page 3 | Politics:
Opposition campaign for president prepares a “plan b”
Friday | July 6, 2012 | Nº 116 | Caracas
Venezuela in Mercosur
As members of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) voted to suspend Paraguay from participating in the economic bloc due to the “parliamentary coup d’etat” that irregularly removed President Fernando Lugo from power days ago, Venezuela’s entrance was officially approved. Venezuela had petitioned for membership in Mercosur and had the approval of all governments involved since 2006, However, Paraguay’s right-wing Senate had refused to ratify Venezuela’s membership. With Paraguay suspended, the doors were opened for Venezuela. | page 2
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
Mass support for Chavez reelection as campaign begins
July 1 was the kick off date for Venezuela’s presidential campaigns for the upcoming October 7 elections. The incumbent candidate, President Hugo Chavez, led a lengthy caravan through two states, and gave an energetic campaign speech claiming victory was on the horizon. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, who has already been campaigning for several months in violation of electoral laws, led a more subdued event in South Eastern Venezuela. | page 4
Presidential employee accused of leaking information T/ Agencies
n employee of Venezuela’s presidential palace has been arrested and is accused of spreading conﬁdential information, prosecutors said Monday. Dr. Ana Maria Abreu was detained under a court order last week, the Public Ministry said
in a statement. It said the doctor has worked in the presidential palace for 12 years during President Hugo Chavez’s government and had been providing medical care to storm evacuees and other needy people. The Public Ministry said only that she had been “linked to the dissemination of conﬁdential
information between the year 2010 and 2012”. But it noted that under Venezuelan law revealing “political or military secrets concerning the security of Venezuela” is punishable by 7-10 years in prison. Abreu is a sister-in-law of Venezuelan anti-Chavez activist Rocio San Miguel, who leads an organization funded by US agencies NED and Usaid that monitors security and defense issues. Carlos Nieto, one of Abreu’s lawyers, denied the accusations and said the case had been
trumped up in order to go after San Miguel. During the past year, numerous rumors and alleged “leaks” from the President’s ofﬁce have fed gossip reporters and political “paparazzi” seeking insider information on President Hugo Chavez’s health. Abreu is to remain without bail in the headquarters of the country’s Bolivarian National Intelligence Service while her case goes to court. Prosecutors said she was detained in a raid on her apartment last Friday.
Venezuela’s 1st female admiral
On Tuesday, a total of 147 Bolivarian National Armed Forces, or FANB, ofﬁcers were promoted to the ranks of general and admiral, including the ﬁrst woman to hold the highest naval rank. President Hugo Chavez oversaw the military ceremony. Carmen Melendez de Maniglia is the first woman to hold the rank of admiral in Venezuela’s history. “Admiral Maniglia, first Venezuelan woman to make the rank of admiral, that deserves a round of applause for Venezuelan women”, Chavez said during the ceremony at the Bolivarian Military University that was carried live by public television VTV. During Chavez’s presidency, Venezuela’s armed forces have become more integrated and women have risen to higher ofﬁces and ranks. Venezuela also celebrated its 201st Independence Day on July 5 with a grandiose civil-military parade led by President Chavez.
2 | Impact
NoÊ££ÈÊU Friday, July 6, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Paraguay suspended from Mercosur, Venezuela enters as full member T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
embers of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) regional trade bloc voted last Friday to suspend Paraguay from the commercial and political alliance while admitting Venezuela as the organization’s newest member. The decision of the Mercosur countries - Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - to expel Paraguay comes in the wake of that nation’s ouster of President Fernando Lugo in what is being referred to in Latin America as a “parliamentary coup d’etat”. Venezuela’s entrance into the alliance was decided on the same day, setting the groundwork to end, on July 31, a protracted process of obtaining full membership that has lasted some 6 years. “This decision is a defeat for North American imperialism
and the bourgeois lackeys in the region”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said of the bloc’s decision last Friday. Per Mercosur’s regulations, a new member country can only enter the alliance based on the approval of each existing member’s national congress. Until last Friday, Venezuela had been approved to enter the
bloc by the legislatures of all afﬁliated states except that of Paraguay, whose conservative, anti-Chavez parliament had refused to admit the OPEC member. With the suspension of Paraguay from the organization, the door was thus opened for Venezuela’s ofﬁcial entrance as the alliance’s newest member.
