Resisting chaos: the people’s ﬁght in Honduras page 7
US spying & resistance in Latin American page 8
Friday, July 26, 2013 | Nº 168 | Caracas | www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve
Venezuela & Colombia mend ties Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with his Colombian counterpart Manuel Santos last Monday in the border city of Puerto Ayacucho for an encounter that marked the normalization of relations between the neighboring countries. The encounter represents the ﬁrst intent at repairing relations following the reception by Santos in Bogota of Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles at the end of May. page 2
ENGLISH EDITION/The artillery of ideas
Venezuela ends dialogue with US after offensive statements
China’s economic zones The Venezuelan government is looking to China for new economic initiatives. page 4 Politics
Opposition leader in deﬁance
Safe vacation time A crime prevention program aims to ensure Venezuelans have a secure August vacation. page 6
Independence hero Simon Bolivar’s birthday celebrated this week T/ YVKE Mundial
Losing presidential candidate Henrique Capriles continues to seek support for destabilization. page 5
The Venezuelan government ofﬁcially terminated efforts at improving bilateral relations with the United States following new verbal attacks against the South American nation by the Obama administration’s nominee for envoy to the United Nations. During a senate conﬁrmation hearing last week, Samantha Power described what she called the ﬁght against the “crackdown on civil society” and “repression” in a number of countries around the world, including Venezuela. President Maduro is open to renewing relations if Washington apologizes for the crude remarks. Page 3
Social movements address crucial Issues Representatives of social movements from Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered in Caracas Monday and Tuesday to analyze several issues of crucial importance for the region, such as free and highquality education, food security and free healthcare, which are the focus of the agenda of the First Ministerial Meeting and Social Development Authorities of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in the Venezuelan capital. Canadian author and journalist Arnold August attended one of ﬁve
sub-workshops titled Education as a Human Right. August said that representatives from Venezuela, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Canada, Uruguay discussed anti-imperialist issues and agreed that the human being must be at the
central of actions, instead of capital, wealth or corporations. The discussion reﬂected the common points shared by participants despite the diversity of systems and countries that make up the community of nations.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela celebrated 230 years since the birth of El Libertador Simon Bolivar on Wednesday. One of Venezuela’s founding fathers, he was born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas. Bolivar was lauded both for his military and political acumen, and he led the independence movement against the Spanish Empire, through which he liberated Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, founded Bolivia and created Gran Colombia. In 1813, he was bestowed with the honoriﬁc title El Libertador (The Liberator). Historian Alexander Torres believes the Bolivar’s thoughts, 230 years after his birth, are still relevant today. “Bolivar’s signiﬁcance cannot be disputed, especially in this period of profound change in Venezuela as well as in our America”. “I believe we have to revive Bolivar, that Bolivar who is not on a pedestal, who is not a bronze statue or words on a page, and who became part of the people”, Torres said. According to him, today’s celebrations and the meaning behind them were redeemed by President Hugo Chavez. “One of the most positive things of the past 15 years we owe to the political teachings of [President Chavez], and that is that we learned to see Simon Bolivar not as a memory of the past… but as a motivation and inspiration for profound changes for the future”. “That Bolivar who was on pedestals, that Bolivar who was distant, ediﬁed, deiﬁed by the historiography of lackeys of the bourgeois has been changed into a Simon Bolivar who is closer to the masses”, he afﬁrmed.
2 Impact | . s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Colombia and Venezuela vow to work together, respect differences
Colombian people was clear. With President Chavez... we sat face to face and from the point of view of two people agreed that we can have differences but that we can manage these differences and work together” the conservative Santos said.
