page 7 | Analysis:
page 8 | Opinion
Analysis: Chavez responds to World Bank accusations
The Cuban Five: A case of injustice
Friday | June 15, 2012 | Nº 113 | Caracas
Unasur to ﬁght poverty
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
Chavez formalizes candidacy for re-election
“We are just warming up our motors” Canaima celebrated
Venezuelan Ali Rodriguez, a long-term high level official from the Chavez government and former guerrilla fighter from the 1960s, assumed the position of Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) this week. Rodriguez, who received the new role from prior Secretary General Maria Emma Mejia from Colombia, pledged to dedicate Unasur’s resources towards poverty reduction in South America. | page 5 Integration
Venezuela & Russia strengthen ties Defense and ﬂowers were part of recent accords. | page 4 Integration
OPEC revived by Venezuela President Chavez says oil should remain at $100 per barrel. | page 5 Culture
Street boxing takes off in Caracas A new boxing program in poor communities is helping reduce crime and danger. | page 6
Despite rumors regarding his health, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ofﬁcially registered his candidacy for reelection this week in a mass rally event accompanied by tens of thousands of supporters. Showing his high energy and stamina, Chavez gave a 3-hour speech in an open plaza in Caracas, detailing his government program if re-elected. The day before, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski also registered his candidacy for president. | pages 2-3
Correo del Orinoco International distributed in Boston T/ COI
ur newspaper Correo del Orinoco International was recently distributed in the city of Boston for the ﬁrst time as an insert in the weekly Hispanic newspaper, La Semana, according to the Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in that city.
La Semana, a Spanish-language newspaper founded in 1978, covers the region of New England and is distributed free in schools, community centers, businesses, libraries, and subway stations. Regarding the new initiative to bring Venezuela’s news to the Boston community, Editor of
La Semana, Pedro Cuenca, remarked, “Our media has always been interested in offering a balanced view of the processes of change that are happening in Latin America”. La Semana also owns an open signal television station that broadcasts content from the Latin American channel TeleSUR for several hours a day. “We’re broadening our signal to make available three digital channels, one of which will be dedicated to TeleSUR”, Cuenca announced.
Canaima, spread over 3 million hectares in south-eastern Venezuela along the border between Guyana and Brazil, celebrates its 50th anniversary since it was declared a National Park by the Venezuelan government on June 12, 1962. Roughly 65% of the park is covered by table mountain (tepui) formations and there are numerous waterfalls, including Angel Falls, the largest waterfall in the world with a free drop of 1,002 meters (approx. 3,000 feet). The tepuis constitute a unique biogeological entity and are of great geological interest. The sheer cliffs and waterfalls, including Angel Falls, form a spectacular landscape. In recognition of its extraordinary scenery and geological and biological values, the park was conceded World Heritage Status in 1994, forming one of a select list of 126 natural and natural-cultural World Heritage Sites worldwide. Canaima fulﬁlled all four of Unesco's criteria for qualiﬁcation as a World Heritage property.
The project to distribute Correo del Orinoco International in Boston is part of the communications initiatives of the Venezuelan Consulate in that city to help offer alternative perspectives and offset the unbalanced information about Venezuela. Correo del Orinoco International began publishing in English in January 2010 as a special weekly edition to the Spanish-language daily Correo del Orinoco, in an effort to better inform a wider audience of events and developments in Venezuela and Latin America.
2 | Impact
NoÊ££ÎÊU Friday, June 15, 2012
The artillery of ideas and several changes of clothes for the candidate. When he spoke to the crowd, he spun off catch phrases with long pauses in between, lasting no more than 15 minutes total. “Yesterday, what we saw was a product of marketing. Today we will see a leader with a proposal to continue ﬁghting for national independence and the construction of a country where we all can live with justice and dignity”, Jaua said.
