e Lima agricultural development project consists of 8,000 hectares (19.7 thousand acres) of social
property being worked by 248 workers with an average production capacity of 1,500 kilos of soy per hectare. The initiative, a collaboration between Brazil and Venezuela, is an example of the multi-faceted plan put forth by the Chavez administration to increase agricultural production in the country and fortify national food sovereignty. Vice President Jaua referred to the production unit as representative of the gains made by Venezuela’s revolutionary government to boost production of a number of important agricultural products, including soy. “We’re hoping to plant 80,000 hectares (197,000 acres) of soy in all of the country this year, surpassing the 40,000 hectares (98,000 acres) that were sown last year”, Jaua said. For President Chavez, this falls in line with the overall agricultural plan of the nation that has pinpointed strategic crops to promote both consumption and industrial uses. “One of the speciﬁc proposals is to encourage the production of rice, corn and soy - crops that carry development potential in the short term”, Chavez explained on Saturday.
The Venezuelan President pointed out that the nation has some 30 million hectares of land (74 million acres) available for cultivation and has increased its soy production from 10 tons in 1998 to 65 thousand tons in 2010. EFFICIENT STATE BUSINESSES During the broadcast, the exlieutenant colonel also detailed plans to transfer 1.2 billion bolivars ($279 million) to the government’s new Socialist Efﬁciency Fund, a ﬁnancing body designed to receive surpluses from state enterprises. The transfer, Chavez explained, is the result of the profits made over the past three months by the state-owned banks, Banco de Venezuelan and the Banco del Tesoro. Chavez called attention to the sustainability of certain public enterprises as a way to free Venezuela from its oil dependency and to form “the bases of a new model of economy”. Workers at the Abreu e Lima project announced their ability, in the last 4 months, to produce a surplus of 4 million bolivars ($930,000), which will also be destined to the new government fund.
“In capitalism, this would be private property that belongs to a boss in order to exploit and enslave the workers”, the Venezuelan President said, drawing a difference between the redistributive policies of his government and those of market-based economic systems. MORE AGRARIAN INITIATIVES Chavez also mentioned a number of other agricultural projects including the creation of an animal feed plant in the state of Monagas, which will process soy, rice, corn, and sorghum for industrial use. According to the head of state, once operational, the new factory will manufacture up to 20 tons of product an hour. Other recent initiatives of the government’s agrarian development plan have included the Simon Bolivar and La Reforma Units of Socialist Production in the states of Aragua and Guarico, respectively. The two farms are contributing to a growing production of corn and rice in the country that, according to Food Minister Carlos Osorio, will be able to cover the national demand for two of the most important staple crops in Venezuela.
GEARING UP FOR ELECTIONS While President Chavez, a two-time incumbent, continues to enjoy a wide lead in all election polls, the head of state cautioned his supporters not to take victory for granted on October 7. “We are confronting the empire, the bourgeoisie and its international allies who have great power. We can’t underestimate our adversary. We’re going to win by a knockout but we have to work harder and harder every day, just as we’re doing”, he said. Although he has lessened his public appearances due to the cancer treatment he continues to receive, Chavez has been clear in his intention to continue with his election bid and has expressed his ﬁrm resolve to win a third 6-year term. The socialist’s opponent, current Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles, is the Venezuelan conservative candidate after primary elections were held in the Caribbean nation last February. Capriles and his running mate, Leopoldo Lopez, a former mayor of the afﬂuent Caracas neighborhood, Chacao, have attempted to present themselves as a viable alternative to the Chavez government but have been unable to articulate a platform that can compete with the enormously popular President. According to the incumbent, the victory of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela will rest on the unity of the organization’s supporters and the ability of party activists and leaders to avoid any kind of premature “triumphalism”. “We must all be united despite of our differences. Nothing of personalism, cliques or childish behavior. The nation is at stake and the future of our children is at stake”, the head of state said of this year’s elections.
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The artillery of ideas
International | 3 |
State Department’s human rights report: a reminder of the world order with the arena of human rights having become the new weapon of choice in manufacturing consent for intervention. As US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton pointed out, the report is not designed to be “widely read”, but rather to be used as a “tool” by governments, international institutions and policymakers.