“This is an historic day. We have to celebrate it. A day for the history of integration... This is a lesson in ethics, and a lesson in true politics for the authoritarian enclaves that still exist in Latin America”, Chavez said. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described the measure as an important move towards regional unity and greater economic equality. “For the presidents that have made this decision, it’s a great honor but it’s also a great responsibility because we’re convening the entire region to participate in the need for a greater union”, Fernandez said. A BLOW TO THE RIGHT Venezuela’s acceptance into Mercosur comes as a bitter pill for the Paraguayan congress, which had attempted to prevent the Chavez administration from fostering still greater econom-
ic ties with its allies in South America. In a statement released by the government of de facto President Federico Franco, the new administration said it “deplored” the organization’s willingness “to incorporate a new member before culminating the necessary legislative requirements”. According to the bloc’s members, Paraguay’s suspension carries a loss of voting and vetoing power “and the right to participate in Mercosur’s bodies based on the terms of Article IV of the Ushuaia Protocol”. The suspension, however, carries no economic sanctions against the impoverished nation and will be effective until the country’s new presidential elections are held in August 2013. Paraguay has also been suspended from the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) alliance for its violation of the organization’s democracy clause. The punitive measures follow the impeachment of former president Fernando Lugo based on a one-day congressional hearing that gave virtually no opportunity for the leftist head of state to defend himself. Since those proceedings, Paraguay has been marked as a pariah state in much of Latin America while Federico Franco has expressed his intention to use the opportunity to garner stronger ties with the United States. “I have no doubt that behind the Paraguayan senators and congressmen is the hand of empire, trying to block the construction of a true power in South America”, Chavez stated on Friday. As a result of the events in Paraguay, Venezuela has also suspended its supply of oil to the southern cone nation. For Venezuela, admission to Mercosur is seen as an important opportunity to build integration and continue to advance its multilateral relations with the region’s strongest economic players. The elimination of intercountry tariffs and a coordination of trade policies form part of the mandate of the regional bloc, providing Venezuela with greater access to the markets and products of allied nations.
NoÊ££ÈÊU Friday, July 6, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Politics | 3 |
Opposition plans fraud claim
to light of various differing camps of thought within the opposition alliance, Capriles cannot risk alienating any of them by declaring neither his conﬁdence nor lack of conﬁdence in the electoral body and the democratic process of the country. Pablo Perez, current Governor of Zulia, recently explained
why he thinks that the opposition should recognize the results in October be what they may: “We have to be very clear here, we have to understand that this is an electoral process, and that the result has to be recognized by the other side, we can’t fall into the trap of calling fraud in advance”. However, last June 18 Capriles showed his lack of conﬁdence in the CNE despite the fact that it was the same CNE which declared him the winner of the governor’s elections in Miranda state in 2008. In comments to the Miami Herald, he stated that he had a chance to win in October “unless the government is looking to steal the elections through fraud”. Many consider the fact that the opposition have still not declared their intention to adhere to the democratic outcome in October as a sign they are planning an alternative strategy to topple Chavez that doesn’t include the ballot box. Speaking from Mendoza, Argentina, and in light of the antidemocratic political trials in Paraguay which have ousted the elected leader Fernando Lugo, Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, highlighted the necessity of defeating and isolating the right wing factions who are in favor of a coup d’état wherever they present themselves, and for the need to develop a process of respect for democracy.
