Issuu on Google+

Analysis

Interview with Fernando Lugo

Venezuela, a threat to Washington? pág 7

Coup in Paraguay: The people’s will has been violated pág 8

Friday, July 20, 2012 | Nº 118 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve

Day of solidarity with Venezuela

ENGLISH EDITION/The artillery of ideas

Chavez leads opposition in presidential campaign

July 24 has been officially declared international day of solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and President Hugo Chavez. The decision was made during the Sao Paulo Forum held in Caracas earlier this month, in which progressives from around the world participated and witnessed the advances and obstacles facing Venezuela today. Different activities will be held in cities around the world expressing support for Chavez’s reelection and the continuation of Venezuela’s sociallyprogressive policies. page 5

P/ Reuters

Venezuela condemns Syria bombing

International

US benefits from Paraguay coup Is a new US military base the reason for ousting a leftist president from power? page 3 Politics

Opposition defies electoral accord Chavez pledged to respect electoral results, the opposition refused. page 4 Social Justice

Gearing up for Olympics

Polls continue to show President Hugo Chavez with a big double-digit lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski ahead of the October 7 presidential elections. In a sign of desperation, the opposition candidate distributed a forged military document this week via his Twitter account, attempting to provoke instability within the Venezuelan armed forces. The fake document was quickly denounced by the Chavez camp, though no legal action has been taken as of yet against Capriles for falsifying and disseminating an official document. page 2

Four million jobs created under Chavez govt T/ AVN

E

69 Venezuelan athletes will compete at this year’s London-based games. page 6

INTERNATIONAL

lias Eljuri, President of Venezuela’s National Institute of Statistics said Thursday that about four million jobs have been created in Venezuela in the last 11 years, which shows the development of the country’s economy and the effective social policies promoted by President Hugo Chavez. “It’s a fact that the Venezuelan economy was not only able to totally absorb the new economically active population between 1999 and 2012,

but it also absorbed almost 515,000 unemployed people to incorporate four million people [into the workforce] during this period”, Eljuri said in a statement. He highlighted the advances regarding job creation that are included in the Statistics Institute’s latest monthly report on unemployment in Venezuela, which lowered to 7.4 percent in June. “A variation of 1.2 percentage points was registered between June 2011 and June 2012, which represents an

increase of 441,042 employed people”, according to a report on yearly unemployment. Additionally, the report highlights the unemployment rate decreased by almost 50% under the government of President Hugo Chavez, dropping from 15 percent in June 1999 to 7.4 percent in June of 2012. The report also indicates that the quality of the jobs available has improved, and the sectors generating stable and productive employment have been consolidated. According to the report, the economically active population had an annual increase of 237,247 people, jumping from 13.25 million people in June 2011 to over 13.55 million this June.

Venezuela on Wednesday condemned the bombing in Damascus that killed the Syrian defense minister and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law, urging foreign powers against military intervention. “The government (of Venezuela) expresses its most profound condolences to the valiant people of Syria, and in particular to the families of the victims of this new crime”, the foreign ministry said in a statement. It added that Venezuela “exhorts the international community to avoid any armed intervention that would only contribute to a deepening of the conflict”. Chavez also condemned the military aggression against Libya and its leader Muammar alGaddafi throughout the uprising that ultimately killed him with the help of European and US air strikes.


2 Impact | .ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

Opposition candidate uses forged military document to provoke instability

T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

Forged military document

V

enezuelan presidential candidate Hugo Chavez dismantled allegations last week that the nation’s military high command had prohibited members of the armed forces from viewing television stations that broadcast a message from his conservative challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. The accusations of censorship were made by Capriles via his twitter account on July 12, citing a supposed military communiqué that explicitly proscribed military personnel from “following any televised programs of the channels Globovision, Venevision, and Televen”. According to the missive, failure to comply with these orders “should be reported immediately” and would bring “corresponding disciplinary measures” to those soldiers, cadets and officers found to be viewing the private Venezuelan television stations. During an interview last Friday, Chavez referred to the document posted to Capriles’ twitter account as a forgery and “an open attack against the military high command.” “As the epitome of hypocrisy”, the opposition politician published “on his web page a falsified document, denouncing the military high command... Now the mask has come off’”, Chavez said. The socialist head of state raised a number of inconsistencies with the text, dates, and control number of the order posted by Capriles, demonstrating the fraudulence of the opposition candidate's censorship claims. Chief among the contradictions is the presence of the signature of former Defense Minister Carlos Mata Figueroa who

Original document

was replaced last December by current military head Henry Rangel Silva. The alleged communiqué, however, is purported to have been drafted and signed by Figueroa on July 31, 2012, more than two weeks posterior to Capriles' uploading of the document on his twitter account. The number of the order, 4926, also conflicts with a previous command of the same number given in September 2011 that outlines the correct use of military uniforms and emblems. Chavez presented the original document on Friday, drawing a comparison between an authentic military order and the falsified text of the Capriles camp. Additionally, the President pointed out that the original document had been titled “non-classified” while the version presented by the Capriles campaign had been altered to read “confidential“. The forgery maintained, however, the classification “NOCLASS” in a separate field, contradicting the confidential status of the supposed order and evidencing an error on behalf of the author of the counterfeit document. Socialist congressman, Eduardo Pinate, has described the allegations of “the Venezuelan ultra right-wing” as an attempt to generate divisions in the armed forces and prepare for a “plan B“ of destabilization following their electoral defeat on October 7. “It is more than proven that nobody made any kind of prohibition to military personnel. This is about a poorly made montage”, Pinate said.