Massive turnout accompanies Chavez in electoral registration T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
enezuela’s largest political party showed its force last Monday when hundreds of thousands of backers took to the streets of Caracas to support the ofﬁcial registration of Hugo Chavez with the nation’s electoral authorities, thereby formalizing his candidacy for the October 7 presidential contest. From early hours in the morning, members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) from all over the nation began to ﬁll the area surrounding the major squares of the capital to demonstrate the enormous popularity that current president continues to hold from the country’s population. “We left yesterday at 6pm in the afternoon and we arrived today at 7am. We traveled more than 12 hours to give our support to President Chavez because I believe he’s doing a great job and I want to see him continue”, said Luz Quintero, resident from the western state of Merida. At around 4pm, Chavez left the presidential palace of Miraﬂores en route to the ofﬁces of
Venezuela’s National Electoral Commission (CNE) in a caravan that was quickly surrounded by a sea of red clad PSUVistas gathered to accompany their leader during his inscription. “We can’t describe the emotion that we feel to be able to accompany Chavez to the CNE”, said Rosmary Padilla from the Caracas neighborhood of Catia, during the celebration. In compliance with the norms of the CNE, Chavez, upon enrollment, delivered his government’s proposed plan for what would be his third consecutive 6-year presidential term spanning 2013 to 2019. The program, as he has explained on earlier occasions, seeks to deepen his administration’s socialist policies and ﬁght for “the supreme happiness of the people”. “Our model is working. The economy is growing under our [socialist] model”, said the Venezuelan President on the eve of the rally last weekend. Upon completing his registration with the electoral commission, a robust and energetic Chavez promptly joined a traditional “llanero” music group outside the CNE headquarters, singing a medley of Venezuelan
folk songs and engaging with the crowd gathered in the Caracas and Diego Ibarra Plazas outside the agency’s ofﬁces. The 57-year old then led an enthusiastic rally where he spoke for nearly three hours, enumerating the accomplishments made over his 13 years as President and elaborating new objectives for a future administration. The head of the PSUV drew special attention to the topic of national independence and the threat that the opposition represents to the sovereign management of the nation’s vast oil wealth. “Control over oil is one of the greatest battles of this campaign”, Chavez said citing the more than $350 billion that his government has invested in social programs as a result of its heightened restraints on foreign oil companies. “But what is the other side of the independence coin?” The President asked the crowd. “The other side is what the opposition represents. It’s a project to return Venezuela to a colony...That’s to say, the privatization that capitalism brings...Those who want to be colonized vote for the opposi-
tion! Those who want an independent homeland, vote for Chavez!” he exclaimed. OPPOSITION “MARKETING” Monday’s demonstration came a day after opposition candidate and former governor of Miranda state, Capriles Radonski, had formalized his intention to stand in Venezuela’s presidential elections. Although numbers were smaller for the conservative candidate, the ex-governor was also accompanied by a group of supporters who joined the 39 year old for an 11 kilometer walk from East Park to the headquarters of the CNE. According to all major polls, Capriles continues to trail the incumbent Chavez by a substantial margin despite the latter’s lack of recent public appearances due to cancer treatment. Speaking to Venezuelan National Radio before the rally on Monday, Vice President Elias Jaua described the opposition candidate’s plan to be void of new proposals, referring to the former governor’s campaign as a product of “marketing”. Capriles’ campaign event included a choreographed song
SOCIAL PROGRAMS KEY TO SUCCESS At a time when politicians in the United States and Europe have been slashing public beneﬁts, Chavez has built a legacy around his redistributive economic policies and his administration’s commitment to improve residents’ quality of life. T This has taken concrete form in tthe dozens of social programs tha that the socialist leader has cre created in the areas of health car care, food security, education, em employment, and housing. T The current president rema mains the candidate of working cla class communities not only because he speaks the language of the common Venezuelan, but also as a result of these policy initiatives which have provided everyday citizens with greater access to essential services. Some of these gains include the wiping out of illiteracy in the country, the cutting in half of poverty, the creation of subsidized food markets, and the democratization of the banking sector through the disbursement of low-interest micro credits to residents with productive projects. The government’s missions have been fortiﬁed by a growth in political participation at the grassroots level through the creation of more than 30,000 community councils in neighborhoods around the nation. For this reason, the nation’s right-wing opposition has, according to Vice President Jaua, been unable to articulate a convincing platform that can compete with the opportunities presented to the Venezuelan people by the Chavez camp. “The re-election of President Chavez guarantees that the poor will cease to be poor, that human rights will be respected and that the fundamental needs of the people will be met”, Jaua said on Monday.
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The artillery of ideas
Politics | 3 |
Opposition makes candidacy ofﬁcial T/ COI P/ Agencies
