Intervention: US Ambassador Drafts Plan for “political transition” in Venezuela page 7
High Stakes in Venezuelan election page 8
Friday, September 21, 2012 | Nº 127 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve ENGLISH EDITION/The artillery of ideas
Opposition in Corruption Scandal A close aide to opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski was caught on video receiving large sums of cash from an unidentiﬁed businessman for his campaign. The aide, Juan Carlos Caldera, who is also a legislator from Capriles’ party, Primero Justicia, was ﬁlmed taking money and promising results from the opposition candidate. After the video was made public, Capriles distanced himself from Caldera, who is under investigation for illicit activities. page 2
Youth & Communities Campaign for Chavez
Housing Program Successful This week Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez maintained high momentum amongst his supporters holding mass rallies in the plains region in Apure, and later in the Caracas neighborhood of Catia, followed by a huge event with youth from across the nation in the giant Poliedro stadium in the capital. During the campaign activities, Chavez called for a “perfect victory” of 10 million votes for his candidacy in the upcoming October 7 presidential elections. He also reiterated the importance of youth in the Bolivarian Revolution, calling this generation the most important in over 500 years in Venezuela. page 3
More than 200,000 homes have been provided to those in need by the Venezuelan state. page 4 Politics
Major Kingpin Captured Venezuelan authorities detained Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, wanted by Colombia & US. page 5 Politics
Opposition Terrorism Venezuela held its annual International Tourism Festival page 6
Rally For Venezuela The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign in London is hosting a rally on Wednesday September 26 in the run-up to Venezuela’s October presidential elections. The celebration of Venezuela will feature special guests from Latin America, Europe and the UK, short ﬁlms, performances, debates, food stalls and more. Speakers at the rally include the writer and activist Tariq Ali, the Guardian journalist Seamus Milne, the Labor MPs Diane Abbott, Grahame Morris, and Jeremy Corbyn, author and historian Richard
Gott, Venezuelan Ambassador Dr. Samuel Moncada, and many more. The rally is an expression of solidarity with Venezuela and seeks to raise awareness ahead of the presidential elections on October 7. President Chavez has a signiﬁcant poll lead for the election but there are concerns that the democratic will of the Venezuelan people at the coming elections will not be respected by elements of the right-wing opposition. The rally will take place at Hamilton House at 6.30pm, doors open at 6pm. To register or request further information please contact the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign: firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERNATIONAL Jimmy Carter Says Venezuela’s Elections are “the Best in the World” T/ Agencies “Of the 92 elections that we have monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”, former United States President Jimmy Carter said recently in a speech to mark the 30-year anniversary of his organization, the Carter Center. Carter spoke on September 11 at the headquarters of the Atlanta-based organization in a live series broadcast online called “Conversations at the Carter Center”. Among the aspects of the Venezuelan electoral system that Carter highlighted are “a touch-screen voting system that both stores votes electronically and via paper ballots, allowing easier veriﬁcation of the election results”, according to an article in GlobalAtlanta.com. These features to guarantee transparency, the former president said, make the country’s elections “the best in the world”, and ensured that in the last presidential elections in 2006 – which were observed by the Carter Center – Hugo Chavez won the popular vote “fairly and squarely”. Carter also offered his impressions of elections in the United States, where an “excessive inﬂux of money” has caused “ﬁnancial corruption”. “Every other country has public ﬁnancing of all the elections process. If you qualify to run for ofﬁce, you get public ﬁnancing and outside money does not affect the outcome of the election”, he said. In the US, both major political parties have opted to raise more funds through private donations. “We have one of the worst election processes in the world”, Mr. Carter said.
2 Impact | . s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Opposition candidate removes top aide In corruption scandal tional Assembly, “Juan Carlos Caldera is to be investigated because he is a lawmaker of this Republic and because he is seen receiving money from abroad”. “Watching the videos, that is the only conclusion one can come to”, she said.