DUPLICITOUS DISCOURSE Capriles' invective came as the former governor of Miranda state gave a speech to the country's armed forces, broadcast by private Venezuelan media last week Thursday. “As commander in chief, I will categorically refuse the presence and recognition of armed groups in our territory. We cannot allow narco-traffickers, guerrillas, or paramilitaries to infiltrate or use or institutions”, he declared during his brief message. Chavez supporters have been quick to point out, however, that in 2004, more than 120 anti-government paramilitaries were given shelter and provided with training in the wealthy

municipality of Baruta where Capriles was Mayor. The paramilitaries, who according to Venezuelan intelligence services were planning an attack against the Chavez administration, were discovered and arrested by the national government in a sting operation that stifled the destabilization attempt. Similarly, the question of foreign intervention in the Venezuelan military played a prominent role in Capriles' short message as the candidate of the right stated that he would not tolerate foreign meddling in the armed forces. Ostensibly directed towards the growing relationship that Venezuela has fostered with Cuba, critics say that the conservative candidate's statements conflict with his own record. Members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and independent organizations have clearly identified Capriles as a recipient of financial assistance and counsel from the United States throughout his political career. This includes his participation in the failed US-backed coup d'etat against the Chavez government in 2002 that attempted to fuel divisions in the Venezuelan military in order to bring down the democratically elected government. For the current President, the opposition candidate’s message is disingenuous and reflects the Venezuelan upper class' historic resentment of the military which “today more than ever... [is] at the service of the nation”, Chavez said. A former lieutenant colonel himself, Chavez has prided his administration on converting the role of the nation's armed forces from one of strictly defense into one of community engagement and assistance in development projects. This contrasts sharply with the repressive history of the Venezuelan military during the 40-year span of the “Fourth Republic“ from 1958-1998. “At the service of whom were the armed forces? They were at the service of the elites and imperialism”, the head of state said alluding to how the nation's military was used to repress dissent and crack-down on the freedom of expression in the past. Chavez made the link on Friday between the wealthy candidate Capriles and the Venezuelan ruling oligarchy of old, calling the head of the Justice First party “a sheltered snob”. “They’re trying to change their image and present a neutral candidate... [Capriles] is the candidate of the bourgeoisie and the corrupt elite, of the Yankee empire”, Chavez said, calling his own candidacy that “of the future, the nation, and the people”. In the face of the opposition's ruses, the two-time incumbent spoke of his faith in the Venezuelan electorate and predicted a “knockout” victory in the coming presidential contest. “Let no one be confused. I'm sure that on October 7 the people are going to give a phenomenal answer to this new intent to deceive. The Venezuelan people of today are not the same as when [the elites] made deceptive offers”, he asserted.


.ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

| International

3

Mitt Romney: Chavez is “Threat to national security” T/ Rachael Boothroyd

U

Paraguay: US makes gains from coup against Lugo T/ Federico Fuentes P/ AFP

W

hether Paraguay’s infamously right-wing local oligarchy and its parties seized an opportunity to bring leftleaning President Fernando Lugo down, or whether the push came from the United States government, is yet to be confirmed. The US was involved in the overthrow of many governments in Latin America throughout the 20th century in a bid to sure up domination of the region. The US also supported a 2009 coup that overthrew elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who had raised the minimum wage paid by US corporations in the textile industry and blocked privatizations. In the past decade, it has also been implicated in failed coup attempts against elected governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. However, whether the key movers were the Paraguayan elites or US forces is a secondary consideration. The US state and US corporations operate through local intermediaries –the Paraguayan business elite– and have made no effort to conceal their intentions to use the recent coup to advance their agenda. The coup has provided the US with a golden opportunity to work to reverse its declining influence in the region and send a clear message to those willing to challenge its interests. Paraguay is nestled between South America’s two largest economies, Argentina and Brazil, and its membership of regional integration bodies such as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the