n Sunday, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski formally submitted his presidential bid to Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE). Backed by dozens of right-wing parties and their supporters from within the country’s traditional elite, Capriles Radonski used a Sunday rally at CNE headquarters in Caracas to declare himself “the enemy of a country whose government prevents us from going forward”. Frustrated by his inability to alter polls that predict a sweeping October 7 victory for Venezuela’s widely-popular socialist President, Hugo Chavez, Capriles warned voters that in this year’s presidential election “we are not going to choose between two men, we are going to choose between two ways of life”. IT´S OFFICIAL Speaking at a Sunday rally in front of the CNE´s National Ofﬁce, Capriles spent no more than ﬁfteen minutes issuing a series of prefabricated slogans designed to win over much needed support. Referring to himself in the third person, the candidate told those gathered, “All Capriles wants is a united Venezuela”. “I want to build a Venezuela for all Venezuelans”, he said, “and I aspire to become the president of all Venezuelans”. The opposition candidate added that the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the right-wing coalition that backs Capriles in this year´s election with substantial support from the US government, “will unite Venezuela, whatever the cost!” Vaguely promising not to govern “on behalf of any one group, nor just one sector”, Capriles added that he hopes to be “the president of the reds (Chavistas) as well”. As part of his “Hollywoodesque” campaign, Capriles changed his clothes three times during his brief event Sunday, wearing a different outﬁt for each stage. His campaign had also distributed a video with in-
structions for a choreographed dance to accompany him during his electoral registration. Capriles is reportedly receiving campaign strategy advice from renowned US strategist Stanley Greenberg and his ﬁrm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which also ran the opposition’s campaign against President Chavez in 2006. Greenberg is a close friend of the Clintons and his ﬁrm frequently runs campaigns for the US democrat party. Recent polls report 60% of voters would elect Chavez if elections were held this month, with only 30% planning to vote for Capriles. This troubling gap, for opposition strategists, has them looking desperately to pull from Chavez’s base as well as to mobilize apathetic or neutral voters. According to Capriles, Venezuelans this year must “choose between a present that is stagnant, violent and has no opportunities, and those of us who believe the country holds a future of progress for all of us”. “VAGUE AND MEDIOCRE” Questioning Capriles Radonski’s speech and obscure cam-
paign discourse, Venezuelan political analyst Nicmer Evans told opposition daily El Tiempo that the candidate’s speech was both “vague and mediocre”. According to Evans, Capriles’ failure to “elaborate on any speciﬁc idea for more than ﬁve minutes” makes the US-backed candidate “an unﬁt representative of the Venezuelan opposition”. Capriles, who took 62% of the opposition’s internal primaries this past February 12th “was not the best candidate for the opposition, just the candidate with the most money”, Evans explained. Convinced by his success in the opposition primaries, Capriles maintained his undeﬁned campaign slogan “There is a Way” and often tells his supporters “we came to build a distinct future; we came to build a future for all Venezuelans. Now is not the hour of left nor right; it is the hour of Venezuela, of all Venezuelans”. While the Capriles campaign insists on repeating claims that his platform is suitable for “all Venezuelans”, Evans recently explained that “voters need to see the proposals, the
Recent polls report 60% of voters would elect Chavez if elections were held this month, with only 30% planning to vote for Capriles. This troubling gap, for opposition strategists, has them looking desperately to pull from Chavez’s base as well as to mobilize apathetic or neutral voters projects that are to be carried out, because if these don’t exist, than we are in the presence of a pamphlet and nothing else”. The analyst added that when Capriles “speaks of opportunities for everyone, but not the conditions needed by everyone, he is deﬁning a plan from the neo-liberal perspective”. In contrast to Capriles Radonski’s strategic ambiguity, President Chavez on Monday submitted an overall government program for the entire
six-year period (2013-2019). Chavez, speaking to hundreds of thousands of his supporters as he too formally registered for the election, called on the Venezuelan people to discuss and improve the general plan in another exercise of participatory democracy. Chavez’s proposed government program was also distributed nationwide the following day and made available online, so it could be reviewed and commented on by his supporters. Capriles, on the other hand, recently retracted on a commitment to give up the governorship of Miranda, choosing instead to “delegate responsibilities” until after October 7. He has presented no concrete government plan to date. According to Evans, “what is clear to everyone is that the Venezuelan people prefer a candidate who is sick with cancer but ﬁlled with love for his country over a candidate who is sick with hate and ﬁrmly committed to making richer those of his social class at the expense of more poverty for those who have always been poor”. ENEMY NUMBER ONE While polls continue to predict a landslide victory for President Chavez, the Mayor of Caracas’ Libertador Municipality and National Coordinator of the President’s re-election campaign Jorge Rodriguez called on supporters to “avoid all forms of triumphalism”. Speaking on Sunday, Rodriguez insisted, “Abstention is the principal enemy of the Revolution” and, as such, warned, “the opposition is going to do everything possible so that abstention rises”. With a recent study by the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD) ﬁnding voters favor Chavez over Capriles in every one of the country’s 23 states, Mayor Rodriguez explained that “polls which had once been used by the opposition, the very same polls they said they trusted, are now the ﬁrst to report that Chavez has a solid lead”. As such, he said, “this process (election) is going to be arduous on two levels: ﬁrst, within the campaign itself; and second, within the need to dismantle (strategies) of psychological warfare which the enemy is trying to impose”.
4 | Integration
NoÊ££ÎÊU Friday, June 15, 2012
Venezuela and Russia deepen “strategic alliance”
T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
op Russian ofﬁcials met with their Venezuelan counterparts last week during a 3-day diplomatic visit that saw the two allied nations review a series of bilateral accords dealing with energy, ﬁnance, defense, housing and commerce.
During a press conference held at the end of the visit, Venezuelan President Chavez referred to the meeting as an important indication of the growing Caracas-Moscow relationship and the need to maintain such ties of mutual cooperation. “It’s a powerful sign to continue strengthening bilateral relations and contribute in the creation of balance and world
peace - one of the greatest goals and objectives that we have”, the Venezuelan head of state said. As part of the ministerial delegation, the Russian team visited a housing project in the military zone of Fort Tiuna in western Caracas where six thousand new apartments are being built as a result of an agreement signed between the two countries.
