TV host Mario Silva “crossed the line” long ago page 7
Murderous undertakings of US foreign policy, a ﬁlm review page 8
Friday, November 23, 2012 | Nº 136 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
South America stands with Palestine
ENGLISH EDITION/The artillery of ideas
Grassroots debate determines government plan in Venezuela
As the bombing of the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) continues, the progressive governments of Latin America have strongly denounced the Israeli aggression this week, in an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people. President Chavez described the onslaught as “savage aggression”, while a statement signed by the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) expressed concern at the “disproportionate use of force” by the IDF against the Palestinians. page 4 Politics
Security plan for Miranda Former VP & gubernatorial candidate Elias Jaua has a plan for safety. page 3
In a major step to ensure inclusion and participation in government and politics, the Chavez administration has promoted a series of grassroots discussions to develop the government’s agenda from 2013-2019. President Chavez called for “Cities of Debate” where ordinary residents can contribute ideas in the formation of the government’s policies. Assemblies have been installed in the major plazas of most cities and will continue operating until the end of November when residents’ proposals will be compiled and presented to President Chavez and his executive staff. P/ AVN page 2
InfoCenter success Social Justice
Celebrating World Food Day Venezuela has made major strides in guaranteeing food & nutrition for its people. page 5 Science & Technology
Nanotechnology in the future Venezuela studies the use of this important technology to lessen oil dependency. page 6
An initiative in Venezuela to educate citizens in information technology through the InfoCenter Foundation created in 2007 has reached 1.6 million so far. This ﬁgure was announced by David Parra, foundation’s director at the Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation. Parra said that 866 InfoCenters have been established in 287 municipalities throughout the country, 10 of which are directly connected to the Venezuelan satellite known as Simon Bolivar. He also recalled that “all the computers used come from our technology industry and use open source software”. Thanks to efforts to transfer the management of these government-funded centers to local community organizations like community councils, the training process had good results. The InfoCenter Foundation, created by presidential decree in March of 2007, aims to democratize access to information and communications technologies among all citizens through community computer labs that facilitate the building and sharing of knowledge.
INTERNATIONAL A self-taught jockey from Venezuela dominates US circuit T/ Press Ofﬁce Venezuela has long been known for its skilled jockeys, but rarely do they reach international fame in the manner of Ramon Dominguez, whom The New York Times is calling “the best rider in the United States”. According to the Times, Dominguez is currently the sport’s highest-earning jockey. So far this year, the horses he has ridden to victory in competitions such as the Breeders’ Cup and a dozen other races have won a record amount of $24.2 million. Dominguez, who lives in New York State, has also won several prestigious prizes including two consecutive Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey and the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. What’s particularly impressive about Domínguez’s rise to fame is that he received no formal training. “I learned on my own in Venezuela”, he told the newspaper. Dominguez was born in Caracas and brought up in Cagua, an hour and a half away. His mother was a schoolteacher, and his father ran an off-track betting parlor in Caracas. On weekends, Dominguez’s father would take him to help around the shop. At the end of the weekend, his father had to drive the betting machines to La Rinconada, the Caracas racecourse, where they were emptied of money. At 13, Dominguez ﬁrst watched a live race there and resolved to become a jockey. Dominguez found a local race track where he taught himself the basics, and then began to compete. He came to the United States in 1996, and won his ﬁrst race at that same year. By 2001, Dominguez had more wins than any other rider in the US.
2 Impact | . s Friday, November 23, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela initiates grassroots “Cities of Debate” around the nation
Socialism allows us, through practical education, to create projects that respect our surroundings. By preserving our natural spaces, we advance towards the nation that we want”, said resident Gilberto Moreno. With this focus, members of the Cumana community adapted the ﬁve historic objectives to the need for greater conservation efforts and the encouraging of eco-tourism in the coastal area. “We can’t exploit resources by breaking the balance of nature. Without a healthy environment, we won’t be able to promote eco-tourism in Venezuela. We can’t leave to others the work that we can do ourselves”, said Moreal Perez, a teacher from Cumana. In the Andean state of Merida, popular traditions was a driving topic in assembly discussion on Friday as community members met with Culture Minister, Pedro Calzadilla. “Fifty years ago this kind of activity wouldn’t have been possible. Dialogue such as this could only occur in the present, since it forms part of a new country where the state is interested in culture as well as cultural workers and their contributions”, said resident Trino Borges during Friday’s session.