Common Market of the South (Mercosur) gives it strategic importance for US interests. By removing Lugo via an illegitimate coup only nine months out from elections, the US and its allies sent a message that, having lost the ability to keep control through formal democratic means, they are willing to use others. The coup also gave the US an opportunity to escalate its military presence in the region. The same day Lugo was “impeached” by Congress, a delegation of Paraguayan politicians, led by the head of the parliamentary defense committee and opposition member Jose Lopez Chavez, met with US military chiefs to negotiate the establishment of a US military base in the Chaco region. Lopez Chavez said another topic of discussion was restarting US military “humanitarian assistance” programs in Paraguay, which had been halted by Lugo in 2009. The Paraguayan elite has made clear its intentions of allowing the US to turn the country into a base for military operations, with its sights set on Latin America’s radical governments. As Lopez Chavez explained after a meeting in August last year with 21 US generals, the hope was that a US base would help Paraguay “liberate itself from the pressures, the threats from Bolivia, and even more so the threats that are constantly emerging from the Bolivarianism of Hugo Chavez”. In June, US General Douglas M Fraser, head of the US Southern Command, also singled out Venezuela and Bolivia as potential hotspots for “geopolitical turbulence” that could affect US interests in the region.

S Republican candidate for this year’s presidential elections, Mitt Romney, has branded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a threat to US national security and accused the leader of Venezuelan’s Bolivarian revolution of “spreading dictatorships and tyranny throughout Latin America”. The former Massachusetts’s governor was responding to comments made by President Obama, who had stated that Chavez did not pose a “serious threat” to the US on Tuesday. Speaking to FOX News channel the following day, Romney said that he had been “shocked and stunned” by Obama’s statements and branded them “naive”. “This is Chavez who has invited Iran in, who has invited Hezbollah in... This is Chavez who supports FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and other terrorist activity in nations like Colombia, who are friends”, said Romney. The Republican candidate went on to criticize Obama for not paying enough attention to the continent south of its borders. “Latin America is critical to America, the United States of America, and the president needs to focus on what is happening there. What Chavez is doing, what the Castros are doing. These are people who call for terrible acts against America”, he added. Romney made the comments just a few hours after US legislator and Republican, Marco Rubio, who is currently tipped to be Romney’s running mate, also criticized President Obama’s comments. Rubio, a Senator from Florida, accused the US head of state of “living under a rock when it comes to recognizing the national security threat posed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez” and of ignoring the possible “opportunities” for the US in the region. He also stated that the Venezuelan President was a threat to both “the Venezuelan people’s freedom and democratic aspirations” and US security. President Chavez has come increasingly under fire from high ranking US politicians this month, with both Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

“Latin America is critical to America, the United States of America, and the president needs to focus on what is happening there. What Chavez is doing, what the Castros are doing. These are people who call for terrible acts against America” and Mitt Romney questioning Venezuelan democracy on the country’s national Independence Day last week. While Clinton refrained from making reference to Chavez himself, she told Venezuelans that “holding free and fair elections” was the best way for US and Venezuelan citizens to “pay tribute to their founders”. Meanwhile, Romney stated that Chavez had “failed to honor the spirit of freedom with which Venezuela was established” and accused him of “promoting ideas in Venezuela and other Latin American countries that run counter to freedom, prevent prosperity and expand tyranny”. Although Obama said he did not classify the Chavez government as dangerous to the US, he did state that his main concern in the country was seeing “the

Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs” and “having fair and free elections, which we don’t always see”. The Venezuelan government has not responded directly to any of the comments, however, Chavez criticized Hillary Clinton earlier this week for “threatening” Russia and China over their stance towards the conflict in Syria. Clinton had earlier urged other governments to “make Russia and China pay” for their decision to block military intervention against the Assad government at the United Nations (UN) Security Council. “We have seen the Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton, threatening Russia and China. They are going to pay for not doing what they (the US) want. You see? That is open and declared madness, from those who believe that they are the owners of the world... They ought to concentrate on solving the many problems of their own country”, said Chavez. Polls suggest that the Venezuelan leader is set to take the presidential elections by a wide margin this coming October, with the results of a Hinterlaces survey released at the end of June showing that 66% of Venezuelans view Chavez’s administration positively.


4 Politics | .ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

Former Colombian president attacks Chavez, backs Venezuelan opposition

T/ COI P/ Agencies

O

Opposition candidate defies electoral authority T/ COI P/ Henry Tesara

T

he conservative challenger to Hugo Chavez running in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential elections, Henrique Capriles, refused to sign an accord on Tuesday drafted by the nation’s electoral commission that outlines a set of principles intended to ensure a peaceful and efficient election process this October. The one-page document elaborated by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) spells out three general points to which all candidates participating in the presidential contest should abide including respect for the arbitration and results of the CNE, compliance with electoral rules as established by the law, and a commitment to nonviolence upon divulgation of the election results. “This is one more guarantee for the electoral process, but it’s not the only one. It’s part of what we call a democratic dialogue where we develop policies in preparation for the electoral processes”, said CNE head Tisibay Lucena during a press conference on Tuesday that saw the delivery of the signed accord on behalf of socialist candidate Hugo Chavez. The two-term incumbent Chavez, in contrast to his