Taking advantage of international media gathered in Mexico, where he took on the role of “international election observer”, Lopez complained that the Chavez administration is using the succesful advance of the Bolivarian Revolution’s social programs to secure “unrestricted access to the public media”. Lopez, however, failed to mention how private media outlets in Venezuela, which are the majority, cater exclusively to the opposition’s campaign. Though the Venezuelan opposition repeatedly accusses President Chavez of “unfair advantage”, right-wing candidate Capriles Radonski has been campaigning ever since antiChavez coalition held primary elections on February 12. Even before then, as their candidates
crisscrossed the nation discussing their plans for a “postChavez Venezuela”, private media networks granted hours of airtime to the opposition. As President Chavez put it, “though the opposition accusses me of opportunism, they’ve been campaigning for over a year”. According to investigative journalist Jose Vicente Rangel, the opposition’s ongoing failure to state it will recognize the ofﬁcial results of the election “is another anti-democratic position” and, according to his own conﬁdential sources, “is the masking of a Plan B which includes the intent to claim fraud”. “With the proven, sophisticated, and reliable voting system of the CNE, fraud is absolutely impossible”, Rangel afﬁrmed.
T/ Paul Dobson P/ Agencies
he presidential candidate for the Venezuelan opposition coalition, Henrique Capriles Radonski, made various evasive comments this week about the lack of conﬁdence he has in the National Electoral Council (CNE) as an independent power that organizes the electoral process. His comments support fears expressed by government that he is not planning on recognizing the ofﬁcial results of the election in October should he lose. Last week Capriles stated, “the CNE has to guarantee the electoral process is transparent, and it’s not a secret to anyone that there exists a level of inequality in the elections”. After registering his candidature with the same CNE earlier in the month, he claimed to be able to see “the reality of having all the odds stacked on their (the government’s) behalf; the disproportion from the institutional viewpoint”. These comments come amongst increasing, yet futile, pressure from the government for the opposition to publically declare they will recognize and respect the results of the presidential elections. Francisco Ameliach from the PSUV Socialist Party recently stated that the opposition is launching a “campaign to not recognize the electoral institution. It’s evident that there is a line of action to sew doubts... They are preparing a scenario similar to 2005 when they withdrew after creating a campaign against the electoral body”. The CNE operates as an independent body and is responsible for overseeing and organizing the logistics of all national elections. It has overseen 14 popular votes since Chavez came to power in 1998, as well as numerous internal elections, upon request, such as those of a trade union or a political party. Noticeably it oversaw the defeat of the government’s constitutional reform package in 2007, as well as opposition primary elections earlier this year.
It is considered to administer one of the most advanced and secure electoral processes in the world. All previous elections have been observed and conﬁrmed as free and fair, both by thousands of local ‘table witnesses’- representatives from the complete spectrum of political parties in Venezuela- as well as numerous international
observers from recognized bodies including the Carter Center, the Organization of American States, and the European Union. The elusiveness of Capriles’ comments reveal some of the divisions within his own alliance with regards to the CNE as well as his commitment to democracy. As evidence comes
Anti-Chavez campaign seeks “plan B” T/ COI
pposition campaign coordinator Leopoldo Lopez has issued a series of baseless claims aimed at casting doubts on the election results of Venezuela’s upcoming presidential elections on October 7. Lopez, who currently serves as Campaign Manager for candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, denounced what he called the “unfair advantage” held by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias. According to President Chavez, recent press state-
ments by Lopez are part of an orchestrated opposition “Plan B” that looks to discredit Venezuela’s democratic process. With polls predicting a sweeping victory for the Venezuelan President, opposition desperation is said to include “violence and claims of fraud”. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Lopez claimed the 2012 Venezuelan election is “a David versus Goliath situation” in which the country’s proChavez majority is “unfairly” mobilizing millions of voters.