T/ Rachael Boothroyd P/ Agencies
he US State Department’s human rights report for 2011 caused a wave of backlash across the globe this week after it routinely condemned human rights abuses in all countries which refuse to toe the US line while conveniently and predictably ignoring its own horrendous record. In Venezuela, several government ofﬁcials came out in condemnation of the report, which they feel is a total misrepresentation of Venezuelan reality and an insult to what the Bolivarian Revolution has achieved over the past 13 years. This is no surprise; the account of Venezuela’s human rights “offenses” bears little resemblance to the place where citizens are currently discovering their historic roots and gaining the right to social justice; a place where activists from all over the world routinely visit in order to learn more about a process which has placed human development and liberation at its core.
On the contrary, in the US report Venezuela is slammed for everything from practicing torture, promoting anti-Semitism in the state press, impeding freedom of expression and criminalizing dissent. REACTIONS IN VENEZUELA In an ofﬁcial statement, the Venezuelan government criticized the human rights report as proof of US “imperialist vocation” and an attempt to assert itself as a “world judge” on the international stage, while the country’s Attorney General of the Republic, Luisa Ortega Diaz, stated that the US lacked the “moral authority” to criticize Venezuela. It was not just public ofﬁcials who lambasted the report, however, and numerous Venezuelan activists also added their voices to criticism of it on alternative media sites. “It’s pathetic, if not cynical, from the country which has most violated human rights in the world during the 21st century, causing hundreds of thousands of civilian victims through its wars of aggression and which practices torture
in CIA prisons”, wrote activist Javier Colomo Ugarte on website Aporrea.org. DODGY SOURCES Of course, the report’s assertions are all predicated, not on scrupulous investigation within the country itself, but rather on claims made by opposition NGOs within Venezuela who all happen to be in the pay of foreign governments, particularly the US. While the document frequently cites information provided by NGOs such as the Venezuelan Prison Observatory (OVP) and Provea, it neglects to mention that the OVP is in fact directly funded by the US government and Provea by the both the European Commission and the Canadian based human rights organization, Rights and Democracy, which incidentally also receives the majority (81%) of its funding from the Canadian federal government. Effectively, the US State Department is paying for its own propaganda and misrepresenting it as considered and non-partisan statement of fact within its human rights report,
US HYPOCRISY Although no stranger to hypocrisy, the human rights report comes at a particularly bad moment. At a time when a democrat president is overseeing an indiscriminate crackdown on all forms of political dissent, evident through the criminalization of the Occupy protesters, and a simultaneous retraction of civil liberties, the US government’s monopolization of human rights discourse is even more visibly hollow. In the same week that the US published its “human rights” report, the New York Times ran a story about Obama’s secret “kill list”, detailing how, having dispensed with inconvenient procedures such as a fair trial, Obama is now presented with a list of terror suspects who will be summarily annihilated by drone-dropping US death squads based purely on his personal say so. Reminiscent of a maﬁa don or a Roman emperor, Obama individually decides who out of these “terror” suspects will live and who will die, with the most basic human right to life in the US now reducible to the whims of an unaccountable political strongman, who points his ﬁnger across to Venezuela where he decries the “centralization of power in the executive”. However, unlike a maﬁa don or a Roman emperor, Obama’s choice of execution via droning happens to be totally indiscriminate and often takes out anything in its victims surroundings, including women and children,deaths which the State Department is all too happy to write off as “collateral damage”.
Add to this recent Republican gerrymandering and attempts by Florida Governor, Rick Scott, to purge electoral lists of all “non-US” voters in the run up to elections; depriving citizens of their constitutional right to vote in a country which claims to be a paragon of Liberal Democracy, it is hard to see with what morality the US political establishment lectures other administrations about human rights. Much less Venezuela, where the concept of human rights has been expanded to include the political and the social. RE-ASSERTING THE WORLD ORDER The main problem with the report, however, is not its rampant hypocrisy or the fact that it continues to perpetuate lies based on US propaganda machines, but rather how it represents and continues to reproduce the logic of a dominant world order rooted in the historic experience of colonialism. In her presentation of the report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ominously warns other “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable”. The whole report and the language through which it is presented reﬂects a mentality which harks back to the racist discourse used to justify colonialist expansion;, that the US and Europe have some kind of “moral superiority” which gives them the right to pass judgement on other countries. This is the age-old binary between the “civilized” and the “uncivilized”, with Venezuela presumably being included in the latter. While the State Department’s latest human rights report is yet another reminder of the continuance of a world order based on asymmetrical relationships between nations, the outcry from the Venezuelan government and people is proof that these relationships and the dominant narratives that perpetuate them are being challenged, and that this world order is being contested like never before. It is the result of resistance that began in Latin America over 10 years ago, when citizens stood up and said that their politicians would be “accountable” to them, and not to policymakers in the Whitehouse.