challenger, had previously expressed his unconditional willingness to sign any document committing candidates to respect the constitutional authority of the CNE and the acceptance of election results without threat of violence. Jorge Rodriguez, representative of the socialist candidate’s campaign, spoke on Tuesday of the necessity for the pact, which seeks to make sure that the national elections occur “without lies, trickery, or double standards”. “The call for the accord is nothing more than the ratification of confidence in the referee, respect for the constitution, and the need to have a peaceful concurrence for the elections on October 7”, Rodriguez said after delivering the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) the endorsement of the pact. The candidate representing the Venezuelan opposition, Henrique Capriles, expressed his unwillingness to sign the accord for what he claimed to be the CNE’s failure to incorporate suggestions from his campaign in the drafting of the principles. “If the CNE doesn’t want an agreement, then let them draft a resolution and end it there”, Capriles said.

CNE President Lucena, however, has affirmed that the input of all candidates running in October’s contest had been considered in the creation of the 3-point document. Lucena remarked that the Venezuelan electoral process, one of the most secure and technologically advanced in the world, has enjoyed a great deal of stability and efficiency precisely due to the inclusive character and professionalism of the CNE. “[F]or years we have been working with political organizations and with candidates in order to provide the greatest level of security for Venezuelans”, the head of the electoral authority said. “We celebrate the signing of this accord”, she added. “It’s a commitment that will benefit the electorate who are going to vote this October 7”.

ver the weekend, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) renewed his verbal assault on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and publicly declared his “full support” for the Venezuelan opposition. In addition to accusing the democratically-elected Venezuelan President of being “a violent dictator”, the former head of state met with active members of the Venezuelan opposition. According to Telesur Colombia correspondent Milton Henao, Uribe took his campaigning halfway across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, which borders the two countries, where he met publicly with former opposition governor Oswaldo Alvarez Paz. Speaking to reporters gathered alongside Paz, Uribe announced the publication, later that day, of “a list of 19 violations, among the hundreds”, he attributed to President Chavez. Uribe’s “list”, which cites absolutely no evidence to back its assertions, claims Chavez is somehow responsible for “causing more poverty in the region”, for “converting Caracas into one of the most dangerous cities in the world”, and for “the bloodshed in Colombia orchestrated by terrorist leaders protected in Venezuela”. According to Henao, a proUribe speaking event at Cucuta’s University of La Guajira failed to mobilize much of a following. Instead, he explained, “only about 50 people gathered in an auditorium which seats 400”. In an embarrassing turn of events, Henao said, “a group of Colombians who favor the

candidacy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke from the audience, expressed their support for policies of the Chavez administration, and engaged Uribe in a debate on related issues”. After the university event, Colombia’s Bolivarian Socialist Commune Movement (MSB Colombia) issued its own statement supporting Chavez. In it, the organization called for an open debate about “the contrast between what Uribe calls ‘the Chavez dictatorship’ and the paramilitary influence that surged in Colombia during his (Uribe’s) government”. According to MSB General Director David Cuellar, Uribe is “a terrorist member of the Colombian right-wing” who allowed “paramilitary forces to operate with total impunity” during his eight years in office. “Uribe has yet to respond adequately to accusations made against him by the international community”, Cuellar affirmed. Along with this weekend’s events, media reports also indicated Uribe is meeting privately with active members of the Venezuelan opposition. According to Colombian news magazine Semana, Uribe plans to visit Tachira and meet with current opposition Governor Cesar Perez Vivas, under investigation for the misuse of some $1 million in public funds. Bogota-based Radio Santa Fe reported that Uribe is also “scheduled to meet with opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski”. Capriles’ Chief Campaign Manager Armando Briquet denied such claims, saying he knows “nothing” about said meetings. “I don’t know what the objective of that meeting is, and neither the Command Venezuela (opposition campaign) nor the future President of the Republic, Henrique Capriles, are involved in that meeting or activity”. Alvaro Uribe, who led Colombia and Venezuela to the brink of war after authorizing a violent raid on neighboring Ecuador, is widely unpopular in Venezuela as well as most of Latin America.


.ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

July 24: International day of solidarity with Venezuela’s Revolution & Chavez T/ Paul Dobson

T

his upcoming July 24th is to be celebrated as the 1st International Day of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and its leader Hugo Chavez. PSUV International Secretary and leader of the Venezuelan bloc in the Latin American Parliament, Rodrigo Cabezas, indicated this week that he expects activities to be held in over 100 capitals of the world, organized by a range of popular movements, political parties, trade unions, and pressure groups under the banner ‘The Peoples of the World United with Venezuela’. The day, which is a national holiday in Venezuela, and marks the celebration of the birth of independence hero Simon Bolivar, was declared as a day of international solidarity action in defense of the Revolution, and a day to show the world and those who try to destabilize the country, that Venezuela is not alone. According to organizers, it is a day for people across the world to support Venezuela as an alternative to the exploitative neoliberal policies that are rampaging through many parts of the

world and currently destroying Europe. Cabezas, speaking in an interview on Venezuelan public television, commented, “the Bolivarian Revolution is a reference point in the world

of how a people with a historic leader have been able to defeat neoliberalism and achieve economic growth with social inclusion and a progressive decline in poverty”.