OBLIGATED TO COOPERATE T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
enezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with his Colombian counterpart Manuel Santos last Monday in the border city of Puerto Ayacucho for an encounter that marked the normalization of relations between the neighboring countries. Accompanied by their respective foreign ministers, the heads of states conversed for more than two hours on a number of topics including security, energy, and commerce. “The meeting has been very good and dynamic. I would like to welcome again President Santos and his governmental team, including his foreign minister, and all of the Colombian people to this place in the Venezuelan homeland, in the state of Amazonas”, Maduro said in a press conference following the dialogue. The encounter represents the ﬁrst intent at repairing relations following the reception by Santos in Bogota of Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles at the end of May. The meeting with Capriles set off a ﬁrestorm in Venezuela that has been accompanied by allegations of conspiracies aimed at bringing down the Maduro government. Capriles, who lost Venezuela’s presidential elections in April, has been leading an international campaign to discredit Maduro’s close presidential victory. The current governor of Miranda state still refuses to recognize his defeat and is currently touring South America to drum up support for his conservative political agenda in Venezuela. For the Colombian president to receive such a ﬁgure was seen by Venezuelan ofﬁcials as sign of disrespect, especially given the troubled past of relations between the two countries. “I’m very sorry that Santos has been taken by the false ideas which refuse to recognize Venezuela’s legitimate authority, the false idea that we can be overthrown, and the false ideas of the traitorous, fascist sectors of the Venezuelan right wing”, President Maduro said at the time.
A CHECKERED PAST Before Santos became president in 2010, Caracas and Bogota had maintained a strenuous relationship as former Venezuelan head of state Hugo Chavez frequently clashed with his right-wing Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe. Uribe, who maintained close relations with the United States and who has been accused of
working with paramilitaries in Colombia, represented a bastion for Washington in a region turning drastically to the left. Colombia-Venezuela relations reached their low-point in 2010 when Uribe alleged that the Chavez government had been aiding the FARC rebels who have been carrying out a decades-long insurgency against the Colombian government.
Chavez reacted to the accusations by sending troops to the border area and by freezing all diplomatic activities. With Santos’ replacement of Uribe at the end of 2010, the crisis was overcome and a new spirit of cooperation and respect seemed to be on the horizon for the neighboring countries. That spirit quickly dissipated, however, following the Colombian president’s reception of Capriles two months ago. For his part, Santos attributed the Maduro government’s reaction to his invitation of the right-wing Venezuelan leader as “a misunderstanding”, and something that could be “cleared up easily” through dialogue. On Monday, the head of state reafﬁrmed his willingness to work with the Maduro government and described the meeting between the two leaders as productive. “It was a meeting in which the need and the intention to work together and to work for the good of the Venezuelan and
Commerce between Venezuelan and Colombia accounts for some $3.2 billion annually. In addition to the economic activity, hundreds of thousands of Colombians currently reside in Venezuela and a number of common problems afﬂict the more than 1,300 miles of shared border, with drug trafﬁcking and organized crime topping the list. Venezuela, in particular, has been beset by the ﬂow of contraband in border regions that has led to a funneling of domestic products to Colombia where mark-ups translate into greater proﬁts for those running priceregulated items out of the OPEC member state. Apart from the economic interests, Venezuela has also been a major player in the current peace talks taking place between FARC rebels and the Colombian government in Havana, Cuba. The fallout over the SantosCapriles meeting led to the Maduro government threatening to withdraw its support for the peace process, a stance that was implicitly retracted on Monday. “Count on us so that peace arrives. We are at your service in order to contribute modestly and with humility in what we can so that sooner or later Colombia can be in peace”, Maduro said. In the end, the Venezuelan President appealed for a concentrated effort by both sides to respect each other’s differences and to work towards common goals as demanded by the history of the two nations. “We are obliged by history, by our founders, by our people, by the present, and above all... by the future or our countries. We can only conquer the future together. I believe that history has been the great teacher for the challenges that we face presently. Separated, we will arrive nowhere. In discordance and disagreement even less. Through mutual respect we will be able to build a true base for expanded and beneﬁcial economic cooperation that will create social, cultural, educational, and political cooperation at the highest level”, Maduro declared.