4 | politics
NoÊ£££ÊU Friday, May 1, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela's socialists rev up electoral campaign around the nation T/ COI P/ PSUV
he electoral campaign of incumbent President Hugo Chavez got under way last week with a series of events organized by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the nation’s largest and most inﬂuential political organization. On Friday, a number of regional kick-offs to the ofﬁcial campaign effort, referred to as the Carabobo Command, took place around the nation where party activists swore allegiance to Chavez’s re-election bid and pledged to work towards victory on October 7. Dozens of activities were held in the states of Amazonia, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro, Miranda, Merida, and the capital of Caracas to rev up campaign morale and encourage party supporters to get involved in the movement, which has set as its goal the obtainment of 10 million votes for the incumbent President. “We can’t have any other interest except that of Chavez winning these 10 million votes. All of our energies should be put towards guaranteeing the victory of the nation, which is the victory of Chavez on October 7”, Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua said at a party rally in Miranda state. With a membership of over 7 million, the PSUV is by far the largest political party in Venezuela, dominating the country’s national and regional elections since it’s founding in 2008. Currently, the socialists maintain an absolute majority in Venezuela’s congress, the National Assembly, and hold 16 of the country’s 23 governorships. Much of the PSUV’s political victories have stemmed from the popularity and charisma of the party’s leader, current President Hugo Chavez. Through Chavez’s revolutionary social programs and anti-poverty initiatives, the former lieutenant colonel has galvanized a political movement which continues to cut
across class lines and inspire the majority of Venezuelan citizens. Last weekend, Vice President Elias Jaua spoke of the impending inscription of Chavez with the national electoral authorities as the ofﬁcial campaign candidate of the PSUV.
“We’re just a few days away of ofﬁcially inscribing Hugo Chavez [in the National Electoral Commission] as the candidate of the nation. Nothing can stop the inscription of a candidate who guarantees the continuity and preservation of the most precious thing that we have ob-
tained: our national independence. Two hundred years later we’re an independent nation thanks to Chavez and the consciousness of the Venezuelan people”, Jaua said. If Chavez is to win the elections on October 7, as most polls predict he will, it will be the
Chavez: Over 3 million followers on Twitter and growing T/ YVKE Mundial
n Monday, the ofﬁcial twitter account of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (@chavezcandanga), surpassed three million followers, reafﬁrming his spot as the most popular Latin American leader on the social network. From the early hours of Monday morning, numerous messages were sent to President Chavez using the hashtag #3millonesyvenciendo (#3Million&Overcoming). One the President’s followers, @luzdlunaclara, wrote: “#3MillionWithLove and much happiness”.
Another, @cleopatracoro, expressed her support for the leader by writing: “only the love of the people can give a President #3Million&Overcoming”. Similarly, users compared the three million followers of @chavezcandaga with the number of votes obtained during the opposition primaries by Henrique Capriles Radonski, the conservative candidate who won and will run in the presidential elections in October. “@chavezcandanga has more followers than [Capriles Radonski] supposedly got in the primaries”, wrote @EnMetroYenTren.
Since the appearance of @ chavezcandanga on Twitter in April 2010, a large number of Venezuelans began using the social network as a way to communicate with the head of state, sending regards, expressing needs and well wishes for his recovery and voicing support for the revolutionary process. Chavez reached two million followers in August of last year. Communications Minister Andres Izarra highlighted the signiﬁcance of the large number of followers, calling it a demonstration of “the importance Chavez has today in the world”. He explained that the leader’s status as a point of reference in
Barinas-native’s 5th consecutive electoral victory, including a recall referendum in 2004, and his 3rd consecutive 6-year presidential term. To achieve this end, the PSUV has formed what it has called the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), a coalition of thousands of social movements and political actors to back Chavez’s re-election bid without necessitating membership in the party’s ranks. On Sunday, an event sponsored by the PSUV was held in Venezuela’s Teresa Carreno National Theater with the intention of incorporating intellectuals and artists into the GPP’s campaign push. Blanca Eekhout, National Coordinator of the GPP called upon those in attendance for the congress to “awaken their spirit and critical thought” in order “to become an historic bloc which can achieve, deﬁnitively, the replacement of the hegemony of the imperialist bourgeoisie” in Venezuela. For his part, President Chavez praised the initiative via his Twitter account and encouraged all those members of the cultural community to join the efforts of the socialists in creating a new social and economic model for the country. “All you patriotic intellectuals and artists, let’s join the Great Patriotic Pole to continue building a new homeland”, Chavez wrote during the event.