Venezuela builds Latin America’s largest intensive care unit T/ Correo del Orinoco

T

he Miguel Perez Carreño Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, will soon have Latin America’s largest intensive care unit, according to an announcement this week by the hospital’s director, Dr. Angel Borrero Auld. He said that once a construction project finishes in August, the hospital’s intensive care unit will have 46 beds: 32 for adults and 14 for children. Currently, the largest intensive care unit in the region is located in Chile, with nearly 30 beds. From among the beds in the hospitalization area at Perez Carreño Hospital, six spots will

be reserved for adult patients that require isolation, and six for children, Borrero said. The facilities will be equipped with high-tech equipment and modern beds with medical mattresses. “We will assist patients in critical condition and those who need respiration support”, Borrero said. Other projects being developed at the Perez Carreño Hospital include a dentistry service, which will begin operations later this month, he confirmed. The Perez Carreño Hospital will be the first public medical center to have a dental prosthetics lab, which will operate together with Mission Smile

Cabezas highlighted the importance of this solidarity initiative to alert people around the world of plans by the undemocratic opposition in Venezuela to not recognize electoral results on October 7, when Venezuela’s presidential elections will be held. Furthermore the day allows an organized response to international media attempts to discredit President Chavez and the electoral process in Venezuela.

(Mision Sonrisa) a free dental care program run by Venezuela’s Health Ministry. Soon, the hospital’s neurosurgery service will open a radiosurgery area. According to Dr. Borrero, this will allow “a patient who had a tumor and needed a craniotomy can now undergo a simple robotic surgery”.

OTHER NEW AREAS An area for triage was recently opened in the hospital’s internal medicine unit, with six beds for patients who require observation while doctors determine the proper treatment. This area will also have an asthma treatment area with nebulizers (or inhalers) with six seats and five consultation offices. According to Borrero, triage for internal medicine previously did not exist at the hospital.

| Social Justice

5

The activity of international solidarity groups is essential in the struggle to disentangle the network of lies and manipulation of truths in international media. Such work takes on particular importance in the buildup to the presidential elections this October. International brigades frequently visit Venezuela to observe with their own eyes the policies and gains of the Chavez administration, and to allow members to see the true state of the country. They also equip their activists with the necessary tools to combat the myths regarding Venezuela perpetuated by corporate media. Lee Brown, member of the National Executive for the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in Great Britain, and delegate at the recent Sao Paulo Forum held in Caracas earlier this month, remarked that, “In Britain the press regularly exaggerate the problems in Venezuela, frequently manipulating the news to suggest that Chavez is a dictator and failing to talk about the positive aspects, such as the social programs, that are the reason Hugo Chavez has such huge support”. He went on to add, “As all the polls show Chavez is set to win the upcoming Presidential elections by a wide margin, the opposition hopes to exploit this negative international media coverage to claim the elections will neither be free nor fair. Furthermore, as neoliberal bankers roll back workers’ rights in Europe, Venezuela has a lot of lessons that we can learn from. For these reasons July 24 will be an important day of international solidarity”.

The emergency room only had a small waiting area shared by patients regardless of the severity of their condition. “Now we separate those who come in for surgical care from those who come in for clinical treatment”, he said. The hospital’s emergency room for internal medicine assists over 2,000 patients each month. In August, the Perez Carreño Hospital’s new cardiology unit will celebrate its first anniversary. It has a modern hemodynamic monitoring room with a hybrid operating room equipped to handle surgeries of varying complexity. “With the equipment and the doctor’s abilities, we can now more easily address conditions that would previously have required open heart surgery”, the director said.


6 Social Justice | .ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

Olympics: Venezuelan athletes prepare for strong showing in London

channel, Telesur, the Chavez government has also been working to improve the health of youth in the nation through a greater commitment to physical education. Sports Minister, Hector Rodriguez, highlighted on Monday the growing presence of gym classes in the nation’s schools in compliance with the new Sports Law passed by the government last year.