OPPOSITION CONFUSED BUT WELCOME
T/ COI P/ Agencies
rassroots assemblies organized all around the country began debating the Chavez administration’s governmental plan 2013-2019 as part of a democratic initiative to include as many proposals as possible on what the priorities of the Executive branch should be in the coming presidential term. During a meeting with cabinet members last Friday, Chavez called for “Cities of Debate” where ordinary residents can contribute ideas in the formation of the government’s policies. Assemblies have been installed in the major plazas of most cities and will continue operating until the end of November when residents’ proposals will be compiled and presented to President Chavez and his executive staff. Upon revision of the propositions, Chavez will then present his Socialist Plan of government to the country’s congress on January 10. “The ideas is that the people participate in the debate because this program is going to determine the future of the country from 2013 - 2019 and the people are the ones who are the protagonist subjects”, said Marelys Perez, socialist activist from the state of Monagas. “Any individual can join the debate and make his or her proposals”, she added. The use of assemblies to foster greater democratic participation originates
in articles 2 and 70 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution, which empower the citizenry with the right to revoke elected ofﬁcials and to hold popular consultations and assemblies on policy matters. In utilizing these articles, the United Socialist Party of Veneuzela (PSUV) has set up more than 13,000 centers of participation across the country to receive citizen input while the public mail service, Ipostal, has installed 94 drop boxes for written suggestions. A website has also been launched were residents can make their opinions known via the Internet. Congressman Dario Vivas commented that by the start of the weekend on Friday, more than four thousand proposals of varying types had already been submitted to local ofﬁcials.
DIFFERENT REGIONS, DIFFERENT IDEAS A major intention of the popular assemblies has been to bring regional concerns to the attention of the national government and to maintain a plurality of visions in the formulation of policy. This includes, according to Amazonian resident Ana Camico, adapting
what is known as Venezuela’s “ﬁve historic objectives” to the needs of the local population. “The ﬁve historic objectives are being reviewed in detail by the people in order to make adaptions to the reality of Amazonas State which is full of diversity and many problems to resolve”, Camico said during an assembly held in the state capital Puerto Ayacucho. The Chavez administration has spelled out ﬁve major goals for its coming term which include defending national independence, continuing the construction of socialism, transforming Venezuela into a regional power, fostering an expanded foreign policy, and preserving life on the planet. In the city of Cumana in the Eastern state of Sucre, it was environmentalism that took center stage during discussions last weekend. “Socialism can develop projects that are harmonious with the environment.
Public ofﬁcials have stressed the inclusionary nature of the popular assemblies, making calls for members of Venezuela’s opposition to participate in the initiatives and submit their proposals. This follows numerous pronunciations made by President Chavez over the past weeks inviting political adversaries to engage in meaningful debate on the future of the country and to devise feasible policy suggestions. Despite the appeal, opposition members interpreted the installation of the assemblies as an attempt on behalf of the government to modify the nation’s constitution. The Venezuelan head of state pointed out this error during a cabinet meeting on Friday when he criticized conservative groups for distorting the intentions of the assemblies. “The opposition now says that ‘they’re going to call a Constituent Assembly [to re-write the constitution].’ This shows that the opposition still lacks seriousness. Are they once again going to resort to lies? Does the opposition think that the people are foolish? “ Chavez asked pointing out that the process of debate is completely separate from the drafting of a new Magna Carta. Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas recommended that the opposition focus its energy on contributing to the hundreds of debates taking place around the country and thereby enrich the democratic nature of the popular assemblies. “They can contribute their criticisms and ideas to the program. The Venezuelan opposition and the Venezuelan government need each other mutually like the ying and the yang”, Villegas said.
. s Friday, November 23, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Former Venezuelan VP unveils security plan for Miranda state
T/ COI P/ CC
ubernatorial Candidate for Miranda, Elias Jaua, presented his plan to improve security in Venezuela’s second largest state on Monday as the former Vice President of the Chavez administration ramps up his campaign efforts in the race for leadership of the strategic regional entity.
Speaking at the Romulo Gallegos Center of Latin American Studies in Altamira, Jaua detailed his public safety proposal, which features the addition of more than ﬁve thousand new police ofﬁcers and the creation of nearly two thousand new patrols to increase security presence on the streets. The security plan, which outlines more than 100 points of action to combat crime, was
revealed with less than one month remaining until Venezuela’s gubernatorial elections, slated for December 16. Jaua is running against former presidential campaign candidate for the opposition, Henrique Capriles, who is also the incumbent governor of Miranda. While Capriles used the issue of security in his losing effort to defeat President Hugo
enezuela’s economy grew 5.2 percent in the third quarter as compared to the same period last year, ofﬁcials said Tuesday, crediting both the private sector and an increase in government spending. Venezuela this year is among the fastest growing economies in Latin America. The economy expanded at a quicker rate than last year’s third quarter, when growth stood at 4.4 percent. “Venezuela entered a new phase in its stable, sustainable growth”, Planning Minister Jorge Giordani said at a news conference where he and the Central Bank president announced the quarterly ﬁnancial results. The country’s economy has now been expanding for
eight consecutive quarters. The Central Bank said the strong growth between July and September was due in part to more supplies of imported goods and raw materials, as well as more government spending on public housing projects. The housing boom came ahead of the October 7 election, when President Hugo Chavez was re-elected to another sixyear term. Thanks to the government’s housing projects, the construction sector posted 12.6 percent quarterly growth. Still, more money in the economy and strong consumer spending propelled private sector growth of 5.7 percent, while the public sector rose more modestly at 3.4 percent. The larger amount of money in the economy boosted imports, which increased 17 percent during the quarter as compared to
the same period in 2011, as well as the banking sector, which grew a whopping 35.9 percent. Venezuela remains a major oil producer, and relatively high oil prices have helped bring more money into government coffers, which in turn has enabled more spending. Yet in the latest quarter, the country’s non-oil sector grew 5.4 percent, outpacing 1.1 percent growth in the oil sector. The economic expansion has been driven largely by government spending that has grown
Chavez in October, Venezuela’s socialists have been quick to highlight the governor’s failure to improve safety in his home state. According to ofﬁcial numbers, Miranda has the highest indices of violent crime in the country. “In the last four years, the number of homicides [in Miranda] has doubled, representing the most in the country”, Jaua said during the presentation of his plan on Monday. “What we’ve suffered over the past four years has been inaction before the people. Never before from a governor has there been such a lack of respect for the lives of other residents of Miranda”, he added. To combat this, the former Vice President is proposing that Miranda link up with national crime ﬁghting initiatives designed by the Chavez administration, something that the Capriles state government has refused to do. This means collaborating with the National Security University in the training of new police ofﬁcers and the erection of 21 new judicial processing centers to address the rampant impunity that inﬂicts much of the justice system in Miranda. Prevention will also have an important role in his government’s plan to strengthen crime reduction, Jaua stated during his address.