the political world has found its virtual expression on Twitter and for that reason there are so many people interested in following his account. “How it must hurt the opposition that today @chavezcandanga has reached three million followers and will reach 10 million votes [in the October 7 presidential elections]”, Izarra wrote via his own account, @ Izarradeverdad. The Venezuelan head of state’s popularity on Twitter exceeds that of Mexico’s Felipe Calderon (@FelipeCalderon, 1.75 million followers), President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil (@DilmaBR 1.39 million), and President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina (@ CFKArgentina 1.07 million). “That’s why we call @chavezcandanga the commander of Twitter”, wrote Ysmael Serrano in a column in the newspaper Ciudad CCS.
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The artillery of ideas
politics | 5 |
University workers demand compliance with Venezuela's new labor law
law passed by the Chavez administration at the end of April. “With the new labor law which has come into effect, all subcontracted workers should become part of the normal, fulltime workforce”, said Guillermo Quintero, from the SOULA union. “[The 1400 subcontracted workers] have to be made permanent. Our union hasn’t passed the law, it was the national government. We want this law to
become reality so it protects us”, Quintero added. ULA ofﬁcials, including Rector Bonucci, blame the Chavez government for not providing sufﬁcient resources for the university in order to hire the workers as full-time employees. But the subcontracted laborers cite the example of the Central University of Venezuela’s (UCV), the nation’s largest, which recently complied with
the new law, requesting greater state ﬁnancing once the workers had been incorporated into permanent positions. “The government isn’t going to give resources to something that doesn’t exist. Here, the only person who is responsible for the problem is Mario Benucci. He’s the one who can make the workers permanent”, asserted Orestes Bastidas, a law student and supporter of the demonstrations. Other university workers have pointed out the tremendous budget that the ULA already has, greater than the entire city of Merida, and the fact that corruption inside the university has led to the loss of millions. “The money is given and then it’s diverted. The government gives the money and then the administration gives it to the professors who already are living well”, said Luis Marquez, a subcontracted driver and messenger. As an “autonomous” university, the ULA is not held accountable to government authorities nor security forces, despite all of the funding for public education being provided by the national government. The subcontracted workers have expressed their willingness to remain in the streets until the university’s authorities comply with the labor law. They have also demanded that Venezuela’s Minister for Higher Education, Yadira Cordova, intervene in the situation to bring about an end to the conﬂict. “The situation is in her hands”, said Quintero last week.
gun control and disarmament in Venezuela. As part of policies aimed at regulating the use of firearms among the civilian population, El Aissami also announced that requests for permits to carry arms will be made through the Justice Ministry and that on June 1 the period for registering arms and renewing permits will close. In Venezuela carrying a ﬁrearm is legal with a permit, however the commission has previously stated that the government’s citizen security policies are aimed at the eventual disarmament of the civilian population.
Meanwhile police bodies will be required to request and buy arms directly from the Justice Ministry. Ammunition supplied to police bodies will have special identiﬁcation marking from the Cavim factory. Other measures spearheaded by the Commission for Disarmament this year include a publicity campaign to raise awareness on the “cultural problem” of violent crime and promote values of peace. 78% of homicides in Venezuela are linked to the use of ﬁrearms. The justice minister reported that in designing these policies, over the past year more than 20,000 citizens had participated in the Commission’s consulta-
tion process, including 6,056 people attending workshops throughout the country. Of those who participated in the consultation, 84.3% were in favor of banning the carrying of arms, while 79.8% supported ending the sale of arms and ammunition. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced last Tuesday that a new government anti-crime program will be launched in June. The program aims to bring together all the government’s citizen security policies into a holistic approach toward tackling violent crime and transforming the judicial and prison systems.