T/ COI P/ Agencies
ith just weeks to go before the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election, opposition hopeful Henrique Capriles Radonski suffered a major political setback this week after his top aid, Juan Carlos Caldera, appeared in videos receiving almost $10,000 in cash during a private meeting with a businessman. Originally tasked with reporting campaign ﬁnances to the National Elections Council (CNE), the right-wing congressman from Capriles’ party was both ﬁred and shunned by the presidential candidate. In an embarrassing blow to opposition attempts at retaking the Venezuelan presidency, videos released last week show right-wing lawmaker Juan Carlos Caldera receiving large sums of cash from an unidentiﬁed businessman. Speaking on behalf of Capriles, Caldera is heard on the video promising “secret meetings” with the candidate so long as cash con-
tributions become a “regular” occurrence. Citing “security reasons”, Caldera goes on to suggest the meetings between the businessman and Capriles should take place while the candidate is “abroad”. Though the quality of the video and its audio are not great, Caldera is clearly seen receiving two cash-ﬁlled envelopes from the other man. The second envelope, in the words of the unidentiﬁed man, was for an unspeciﬁed “task” that “hasn’t yet been carried out”. Caldera is heard asking the man to “tell the boss things are going well, that the task isn’t done yet, but that we’re on our way to get it done”. “We’re doing it discretely”, Caldera explained in the video, “but we’re doing it all the way”. One of only six legislators representing Henrique Capriles’ Justice First (PJ) Party in the National Assembly, Caldera was initially exposed by United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) lawmaker Julio Chavez. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, September 12, the
PSUV legislator said, “the question we must ask is if the opposition has been receiving funds from people, from businessmen, outside of the country? This must be investigated”. In accordance with Venezuela’s Law of National Sovereignty, passed in response to foreign funding of political opposition parties and groups, it is now illegal to receive campaign contributions from international sources. Demanding the National Assembly open “an in-depth investigation”, Julio Chavez asked voters to consider “what is the so-called ‘task’ that has yet to be completed? What kind of task is it? Where were those funds directed? Who is ‘the boss’ living outside of the country and why does he want to meet, to sit with, Capriles?” “These videos clearly show money exchanging hands and include a request that more money come in on a monthly basis, a sort of monthly payment”, he said. According to Blanca Eekhout, Vice President of the Na-
Surprising to most on all sides of the political spectrum, within an hour of the videos’ release and the formal accusations against Caldera, right-wing presidential candidate Henrique Capriles held a rushed press conference in which he denounced his aid and announced, “Juan Carlos is out of the project”. Capriles added, “no one has the right to use my name for his own personal beneﬁt”. Later that afternoon, Caldera held his own press event, conﬁrming the validity of the videos but telling reporters “the money was for my own campaign, not Capriles’”. “Capriles had nothing to do with any of this”, Caldera affirmed. Though his political future is now uncertain, earlier this year Caldera won an opposition primary and became their sole candidate for Mayor of Sucre, Caracas’ second-most-populated municipality. Because mayoral elections are scheduled for April 2013, Caldera explained, “we are still in the pre-electoral season, which is why there is no mechanism for processing those contributions (in the video)”. Though he failed to explain why the videos include no mention whatsoever of his mayoral campaign, Caldera told reporters “I don’t sell myself or accept bribes”. Asked what he did with the contested funds, Caldera responded “let’s move on to another question”.
NO SIMPLE LAWMAKER According to Maripili Hernandez, Venezuelan Minister of Youth and spokeswoman for the re-election campaign of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, “the most impressive thing about this whole thing is that Caldera is Capriles’ repre-
sentative at the National Elections Council (CNE)”. “He is no simple lawmaker, no simple member of Capriles’ party (Justice First), he is the man responsible for submitting the ﬁnancial records of the Capriles Campaign to the CNE”, she explained. Explaining that “there is nothing illegal about receiving ﬁnancial support for an election campaign”, Hernandez asked voters to consider “Why was it done in secret? Why do meetings need to occur in other countries? Why is everything so hushed? Why is the money given in cash instead of as deposits (into campaign bank accounts)?” Hernandez also said she was “surprised” by the Capriles response. “Imagine that he (Capriles) knew nothing whatsoever. The ﬁrst thing you should do is call that person up and allow him to exercise his right to defense – not call the media and begin yelling about how you have nothing to do with him”, she remarked. According to David Smilde, of the Washington Ofﬁce on Latin America (WOLA), “the immediacy and character of Capriles’ reaction – throwing Caldera out of the campaign and suggesting he would have no future in a Capriles government – gives the impression that this was not a surprise and that he has few doubts about Caldera’s guilt”. “If this were truly out of character for Caldera”, Smilde explained, “Capriles might have instead suggested that he had asked him for an explanation, or that he had asked him to step aside while they investigated. But immediately throwing out, with relatively harsh words, a member of his own party, a future mayoral candidate, and member of the campaign directorate, can only lead to questions regarding who Capriles associates with”. Speaking at a campaign rally Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the “most surprising of all this is how the opposition candidate washes his hands of all responsibility”. “I think they hadn’t even ﬁnished televising the video, or they were just ﬁnishing the video, when the opposition candidate was kicking him (Caldera) out, making ﬁrewood out of the fallen tree”, he said. Chavez called the Capriles response “irresponsible”, adding “just imagine, these are the guys who want to govern Venezuela”.
. s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez renews calls for “perfect victory” T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
he head of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and presidential re-election candidate, Hugo Chavez, once again appealed to his supporters for a “perfect victory” of 10 million votes in the nation’s coming elections on October 7. During a campaign rally in the city of San Fernando de Apure in the Venezuelan plains last weekend, the two-time incumbent addressed thousands of enthusiastic backers and challenged his party activists to set a new benchmark of electoral success in the South American country. “I’ve been talking about it and I want to ratify it here in San Fernando... the need in the coming days to develop the perfect campaign and the perfect victory of 10 million votes on way to 70 percent of the electorate”, the socialist candidate exclaimed. With a registered voting population of just under 19 million, Chavez’s goal of attaining 10 million ballots would eclipse his greatest electoral victory of 64 percent in 2006. “We’re going to give [the opposition] a knockout with 10 million votes to guarantee the continuity of [Venezuela’s] development process”, he said.
he Venezuelan government has branded the Obama administration’s international policy as “abusive” after a drugs report issued by the White House on Friday stated that the Chavez administration had “failed” to adequately tackle the drugs trade. The report, entitled the “Presidential Determination on Major Illicit Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries”, places Venezuela on a list of countries,
cast on television and [the opposition] was already making ﬁrewood out of Congressman Caldera. This is something to reﬂect upon. If someone told me that someone was stealing or that there was a video, the ﬁrst thing I would do is order an investigation instead of throwing someone under the bus. And what’s more, it’s someone so close to the candidate of the bourgeoisie”, Chavez said.