The law mandates a heightened number of physical education classes per week in all of the nation’s schools. “The idea is that all students practice sports or physical activity at least three times a week”, Rodriguez said. While Venezuelan schools have two more years to adjust to the measure, 56 percent of educational facilities have already begun to comply with the law. According to Rodriguez, the increased focus on physical education will not only help to improve the health of the nation’s youth, but it will also aid in the identification of gifted athletes who can be guided through a training process to become national and international competitors. To this end, a National Sports Talent School was recently opened in the Andean state of Tachira in order to “select the talent that will become part of our national teams”. The Sports Minister attributes the advances in athletics to a combined effort that has seen the national government work with state administrations to extend opportunities for athletes in the country. “We’ve been working hard on the amplification of sporting areas and I believe that we’ve advanced with great effort. Right now, we’re working on the Olympics and we’re concentrating on the local youth athletic subsystem as well as three weekly hours of physical education in schools”, Rodriguez said.

program has also boosted cultural activities in 98 percent of states and municipalities throughout the country, where a permanent cultural agenda is now in place, Rivas said. The mission will soon launch a second phase aimed at organizing communities by promoting socio-productive activities allowing artists to receive economic benefits when they

create their work. Meanwhile, the socio-community value of culture will also be promoted through cultural committees. “We will follow the 2013-2019 National Plan in community training with support from trainers and those that graduated through the mission, who will cooperate in helping this cultural army to continue moving forward”, Rivas said.

T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

S

ixty-nine Venezuelan athletes are gearing up to represent their country in a diversity of athletic competitions during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games set to take begin on July 27 in the British capital of London. Venezuela’s Olympic Committee Chair Eduardo Alvarez reported on Monday that the Venezuelan delegation, which includes 61 trainers and coaches, will begin arriving in London on July 20 with the goal of outperforming 2008’s Beijing contingent which only achieved one bronze medal in Taekwondo. Alvarez is convinced that this year’s showing in London will surpass that of four years ago. “All of our representatives have passed through a strict timeline of preparation and have a high level of competition. We have a team with a lot of maturity and experience”, he said. Fifty percent of the Venezuelan athletes will be participating in the areas of cycling, track and field, and water sports, while the others will be competing in sports as diverse as wrestling, fencing and table tennis. Alvarez commented that the entire delegation has the possibility to succeed in England, but the nation’s greatest chance for medals may be found in the areas of fencing, wrestling and boxing. “The one-on-one sports are strategic for us. We have [fencer] Ruben Limardo and [wrestler] Luis Liendo who have done a spectacular job and we know that they can place in top positions”, the Committee Chair said. The boxer Karla Magliocco also figures to be prominent in the Venezuelan contingent as does the BMXer Stefany Hernandez.

NATIONAL HONOR Last week, Venezuelan head of state Hugo Chavez held a send off ceremony for the athletes in the Miraflores Presidential Palace where he gave a national flag to the Olympic delegation and praised the young competitors for their achievements. “The fact that you have gotten to this level has already given to Venezuela a great medal of honor, virtue and courage”, the President said.

Since taking office in 1999, the Chavez administration has prioritized funding for athletics both at the local and national level. During a public event in Caracas held earlier this week for cyclist Tomas Gil, another athlete who will compete in London, Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua expressed his pride in this year’s Olympic delegation and cited the increased emphasis on sports that has

evolved in the country over the past decade. “Venezuela has had, historically, great athletes but they never could count on the support, logistics and above all the personal backing that a president like Hugo Chavez has given to the Venezuelan gold generation”, Jaua stated. Apart from the Olympics, which will be broadcast in Venezuela by Latin American news

Mission Culture: Seven years celebrating Venezuela’s artistic heritage T/ AVN P/ Andreina Blanco

M

ission Culture, a social program that aims to transform cultural education in Venezuela, celebrated its seventh anniversary last Tuesday. The program was created on July 10, 2005, by the government of President Hugo Chavez, and since then it has trained over 12,000 people in different areas of the arts to foster a renewal of popular creativity. The Venezuelan Culture Minister Pedro Calzadilla said on the radio program La Bodega Cultural that “Mission Culture created a small revolution when it began because people found a cultural political space

to facilitate academic training. Now, each of these people has joined the country’s workforce as an army connected with transformative culture”. Since Mission Culture was created, it has focused on including women and men into the arts, regardless of their age, through an educational system aimed at “transferring knowledge from life experience, discovering the ancestral personality of each individual and awakening their conscience through their community’s local history”, explained the program’s director, Saulibeth Rivas. Mission Culture has trained people in dance, theater, literature and other arts. This social


.ŽsFriday, Jul 20, 2012

The artillery of ideas

Venezuela: A threat to Washington? T/ Eva Golinger

F

rom the first time Hugo Chavez was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, Washington and its allies have been trying to undermine his government. When Chavez was just a presidential candidate, the US State Department denied his visa to participate in television interviews in Miami. Later, when he won the presidential elections, Ambassador John Maisto called him personally to congratulate him and offer him a visa. The following months were filled with attempts to “buy” the newly elected President of Venezuela. Businessmen, politicians and heads of state from Washington and Spain pressured him to submit to their agendas. “Come with us”, urged Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, trying to seduce him with offers of wealth and luxury in turn for obeying orders. When Chavez refused to be bought, he was ousted in a coup d’etat April 11, 2002, funded and planned by Washington. When the coup failed and Chavez’s supporters rescued their democracy and president in less than 48 hours, attempts to destabilize his government continued. “We must make it difficult for him to govern”, said former US State Department chief Lawrence Eagleberger. Soon, Venezuela was overrun with economic sabotage, oil industry strikes, chaos in the streets and a brutal media war that distorted the reality of the country on a national and international level. A plan to assassinate Chavez with Colombian paramilitaries in May 2004 was impeded by state security forces. Months later, the US-backed opposition tried to revoke his mandate in a recall referendum, but again, the people saved him in a 60-40 landslide victory. The more popular Chavez became, the more millions of dollars flowed from US agencies to anti-Chavez groups to destabilize, descredit, delegitimize, overthrow, assassinate or remove him from power by any means possible. In December 2006, Chavez was reelected president with 64% of the vote. His approval rating grew in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. New governments in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Uruguay and several Caribbean nations joined regional initiatives of