As such, the gubernatorial candidate has proposed increasing the presence of athletic and cultural centers as alternatives for at-risk youth. This includes the creation of fourteen new spaces for youth orchestras, 62 new centers for cultural studies and the restoration of 200 sporting facilities throughout the state. “After four years of prolonged abandonment of athletics in Miranda, we’re going to recover the use of sports to keep so many of the youth out of the world of crime. This is going to happen from the ﬁrst day that we take over the governorship. We’re going to build 210 new athletic courts in four years as part of our violence prevention program”, Jaua said at an campaign event earlier this week. On Sunday, thousands of Miranda residents took part in a caravan to support the former Vice President in his election bid. Activists from all 21 municipalities of the central state participated in the rallies, exhibiting their enthusiasm for the socialist candidate with music and street demonstrations. “The residents of Miranda are motivated and carrying out a perfect campaign to take back the state with Elias Jaua. The people are demonstrating their overwhelming love and support of our revolutionary candidate”, said campaign backer Wisely Alvarez during the caravan.
more than 20 percent so far this year, said Angel Garcia Banchs, an economist and director of the Venezuelan consulting ﬁrm Econometrica. Garcia Banchs said he thinks such rapid growth isn’t sustainable, citing government deﬁcit problems as well as construction and banking industries that he said aren’t capable of continuing with such performance. Venezuela also has some unresolved currency issues that could complicate the economy
in the coming months. The government maintains strict currency exchange controls that ﬁx the ofﬁcial exchange rate at 4.3 bolivars to the dollar and require both Venezuelans and businesses to apply to a government agency to obtain dollars at that rate. However, a scarcity of dollars has recently prompted a nosedive in the value of the bolivar on the black market, where the US dollar has recently been fetching three times the ofﬁcial rate. Venezuelan economists say the sliding value of the bolivar increases pressure on the government to devalue. Some business leaders have also warned that importers and other companies are having difﬁculties obtaining dollars, and that those troubles could contribute to an eventual cooling of the economy. Central Bank president Nelson Merentes, however, dismissed such suggestions and said: “We’re going to keep growing”.
Venezuela economic grow that 5.2 percent T/ Fabiola Sanchez P/ Agencies
4 International | . s Friday, November 23, 2012 T/ Paul Dobson P/ Agencies
s the bombing of the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) continues, the progressive governments of Latin America have strongly denounced the Israeli aggression this week, in an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people. President Chavez described the onslaught as “savage aggression”, while an ofﬁcial statement signed by all heads of state from the countries comprising the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) expressed their concern at the “disproportionate use of force” by the highly trained and equipped IDF against the impoverished but deﬁant Palestinian freedom ﬁghters. President Chavez, speaking in an open cabinet meeting, strongly denounced the Israeli aggression: “So another savage aggression has started against the Gaza strip. The Israeli state is yet again bombing the Gaza strip…the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has stated that he will again try for the full membership for Palestine in the UN, a realistic vision, and yet the response is this”. Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro also proclaimed, “We will accompany the Palestinian people in all of their struggles”. The Mercosur statement appealed to the UN to assume what the South American bloc claimed is “its responsibility” in opposing the blatant Israeli aggression that goes against International Law. The statement went on to call for dialogue and peace: “The path for the overcoming of the present crisis goes through diplomacy and dialogue”. VP Maduro reiterated the sentiment of the rest of the Mer-
Gaza burns again! T/ Zainab Ihsan
ith agonizing pain the world once again is witnessing the atrocious and barbaric manner in which Israel has assaulted Gaza in the name of ‘self defense’. So far more than 100 people, including children, have been mercilessly killed. In spite of getting calls of condemnation from the world over, the Israeli PM Benjamin Natanyahu vows to ‘expand’ the assault and 75,000 reservist Israeli soldiers are all-ready for a ground assault. The scars inﬂicted by the deadly Israeli attack in late December 2008 are still raw in the hearts and minds of the
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela and Mercosur stand ﬁrmly with Palestine
cosur countries by clarifying that Venezuela will vote in favor of full Palestinian membership of the UN at the meeting to decide the matter on Sept 27, 2013 in New York. “We will accompany the Palestinian people in all of their struggles. In this case in the UN, our voice, our vote, will be there with them”, he conﬁrmed. Progressive Latin American countries, including those who are members of Mercosur, as well as others, have continually supported the Palestinian calls for full statehood and full membership in the UN, and many have followed indepen-
world especially Gazans. In the previous 22 day onslaught, the Israelis ruthlessly killed 1,417 people including women and children. Only 13 Israelis lost their lives. Moreover, defying international laws, Israel pounded civilians with phosphorous bombs. No doubt Israeli is a ‘bully’ that is impossible to discipline especially when US is “fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself”. In the face of such hostile environment, it is high time that OIC and Arab League stop being dummy organizations, paying mere lip service to the Palestinian cause and make some serious efforts to address the dilemma of their innocent and helpless Palestinian brethrens.