. s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela rejects new attacks from Washington, terminates efforts to normalize relations T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
he Venezuelan government ofﬁcially terminated efforts at improving bilateral relations with the United States following new verbal attacks against the South American nation by the Obama administration’s nominee for envoy to the United Nations. During a senate conﬁrmation hearing last week, Samantha Power described what she called the ﬁght against the “crackdown on civil society” and “repression” in a number of countries around the world, including Venezuela. The President of the OPEC member state, Nicolas Maduro, lashed out against this latest round of defamation emanating from Washington, declaring a “zero tolerance for the aggressions of the United States against Venezuela”. “I repudiate and reject, in their entirety, the harsh, unjust and aggressive declarations of Samantha Power against Venezuela. And I’m asking for an immediate rectiﬁcation from the government of the United States regarding these slanderous declarations”, the head of state said. “As President of Venezuela, I’m not going to be quiet in the face of more aggression towards our country whether it be verbal, political, or diplomatic”, he said. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua referred to the unwarranted jabs as “disrespectful” and submitted a written letter of protest to the US Embassy requesting an apology for the barbs. “The worry expressed by the government of the United States regarding a supposed repression of civil society in Venezuela is unacceptable and unfounded. On the contrary, the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela has clearly demonstrated that is possesses a solid system of constitutional guarantees to protect fundamental human rights, just as the United Nations has recognized on various opportunities”, the missive states. Such a record, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry asserts, is not something that the North American government can claim to uphold.
“[T]he entire world is constantly expressing its worry for the repressive practices exercised by the United States. Among those are the violation of human rights in the illegal prison of Guantanamo Bay, the massacre of civilians perpetrated
by drones, and the unfortunate persecution unleashed against Edward Snowden...for exercising his right to dissent and denounce the practices of the United States”, the letter declares. Power’s remarks come on the heels of renewed tensions
between Caracas and Washington after the Obama administration allegedly threatened Venezuela with sanctions in the event that whistleblower Edward Snowden take asylum in the OPEC member state. Snowden, who has been holed up in a Moscow airport for the last month, is wanted by the US Justice Department for leaking intelligence information related to an international spying program spearheaded by Washington. President Maduro offered political asylum to the former National Security Agency analyst as have Nicaragua and Bolivia. Last Weekend, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf denied that sanctions, such as suspending sales of gasoline from US reﬁneries to Venezuela and revoking visas for residents of the Caribbean country, were ever articulated by US Secretary of State John Kerry during a telephone call to Minister Jaua.
Ofﬁcial Statement: Venezuelan Government rejects statements by Samantha Power and ends talks T/ Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs
he Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs categorically rejects statements made in the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Samantha Power, nominated to be her country’s Ambassador to the United Nations Organization, where she declared that part of her job would include “contesting the crackdown on civil society” taking place in several countries, including Venezuela. Her disrespectful opinions have been lauded and backed by the State Department, contradicting the tone and content of what Secretary of State John Kerry expressed in a meeting with the Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Elias Jaua, in Antigua, Guatemala, this past June. It is inacceptable and without merit that the Government of the United States should express concern about alleged repression in Venezuela against civil society. On the contrary,
the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela has thoroughly demonstrated that it abides by a solid system of constitutional guarantees to preserve the practice and the unrestricted use of fundamental human rights, as has been recognized by the UN on many occasions. On the other hand, the entire world constantly express-
es its worry over repressive measures taken by the United States, including the violation of human rights in the illegal Guantanamo prison, the massacre of civilians by drones and the lamentable, out of control persecution of Edward Snowden. He is a victim of the most ferocious repression for exercising his right to dissent
“The secretary made no reference in his conversation with Foreign Minister Jaua as to what our response would be if Venezuela were to assist Mr. Snowden or receive him”, Harf asserted in a written statement. The new diplomatic spat comes after relations between the United States and Venezuela appeared to be on the mend. In June, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Jaua met in Guatemala where the two diplomats discussed ways of getting relations back on track. The recent comments from Powers violates this good will, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry declared, putting an end to all new attempts at regularizing ties. “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela considers the processes initiated in Guatemala terminated”, the ministry’s statement reads. “Venezuela restates that any relations being built with the government of the United States must be based on the practice of mutual respect and the absolute and total recognition of the principles of auto-determination and sovereignty”, the declaration affirms.
and denounce United States Government practices that violated, among other things, the right to privacy of every person in the world, as consecrated in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in addition to the ﬂagrant attempt to violate the rules that regulate the right to asylum that is widely recognized by civilized nations. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates that, as has been expressed by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, building a good relation with the United States Government requires mutual respect, and the absolute and total recognition of the principles of sovereignty and self-determination. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will never accept interference of any kind in it domestic affairs. With the State Department’s backing of the interventionist agenda proposed by the nominated Ambassador, Samantha Power, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela considers the process of conversations initiated in Guatemala, which were meant to normalize our diplomatic relations, to be terminated.