integration, cooperation, sovereignty and unity, encouraged by Caracas. Washington began to lose its influence and control over its former “backyard”. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), PetroCaribe, PetroSur, TeleSUR, Bank of ALBA, Bank of the South and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) were created. Washington isn’t included in any of these organizations, nor is the elite that previously dominated the region. In January 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Chavez was a “negative force” in the region. In March, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) placed Venezuela on their list of “Top 5 Hot Spots”. A few months later, Reverend Pat Robertson publicly called for the assassination of Chavez, claiming it would cost less than “a $2 billion war”. That same year, when Venezuela suspended cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because it was found committing acts of espionage and sabotage, Washington classified Venezuela as a nation “not cooperating with counternarcotics” efforts. No evidence was presented to show alleged Venezuelan government ties to drug trafficking. In February 2006, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte referred to Venezuela as a “dangerous threat” to the US. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfled compared Chavez to Hitler. That same year, Washington created a special intelligence mission dedicated to

Venezuela and Cuba, increasing resources for operations against them. In June 2006, the White House placed Venezuela on a list of countries “not cooperating sufficiently with the war on terror”. The classification included a sanction prohibiting the sale of military and defense equipment from the US and US companies or those using US technology to Venezuela. No evidence was ever shown to back such serious claims. In 2008, the Pentagon reactivated its Fourth Fleet, the regional command in charge of Latin America and the Caribbean. It had been deactivated in 1950 and hadn’t functioned since then, until Washington decided it was necessary to increase its presence and “force” in the region. In 2010, the US established an agreement with Colombia to set up 7 military bases in its territory. An official US Air Force document justified the budget increase for these bases in order to counter the “threat from antiAmerican governments in the region”. International media call Chavez a dictator, tyrant, authoritarian, narco, anti-American, terrorist, but they never present proof for such dangerous titles. They have converted the image of Venezuela into violence, insecurity, crime, corruption and chaos, failing to mention the incredible achievements and social advances during the last decade, or the causes of the social inequalities left behind from previous governments. For years, a group of US congress members - democrats and republicans - have tried to

place Venezuela on their list of “state sponors of terrorism”. They claim the relationships between Venezuela and Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and even Venezuela and China evidence the “grave threat” represented by the South American nation to Washington. They say again and again that Venezuela and Chavez are threats to the US. “He must be stopped”, they say, before he “launches Iranian bombs against us”. In an interview a few days ago, President Barack Obama said Chavez was not a threat to US security. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he was. The ire of the Miami Cuban-Venezuelan community came down upon Obama. But they shouldn’t worry, because Obama increased funding to anti-Chavez groups this year. More than $20 million in US taxpayer dollars have been channelled from US agencies to help fund the opposition’s campaign in Venezuela. Is Venezuela a threat to Washington? In Venezuela, the only “terrorists” are the groups trying to destabilize the country, the majority with political and financial support from the US. The drug traffickers are in Colombia, where the production and transit of drugs has increased during the US invasion disguised as Plan Colombia. Relations with Iran, Cuba, China, Russia and the rest of the world are normal bilateral – and multilateral – ties between countries. There are no bombs, no attack plans, no sinister secrets. No, Venezuela is not that kind of threat to Washington.

| Analysis

7

Poverty has been reduced by more than 50% since Chavez came to power in 1998. The inclusionary policies of his government have created a society with mass participation in economic, political and social decisions. His social programs – called missions – have guaranteed free medical care and education, from basic to advanced levels, and provided basic food items at affordable costs, along with tools to create and maintain cooperatives, small and medium businesses, community organizations and communes. Venezuelan culture has been rescued and treasured, recovering national pride and identity, and creating a sentiment of dignity instead of inferiority. Communication media have proliferated during the last decade, assuring spaces for the expression of all. The oil industry, nationalized in 1976 but operating as a private company, has been recuperated for the benefit of the country, and not for multinationals and the elite. Over 60% of the annual budget is dedicated to social programs in the country, with the principal focus on eradicating poverty. Caracas, the capital, has been beautified. Parks and plazas have turned into spaces for gatherings, enjoyment and safety for visitors. There’s music in the streets, art on the walls and a rich debate of ideas amongst inhabitants. The new communal police works with neighborhoods to battle crime and violence, addressing problems from the root cause. The awakening in Venezuela has expanded throughout the continent and northward into the Caribbean. The sensation of sovereignty, independence and union in the region has buried the shadow of subdevelopment and subordination imposed by colonial powers during centuries past. No, Venezuela is not a threat to US security. Venezuela is an example of how a rising people, facing the most difficult obstacles and the brutal force of empire, can build a model where social justice reigns, and human prosperity is cherished above economic wealth. Venezuela is a country where millions once invisible are today, visible. Today they have a voice and the power to decide the future of their country, without being strangled by foreign hands. Today, thanks to the revolution led by President Chavez, Venezuela is one of the happiest countries in the world. That is the threat Chavez and Venezuela represent to Washington: The threat of a good example.