Venezuela’s proposed Social Charter approved by OAS T/ Tamara Pearson www.venezuelanalysis.com
ast week the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved by consensus the Social Charter of the Americas, a project Venezuela has been pushing since 2001. The 42nd General Assembly, which met in Cochabamba, Bolivia, approved the charter after it was first proposed by Venezuela at the 2001 31st
General Assembly, in Costa Rica. The charter, which promotes cultural development, diversity, plurality, and encourages solidarity and joint work in the Americas, should be the start of “making all basic services a human right”, said Bolivian President Evo Morales. The approved text states, “The peoples of America have a legitimate aspiration for social justice and their governments have the responsibility to promote
it”. It also says it is necessary that governments adopt “polices to promote inclusion, prevent, combat, and eliminate all types of intolerance and discrimination, especially discrimination according to gender, ethnicity, and race”. The initial Social Charter that Venezuela proposed was a 129 article document that addressed social rights in relation to health, work, education, basic services, citizen participation, environment, and the rights of
The artillery of ideas With respect to the ﬁnancial sector, the two teams reviewed a joint Russian-Venezuelan bank venture, founded in 2009, that seeks to fund a diversity of bilateral projects with a special emphasis on energy collaboration. The bank, a joint enterprise between Venezuela’s state oil company Pdvsa and Russia’s Gazprom bank, has its headquarters in Moscow and has recently opened its ﬁrst ofﬁce in Caracas. According to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a special message to his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez on Friday, ratifying his contentment with the “deep strategic alliance” that has grown up between Caracas and Moscow. Venezuela’s chief diplomat referred to the message of Putin as reafﬁrming “the brotherhood that has been cultivated over more than 10 years between Venezuelan and Russian authorities”. “Today, we are strategic allies in the construction of new relationships of cooperation and above all, strategic allies in the construction of a peaceful, stable world as the Liberator Simon Bolivar spoke of”, Maduro said in reference to Venezuela’s independence hero at the end of the talks on Friday. The Russian delegation was the ﬁrst of its kind to travel to a foreign country since the formation of President Putin’s new cabinet on May 21.
DEFENSE & FLOWERS At Saturday’s press conference, President Chavez divulged the topics touched upon by the two nations including heightened collaboration in oil exploitation and defense spending. “The Russian ministerial delegation has been in Venezuela to continue strengthening bilateral relations. There has been a military-technical agreement signed with the approval of a $4 billion loan granted by Moscow so that Venezuela can defend its sovereignty”, Chavez said. The loan will maintain the tight defense relationship that Caracas has fostered with Moscow over the past eight years - a relationship that Washington has criticized and attempted to obstruct. On Saturday, the Venezuelan head of state pre-empted any opposition to the defense spending by exerting his nation’s sovereign right and obligation to arm itself. “Let them say what they want to say. Venezuela has a right to defend herself. We also have the constitutional obligation to maintain our Armed Forces organized and well-supplied. This isn’t to attack anyone. It’s to defend ourselves”, President Chavez declared. Chavez also reported that agricultural agreements including the export of plantains, coffee, cacao and ﬂowers from the Caribbean nation to Russia were evaluated and reafﬁrmed during the ministers’ visit to Caracas.
indigenous people. It was meant to complement the existing OAS Democratic Charter, which aims to guarantee political rights. Venezuelan legislator Aristobulo Isturiz, who at the time of the original proposal was the Venezuelan education minister, said that until then, the OAS had only taken political and civil rights into account, and not social, cultural, and economic rights. The Social Charter was necessary to rectify this.
Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations and former ambassador to the OAS, Jorge Valero said that, “It has been a diplomatic battle... it was seriously opposed by the representatives of the US government... I remember at one point, they were very aggressive”. The new charter “could be said to be...the new political map”, Valero remarked. President Chavez also commented that the US and Canada “represent an obstacle for nations in the region who are seeking development and progress... the majority of our countries are demanding changes in the [OAS] mechanisms...if there aren’t any changes, it will become obsolete”.
A DIPLOMATIC BATTLE President Hugo Chavez recognized the importance of the approval of the Social Charter, and commented, “This proposal was born here, they tried to block it, to hold it up, to distort it, but it was approved”.
NoÊ££ÎÊU Friday, June 15, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Integration | 5 |
Venezuela assumes Unasur secretary general, pledges to ﬁght regional poverty T/ COI P/ AFP
he foreign ministers of the 12 countries that comprise the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) regional alliance met in Bogota last Monday to discuss the formation of two new council bodies and transfer the position of Secretary General of the bloc to the Venezuelan Ali Rodriguez. The meeting saw the participation of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the current Unasur president pro tempore, Paraguayan head of state Fernando Lugo, both of whom presided over the transfer of the Secretary Generalship from the Colombian Maria Emma Mejia to ex-Venezuelan Minister Rodriguez. Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Paraguayan Foreign Minister, Jorge Lara, praised Mejia for an outstanding performance during her 1-year term at the helm of the organization. “She was able to strengthen the structure of Unasur in harmony with the organization’s principles - that of an alternative project for Latin American integration based on the unity of its people and the sovereignty of the region’s countries”, Lara said. Unasur was created in 2008 to advance regional cooperation and promote healthy and productive relations between all of South America’s sovereign states. In 2010, under Secretary General Nestor Kirchner from Argentina, the bloc was instrumental in helping to repair relations between Venezuela and Colombia after a break in ties led to a political crisis in the region. As part of the deal that led to the normalization of relations between the neighboring countries, Unasur member states resolved to split the Secretary General’s position into two oneyear terms to be shared by Colombia and Venezuela. Ali Rodriguez’s swearing in on Monday represents the end of Colombia’s term and the beginning
of Venezuela’s occupancy of the Secretary General position per the agreement signed in 2010. During his inaugural speech, the former Venezuelan Minister made a call for Unasur members to develop the region’s natural resources in a way that can end the
poverty that more than 180 million people in South America are still forced to endure. “We must take advantage of our strengths to combat poverty, to combat unemployment, and expand our internal markets. This is the way to provide
positive results for the entire region,” Rodriguez said. The ex-guerrilla also proposed making greater use of the Bank of the South, created in 2009, to ﬁnance industrialization projects throughout South America.