T/ COI P/ COI
he Andean city of Merida has been rocked over the past week by a number of worker-led protests as sub-contracted employees from the University of the Andes (ULA) demanded that they be made permanent staff in compliance with Venezuela’s new labor law. The protests began last week and have focused on the ULA’s conservative administration, headed by Rector Mario Bonucci, who has refused to incorporate more than 1,400 subcontracted employees into full-time positions. “We’re in the streets demanding permanent positions and respect of the labor law. We are the ones affected and we won’t accept more ridicule from the university authorities”, said Mario Chacon, General Secretary of the workers’ union Soula. Merida, a city of approximately 300,000 residents, is dominated both socially and economically by the public university - the second largest in Venezuela with more than 40,000 enrolled students. The normally relaxed Andean city has been the site of numerous clashes between extremist, anti-government student movements and the local police in recent years.
In March 2006, a number of police ofﬁcers were injured as armed groups of right-wing students opened ﬁre on security personnel from the conﬁnes of the university. The demonstrations taking place over the past week, however, mark the ﬁrst time in recent years that university workers have assumed the vanguard of protests, demanding that the ULA’s conservative administration comply with the new labor
Sale of ﬁrearms and ammo banned in Venezuela T/ Ewan Robertson www.venezuelanalysis.com
rom June 1st the commercial sale of ﬁrearms and ammunition will be banned in Venezuela, conﬁrmed Venezuelan Justice and Interior Relations minister Tareck El Aissami this week. Since the measure was ﬁrst passed on February 29th, over 805,000 rounds of ammunition have been recovered by Venezuelan authorities as part
of an auditing process of gun stores. These are now held by the Venezuelan Anonymous Company of Military Industries (Cavim), which manufactures ammunition for state security bodies. The announcement was part of the first annual presentation by the Presidential Commission for Disarmament and Control of Arms and Ammunition, created in May 2011 to design and implement public policies aimed at
6 | Interview
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The artillery of ideas
Venezuela represents “hope” in the midst of a crisis of capitalism T/ Rachael Boothroyd P/ Correo del Orinoco
uan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, a history lecturer, representative for the United Left Party in Spanish Parliament and Mayor of Marinaleda in Andalucia, Seville, is currently visiting Venezuela for the ﬁrst time in solidarity with the Venezuelan process. During his time here he has been interviewed on state television program Dando y Dando (Giving and Giving), spoken on various community media channels and at various forums in order to share and debate socialist ideas, as well as to make known the achievements of his administration in Andalucia, where he was ﬁrst elected in 1979. Having been re-elected for the past 32 years thanks to full employment and housing policies, a radical land policy, citizen’s democracy and the implementation of social beneﬁts for the poor, Gordillo has also developed “popular collectives” as an alternative form of local labor organization and a series of agricultural initiatives aimed at promoting food sovereignty. Having weathered the ﬁnancial crisis better than the rest of Spain, many citizens are now looking towards the Marinaleda experience as an example of a viable alternative to austerity. Several delegates from the Venezuelan government also visited the socialist municipality in 2011 to exchange ideas relating to socialism, local economic sovereignty and participatory democracy. In Venezuela, Gordillo has been vocal in his criticism of what he describes as an inherently inhumane capitalist system, “bipartisan” democracies and of the European Union’s attempts to prioritize austerity programmes for the beneﬁt of banking institutions at the expense of the people. The Mayor also conﬁrmed that a housing area is currently under construction in Marina-
leda which will be named after Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution. “We are ﬁghting for the same cause and ﬁghting for the same objective”, he said. Translated excerpts follow from interviews with VTV, Correo del Orinoco and La Radio del Sur in which Gordillo talks about the relevance of Latin America, and particularly Venezuela, to current struggles in Europe. VTV: How do you evaluate the current situation in Venezuela and other Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Cuba, which are currently united in this struggle against the capitalist model and how do they present Chavez in Spain? Wow, the bourgeois press talk about him like a dictator, a demon. But there is a saying we use which goes, “the dogs are barking because we are advancing” (“ladran, luego ca-
balgamos”). You know if your enemies are talking badly about you, then you’re doing it right. I think right now, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, are hope for the whole world. That’s why in the Venezuelan elections on the October 7th, you (Venezuelans) aren’t just voting for freedom, the people against capitalism, but you’re voting for hope, utopia, you are voting for Venezuela’s natural resources to be at the service of the people, you are voting for people. I believe that there are millions of human beings who are with that vote and hope that Chavez will win, both in the developing world and capitalist countries as well. You can go to the US where there are 30 million people who don’t have access to medical care, or 40 million who don’t have housing and they live on the street. Or go to Europe, any part of Europe, and there are people who sleep on the streets, thousands of people in the cities.