BORN AND RAISED LLANERO
In front of a sea of red clad PSUV members, Chavez took aim at his conservative rival, Henrique Capriles, who trails the incumbent head of state in all major polls by double-digit ﬁgures. Warning of the opposition candidate’s “hidden agenda” that would result in the elimination of social programs and a cut in beneﬁt packages, the socialist leader forecasted an especially pernicious outcome
Venezuela rejects critical US drugs report T/ Rachael Boothroyd
including Bolivia, which have not made sufﬁcient progress in combating the international narcotics industry. The document also accuses Venezuela of having a “weak judicial system, inconsistent international counter-narcotics co-operation and generally permissive and corrupt environment”. “Venezuela regrets that the United States government insists on undermining the ﬁeld of bilateral relations with the publication of these kinds of documents”, said the country’s Foreign Minister, Nicolas Ma-
for rural areas in the event of a right-wing victory in October. “The pensions, the agricultural credits, the recovery of our agricultural... all of that would be cut back”, claimed the leader of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. During his address, the Venezuelan President also commented on a recent opposition scandal in which a conservative congressman and leader of the Capriles campaign effort
was caught on video accepting money that government backers have called a bribe. The congressman, Juan Carlos Caldera, was almost immediately dismissed from the Capriles camp as soon as the video was shown in public, raising suspicions on behalf of the PSUV and other parties regarding the integrity of the opposition ranks. “I don’t think that the video had even ﬁnished being broad-
A native to neighboring state of Barinas, Chavez has on more than one occasion voiced his pride for his rural roots and his fondness for the native traditions of the Venezuelan plains, known in Spanish as Los Llanos. At Saturday’s rally, the Venezuelan head of state took part in the festive singing of joropo music which features the stringed cuatro, a harp, and maracas accompanied by a singer whose quick cadence and improvisation could be compared to an older, rural form of hip hop. Visibly emotional while addressing the crowd, Chavez spoke of his desire to revisit the lands of his birth and “to be free like the wind, if only for a few days or months”. “After having completed the project of the homeland which we have dreamed of, I hope to return and with a harp, a cuatro, maracas, and friends travel through these golden streets”, he said. “If it’s not possible, I give thanks to my God and the people all the same for this life, this struggle and this new stage of life that begins on October 7 with the perfect battle and the perfect victory”, he declared.
duro on Saturday, who classiﬁed the report as “biased”. The government also promptly issued a statement rejecting the document, describing it as “riddled with false statements” and conﬁrming its own commitment to implementing a “sovereign and effective policy in the struggle against drug trafﬁcking”. The statement also places the blame for the continued strength of the drugs industry on the US, which it states has become “the world’s biggest market for drugs”. “The US government lacks the moral authority to judge the policies of other countries on the issue of the ﬁght against drug trafﬁcking... By tolerating the corruption that turns its borders into sites where
illicit substances ﬂow, and allowing money from drug trafﬁcking to be laundered through its ﬁnancial system, the US government bears the most responsibility for this plague that wracks the whole world”, reads the statement. The Venezuelan government’s criticism of the report was also echoed by Bolivian President, Evo Morales, who accused the US government of being hypocritical in its stance on the international drugs trade. “There is no ﬁght against the drug trade in the United States, what there is is an attempt to take advantage of the ﬁght against the drugs trade in some countries for their own [the US] political ends, so that there is more military fund-
ing and more military bases”, said Morales. The Venezuelan government broke ties with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2005 after DEA ofﬁcials were accused of spying and sabotage in the country. The government has continued to work with other international drugs monitoring bodies, such as those from France and Russia, and has stated that it has made more progress in the ﬁght against drugs since DEA representatives were expelled. In 2011 the government seized over 42 tons of drugs as part of its counter-narcotics operations and was ratiﬁed for the sixth year running as a territory free of illicit drug cultivation by the United Nations (UN).