Friday, July 20, 2012 | Nº 118 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve

INTERNATIONAL

!PUBLICATIONOFTHE&UNDACION#ORREODEL/RINOCOsEditor-in-Chief%VA'OLINGERsGraphic Design Pablo Valduciel L.

Coup in Paraguay Lugo: “The will of the people has been violated” Translation by Rachael Boothroyd

F

ollowing the recent political coup in Paraguay, which ousted democratically elected Liberation Theologist, Fernando Lugo, and led to the rupture of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Paraguay, Correo del Orinoco International brings you a translation of an interview with Fernando Lugo, published by the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture (Minci). Was what happened in Paraguay a coup d’état? Without a doubt! The private media, which represent certain interests, want to give the impression that nothing has happened here, that there was a natural succession of change in the presidency of the republic. But at the same time, they are not talking about how there are over 40 spaces and areas where there is now active resistance and protests (against the new government), or the international solidarity that has been shown - both of which confirm the fact that something illegitimate has gone on here. Here, a rupture in the democratic order has taken place, there was a political trial with no basis, and a parliamentary coup was carried out. There are several names for it, an “express coup”, Cristina Kirchner has even called it a “soft coup”. Of course, the testing ground for all this was Honduras 3 years ago, and then it was perfected here in Paraguay. Is the absence of violent reaction to the coup to do with your statement calling on people to only engage in non-violent resistance? Yes, peaceful resistance. In the 40 places where pickets have been set up, there has been no violence. Today, the bridge that links us to Brazil was closed for 2 hours by both Paraguayans and Brazilians. The bridge that links us to Argentina, in Encarnacion, was also closed. The people are expressing their discon-

and others have had weeks, I was given 17 hours. You can’t depose a president who was elected by the majority of the population in less than 24 hours. That is why we are turning to the national Supreme Court Justice and competent international organizations such as the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, because we believe that this was an injustice and that both the will of the people and the guarantee of a fair hearing were violated.

“We want to emphasize that we are calling on people to resist peacefully, using force and strength yes, but violence no. We don’t want to break with the legal norms of the country”

tent, their outrage. There is a healthy and peaceful outrage being expressed by the people. But these protests are not being covered in the press. We want to emphasize that we are calling on people to resist peacefully, using force and strength yes, but violence no. We don’t want to break with the legal norms of the country. Protests are permitted, and I believe that the people here are currently rousing huge civil consciousness across the country. In seven departments there have been extremely strong reactions against the coup, and this will continue, because we believe that the will of the people, which was expressed on April 20th 2008 (when Lugo was elected), was violated by this political trial or parliamentary coup. You say that you don’t want to break the legal norms of the country, but the coup makers also maintain that they didn’t violate them... Yes, there was a semblance of legality, but like Colombian President Juan Manuel San-

Political map of Latin America 2011

Leaders Left-wing

tos has said, the legality of the process was violated, it was broken. They didn’t respect due process or the right to a defense. Any kid in a motorbike accident has the right to two, three, four, up to eighteen

Right-wing

days in order to prepare a defense, whereas they only gave me seventeen hours to put mine forward. President Jose P. Guggiari (1928-1932) was given three months to prepare his defense during his trial,

Who is behind the coup? Groups that never show their faces. Economic groups, the traditional political class that refuses to accept there can be different political practices in the country, practices which aren’t based on clientelism or personal enrichment through the State. These practices are common amongst the traditional parties who are now coming together in support of the coup for the first time in history. What is your plan now? We are going to travel the breadth of the country explaining to the people what happened. Next Tuesday, we are going to be in Caazapa, on Thursday we will be in the barrios of Asuncion, and that is what we will do, travelling the whole country. Like I already mentioned, we are going to take this to the Supreme Court and other international agencies. How do you evaluate the solidarity shown by other governments in the region? It gives me security, it confirms that what has happened in Paraguay is worrying because it is a rupture of the country’s democratic order, and our brother countries have offered us their ardent solidarity. We always said that as a Mediterranean country we could never be isolated, economically or politically, unfortunately this has happened due to the coup.


Edition Nº 118