That’s why I think this represents hope. I honestly believe we are in an historic moment with capitalism in systemic crisis, a profound crisis of the system. You (Venezuelans) are hope and light amidst all this, that’s how we revolutionaries from across the globe view this process, and the people who have always dreamed of a better world. In terms of representations in the media, I maintain that while there continues to be a propertied class (terrateniente) then there will be a “media class” (prensateniente) – those who own the media. Four or ﬁve multinationals control the world’s news, they decide what exists and what doesn’t. They defend just one discourse, a mono-discourse. We are active ambassadors and followers of the Bolivarian Revolution, which we support through our struggles. Because the best form of solidarity is to struggle against a
common enemy, which is economic imperialism. Correo del Orinoco: What do you think is the signiﬁcance of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)? Through ALBA a form of trade is being built which is crucial, in order to be able to survive the big business which is imposed by economic imperialism. The fact that countries are helping each other to achieve communal wellbeing is an extremely signiﬁcant revolutionary initiative. This is what used to be called proletariat internationalism or a philosophy of understanding and solidarity. Experiences like ALBA are demonstrating that other economic models are possible. La Radio del Sur: How are the Americas, particularly Venezuela, viewed in your country? I think right now it is viewed as a ray of light, because right now in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, you are taking back something essential, which is sovereignty. I believe that economic imperialism is the greatest thief of sovereignty from the people and nations, and you have broken with that. You have broken with the IMF totally, Ali Baba’s cave, and you have decided that your economy and your resources are yours. They were expropriated by the multi-nationals, it was they who expropriated. Here, you have recovered the concept of the “people”. You are trying to walk in a different direction and this is a concrete reference point for people trying to break with capitalism, and that’s essential. That’s why the experience of Marinaleda is so important, and that’s why Venezuela is so important, we need a concrete reference point. Of course they are both concrete experiences with defects and failures, nothing is perfect. But Venezuela is trying to create a system where the human being is at the center of the economy, where economic powers obey political forces, and where they are trying to create what Che termed the “new human being”, with new values, where what is important isn’t to earn money, but rather to be generous and in solidarity with other human beings.
NoÊ£££ÊU Friday, May 1, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Analysis | 7 |
T/ Carlos Aznárez P/ Presidential Press
ommander Hugo Chavez has never been afraid of challenges. Very much on the contrary, when faced with challenges, he has always responded by giving his all. Back in February, ‘89, Chavez is said to have felt an “indescribable disgust” when he found out that his brothers in arms had once again massacred the poorest of the people, a people who had transformed their rejection of IMF barbarities, implemented by then President Carlos Andres Perez, into what is now known as the Caracazo. At that time, Chavez didn’t doubt for a second that a change was taking place within the country’s Armed Forces. In fact, he even put his thoughts to paper in a rushed poem written to honor his fallen comrade Felipe Acosta Carlez, assassinated by the same men who murdered the unarmed masses during those days of ultimate sadness: “They killed Felipe Acosta / Felipe Acosta Carlez / and those who killed him can not even begin to imagine / what will come about as a result”, wrote Chavez. From that point on, the once lieutenant coronel consciously dedicated himself to carrying out an oath made December 17, 1982, at Saman de Güere, alongside two others from within the Venezuelan Armed Forces – the aforementioned Acosta Carles and Jesus Urdaneta. Their oath: to begin the underground organizing of the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army 200, later renamed the MBR-200 after the mass Caracazo rebellion. Their vows could not have been any clearer, promising “no calm to the soul, nor any rest to the arms, until the bearing of witness to the breaking of those chains that oppress our people”. The oath continued, and concluded, with a call that would later be taken on by all those who joined the Movement: “Popular elections, freedom for the land and people, and horror for the oligarchy”. Many years later, in another luminous, heroic, and courageous February (‘92) Chavez ﬁrst had to lose in order to win and he declared “for now” as