4 Social Justice | . s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela government provides 250,000 new homes with massive housing program T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
n a day that saw the lives of thousands of low-income residents change forever, the Venezuelan government delivered 1,813 homes throughout the country last Saturday as part of the Chavez administration’s continued efforts to ensure a digniﬁed and affordable home for all Venezuelans. “This is part of the efforts that Comandante [Hugo] Chavez is carrying out with Mission Housing Venezuela which is part of the strategy of the revolutionary government”, said Ricardo Molina, Minister of Housing, during the delivery of homes in the state of Bolivar on Saturday. Keys to the new living units were handed over in 6 states and represent a signiﬁcant advance for the government’s Mission Housing Venezuela social program, which has been charged with building 3 million new homes in the country by 2019. The nearly two thousand new houses and apartments presented to residents on Saturday means that the government is inching closer to its established target for the ﬁrst two years of the massive public housing program. “We’ve reached 250,736 homes delivered since Mission Housing Venezuela began on April 30, 2011. That’s 72 percent of the goal and we’ll keep working very hard to complete the construction of 350,000 homes by December 2012”, Minister Molina stated. The Chavez administration’s heightened focus on providing digniﬁed housing to the public was born out of torrential rains that left thousands of underprivileged residents displaced at the end of 2010. As a consequence of the disaster, President Chavez pledged to provide every Venezuelan with the opportunity to own a safe and well-constructed home in substitute for the precariously built
shanties that are home to millions living on the outskirts of major cities. The new units can be obtained by citizens through lowinterest government loans as well as subsidies that can reach up to 100 percent in the case of extreme poverty. To reach it’s goal of 3 million homes, various strategies have been employed including the incorporation of grassroots community councils in the building process and the integration of international experts as the government furthers its cooperation with public and private construction ﬁrms.
“For me, this is an achievement as a woman and a property owner to be able to participate in the building of my home. We used concrete and the process was quick”, said Rina Morgado, a neighborhood activist and beneﬁciary in the city of Boqueron in Monagas state. According to Teresa Aleman, a spokesperson of the Community Housing Organization in Boqueron, the inclusion of the residents in the construction efforts has been essential in empowering neighborhoods to push the program forward. “Self-construction is a beneﬁt because we, ourselves, know
how to build the homes and we have a feeling of belonging”, Aleman said. Saturday’s delivery were made in the states of Miranda, Monagas, Bolivar, Tachira, Yaracuy and the capital district of Caracas In the Andean state of Tachira, the mission provided 243 new homes, which, according to Venezuela’s Commune Minister, Isis Ochoa, were the result of a uniﬁed effort between the national government and organized community members. During the presentation ceremony on Saturday, Ochoa commented that the residents of the zone played a leading role in creating a new, socialist neighborhood in Tachira. “In this new communitarian space, we can see the quality of the participatory design that was made with the collaboration of youth who accompanied the Ministry. A young child from the community, named Eva, participated in the design which gives this extra value, not just the 2,218,328 bolivars ($515,890) invested, but the quality of political will and the desire to create”, Ochoa asserted. The houses are spacious, the minister informed, and are lo-
cated in a new residential area that is organizing productive projects and work opportunities for the home owners. “The homes are 74 square meters with 3 rooms, a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, dining room and an inside patio... Here we have a vision for planting vegetables on a hectare that will include working the land and completing the cycle of life, not just the assignation of space”, Ochoa said. In Yaracuy, 348 homes were given to residents bringing the total of new living spaces in the Central-Western state up to 5,283 since the mission began. Yaracuy Governor, Alejandro Hitcher, explained that the national government has invested more than 800 million bolivars ($186 million) in the 14 municipalities of the small rural state. For Hitcher, the ability of the Chavez administration to successfully execute such a massive public beneﬁt program is based on the new economic and social relations that the nation’s Bolivarian Revolution is building. “Capitalism had our families condemned to a life without a home because it made housing a commodity to enrich elite construction ﬁrms. Now, with the revolutionary process, its a social good and for that reason the houses are sold at a minimum cost provided by a socialist system in which our workers produce to satisfy the needs of the people”, he said. Yaracuy resident, Mary Vllalobos, spoke on Saturday on how the opportunity to own her own home has changed her life. A 30-year old woman with 2 children, Villalobos had previously lived in the house of her father-in-law until the government’s program provided an independent living space for her family. “This is a dream come true, thanks to Mission Housing Venezuela. My house is irrefutable proof that things are going in a positive direction for all Venezuelans”, she said.
. s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
New schools for Venezuelan youth
They were chicken coops, many times without water, without bathrooms, not to even mention a kitchen or cafeteria which were luxuries”, he recalled. As different from the neglect of the past, the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) pointed out that his administration has given “strong support” to the push for greater access to education and has built “close to 500 schools per year” with another 3,500 planned for the next 5 years.
the Colombian armed conﬂict, including the country’s rightwing narco-paramilitaries and even the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Speaking on the capture from Bogota, Colombian President Manuel Santos described Barerra as “perhaps the most wanted kingpin in recent times”. He also thanked the Venezuelan government for their cooperation. “I want to thank the Venezuelan government, President (Hugo) Chavez and his team, for this great collaboration that has produced this capture”, Santos said. “The last of the great capos has fallen”.