dently taken measure of solidarity with Palestine, such as the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Caracas after the war against Lebanon in 2006. Most Latin American nations, including all of the members of Mercosur, already recognize Palestine as a state, and last December a free trade agreement with the Palestinian Authority was signed by Mercosur. The military action taken by Israel was initiated over three weeks ago, but has been escalated since the assignation of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari last week by the IDF, which unsurprisingly provoked
a heartfelt reaction from the Palestinian ﬁghters who oppose the Israeli occupation of their lands and the attack on their democratically elected government. The Palestinian ambassador in Venezuela, Farid Suwwan, has spoken publicly and called on the countries of the world to stand up and oppose the Israeli bombardment and planned invasion of his land. “The Israeli government is trying to continue its policy which it has had for more than 64 years, a policy of genocide, of massacre against the Palestinian people. Israel called on its reserve forces and has called
for a land invasion of Gaza”, proclaimed Suwwan. When asked about the Palestinian response to such a land invasion, Suwwan made it very clear that his people faced “no alternative” but to defend themselves. “They are going to use fusils against tanks and planes, chemical arms and phosphorous based weapons, such as those used by Israel in the 2008 war”. Solidarity with the Palestinian people also came from Chavez’s principal allies, the Venezuelan Communist Party, who emphasized the anti-imperialist nature of the struggle of the Palestinian people. In a press conference, they declared “it important that we understand this struggle as one by a brother people, for whom we should show solidarity, and execute all the necessary actions, because it is a struggle against imperialism, which is a common enemy of all the peoples of the world”. Carlos Aquino, a member of the collective leadership of the Communist Party, went on to clarify that “we recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign State”. Public opinion in Venezuela is very much in favor of the Palestinian cause, and the 8.1 million citizens who voted to reelect President Chavez last October greatly identify with the antiimperialist character of the Palestinian struggle. Media outlets such as Telesur have been widely covering the recent crisis in Gaza, and showing the reality of the situation, which mass media have failed to broadcast. Venezuela has a signiﬁcant Arab population, based mainly around Syrian and Lebanese communities, who will all be watching the events in Palestine with every increasing worry for their families in the greater Middle East region.
. s Friday, November 23, 2012
The artillery of ideas
| Social Justice
Venezuela celebrates 13 years of nutritional advances Venezuelan government to hold assembly with yukpa indigenous group T/ Chris Carlson P/ Agencies
T/ COI P/ Agencies
he Venezuelan government celebrated World Food Day last Saturday by carrying out a series of events throughout the week including the sale of price-regulated staple products in public squares across the country. More than 725 distribution points have been established to supply over eight thousand tons of affordable food products as the Venezuelan population prepares for the holiday season, ofﬁcials reported. “In Venezuela, we have a lot to celebrate with respect to alimentation. Unlike neoliberal governments, food today is part of a fundamental right for everyone”, said the Director of the National Nutrition Institute, Marilyn Di Lucca, during an interview on Monday. “Today, malnutrition has ceased to be a problem of public health in the country”, she added recalling that since coming to power in 1999, the government of Hugo Chavez has established a number of food programs as part of its ﬁght against extreme poverty. The most well known of these programs is the Mercal distribution network which supplies subsidized products through its chain of small bodegas in communities around the nation.