“A project such as this can only be positive”, Rodriguez said of the ﬁnancial entity. ELECTORAL COUNCIL Previous to the swearing in ceremony on Monday, the meeting of Foreign Ministers also saw discussions on a variety of topics including the bloc’s budget, the rules underpinning the Secretary General position, and the creation of two new councils to deal speciﬁcally with elections and crime ﬁghting initiatives. The newly created electoral council will be on display to monitor Venezuela’s presidential elections, set for October 7. “The ﬁrst mission of the Electoral Council will be to accompany Venezuela in its process”, said the out-going Mejia of the new commission. For many in the alliance, the meeting held earlier this week in the Colombian capital has demonstrated the maturation of Unasur as an important instrument for regional cooperation only 4 years after its founding. The goal now, as articulated by Foreign Minister Lara, is to continue on that path and forge new institutional mechanisms of collaboration and unity. “The governments of Latin America are not those of before. Now we are conscious of the necessities of our people and we are acting accordingly”, the Paraguayan said.
OPEC was revived in Venezuela in 2002 T/ AVN P/ Agencies
he President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, said Monday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) came back to life in Caracas after the Venezuelan executive reasserted control over the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa). While the company had been nationalized in 1976, it operated as a private corporation to the beneﬁt of an elite minority. After the sabotage of Venezuela’s oil industry orchestrated by the opposition in December 2002 in an attempt to overthrow the government,
the Chavez administration took stronger control of the oil industry and began to distribute oil revenues more equally by investing in social programs aimed at helping the needy. The Venezuelan President said that his government expects to present a claim to OPEC countries to ensure the agreements and decisions reached by the organization are respected. “OPEC really was revived in Caracas. This also set off alarm bells in the control centers of the bourgeoisie, who like lackeys used the oil industry to serve imperialist interests”, Chavez recalled.
GREATER SOVEREIGNTY OVER OIL President Chavez highlighted the importance of control over the oil industry in consolidating Venezuela as an independent, free and sovereign nation. In 2001, a new Hydrocarbons Law was approved despite many obstacles. “You have no idea the pressures there were to try and impede the approval of that law”, he revealed. He recalled that he received diplomats and corporate executives from the US and Europe at the Miraﬂores Presidential Palace “asking me not to pass that law”. “Until one day I said: ‘Don’t come back here, the law was
approved and only needs to be published in the [Ofﬁcial] Gazette’”, Chavez said. When right-wing leaders were in power in Venezuela and subordinated government institutions to foreign interests, the royalties paid by transnational oil companies stood at just 1 percent. Now, under the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela receives 30 percent royalties, as proscribed by law. Close to 60% of those revenues are invested in social and development programs in Venezuela each year. Povery has been reduced by more than 50% in the South American nation during the past decade.
6 | Culture
NoÊ££ÎÊU Friday, June 15, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela street boxing program helps keep youth off the streets T/ Jorge Rueda P/ Agencies
igadalia Flores was worried about raising her 13year-old son in a poor Caracas neighborhood where teenage boys often drift into crime. So she sent him to ﬁght. Her son, Miguel Uzcategui, is now a standout among the youths who line up with their gloves every weekend to slug it out in a boxing ring that is moved around Caracas from parks to plazas to streets in the slums. They’re participating in a program supported by the Venezuelan government that aims not only to develop stellar ﬁghters and expand the sport’s reach but also to give poor adolescents an alternative to crime, alcohol and drugs. Boys start as young as 8 compete in the outdoor matches, joining older boys as well as some teenage girls in the weekend competitions, where renowned Venezuelan coaches give them pointers. Miguel said the sport has given him goals and improved self-conﬁdence. Dozens of boxing medals hang on the wall of the family
home. “Boxing has helped me a lot. I’m stronger”, he said. Flores, a hairdresser, said she thinks boxing is giving is teaching Miguel discipline and will help keep him in school. She said she hopes the sport will lead to scholarships for her son’s high school and university studies. Similar boxing programs exist in other countries, but organiz-
ers say the Venezuela matches have been held more consistently than in many places. Since 2009, young boxers have participated in more than 3,000 ﬁghts in outdoor rings, sometimes even ﬁghting in the rain. “Our mission is to pull the kids out of the clutches of crime, teach them values along with discipline”, said Williams Gon-
zalez, who helped start the program in 2009 and is president of the Caracas Boxing Association. The government’s Sports Ministry provides ﬁnancial support, and organizers say one of the long-term goals is to bring the country another Olympic medal. Boxing has long been popular in Venezuela, accounting for ﬁve of the country’s 11 Olympic medals to date. But the last came in 1984, when Omar Catari won a featherweight bronze. The country’s ﬁghters are expected to face long odds at the London Games this year. The three who qualiﬁed include Gabriel Maestre and Jose Alexander Espinoza, as well as Karlha Magliocco, the ﬁrst Venezuelan woman boxer to reach the Olympics. Some of the young boxers who compete in the weekend matches say they hope one day to join them. “In about 120 ﬁghts, I’ve had 14 losses. All the rest I’ve won”, said Ronnis Hidalgo, a 14-yearold who is a national champ in his age group and who receives a monthly scholarship of about $460 through the program.