The New York Times reported that Barrera’s capture was the result of an international effort between Venezuelan, Colombian, British and US ofﬁcials, and that the head of Colombia’s national police, General Jose Leon Riano, was in Washington at the time of Barrera’s arrest. Speaking to the press from the US, the General conﬁrmed that Barrera had not resisted arrest when he was detained alone in a telephone box in San Cristobal. The drug boss has since been transferred to Caracas where he will be questioned and is eventually expected to be deported to Colombia. Earlier in June, Venezuelan authorities captured Diego Perez Henao, aka Diego Rastrojo, a drug baron heavily linked to Colombia’s paramilitary organizations. Another Colombian drugs kingpin, Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, known as el “Valenciano” was captured in November last year. Henao was extradited to Colombia just a few weeks after his arrest while Bonilla was deported directly to the US.
also the internet”, Chavez said of the new facilities. During Monday’s inauguration, Chavez informed that the current government budget for primary and secondary schools in the country is 45 billion bolivars ($10.4 billion), which represents a full 10 percent of the nation’s total GDP. This ﬁgure does not include university education nor other public initiatives including the government’s literacy program, Mission Robinson, and the con-
tinuing high school program for adults, Mission Ribas. According to Chavez, the current government’s bolstering of its educational budget has represented a sharp break with past Venezuelan administrations which, he said “did not build schools”. “I remember those years when [previous governments] would build a few warehouses with beams and a ﬂoor and ceiling made of asbestos, something like a storage space.
Top Colombian drug kingpin caught in Venezuela T/ Rachael Boothroyd P/ AFP
top Colombian drug trafﬁcker has been captured by Venezuelan authorities in the Colombia-Venezuela border town of San Cristobal, Tachira state, conﬁrmed the Chavez government on Tuesday. Daniel “El Loco” Barrera is said to be the last of Colombia’s major drug kingpins and is the third Colombian drug lord to have been caught in Venezuela in the last 12 months. He was wanted by both the Colombian authorities and the international organization, Interpol. In a statement released by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday evening, the government afﬁrmed that the capture was a demonstration of its “unbreakable commitment to the ﬁght against narco-trafﬁcking”. The arrest comes just after the release of a document by
the Obama administration last week which criticized the Venezuelan government for having failed to sufﬁciently tackle the drugs trade. “This is the most important blow that we have given to criminal organizations dedicated to the illegal trafﬁcking of drugs in Venezuela in our history”, said Venezuelan Minister of Justice and Domestic Affairs, Tareck El Aissami, on Tuesday night. The minister explained that Venezuelan authorities had deployed 14 criminal investigation teams in the capital district and throughout another 3 states after they received information on Barerra’s movements from Colombian ofﬁcials on August 6. Barrera was ﬁnally caught after he used a phone box being monitored by authorities. “This man carried out many calls via third parties, our operations were carried out continuously and rigorously for 45
days, but on August 28 one of the intelligence teams involved in the operation managed to get the coordinates of “Loco Barrera”, explained Aissami. The arrest has made international headlines due to the high proﬁle nature of Barerra, whose drug empire is alleged to have channelled over 900 tons of cocaine through Mexico to both Europe and the US. Both Colombia and the US have offered rewards for information on the kingpin’s whereabouts amounting to almost $8 million. Throughout his 20-year career, Barrera is said to have made deals with both sides of
“The Revolution arrived in 1999 and among other measures, we eliminated the cost of enrollment and have incremented the salaries of the teachers which were very low. In our ﬁrst 3 years, school enrollment has shot up and has continued to grow at a 2 percent rate annually”, Chavez said. This has translated into a lower rate of school desertion by children and a marked increase from, 70 percent to 90 percent, in students ﬁnishing primary education on time. “This is evidence of how we’ve advanced. We should always be looking for ways to improve”, the two-time incumbent asserted. As part of Monday’s events, the Venezuelan President also delivered 370 mini-laptop computers to students in Las Adjuntas as part of the government’s plan to increase technological literacy in the nation’s grammar school population. Thirty thousand new educators were additionally granted ofﬁcial teaching diplomas, 20,000 of whom are the result of the government’s employment program Mission Knowledge and Work. “This is ﬁrm support that the Revolution has giving to education because we’re talking about the most important activity in the country”, Chavez said.
T/ COI P/ Presidential Press uring a public event that saw a further strengthening of the Venezuelan educational system, President Hugo Chavez presided last Monday over the inauguration of a number of new schools while granting diplomas to more than 30,000 new educators. The Venezuelan President was present in the Caracas neighborhood of Las Adjuntas where he toured the facilities of the National Basic Education Unit Claudio Feliciano II, a new institution which will attend to the needs of nearly two thousand primary and middle school students. He similarly inaugurated another educational center via the nation’s Simon Bolivar satellite in the indigenous area of Guajira in Zulia state. The Sinamaica Lake Educational Unit will ensure a bilingual education to 404 Añú indigenous children as well as provide computer technology to the native peoples who inhabit the western part of Zulia. “Now, the indigenous communities will be able not only to navigate Lake Sinamaica, the Orinoco and Apure rivers... but
6 Politics | . s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Terrorist accomplice supports Venezuelan opposition candidate T/ Jean-Guy Allard
icardo Koesling, the leader of opposition political party Piedra (“Rock” in English) who declared “we’ll use bullets, ﬁsts, kicks, everything we’ve got, to force the Chavistas out” and publicly reiterated his ongoing support for right-wing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, just happens to be the top Caracasbased boss of Miami’s CubanAmerican Maﬁa and the Venezuelan link in Luis Posada Carriles’ international terrorist network.