Government statistics reveal that more than 16.5 million Venezuelans beneﬁted from the Mercal price structure in 2012. Apart from Mercal, the government has created a number of other distribution outlets such as Pdval and Bicentennial Supermarkets, bringing the total number of establishments to over 22,000. Strategic industries such as the Lacteos Los Andes dairy factory have also been nationalized to guarantee production of milk products at fair prices and aid in the ﬁght for greater food sovereignty for the Caribbean country. According to Alimentation Minister, Carlos Osorio, the Chavez government’s emphasis on providing for the basic food needs of residents has led to a signiﬁcant increase in the living standards for all Venezuelans. “Ninety-eight percent of the population can eat three times a day. The consumption of proteins has gone from 29.7 grams a day to 47.6 in the past 13 years while daily caloric intake has gone from 2,127 to 3,182 - an increase of approximately 50 percent”, Osorio explained during an event held in Caracas. Other important initiatives launched by the Chavez administration include a nation-
al free school lunch program and the Strategic Alimentation Program (Fundaprol) that provides balanced meals at no cost to economically disadvantaged residents. With a network of over six thousand centers around the country, Fundaprol has been serving the elderly and vulnerable populations hot meals since 2004. “We are a bunch of warriors who are in charge of not only cooking food and feeding the people most in need, but we also help our community by getting involved and celebrating victories. We’re here to help”, said Gladys Perez, a volunteer in an Alimentation House located between Caracas and La Guaira. Perez reports that Mercal supplies 124,000 tons of food to the Alimentation Houses every year. On Tuesday, the Venezuelan government decorated volunteers such as Perez and those working in other food programs during a ceremony held in Caracas’ Principal Theater. “Just as we’re taking steps to correct mistakes, we also have to recognize the work that everyday is being done by a great number of people for the development of a healthy alimentation”, Minister Osorio told state television before the event.
he Venezuelan government has announced that it will hold an assembly with the Yukpa indigenous group in order to resolve the ongoing conﬂict over land rights in the western region of Perija. After more than sixty members of the Yukpa group travelled to Caracas last week to protest the lack of a resolution to the conﬂict, the Minister of Indigenous Peoples Aloha Nuñez announced that the assembly would be held in Machiques de Perija near the site of the conﬂict “with the presence of all of the Yukpa people”. Indigenous leaders and activists have criticized the lack of response on the part of the government with regards to the payment to cattle ranchers for lands that were to be transferred to the Yukpa. Government ofﬁcials have yet to give information about the funds that were approved for this purpose in December of 2011. “Since December 15, when President Hugo Chavez announced it, we were expecting the government to transfer 250 million bolivars ($58 million) for payment to the ﬁrst 25 cattle ranches, but to this day we haven’t seen any movement”, said Yukpa chief Jesus Peñaranda. The lack of a resolution on these disputed lands has led to a continuation of the conﬂict with seven Yukpa killed and several injured so far this year. This has led some to speculate that there is a conﬂict of interests within the government. “The government ministries are manipulating us”, said indigenous leader Sabino Romero during an interview with state channel VTV. “The problem is that there is a political division within the ministries”. Under the Chavez government Venezuela’s indigenous
people for the ﬁrst time have a government ministry dedicated exclusively to indigenous affairs, yet the Yukpa leaders claim the ministry has not been responsive to their demands, and have asked that the ministry be reorganized. “The President isn’t at fault for this, but we know who is. It’s the ministers”, said Yukpa activist Jackelina Mendez. Farmers and cattle ranchers from the Perija region have also denounced inaction on the part of the government. Various cattle ranchers held a protest in Machiques last week, claiming they had been forced to abandon their lands without payment. “We’ve been waiting for a year for them to solve the problem of demarcation of the land so that we can put an end to our suffering”, said Isnelda Medina, leader of a local communal council. Yet indigenous leaders say that the main problem in the region is the violence on the part of cattle ranchers who do not want to give up their lands. They accuse them of hiring contract killers to murder Yukpa leaders. “Machiques is full of hit men and paramilitaries. There is no law in Perija. Not one cattle rancher is in jail”, said Romero, whose 97-year-old father was murdered in 2008, allegedly by hired assassins. “It’s the landowners who are trying to punish us. We want the President to take a hard line against the landowners who are using their money to kill us with hit men”, he said. Though the proposal for an assembly with the Yukpa was well received, indigenous leaders insisted that President Chavez take a closer look at the problem. No speciﬁc date was given for when the government will hold the assembly with the Yukpa community.
6 Science & Technology | . s Friday, November 23, 2012
The artillery of ideas
Nanotechnology could lighten Venezuela’s oil footprint T/ Humberto Márquez –IPS P/ Agencies
enezuela is studying the use of nanotechnology as a means of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases caused by the oil industry. Nanotechnology operates at the sub-microscopic scale: a nanometre is a unit of measure equal to one billionth of a metre. “We are seeking to use nanoparticles of metallic salts, such as iron, nickel or cobalt nitrates, as catalysts in oil-related processes that produce greenhouse gas emissions”, said Sarah Briceño, a researcher at the Center for Physics at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientiﬁc Research (IVIC). Catalysts are substances used to speed up chemical processes, “and our goal is to develop catalysts adapted to Venezuelan industry that will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from activities such as oil reﬁning and fuel consumption by motor vehicles by up to 50 percent”, Briceño told Tierramerica. Venezuela, a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), extracts close to three million barrels of oil a day and has over two billion barrels of heavy crude oil reserves. There are six reﬁneries in the South American country that process a total of 1.1 million barrels daily. Meanwhile, according to OPEC ﬁgures, the country consumes 742,000 barrels of different types of fuel daily, of which 300,000 barrels correspond to the gasoline used by more than six million motor vehicles. The Ministry of the Environment reports that Venezuela is responsible for 0.48 percent of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases and 0.56 percent of one of these “villains”, carbon dioxide. During the experimental phase, “we have observed with scanning electron microscopes the chemical reactions between the metallic salt nanoparticles and the surfactant agents (which inﬂuence the surface tension between substances) involved in these processes”, said Briceño.