4 Economy | . s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Venezuelan VP visits China, tours Special Economic Zones Since 2001, Caracas and Beijing have seen a tightening of bilateral ties owing to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s policy of trade expansion. China has invested heavily in Venezuelan farming, industry and energy, providing the South American nation with $36 billion in development loans. The money has been accompanied by technological assistance in various areas. “In the agricultural sector, we have many projects in the works. The same is true for mining, telecommunications, informatics, transportation, building materials, and vehicles. These are the national development plans of Venezuela which China and its businesses have been involved in”, Arreaza said following a meeting with President Xi Jinping. In return for the investment, Venezuela has promised to increase its export of crude to the
Asian country to a million barrels a day. This will be done, the Venezuelan Vice President said, “not by reducing other markets that our oil is supplying” but by expanding production. Agriculture has been another important point of coincidence as both Venezuela and China look for ways to guarantee food security in their respective countries. With some 30 million hectares of underutilized farmland, Arreaza affirmed that Chinese collaboration in Venezuelan agrarian production has great potential for both nations. “We’ve been ﬁghting hard with immense investments but the numbers indicate that we’re still far from guaranteeing food security and sovereignty in our country. That’s why we need alliances like the one we have with China”, he said. Arreaza also defended his government’s close ties with the Asian nation and discounted critics who have accused Caracas of becoming a satellite of Beijing. “[Former President Hugo] Chavez said to the world that we were willing to establish good relations with every country as long as they are about respect towards our independence. One of the countries that accepted this respectful link and without interference is the People’s Republic of China”, he stated.
Moreover, while in June 1999 informal employment was 53.7% of the total, “in June 2013 it represents 38.9% of employment”. On that particular issue, Eljuri emphasized that informal employment does not necessarily translate to employment in dangerous conditions nor does it encompass only street vendors. This month’s data show that over 1.1 million people in the
informal sector have salaries. An important part of this group uses modern technology and complies with social and labor laws. It should also be noted that the National Social Security Institute Law was modiﬁed to allow around 3.5 million selfemployed workers to collect social security and have pension rights.
gular formula but rather wants us to learn from its errors and its successes”, Arreaza told the Chinese state television channel CCTV.
T/ COI P/ A gencies
enezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza travelled to China last week to meet with President Xi Jinping, build bilateral relations and converse with development experts regarding the application of new economic initiatives in the Caribbean country. During his visit, the socialist VP toured a number of Special Economic Zones in
and around the city Shanghai with eyes on creating similar spaces in Venezuela to promote exports and technological advancement. Arreaza announced that a commission would be formed to learn from the Chinese zones and to adapt the industrial areas to Venezuelan soil as part of the economic plan of President Nicolas Maduro. “Yesterday we visited the Special Economic and Technological Zone of Jinqiao, Shanghai.
Unemployment falls to 6.9% T/ AVN P/ Agencies
he unemployment rate in June broke the 7% mark for the ﬁrst time, falling to a record low of 6.9%, according to the Monthly Workforce Report published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). INE President Elias Eljuri noted that the unemployment rate fell in comparison to previous years. In June 2012 the rate was 7.4%, while in June 2011 it was 8.6%. Via a press release, Eljuri explained that historical analysis of this month’s unemployment rate shows that it is “well below what it was when President Hugo Chavez took ofﬁce, since it fell from 15% in 1999 to 6.9% now, hitting 18.4% in June 2003, the year in which the Venezuelan economy was most affected by the oil sabotage”.