THE ROCK STAR Koesling was absolutely hysterical last week after his party announced its break with Capriles Radonski, a decision made public by Piedra Secretary General Leonardo Chirinos. Insisting that he continues to serve as the group’s lawyer and Secretary of Finances, Koesling issued a rage-ﬁlled tirade during an interview on Radio Caracas, promising to “force out” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez no matter what the results of this year’s presidential election. Close to high-level ofﬁcials in the government of President Jaime Lusinchi (198489), Koesling helped Miamibased terrorist Luis Posada Carriles escape from Venezuela’s San Juan de los Morros Prison in 1985. His links to Cuban-American terrorism, however, date back to the 1970’s. On April 12, 2002, as part of the right-wing coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Koesling led an assault on the Cuban Embassy in Caracas. Koesling’s attack on the embassy was supported, on the ground, by Salvador Romani, now exiled in Miami with the complacency of the US State Department. Another active participant in this act of terrorism against a country’s sovereign diplomatic mission (in this case Cuba’s) was none other than right-wing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski
– then mayor of the Caracas municipality of Baruta. The international, CubanAmerican terrorist network coordinated by Luis Posada Carriles includes Francisco Pimentel, an accomplice in the terrorist attacks across Havana in 1997, and Hermes Rojas, known to have tortured innocents alongside Posada while in El Salvador. Among others visited by Koesling in Caracas is Henry Lopez Sisco, the most notorious torturer and assassin for Venezuela’s secret police (Disip) under former President Carlos Andres Perez (1974-79, 1989-93). Exiled in Costa Rica, the now elderly Sisco facilitated private meetings, in August 1975, between state agents of the Perez government and Manuel Contreras, then Chief of Pinochet’s secret police (DINA). Another member of Koesling’s inner circle worth mentioning is coup-monger Alejandro Peña Exclusa, now head of the Latin American fascist organization UnoAmerica, a group backed by ex military ofﬁcials tied to Operation Condor and other accomplices of terrorist attacks. Two years
ago, Peña Exclusa was found in possession of illegal explosives after admitted Salvadorian terrorist Francisco “El Panzon” Chavez Abarca confessed to Venezuelan authorities of plans to violently disrupt the 2010 parliamentary elections. No one should forget that Chavez Abarca’s confessions, after his arrest in Caracas, linked him directly to international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. In 1997, Francisco Chavez Abarca was contracted by Posada, entered Cuba, and committed three bomb attacks aimed at putting a violent end to tourism on the island. While in Havana, he also organized a series of parallel bombings carried out by fellow Salvadorian Ernesto Cruz Leon, one of which, on September 14th, resulted in the death of Fabio di Celma, a young Italian tourist. Chavez Abarca, extradited to Cuba by Venezuelan authorities, later described how he recruited, trained, and sent a number of other mercenaries into Havana.
“Capriles is going to be President, and we’ll use bullets, ﬁsts, kicks, everything we’ve got, to force the Chavistas out”. He also called the decision by Piedra Secretary General Leonardo Chirinos “illegal” and accused Chirinos of “receiving $200,000 dollars to pull support” from the opposition candidate. In an interview with Caracas daily CiudadCCS, Chirinos quickly denied Koesling’s claims, conﬁrmed Piedra’s decision to withdraw its support for Capriles, and reminded readers that Koesling left the party on September 11, 2012, a decision made public in right-wing daily El Nacional that same day. According to Chirinos, Koesling ordered his name be removed from the Piedra website and threatened to “burn all of us alive if we did not do what he asked”, words that are reﬂective of the violent nature of a veteran of imperial terror.
KOESLING: “YOU WILL ALL BURN ALIVE”
Ever since the initial triumph of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution (1998present), the Miami-based
Speaking to Radio Caracas last week, Koesling declared,
MOBSTER TROOPS OF CAPRILES
maﬁa – which for decades executed CIA plans to destroy the Cuban Revolution – opened up its membership to a gang of Venezuelans that made opposing the Venezuelan President a business of its own. These Venezuelans are now modeling themselves after what the CubanAmericans have done since 1959, serving as accomplices of former Dictator Fulgencio Batista, receiving both open and discrete support of different US administrations. Towards the end of February, 2009, at the request of Posada Carriles and Angel De Fana Serrano, a group of Miami-based terrorists and Cuban-American mobsters held a public meeting alongside Venezuelan coup-mongers including Patricia Poleo and exiled Venezuelan military ofﬁcers. De Fana, linked to the 1997 plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the Ibero-American Summit, was seated next to Patricia Poleo, wanted by Venezuelan authorities for her role in the cowardly killing of prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Next to them both was none other than former Venezuelan Colonel Gustavo Diaz, one of Pedro Carmona’s loyal soldiers during the short-lived 2002 coup against President Chavez. Also present was National Guard Captain Javier Nieto Quintero, tied to the 2004 case of Colombian paramilitaries planning to assassinate President Chavez while dressed as members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, and Lieutenant Jose Antonio Colina Pulido, responsible for the 2003 bombings of Spanish and Colombian diplomatic missions in Caracas. Another “soldier” present was former Disip Chief Joaquim Chaffardet, a fellow resident of Florida, found in 2009 to possess explosives as well as other materials linked to the 1976 downing of a Cuban airliner. Miami is now home to numerous other Venezuelan delinquents, corrupt ofﬁcials, and fugitives of justice including Guillermo Zuloaga, former head of news corporation Globovision, and Raul Diaz Peña, Colina Pulido’s fugitive accomplice. This brotherhood of criminals, with whom Koesling identiﬁes, represents the current, not-so-desirable US-based support for opposition candidate Capriles Radonski.