Since the concept of nanotechnology – the manipulation of matter at the molecular and atomic level – was ﬁrst introduced in 1959 by US physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, it has been developed in a wide range of ﬁelds including medicine, pharmaceuticals, energy, electronics, metallurgy and environmental conservation. “The entire periodic table (of elements) can be taken to the nano scale. We are focusing our research on how Venezuela, with its technology and infrastructure, can make this environmental contribution through its work with hydrocarbons”, explained Briceño. “Our emphasis is on the reduction of emissions of nitrous oxide and methane, two of the most potent greenhouse gases”, she added. The research is expected to yield results in 2013. Putting these to use in industry will be a long-term objective, given the scale of work in the laboratory: at the IVIC results are obtained in masses of particles that weigh 0.1 grams, while oil pro-
duction in Venezuela in a single day equals 400,000 tons. The relationship between energy and the environment provides fertile ground for nanotechnology, as demonstrated by the research undertaken at the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where nanoparticles containing iron have been mixed with oil in order to make it possible to clean up offshore oil spills with magnets. “The energy demand will increase in coming years, and we need to be able to generate cheap, abundant energy with
the lowest possible environmental impact. Fossil fuels are not an adequate alternative, but even worse is using them badly when there are incredible opportunities to make them so much more efﬁcient”, said Javier Garcia Martínez, director of the Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Alicante, Spain. Nanotechnology “offers the opportunity to generate new materials and processes, and in the ﬁeld of energy there is great potential to improve the efﬁciency of the photovoltaic
cells that make up solar panels”, Venezuelan consultant Juan Carlos Sanchez told Tierramerica. Sanchez is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 jointly with former US Vice President Al Gore (1993-2001). “The development of processes through nanotechnology aimed at greater and more effective use of solar energy isn’t necessarily in the interests of the big oil producers, whether companies or countries”, said Sanchez. “Any technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions is bad for their business, since the demand for oil would decline with an increase in the use of solar energy”, he explained. In his opinion, Venezuela should direct its efforts towards other technologies that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases associated with oil industry activity, “such as so-called sequestration of the carbon dioxide generated in the reﬁneries, in order to sink it in the subsoil of oil wells and keep it from entering the atmosphere”. Other OPEC members are moving forward with this type of research, including Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, as a response to the ﬁngers of blame pointed at the oil-producing countries as being responsible for global warming, said Sanchez. Venezuela could use its thousands of old, abandoned oil wells for this purpose, burying carbon dioxide more than 1,000 meters underground. Briceño, meanwhile, thinks that the results achieved through the research at the IVIC could help to promote studies for the application of nanotechnology to other environment-related areas of the Venezuelan oil industry. One example is the use and disposal of petroleum coke, a solid waste byproduct of oil reﬁning with a carbon content of over 90 percent. Venezuela produces 20,000 tons of petroleum coke daily during the upgrading of heavy and extra heavy crude oils to make them light enough for most reﬁneries. The dust from the resulting mountains of coke affects communities in eastern Venezuela who live near the crude oil upgrading facilities. Perhaps at some point in the future, the impact of this waste could be lessened through treatment with nanoparticles.
. s Friday, November 23, 2012
The artillery of ideas
“I crossed the Line a while ago”: Interview with Venezuelan TV host Mario Silva T/ Clodovaldo Hernandez - Ciudad CCS Translated by Ewan Robertson
ario Silva is a Venezuelan journalist and political activist, and host of the television program “The Razorblade” on state channel VTV. The program has gained notoriety for its daily analysis and deconstruction of the opposition and private media campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution and President Hugo Chavez, of whom Silva is a strong supporter. Silva is also active within the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, having unsuccessfully stood for election for state governor and legislator in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
HE WILL BE THE ONE TO KILL THE RAZORBLADE The ﬁrst time that Mario Silva (born Ciudad Bolivar, 1959) heard Fidel Castro was on the short wave radio on which his father tuned in to Radio Havana, which launched its signal from the “free territory of America”. It was the 60s and without a doubt the Galician communist never imagined that the child who hung around listening to those speeches would – almost half a century later – have the privilege of meeting with the bearded Cuban leader: and not just once, but on various occasions. Silva’s family was monitored by the police of the IV Republic (1958 – 1998), and due to that Mario learned about repression early on. “When I was eleven they dragged me out the house by punches”, he reveals. For almost two decades he was in the world of journalism, working with the DeArmas Bloc of Publications, and he saw “all of the horrible things that were done there”. However life reserved a more prominent role and from 2004 he appeared on the screen of VTV with a program that has now been analyzed in universities, spread through the world press and denounced in international organizations. Now Silva is not just a program, but a multimedia project that includes Makunaima Kariña Radio and a network of community and alternative outlets. About the space that made him a celebrity, he states: “The Razorblade will have its end when it should end, not because oth-
ers want to force it. When I see that the program no longer has a purpose, I’ll be the ﬁrst to close it. I made the creature and I’ll be the one to kill it”.