Data reveal that between June 2012 and June 2013, over 335,000 people found employment, while over 696,000 joined the formal workforce, indicated that over 360,000 moved from the informal to the formal sector of the economy. “It is a fact that the Venezuelan economy was not only able to absorb the entire economically active population between 1999 and 2013, but also that it absorbed part of the population that was in unemployment lines, reaching a statistic of nearly 4 million people who have jobs during this period”, Eljuri indicated. The INE President reiterated that “the best public policy is that which creates employment, contributed to quality of life and allows the workforce the opportunity to effectively contribute to development”, which he noted have been the
Interesting productive experiences that we should study”, Arreaza wrote via his Twitter account on Sunday. The second-in-command reported that Chinese ofﬁcials have offered to assist the South American nation in its attempts to emulate the successful export-oriented sectors and to foster commercial relations that ﬁt Venezuela’s socialist development model. “The Chinese government does not want to impose a sin-
pillars behind the Chavez government policies. In that regard, he indicated that the country’s economic and social policies have been oriented towards satisfying the population’s needs, as opposed to the needs of capital. He gave the example of oil income going to productive investment “in social missions related to health, nutrition, education, social welfare and housing, among others, and [this income] is allocated to allow members of the working class to contribute their labor to national development”.
MORE STABILITY FOR WORKERS According to Eljuri, this month’s data afﬁrm that employment has moved towards strengthening economic activities that contribute to a greater number of jobs and more stability for workers. The INE’s report shows that in June 1999 formal employment was at 46.3%, while today, it is at 61.1%, an increase of nearly 15 percentage points.
. s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Venezuelan opposition leader Capriles still refuses to recognize election results T/ Sascha Bercovitch www.venezuelanalysis.com P/ Agencies
from several dozens of citizens, who displayed signs calling him a “fascist”, “coup-mongerer”, and “terrorist”. Speaking on a radio show, Chilean Communist Party director Juan Andres Lagos drew comparisons between Capriles’ international visits and the USsupported destabilization of Chilean President Salvador Allende, a democratically elected socialist overthrown by Pinochet in 1973. “From the social movements and political forces opposed to the rightwing government [of Piñera], there is a strong rejection and criticism of the visit, as it is considered that this man [Capriles] won’t recognize the legitimacy of the results of a government democratically elected by a people, that of Nicolas Maduro. Capriles is installing a very complex situation that is stimulated by the United States, and what it looks for is undemocratic destabilization”, Lagos said.
pposition leader Henrique Capriles returned to Venezuela Sunday after tours to Chile and Peru, where he attempted to increase support for his claim that there was fraud in the April 14th presidential elections. Though virtually all countries in the western hemisphere, aside from the United States, have recognized the election results, Capriles said he hoped the visits would allow the “international community [to know] the truth about what’s happening in Venezuela”. The opposition boycotted a full audit carried out in May by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) after complaining that it would not include the voting record books, which contain manually-entered ﬁngerprints and signatures. In Chile, Capriles met with senators from several political parties, including the Christian Democratic Party and Socialist Party; former Presidents Eduardo Frei and Patricio Aylwin, the ﬁrst democratically elected president following the country’s 17-year dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet; and current conservative President Sebastian Piñera. As opposed to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who received Capriles in Colombia’s presidential palace, Piñera had dinner with Capriles at the residence of Senator Jovino Novoa, technically making the meeting unofﬁcial in nature. A founder of the rightwing party Independent Democratic Union (UDI), Novoa served as subsecretary general during Pinochet’s dictatorship. “We’re going to get together to talk honestly and openly about Chile, Venezuela, Latin America, and the world”, Piñera said before the dinner. Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, a Socialist Party member considered the favorite to win the country’s November presidential elections, declined to meet with Capriles after citing difﬁculties in her schedule. However, she did meet on Friday with Leopoldo Lopez, director of the
Venezuelan opposition party Voluntad Popular, in a forum of Socialist International. After leaving Chile on Friday, Capriles continued to Lima, Peru, where he spoke with various civilian groups and politicians, among them former Peruvian president Alan Garcia. Garcia, whose heterodox economic reforms led to severe hyperinﬂation while he served as president in the late 1980s, was elected for a second term from 2005-2011. In a press conference following his meeting with Capriles, he declared the opposition leader “the elected president of Venezuela”. “Democracy is a long process of patience, but you will triumph because the current government that has the instruments of power of Venezuela in its hands will condemn itself to economic isolation using a model of government and economy that belongs to the nineteenth century, with extreme state-ism and absurd and exaggerated assistentialism”, he said to Capriles. Current Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, elected following Garcia as the candidate of the leftwing alliance Peru Wins, traveled to Puno state