. s Friday, September 21, 2012
The artillery of ideas
US outline contingency plan to oust Chavez T/ Paul Dobson P/ Agencies
ormer US ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, revealed a contingency plan Washington could be preparing for Venezuela, including military intervention, to enforce what he calls an “orderly, peaceful transition” for an alleged “post-Chavez” period after the October presidential elections. Speaking the Voice of America from Duke University, where he is a guest professor, Duddy stated that “in the case that something happens”, in Venezuela, the US “should be ready to support the process of transition and to be very clear”. He went on to clarify that the opposition in Venezuela, including candidate Henrique Capriles, have prepared their actions and policies as “recommended from abroad”. These comments follow an eye-opening policy document written by Duddy, published by the inﬂuential Council of Foreign Relations, in which he reveals US contingency plans that seek to “organize a coalition of partners to limit a
(perceived) illegitimate Venezuelan administration’s access to government assets”, and addresses the possibility of military intervention or economic sanctions.
"The document supports the particular current within the Venezuelan opposition that is preparing to denounce fraud and claim a Chavez victory in October would be illegitimate, despite an internationally recognized and transparent voting process". The document supports the particular current within the Venezuelan opposition that is preparing to denounce fraud and claim a Chavez victory in October would be illegitimate, despite an internationally recognized and transparent voting process. The document repeatedly refers to destabilizing actions and reiterates tactics used in the 2002 coup d’etat against Chavez, whereby vio-
lence was provoked by opposition sectors, but the blame for such violence was placed on Chavez’s supporters. Duddy’s text repeatedly leaves the reader in some doubt as to whether it is suggesting, predicting, or encouraging such destabilization, and in his opening line he states that “in the coming months, Venezuela could experience signiﬁcant political unrest and violence that leads to the further curtailment of democracy” and that “spontaneous violence emanating from Chavez’s supporters remains a real possibility”. The tone of the document is aggressive, violent, and one that suggests political violence and a deterioration of democracy are all but inevitable. It deliberately uses language that can later be used to justify interventionist actions, and to be used as a propaganda tool that describes apparent facts rather than opinions regarding theoretical scenarios. The text goes on to predict that post-election protests “could turn violent, may in turn lead to the imposition of martial law and the further curtailment of democratic rights in Venezuela”, which
would, or course, justify US intervention to support the “process of transition” to peace, in a similar strategy to that used in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. The document openly discusses the “sudden” death of the President. It states, “the Chavistas will not willingly surrender power and would be willing to provoke violence, orchestrate civil unrest, or engage in various forms of armed resistance to avoid doing so”. Duddy particularly emphasizes that Chavez is still “battling cancer”, and that “speculation about Chavez’s health problems has generated considerable uncertainty among his supporters”, echoing efforts of the opposition alliance to sew doubts in the country about his capacity to govern. Duddy mirrors several themes which the opposition have exploited in attempts to destabilize the country in recent days, such as the invention of false news stories, including the now disproved Yanomami massacre in the Amazon, and the false outbreak of child kidnappings for an alleged organ trade in Caracas.
"Duddy’s text repeatedly leaves the reader in some doubt as to whether it is suggesting, predicting, or encouraging such destabilization..." He states that violence could be provoked by the announcement of the “imminent” death of Chavez, which is a rumor the opposition frequently circulate through Twitter and Facebook. Also, through the “surge” of perceived violent crime, a theme which is used by every opposition media outlet on a daily basis to sow fear. Furthermore, Duddy warns of an alleged (though false) distribution of weapons to reserve forces, apparent food or gasoline shortages, and the persecution of journalists or media outlets as incidents that could incite a violent political reaction from Chavez supporters. Duddy adds that the “assassination of a senior ﬁgure close to Chavez or Capriles” could destabilize the country through violence, sufﬁciently to justify US intervention to “restore peace and democracy”. He goes on to identify the following cases where violence could be instigated: if the public- through polls and
commentaries- are made to believe that Chavez is about to lose the elections; if Chavez wins the elections but “immediately dies”; if Capriles wins the election; if Pdvsa call a strike in light of a Capriles victory; or if the results suggest a tie.