Haiti launches classical music project modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema T/ Caribbean Journal P/ Agencies
an classical music help Haiti’s development? Haiti’s government thinks so, and has launched a new project to use classical music to help mentor the country’s youth, together with the National Institute for Music. The plan will involve the creation of several youth orchestras, beginning with children who are not yet in kindergarten. At ﬁrst a pilot project in the area of Dopalais, the plan could eventually extend to all departments of Haiti.
The idea came in part from Haiti President Michel Martelly, after he watched the worldrenowned Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra on a visit to Venezuela last year. It was ofﬁcially launched Monday in a ceremony at the Karibe Convention Center in Petionville. Raoul Denis and his sister, Pascale Denis de Moquete, the project’s leaders, said they were conﬁdent that it could have a positive impact on Haiti’s youth. Culture Minister Mario Dupuy said that with Haiti’s rich culture of music, encouraging children, particularly those who are underprivileged and vulner-
able, to thrive by practicing music is one of the “surest ways to give them conﬁdence”. Martelly, in a statement from the National Palace, emphasized the importance of music education for young people. The ceremony was attended by Andres Gonzalez, a delegate of Venezuela’s El Sistema program, which was founded in 1975 by Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu. El Sistema (short for the National System of Youth Orchestras) is a state foundation in Venezuela that oversees 125 youth orchestras in the country. Gonzalez said the initiative could help children learn to ex-
press themselves and become “true creators,” pledging that Venezuela’s government would help provide support to the project. The success of Venezuela’s project led the Organization of American States to launch the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, which debuted in 2000. A number of countries in the region, including Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic, have set up similar programs.
Hidalgo said boxing helps him stay away from the gangs and frequent shootings that terrorize many in his neighborhood. Cristian Lopez, 11, said there are no soccer ﬁelds or baseball diamonds near his home in the crowded slum of La Vega, making boxing a convenient option. “It has kept me away from problems and it doesn’t cost much. I can practice it in any alleyway, in the living room of my house”, Lopez said. One coach who encourages the young athletes is Jesus “Kiki” Rojas, a former ﬂyweight and super ﬂyweight World Boxing Association champion. He said it’s rewarding to help youngsters who otherwise could slide into trouble. “Every time a kid ends up in our hands who has behavior problems, who’s doing poorly in school, and later you see that he becomes disciplined, that he manages to get ahead, it’s one of the most beautiful experiences”, Rojas said. Cuban boxing coach Jorge Garcia also helps train the boxers under an agreement between the Venezuelan and Cuban governments. He said the weekend matches are helping ﬁghters improve and that the country can still do more to develop its teaching programs. “I see a big future for Venezuelan boxing”, Garcia said. “These matches promote boxing in Venezuela a lot, which is what’s needed. The talent is there”.