Hugo Chavez faces challenges, old and new a challenge to the people and to himself. At that time, it became evident that either from prison or from the plains that which was not achieved by arms would be transformed into millions of votes and the homeland would ﬁnally free itself of so much inequity and repression. It only took two years and, in 1994, Chavez left prison and took one of those trips that changed history – he arrived in Cuba, embraced Fidel, and established the basis for a new promise that he would fulﬁll repeatedly. He would return to Cuba under totally different conditions, both personal and collective, and demonstrate his gratitude for the affection expressed by the Cuban revolutionaries, initiating a brotherhood of rebellion that is to last a lifetime. Chavez the soldier, Chavez the candidate, and ﬁnally, Chavez the President. President of all those who discovered that for the very ﬁrst time someone spoke with their same voice, shared their dreams, and had converted himself into the creator of new realities that once seemed so difﬁ-
cult to bring about that almost everyone believed them impossible. Thanks to him, and the massive unconditional support expressed by his followers, the new Constitution arrived. Then, the ﬁrst revolutionary measures, followed by solidarity at home and abroad for those who most needed it. Then, the recuperation, the rescue, of Bolivar. And, with his return to the people, the renewed understanding of his teachings – teachings which had been viliﬁed by those previously in power. Every time that a difﬁcult situation has arisen, Chavez has had the full support of those who struggle on behalf of the homeland from its subsoil, from the people who have given repeated proof of their loyalty and courage whenever they’ve come to the surface. Thanks to this popular support both coup d’etats were defeated, the ﬁrst of which pertained to the clowns of the oligarchy – Carmona and Venezuela’s largest business federation (Fedecamaras) – and the second of which belonged to the riotous oil coup planners of the quasi-gringo managers of the old Petroleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa). In both cases, just imag-
ining victory was often an enormous challenge. Even in the worst of moments, however, like when Chavez was kidnapped and taken to La Orchila, or during the criminal food shortages of that dark Christmas 2002, Commander Chavez never lost his faith in the people and, as a result, he achieved a two-fold victory – the coups were defeated, and an indestructible communion was formed between Chavez and his people, the people who now repeat, with great emotion, that “love is repaid with love”. In the past 13 years, the Bolivarian Revolution has accumulated spaces of popular power that have become the indispensable defense mechanism to protect against the enemy’s lust for power. This accumulated force now serves to defend against enemies, both foreign (Yankee and European imperialism, transnational ﬁrms, Zionism, and their pawns) and domestic (the fainthearted of the internal bourgeoisie), as well as the scavenging birds that hover around the perimeters of the revolutionary process.
In other words, the accumulated power of the people also faces the enemy within, the enemy inside the Revolution that sits and waits for the right moment to seize. At this point in time Chavez has two important challenges ahead of him. In both situations, as has been the case throughout his time in government, Chavez has decided to reject all speculation about easy wins or simple victories. Both, he understands, are scenarios in which victories are only the result of truthful battles. In the ﬁght he is currently waging for his health, Chavez has taken the bull by its horns and told its truth without any sort of disguise whatsoever. It is known: where cancer once existed, there is danger, but that this danger doesn’t mean death although there are many anti- and counter-revolutionary scavengers who wish that were the case. Just as it was back in February 1992, when after assuming full responsibility for the insurrectionist movement he began hearing and feeling the love of his people, today those same scenes of profound love repeat themselves over and over again. The other situation that must be overcome is not as difﬁcult. Nevertheless, all seems to indicate that no one should sleep on their laurels and, come October 7, the people must go out and win, win, and win. And to do so, the people must vote, vote, and vote. Now, of course, there are countries in which votes are entirely worthless, in which politicians laugh in the face of voters post-election, day after day, year after year. But that is not the Venezuelan case. In Venezuela, as is wellknown and repeatedly commented upon, it’s the voters themselves who have continued to fuel the train of revolutionary struggle. In addition, it is this new, electoral, revolutionary path that now covers the entirety of Latin America and most of the Global South. This October 7, Chavez will once again demonstrate that, with him, all challenges become the driving force in the struggle to overcome them, transformed into the force of knowing that he is the leader of a process that deserves to continue marching forward.