INTERVIEW –In the [presidential election] campaign, when you urged a response to the worst opposition [television] programs, all revolutionaries were Hojilla supporters. After the victory [of Hugo Chavez], many of them have become critics of your tone and style. How do you feel in this role of doing the dirty work? –It could be said like that, that one does the dirty work, although I never think about that. Since I assumed this role eight years ago, I’ve never cared for the future as many journalists have. It seems that they’re thinking that times of negotiation, reformism or downfall are coming, and thus they act timidly, or better said, with calculation. As I’m not a journalist; I appeared by accident in this world of journalism; I crossed the line a while ago. I don’t imagine a future without Revolution. If I didn’t have that certainty, what would I be doing? If I thought of myself, of my security, my wallet, I’d be pathetic. –You don’t believe in reconciliation? –We live in a confrontation of classes, of two visions. The possibility of reconciliation
between capitalism and socialism doesn’t exist, [and] whoever thinks so is wrong: history demonstrates it. All those who have tried conciliation have ended up being reformists. When the elections are over the criticisms emerge. Of course, those who criticize me use the same style as the opposition, they never mention me by name but rather they call me “the gentleman of the night” or talk about “those programs”. My question is how committed with the Revolution are those who in the heat of battle support the program, and then say that it isn’t ﬁt for purpose. President Chavez was the ﬁrst to make a criticism, when he said that sometimes he felt saturated by [state channel] VTV... It depends on how his words are interpreted. He spoke about promoting the work of the revolution and he’s right. Government ministries should provide us with their input and sometimes they don’t do it. The government’s management should operate at the pace set by the President, but there are people inside of the Revolution that slow us, which is worse than the opposition. –The Razorblade was a pioneer in critically showing what the opposition and anti-Chavez media say, but there then emerged various programs doing the same. Is that not saturation?
–It’s probable. The Razorblade established a new way of making television, due to its irreverence and going beyond parameters. We decoded common discourse in a very similar way to what Chavez had done. Certainly, this led to a wave of similar programs. I don’t like some of them, but there’s everything in the Lord’s garden. Sometimes I think that we don’t administer the power an anchor has well, and we fall into divisionism. One must understand that they are not a spokesperson for themselves, but of the people. –Did you have to overcome that problem? How was that? –Yes, with the separation of Nestor Francia and Eileen Padron [from the program], who I respect. What happens is the very same television absorbs you. That glass screen makes you into a person you aren’t. Fortunately, I didn’t make myself ill, I always rejected that and so when people see me in the street they tell me “wow, you’re exactly like you are on TV!” and of course, it’s because I don’t change. If I changed, if I gave myself divine status, I wouldn’t be doing the job of being a spokesperson for the people. –Sometimes, Mario Silva gets out his Revolutionometer and judges who is revolutionary and who isn’t. This has created a lot of internal antipathy. Where did you get that device?
–Chavez has been doing that since 1992, and if you analyze all the people that have accompanied him you can ﬁnd traitors, reformists, people who have stayed ﬁrm, and recently, people who want to come back by his side. The President has always been ﬁfty steps ahead of the rest of the world. I use the Revolutionometer because behind every discrepancy of some Chavista you ﬁnd a right-wing factor. In 2015 the public broadcast concession of [opposition TV] Globovision expires… (Without waiting for the end of the question)…They should take it from them. I think that Globovision is harmful and should go off the air, although Venevision [another private Venezuelan TV channel] is much more pernicious. There are two ways to stick it in: with sand or with vaseline. Globovision sticks it into you with sand and Venevision with vaseline. –And in such a case what would happen with the program? If Globovision doesn’t exist, would there be The Razorblade? –Yes, of course, as The Razorblade doesn’t just combat Globovision. There is Televen, Venevision, cable TV, NTN24 and Radio Caracas News. Could we change format? Yes, but we’d need to be more elaborate, and have more production. I have many projects, I want to make documentaries about communes or go to Cuba. In Makunaima Kariña (a multimedia project) we have a television project. The problem is that our enemy, the Department of State, doesn’t rest. While Chavez is in power, the media machine will keep attacking him, reﬁning itself, it’s not going to stop, and we have to respond to it day by day. –You worked for many years in the DeArmas Bloc. Is that not like having been in the Cosa Nostra? –I worked for 19 years, from supervisor to sales manager, despite being a left wing activist since I was 16. I left the Bloc because they knew that I attended Chavez’s forums. I’m not embarrassed to have worked there. In other times, us revolutionaries were few. I had to live. I worked there because I had to bring a salary into the house, it was necessary to eat.