NoÊ££ÎÊU Friday, June 15, 2012
The artillery of ideas
T/ Rachael Boothroyd P/ Agencies
arlier this week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez responded to outgoing President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, who last week claimed that the South American President’s “days are numbered” at a conference held in Washington. Speaking from the Inter-American Dialogue 30th Anniversary Dinner, Zoellick used the ominous phrase to insinuate that Chavez’s “clout” within the region, as Reuters reported it, would soon be on the wane - although he didn’t elaborate as to whether he was referring to the President’s health or the upcoming presidential elections. “Chavez’s days are numbered. If his subsidies to Cuba and Nicaragua are cut, those regimes will be in trouble. The democrats of Latin America – left, center, and right – should be preparing. The calls for democracy – for an end to intimidating thugs, human rights, fair elections, and rule of law – should come from all its capitals”, he said. Amongst some of the other more charming comments in his speech, Zoellick congratulated the Brazilian left on “turning a page in history and sticking with democracy”, and shamelessly described Latin America as a continent run amok with drugs barons and crazed political strongmen. “Here will soon be an opportunity to make the Western Hemisphere the ﬁrst Democratic Hemisphere. Not a place of coups, caudillos, and cocaine -- but of democracy, development, and dignity”, he added. Although by his own admission Zoellick is not a Latin American expert, on this particular point he seems to have been inﬂicted with a case of historic amnesia. Presumably the coups to which he refers are not those attempted in Venezuela and Ecuador in 2002 and 2010, nor the successful coups carried out in Haiti in 2004 and Honduras in 2009, all with economic and/or logistical support from US governments. Likewise, the caudillos to which Zoellick refers are presumably not US favorites such as former Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, who has recently come under ﬁre due to revelations that his re-election campaign was funded by Colombian paramilitaries and that his family has more connections to drugs kingpins than Pablo Escobar. Once Zoellick was done lambasting the region with quasi-racist, clichéd and baseless criticisms in the name of “dialogue”, he then moved on to handing out some interesting, if not somewhat contradictory, pieces of economic policy
Analysis | 7 |
Free market autocracy: Made at the World Bank
advice to the Latin American continent in general. Whilst citing the need for “new approaches” in Latin America, the outgoing bank president prescribed the “revival of free trade policy” as the next step for the region. In order to combat the continent’s historic legacy of economic dependency, Zoellick recommended that Latin American nations “increase production” for export to US markets, “taking advantage” of the fact that the US would be removing subsidies on agricultural products. Finally, although he cited Europe as a “danger zone”, and praised the Latin American region for having decreased poverty and increased growth in the past decade, Zoellick also went on to recommend economic liberalization as the sine qua non for development in the region. If the continent’s governments would just forget about unhelpful and outdated concepts like “the North-South framework”, maintains Zoellick, then Latin America could be the next laboratory for the creation of the nifty sounding, “Globalization: Made in the Americas”. Although such comments have become run of the mill for Democrats and Republicans alike, from the President of a global ﬁnancial institution which is supposedly politically neutral, such comments are particularly astounding, reﬂecting just how openly political the role of the World Bank has become.
ZOELLICK’S “URIBE” MOMENT Zoellick’s comments, however, are less surprising considering his colorful history. Prior to being nominated for his position at the World Bank by former US Republican President, George W. Bush, Zoellick served as US Trade Representative from 2001-2005, when he was responsible for quintupling the number of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that the US had with other countries. In his anniversary speech, Zoellick credited himself with having hammered out the social suicide packages with Chile, Colombia, Peru, Panama, ﬁve countries in Central America and the Dominican Republic. He also credits himself with having turned the World Bank around through the creation of six strategic lines aimed at promoting free trade and “sustainable globalization”. If that weren’t proof enough of Zoellick’s ideological allegiances, he was also previously a Vice Chairman and then Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, as well as serving as a Chairman of the company’s Board of International Advisors from 2006-07. The very same banking corporation which not only played a signiﬁcant role in bringing about the current economic crisis, but which also managed to aid and abet the ticking time bomb in Greece by helping the government mask the amount of debt that it was accruing, all at a healthy proﬁt for the corporation. On the eve of his departure, Zoellick represents a Bushite, neo-conservative
era, now associated with bloody unsuccessful interventions abroad and a free-market fundamentalism that has brought the world to its knees. Like former Colombian President Uribe, who also last month engaged in an embarrassing tirade against the Venezuelan President, Zoellick’s main mistake was to believe that his outdated opinions still hold sway in 21st century Latin America, at a time when they can barely be stomached on their home turf in Europe and North America. FOOLISH WORDS Unsurprisingly, Zoellick’s comments provoked a barrage of criticisms from voices within Venezuela, who pointed out, not just the hypocrisy of the comments, but also how irrelevant they are to a continent where countries such as Venezuela cast off the conditionality laden loans of the World Bank years ago. A region, which in the past ten years has pursued economic policies aimed at promoting development, national economic and political autonomy, and regional integration through institutions such as Unasur, the ALBA and the Bank of the South. While journalist Jose Manzaneda accused Zoellick of having entered into the “media war” against the Bolivarian process in order to discredit “alternative processes to the system of power and domination of global capitalism”, Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information, Andres Izarra, dismissed the World Bank as the “instrument of a system which is destroying humanity”. However, the most concise rebuff came from Venezuelan President Chavez himself. “Foolish words fall on deaf ears”, said the President, “in my opinion, it is the days of global capitalism which are numbered”. “Fortunately we do not depend on the disastrous World Bank, unfortunate are those countries which do depend on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund”, he added. While Latin America has achieved growth, development and a signiﬁcant reduction in poverty in the World Bank’s absence, its continued presence in other latitudes, particularly amongst low-income nations, has caused increased poverty, misery and the suspension of real democracy and national sovereignty. Rather than Chavez’s days being “numbered”, the Bolivarian process is now more relevant than ever, and with emerging leftist politicians such as Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras citing Venezuela as a source of inspiration, it is evident that ideas about “reclaiming the state” are beginning to reach beyond the Latin American continent.