"Duddy states that “if the election results appear fraudulent or apparently legitimate results are nulliﬁed, the US should encourage international pressure to restore democracy and suspend bilateral business...” Duddy states that “if the election results appear fraudulent or apparently legitimate results are nulliﬁed, the US should encourage international pressure to restore democracy and suspend bilateral business”, and he describes the possibility of direct military intervention as merely “inappropriate”, but does not rule it out. The document outlines various ways in which this “international pressure” could be achieved, including using “Brazil, Colombia, and other countries in the region to press for transparency and compliance”, to pressure “stakeholder countries” such as Japan and China, to demand that the “OAS declare Venezuela in breach of its obligations”, to bring the “issue of Venezuelan democracy to the United Nations Security Council”, to suspend visas for all Venezuelans, to freeze individual bank accounts, and most worryingly, to “encourage other Latin American militaries, as well perhaps as Spain, to communicate to the Venezuelan military the importance of complying with constitutional mandates, respecting human rights, and preserving democracy”. Patrick Duddy was US Ambassador to Venezuela from 2007-2008. He was expelled from Venezuela in September 2008 due to his interventionist tactics and in a gesture of solidarity with Bolivia, which also expelled US Ambassador Philip Goldberg for meddling in internal affairs.
Friday, September 21, 2012 | Nº 127 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
! PUBLICATION OF THE &UNDACION #ORREO DEL /RINOCO s Editor-in-Chief %VA 'OLINGER s Graphic Design Pablo Valduciel L. - Aimara Aguilera
High stakes in Venezuelan election A rightwing victory for Capriles over Chavez next month would kill Venezuela’s political culture and hopes of a new world order T/ Luis Hernandez Navarro P/ Presidential Press & AFP
n today’s Venezuela, to be a rightist is out of fashion. The streets of Caracas are lined with posters showing the face of the businessman and political leader Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate for the presidency. In one picture he appears with a baseball cap featuring the colours of the country’s ﬂag and an open smile, as if to advertise some toothpaste. Above it, a legend says: “Below and left”. “Below and left” is one of the possible places in the ballot card where voters can mark their choice, but it is something else too: the political space that Capriles seeks to ﬁll to surmount his disadvantage against Hugo Chavez. Throughout the campaign, Capriles – a rightist businessman – has presented himself
as a progressive man, a politician who tries to recover Chavez’s discourse from the opposite side of the street. Recently he has sought to reinforce this image by purporting to be a defender of the working class. Paradoxically, for the ﬁrst time in a long while, the Venezuelan bourgeoisie has a candidate true to his class. He was born in the bosom of two families who own communications media. His adversaries accuse him of belonging to the ultra-rightist group Tradicion, Familia y Propiedad (Tradition, Family and Property). He took an active part in the coup against Chavez in 2002. This sort of political transvestism, with the right posing as a progressive force, is not gratuitous. As is shown in several opinion polls, Venezuela has given birth to a new political culture where the socialist ideal is widely accepted. Half the population agrees with the idea of building a socialist country, against 29% who oppose it. Citizens associate socialism with values such as democracy, equal op-
portunities, social inclusion, solidarity, co-operation, organization, participation and, recently, efﬁciency. This massive adherence to the socialist cause is a relatively new development. During the 1960s and 1970s it was, according to pollster German Campos, a blocked idea, one that most citizens considered forbidden. But that changed radically in the 2005 presidential campaign, when President Chavez changed his stance from Bolivarianism, nationalism and anti-imperialism to portray himself as a socialist. This phenomenon can be explained as a result of the destructuring of the old political culture and the formation of a new one, characterized by the emergence of a newly politicized population. The strength of this new political culture, and of the strides towards social inclusion made by the Bolivarian government, make things quite difﬁcult for Capriles. He has no room to manoeuvre. He can’t oppose this ideal in public without damaging his chances of victory. He can’t express his political and eco-
nomic proposals clearly, for he would be rejected. On the contrary, Chavez’s view of his nation has become widely accepted, so much so that about two-thirds of the population see him as the future. The election on October 7 is not only a Venezuelan affair. Its importance goes beyond the country’s boundaries. Its result matters to all of the continent, to the Non-Aligned Movement and to popular movements throughout the world. A Chavez victory will deepen a post-neoliberal, socialist model of development for the country. However, were the opposition to triumph, it would be a tough blow to those countries that seek to leave the Washington consensus behind or to create a new world order, beyond US hegemony. Since Chavez came to power Caracas has played an essential role in establishing better conditions for oil marketing and raising the oil price in international markets. It has succeeded in derailing free trade agreements in Latin America, helped to create regional trade blocks independent of the US, and transferred money and
other resources to poor nations with progressive governments. It has forged alliances with Russia, Iran and China, and has gained a good reputation and inﬂuence among many non-aligned countries. All of this would be at risk if Chavismo were defeated at the polls. Venezuela has been fundamental in helping Cuba to deal with the US blockade. Programs of economic and political co-operation between the two countries have provided Cuban health and education expertise in exchange for oil. Were Capriles to win the ballot, the shipment of oil to the island would be cancelled and thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers would be repatriated. Heads or tails? In next month’s election, the stakes are high: either the radicalisation of the Bolivarian revolution and the deepening of the bet for a new world order, or the restoration of neoliberal capitalism. Its outcome will have consequences far beyond Venezuela. Luis Hernández Navarro is the opinion editor of Mexico’s La Jornada