PROTESTS IN VENEZUELA AGAINST CAPRILES’ ABSENCE
for a meeting on Saturday and did not meet with Capriles. Humala serves as the current President of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which accepted the April 14th election results and the subsequent audit carried out by Venezuela’s CNE. In a press conference on Saturday from Lima, Capriles lamented that he would not be able to speak with Humala. “I don’t intend to decide the agenda of President Humala, but we hope for a response [to Capriles’ request for a meeting], not as President of Peru, but as
the brother countries that we are. We are in solidarity with your struggles, and only ask that you be in solidarity with ours”, he said. He added, “We don’t claim that the Peruvians, nor the Chileans, nor the Brazilians, nor the Colombians, will resolve our problems. Venezuelans are going to resolve Venezuela’s problems. But Venezuela is a case study and it’s important that these countries see what is happening in our nation”. In both countries, Capriles’ visits were marked by protests
As Capriles’ tour continued, government ofﬁcials criticized his absence from Miranda state, where he serves as governor. From an agricultural event of the Francisco de Miranda Development Corporation of the Tuy River Basin, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, who lost to Capriles in Miranda’s gubernatorial race last December, expressed frustration at the governor’s “political impunity”. “Three million Mirandeans deserve the respect of the man who claims to be their governor, and the respect is shown by working on the street, not conspiring in Chile with a far rightwing who has been the most murderous in the continent against their own country”, he said. The comments come at the helm of a Hinterlaces poll released earlier today which showed a drop from 50% to 31% of those with a favorable opinion toward the opposition, and a climb from 39% to 56% of those with an unfavorable opinion. 48% of respondents expressed a favorable opinion toward the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
6 Security | . s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Government tackles crime with Operation Safe Vacation T/ Ryan Mallett-Outtrim P/ Agencies
“We have the Venezuelan Llanos with the natural diversity of fauna and ﬂora”, he said.
ne hundred and seventy ﬁve thousand personnel have been deployed nationwide under Operation Safe Vacation 2013, according to the interior and justice minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres. The operation will be carried out until September, and is intended to curb crime over the holiday period. The National Guard, Bolivarian National Police, National Anti-Drugs Ofﬁce (ONA), Ministry for Tourism, the consumer protection agency Indepabis and other civil protection bodies such as local ﬁre departments are participating in the initiative. On Monday, Torres called on Venezuelans to be aware of the operation, and cooperate with authorities to “prevent accidents during this vacation time and ensure a happy return”. The operation will focus on areas where authorities expect large tourist inﬂuxes. “It is a joint operation of the revolutionary government, for the protection and care of all Venezuelans”, Torres stated. The minister also called on businesses and municipal authorities to abide by national restrictions on the sale of alcohol at certain times. “[Businesses] who fails to comply with this rule shall be pun-
ished by law”, Torres warned. He also reminded vacationers of nationwide restrictions on the carrying of ﬁrearms. The Minister for Tourism, Andres Izarra, has also called for vacationers to act responsibly during the holiday season. “[The] goal is that everyone who goes on vacation returns [home] with good memories”, Izarra said, urging people to limit consumption of alcohol and be environmentally conscious. “During these holidays, practice responsible tourism and be sustainably, socially
conscious...to preserve our destinations”, he stated. Izarra further stated that the government is investing in expanding the VENETUR hotel network. Izarra also called on tourists to consider their destinations carefully, stating that, “we want to diversify the tourist destinations”. While conceding that the northern coastline “is the most popular” destination for vacationers, Izarra told tourists to consider heading to less visited regions, such as the central plains.
Venezuela promotes boxing among youths in anti-crime drive T/ Agencies P/ Agencies
he Venezuelan government is teaching children and youths in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the capital Caracas to box, one of a series of initiatives to combat the notorious crime epidemic. Boxing has helped 11-yearold Juan Carlos Herman survive in one of the most dangerous barrios in Caracas. Juan Carlos Herman, now an Amateur Youth Boxer describes the activity:
“It’s for self-defense. In case, I come across trouble, I have to be able to defend myself”. Kids as young as eight years, battle it out in sometimes bloody matches sponsored by the Ministry of Sport. Boxing trainer William Gonzales is one of the program’s founders. “We want them to exchange guns for gloves. We are preventing violence in the poor areas. We’re rescuing the children so they can have a goal and become better citizens”, explains Gonzalez.