Friday | June 15, 2012 | Nº 113 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
A publication of the Fundacion Correo del OrinocoÊUÊ `ÌÀ ivÊEva GolingerÊUÊÀ>« VÊ iÃ}ÊArisabel Yaya SilvaÊUÊ*ÀiÃÃÊFundación Imprenta de la Cultura
The view from Victorville prison /ÉÊ >ÞÊÛiÀÊ>`Ê->ÕÊ>`>Õ
e visited Gerardo Hernandez for the ﬁfth time and, as usual, his spirits seemed higher than ours despite the fact that he resides in a maximum-security federal prison. Gerardo and three other Cuban intelligence agents approach their 14th year of incarceration – each in different federal penitentiaries. Rene Gonzalez, the ﬁfth Member of the Cuban Five, got paroled after serving thirteen years, but not allowed to leave south Florida without permission for another 2½ years. The uniform, given to Gerardo earlier in the day, looks three sizes too large. But the ill-ﬁtting tan jumpsuit doesn’t affect Gerardo’s smile or the warm embrace of his hug when he greets us. He had watched some of the recent CNN “Situation Room” shows in which Wolf Blitzer interviewed a variety of actors – Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Victoria Nuland (Press agent at State), Alan Gross (convicted of anti-regime activities in Cuba) and Joseﬁna Vidal (US desk chief in Cuban Foreign Ministry). They presented views on the justice or injustice surrounding the cases of Gross and the 5. Cuba sent the 5 to south Florida in the 1990s to stop terrorism in Cuba because that’s where the planning for bombings of hotels, bars and clubs took place, he explained. In 2009, “Gross came to Cuba as part of a US plan to push for “regime change”, Gerardo asserted. Gross sounded desperate when he talked to Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room. He described his conﬁnement in a military hospital: “It’s just like a prison, with bars on the windows”. Did he forget he received a ﬁfteen-year sentence? For Gerardo, bars, barbed wire, electronically operated, heavy metal doors, and guards watching and periodically screaming commands describe routine daily life in the Victorville Federal Prison. Gerardo eats a pink slime sandwich, which we bought at the visiting room’s vending machines and popped into the microwave. We munch on junk food – all bought from the same sadistic apparatus offering various choices of poisons. Other prisoners, mostly sentenced for drug dealing, sit with wives or women companions and kids under the watchful eyes of three guards seated above on a platform. The uniformed men chuckle
and exchange prison gossip; we talk about Gerardo’s case. The Miami federal judge condemned him to two consecutive life sentences plus fifteen years for conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit espionage must get to him. Gerardo became a victim of the strange notion of US justice in Miami where the US prosecutor presented not a shred of evidence to suggest Gerardo Hernandez knew about Havana’s plan to shoot down two planes f lying over Cuban air space (“murder”); nor that he had any control over, or role in what happened on February 24, 1996 when two Cuban MIG fighters rocket-
ed two Brothers to the Rescue planes and killed both pilots and co-pilots – just as Cuban had warned the US government it would do if the illegal over-f lights continued. Indeed the evidence paints a very different picture of what Gerardo Hernandez really knew. Cuban State Security would hardly inform a mid level agent of a decision made by Cuban leaders to shoot down intruding aircraft after he had delivered a series of warnings to Washington. In fact, as a new Stephen Kimber book shows, “the back-and-forth memos between Havana and its ﬁeld ofﬁcers in the lead-up to the MIG jets ﬁring rockets at
the Brothers’ planes make it clear everything was on a need-to-know basis—and Gerardo Hernandez didn’t need to know what the Cuban military was considering”. (“Shootdown: The Real Story of Brothers to the Rescue and the Cuban Five”). Gerardo, like the Cuban government, insists the Brothers’ planes got shot down over Cuban airspace, not in international waters as Washington claims. But the National Security Agency, which had satellite images of the fatal event, has refused to release them. The Brothers’ planes had over ﬂown Cuban airspace for more than half a year (1995-6) before they got blown out of the sky. Cuba had alerted the White House several times, and a National Security Counsel ofﬁcial had written the Federal Aviation Authority to strip the Brothers’ pilot licenses – to no avail. The Cuban intelligence agents that had inﬁltrated Brothers to the Rescue had informed Havana that Jose Basulto, the Brothers’ chief, had successfully test ﬁred air-to-ground weapons he might use against Cuba. For Cuba, the Brothers had become a security threat. The NSA documents, however, never arrived at the trial, nor did Gerardo’s lawyers get them for the appeals. Gerardo’s case for exoneration for conspiracy to murder rests on establishing one simple fact: if the shoot downs occurred over Cuban airspace no crime was committed. On conspiracy to commit espionage, the government relied on Gerardo’s admission that he was a Cuban intelligence agent rather than seek evidence to show he tried to get secret government documents or any classiﬁed material. Gerardo’s job was to prevent terrorist strikes against Cuba by exiled Cubans in Miami, not penetration of secret US government agencies. Justice in the autonomous Republic of Miami led ﬁve anti-terrorists to prison. Gerardo smiles, perhaps his way of telling us he remains convinced he did the right thing, meaning he has stayed true to his convictions. We wonder if we could endure fourteen years of maximum-security conﬁnement.
>ÞÊÛiÀÊÃÊ>Ê>VÌÛÃÌÊ>`Ê>Ê>VÌÀ°ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ ->ÕÊ>`>Õ½ÃÊiÜiÃÌÊwÊÃÊWill the real terrorist please stand up°