Friday | June 1, 2012 | Nº 111 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
A publication of the Fundacion Correo del OrinocoÊUÊ `ÌÀ ivÊEva GolingerÊUÊÀ>« VÊ iÃ}ÊAimara AguileraÊUÊ*ÀiÃÃÊFundación Imprenta de la Cultura
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Rather’s false reporting on Venezuela & president Hugo Chavez ÞÊ Û>Ê}iÀ
ince Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was diagnosed with cancer and a malignant tumor was removed from his pelvic region last June, all kinds of rumors, lies and speculations have circulated about his health. Most of the hype has come from known anti-Chavez media, such as the Miami Herald and several online blogs run by right-wing extremists like Bush’s former Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, who’s been obsessed with Chavez for years. All cite unnamed sources who claim they have “insider information” about the Venezuelan head of state’s health. It’s been unsurprising that those media outlets, known for their decade-long distortions of Venezuela’s reality, would publish such falsities and morbid tales about President Chavez. But that a serious, veteran, investigative journalist, such as Dan Rather, would indulge in the necrophiliac story-telling about the Venezuelan President is truly disappointing. Rather, who now runs his own show on HDNet, Dan Rather Reports, posted a report on Wednesday, May 30, claiming President Chavez’s health is “dire” and has “entered the end stage”. Rather also claims his unnamed “high-level” source, who he alleges is close to the Venezuelan President, told him Chavez won’t live “more than a couple of months at most”. In his brief report, which he calls an “exclusive”, Rather also bids in with his own biased language, calling the democratically-elected Venezuelan President a “dictator”. What prompted Dan Rather to write such diatribe? Why would he join the ranks of Roger Noriega, the wretched Miami Herald and a slew of pseudo-journalists drooling over their morbid wet
dreams of President Chavez’s failing health? What is apparent is that Rather was quick to the gun to “break” his “exclusive” story. Just the day before, President Chavez hosted a cabinet meeting broadcast live on television that lasted more than four hours. The Venezuelan head of state appeared energized, optimistic and focused on his duties, and even sang a few heartfelt songs, as is custom for the eclectic and charismatic Chavez. He reafﬁrmed his candidacy for the October 7th presidential elections. (Yes, Venezuela is a democracy!) That’s a far cry from being on his “death bed”, as Rather implies. President Chavez does have cancer. He’s been the ﬁrst to inform on his health, and has been open about his treatment and recovery since his ﬁrst operation last June to remove the initial tumor. Chavez then underwent ﬁve sessions of chemotherapy – four of which were done in
Cuba. He was recuperating well and even played host to a major historical summit in Caracas last December to inaugurate the newly-formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), in which all 33 nations in the region are represented. But in early February, Chavez announced that a second, smaller tumor had been detected in the same area in his pelvic region, and had to be removed. He again returned to Cuba for surgery, and subsequently received several rounds of radiation therapy. According to Chavez, there was no metastasis, nor were any of his organs affected. On May 11, he returned to Venezuela after completing the treatment and expressed his optimism for recovery. “I’m on the plane... Heading for the Venezuelan fatherland. With more optimism than ever! We will live and we will conquer!” Chavez said that day in a message on Twitter. Since then, the Venezuelan President has participated
in several televised meetings and called in to different news programs to discuss his policies and provide updates on his health. He has admitted he can no longer be the “work horse” he was before, and now must limit himself to an 8-hour workday, ensuring he keeps his diet and sleep in check. But previous to his health scare, Chavez was a super-President, appearing on television in public events for hours – sometimes even eight hours – and participating in three to four activities daily, often in different parts of the country. He barely slept and drank excessive amounts of black, sugary coffee. He worked until the wee hours of the morning and listened to every voice, attended every request. His level of energy was extreme, as was his anxiety and commitment to continue rebuilding Venezuela and ensuring his policies reduced poverty and provided for the most needy. Now, as Chavez runs for his third full term, his pace is no longer extreme, but it’s certainly on par or above his counterparts. Even throughout his cancer treatments, President
Chavez was on top of his duties, informing the public via television and Twitter about budgetary issues and new projects underway. He never dropped the ball, despite the severity of his situation. Chavez has cancer, and he is ﬁghting it hard, with the same strength he has used to propell his nation forward, often against the toughest obstacles. But President Chavez is not “out of the game”, as Dan Rather morbidly implies. Polls show him with double-digit leads over the opposition presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, a neoconservative known for his violent role in the April 2002 coup d’etat against Chavez. A majority of Venezuelans know – and love – President Chavez for his immense humanity and his passionate commitment to improving their lives. And they will vote for him again. Dan Rather has always emphasized the necessity of “courage” in reporting, yet he shows cowardice and sloppy ambition by racing to publish unconﬁrmed reports on President Chavez’s health, and by touting slanderous epithets to describe the Venezuelan head of state. He also shows a complete lack of respect for President Chavez’s humanity by perpetuating gruesome rumors about his mortality. Mr. Rather appears to have left his journalist ethics and principles behind, and has chosen – at least in this case – to be a pawn of yellow journalism.
Published on Jun 1, 2012