Friday, November 23, 2012 | Nº 136 | 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
Opinion Murderous undertakings of US imperial policy
Intentional and deadly mistakes T/ Ron Jacobs
here’s a fair amount of literature revealing the true nature of US foreign policy. Some of the masters at relating this narrative (with seemingly dozens of books between them) include Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and James Loewen. Films in this this ﬁeld, however, seem to be few and far between. Not long ago I reviewed Scott Noble’s The Power Principle, a comprehensive and radical look at US history and foreign policy. The new series from Oliver Stone, Untold History of the United States, promises to provide another radical and provocative look at the United States’ past. The DVD discussed below is another critical look at US foreign policy that reveals the thoughts of major architects of that policy, generals who carried it out, and its critics. The DVD, titled Deadly Mistakes?, runs for a few hours and is actually a collection of shorter ﬁlms directed by Walter Miale and collected on to a couple discs. I viewed the entire collection in one sitting, which enabled me to absorb the arguments and rationalizations of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, former Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill McPeak, Former Admiral and CIA chief Stansﬁeld Turner, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, among others involved in planning, carrying out, and supporting various foreign policy adventures including the war on Vietnam, the 1980s wars in Central America, the counterinsurgency in Colombia, and the ﬁrst Gulf War. To counterbalance these men, Miale features antiwar Catholic priest Daniel Berrigan, activist and writer Grace Paley, Institute for Policy Studies researcher Marcus Raskin and former US Ambassador Robert White (who resigned his post in El
Salvador because of his opposition to the US war on that nations’ people.) I asked Miale how the ﬁlm came about and what his intentions were when he began the project. His answer was: Deadly Mistakes? started out as a ﬁction ﬁlm, Democracy is Coming to the USA (music by Leonard Cohen), in which Isabeau Doucet, age 15 or 16 at the time we began to shoot in 1998, played a girl who was handed the job of interviewing big shots who came to give lectures at her high school, and who, in so doing, learned the facts of life (as per the clips below) from them, and found herself losing her naiveté and becoming an activist. Isabeau by the way is now a journalist whose articles have appeared in CounterPunch & the Guardian etc etc. (Appearence a few months ago on Democracy Now with her scoop on Bill Clinton making a buck as I recall out of disasters in Haiti.) I met her in a training session for a civil disobedience action in the course of which
we were among a group blockading the entrance to a meeting in Montreal of the OECD on globalization. I wanted to portray masters of power and violence, and their preposterous views, in something other than the Micky Mouse fashion of popular media…. And I wanted to portray heroes, such as Sanchez and Gene La Rocque, the actual embodiment of the U.S. military’s gloriﬁed self image, and hear their ringing views. And decent people in the National Security establishment and armed forces, such as Bob White and Ray McGovern and Bruce Blair, and their passionate views. And there was the curious ﬁgure of Merrill McPeak, Chief of the Air Force Staff, who as a ﬁghter pilot in Vietnam had napalmed countless civilians, and who told me, “We were on the wrong side in that war.” And there were the doves, with whom we are lucky to share the planet, and their timely-as-ever mes-
sages, which I juxtaposed with those of the warriors. The doves include Dan Berrigan, Gene Sharp, George Lakey, Noam Chomsky, political philosopher and activist Marcus Raskin, and, on the cutting room ﬂoor, Seymour Melman. Like Noble’s ﬁlm, Deadly Mistakes? pinpoints the US intervention in Guatemala and the CIA overthrow of Iranian leader Mossadegh as both the beginning of the post WW Two imperial policy of the United States and as an example of how that policy would play out. Despite some misgivings about these speciﬁc actions, the overall consensus from Eagleburger and others is that the fact of the Cold War overrode every other concern: democratic principles and human lives. One of the commentators, author Joshua Muravchik, goes out of his way to insist that the Soviet Union and the system it represented was one of the most evil realities humanity has ever known. In doing so, he glosses over
the millions of deaths caused by Washington’s’ perceived need to ﬁght that “evil”. The remarks of these leaders are disconcerting in their lack of concern over the deaths those policies caused. Occasionally candid conversations reveal these leaders perception of their jobs. General McPeak even goes so far as to state that Washington was on the wrong side in the Vietnam War. Eagleburger calls that war a mistake. However, the more frequent case ﬁnds the policy heads continuing to excuse the murderous undertakings of their forces and those aligned with them. As noted above, their rationalizations of opposing Soviet terror combined with a series of excuses concerning US exceptionalism, this gamut of apoplectic liberals to hard core cold warriors end up rationalizing any number of deaths. In a revealing moment Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy-Johnson years of the Vietnam War, tells the viewer that the lesson of Cuba crisis is that the US and the world should rid itself of nuclear weapons. Despite everything, he says, we have failed to appreciate the magnitude of the destruction they will cause. Despite the end of the Cold War, nuclear missiles remain on hair trigger alert. The denial involved in this fact is prevalent in the words of these men captured by Miale’s microphone: Eagleburger outraged that Kissinger could be arrested; a refusal by the retired head of SOUTHCOM to believe there was a connection between the rightwing paramilitaries in Colombia and the government; and most egregious of all, a denial of the death and destruction the polices they planned and executed have caused. One of my favorite instances in the ﬁlm occurs after McNamara says he doesn’t want to see the bloodshed of the twentieth century (160,000,000 killed) repeated in the Twenty First. When presented with this statement paciﬁst Daniel Berrigan responds, “Good” he says, “Better late than never. “ So far, McNamara’s desire has not been met, in large part because of the template men and women like him created in the previous century.