Friday | July 6, 2012 | Nº 116 | 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
Mass support in the streets for ofﬁcial launch of Chavez campaign /ÉÊ " *ÉÊ*ÀiÃ`iÌ>Ê*ÀiÃÃ
undreds of thousands of supporters of President Hugo Chavez took to the streets of cities around Venezuela last Sunday for the ofﬁcial kick off of the head of state’s reelection campaign. “Here we are with Chavez in order to have independence, a homeland and to continue building a country of inclusion, equality, and social justice”, said Communication Minister Andres Izarra during the campaign activities last weekend. With presidential elections set to take place on October 7 in the South American country, the incumbent candidate continues to a hold a considerable lead in all major polls over his conservative rival, Capriles Radonski. Billing himself as the “Candidate of the Homeland”, Chavez has been drawing a stark contrast between his advocacy of Latin American autonomy and socialism, and that of Capriles, a US-backed opposition politician who participated in Venezuela’s 2002 violent coup d’etat. According to Diosdado Cabello, First Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the gap between the two candidates is large and the Chavez camp must stave off any tendencies towards complacency. “The advantage of more than 20 percentage points that President Chavez has over the candidate of the right must be turned into votes by the nation’s revolutionary sectors, avoiding triumphalism at all costs”, said Cabello. The PSUV leader and president of Venezuela’s National Assembly also described the candidate of his party on Sunday as the “only guarantee for sovereignty, independence, peace, and tranquility”. “It’s a relationship of love that exists between a leader and his people”, Cabello said, outlining
the re-election activities taking place over the weekend. In accordance with Venezuelan law, Chavez’s presidential electoral campaign did not begin until July 1, despite tours and de facto electoral activity being carried out by the opposition candidate Capriles Radonski. Preparations for the launch of the socialist camp began on Saturday afternoon as members of the seven million strong PSUV began assembling in public squares around the nation. Those assemblies then took part in a caravan at 1am, beginning what the PSUV has denominated as a “Bolivarian Hurricane”, making reference to Chavez’s revolutionary movement that takes it’s name from the nation’s independence hero Simon Bolivar. On Sunday, Chavez led another, massive caravan that began in the Plaza Bolivar of Mariara in the state of Carabobo and ended in the city of Maracay in the state of Aragua. Addressing the thousands that had gathered to support his candidacy, the two-term incumbent called for discipline in the campaign effort and focus from his backers.
INCLUSION & SOVEREIGNTY “We need to dedicate ourselves intensely in the next hundred days and hundred nights”, he said. The socialist leader also referred to his presidency transcending personal gain and manifesting itself in the diversity of the nation’s people. “I’m not Chavez anymore. Chavez is the people. We’re millions. Chavez is you, woman. Chavez is you, youth. Chavez is you, child... is you, Venezuelan soldier. [Chavez] is you, ﬁsherman, farmers, and businesspeople”, he declared. In addition to the large crowds that came out to accompany the presidential candidate, a prominent feature of Sunday’s rally was the presence of youth and students backing the socialist leader in his re-election bid. “[Chavez] supports the people from the lower class, the real people. Not just four or ﬁve that have the possibility to by a car, pay for private universities or go abroad”, said Carmen Nunez, a 25-year old PSUV activist. “I’m here supporting the President because he’s the best. He’s our leader of the revolution and with him I can study”, stated 18-year old Marcos Montalbo, citing the series of educational programs created by the current government. While the social programs have been an important part of Chavez’s popularity, the question of independence from the United States and the creation of a new vision for Venezuelan society have played an important role in the head of state’s advantage in the polls. On Sunday, the Venezuelan head of state made repeated reference to the struggle of the South American nation to choose its own development path free from outside interference. “On October 7, we’re going to knockout not only the native bourgeoisie but also the US empire that has done and continues to do so much damage to this world full of war, pain, death and suffering”, Chavez said. “I will not rest in my job of looking for and ﬁnding ways to keep giving to the people what belongs to the people... to keep generating greater levels of social justice everyday”, he exclaimed.