Gonzalez also says boxing’s main function is to create concentration and discipline— skills the kids will need well into adulthood. “Boxing is an art. A boxer is like a dancer. This is a ballet of technique, attack and defense. These kids from the community put on their gloves and then go to the gym after. By going to the gym they avoid interacting with the gunmen and drug dealers”. For the kids, the ultimate prize may be to one day bring an Olympic medal back to Venezuela—something that hasn’t happened in almost 30 years.
Since, Monday, over 1000 personnel from the armed forces, municipal police and other law enforcement bodies such as ONA have been deployed in the state of Nueva Esparta. Tourist hotspots on Margarita Island will be the main targets to be policed by law enforcement, according to authorities. In Carabobo, the state’s ONA commissioner Manuel Sandoval has told media that popular beaches, bus terminals, airports and roads will all be closely monitored by the counter-narcotics agency. “In those control points we will apply toxicological tests, as has been done in the last three years”, Sandoval has stated. Meanwhile in Vargas, over 2000 personnel will be in place until mid September, according to the governor Jorge Luis Garcia Carneiro. In some areas, law enforcement will work directly with community groups. On Monday, Falcon governor Stella Lugo stated that the operation would be undertaken “with the collaboration of 42 institutions, including voluntary groups and community councils”.
However, large deployments have also taken place in states such as Tachira, where according to local authorities 4000 personnel have been deployed as one million visitors are expected by the state government.
40% REDUCTION IN CRIME BY 2019 Operation Safe Holidays is part of the ‘A Toda Vida Venezuela’ mission. With other initiatives like the Safe Homeland Plan, Torres stated that he hopes to reduce crime by 40% before the end of the decade. “We hope that by 2019 we may have structurally reduced crime by 40% or more”, Torres told CDO in an interview published on Sunday. He stated that the 40% ﬁgure “would undoubtedly be a success”. “100% safety does not exist, there is no country on the planet that is 100% safe. What we have to do is an effort to increase security as much as possible”, Torres stated. Since coming to ofﬁce in April, President Nicolas Maduro has indicated that tackling crime is one of his administration’s key objectives. So far this year, Venezuela has already seen over 3000 homicides. On the eve of the deployment of Operation Safe Vacation, on Saturday eight were gunned down when a group of armed assailants stormed a house in Bolivar state. The victims were reportedly celebrating college graduation. On Monday, the attorney general’s ofﬁce announced that four men had been detained as suspects in the shooting.
. s Friday, July 26, 2013
The artillery of ideas
Resisting Chaos, Repression, and US Intervention
The people’s ﬁght in Honduras T/ W.T. Whitney P/ Agencies
allout from President Mel Zelaya’s removal from power by the Honduran military four years ago, on June 28, 2009, affects much of what happened there since, especially revived struggle for national independence and social justice. Yet economic and humanitarian disaster, the government’s return to oligarchic hands, and US intrusion serve as daunting impediments to the project of an alternative politics. US meddling is a fact. Hugo Llorens, US ambassador in Tegucigalpa, had “participated in meetings in which coup plans were discussed”. Subsequently, the US government overlooked voting irregularities to praise the election of President Porﬁrio Lobo. It pushed for Honduras’ readmission to the Organization of American States. A repressive post-coup government enforcing privatization presumably suits US interests. It recently stepped up efforts to encourage mining projects, large-scale monoculture, and regions called “model cities” where the Constitution doesn’t apply. A “technical coup” by which the Congress in late 2012 assigned four compliant judges to the Supreme Court eased the way. The Congress opened up rivers to hydroelectric developers. In a reversal of Zelaya – era steps to implement earlier land redistribution policies, the government has opened up large tracts of land to takeover by industrial-scale farm operators. State security forces expel small farmers from such land. Now, according to close observer Giorgio Trucchi, there is a “level of violence and impunity [that is] directly proportional to the grade of corruption and inﬁltration of organized crime and narco-trafﬁcking in state institutions.” US analyst Dana Frank conﬁrms that “the Honduran government and the elites who control it are widely alleged to be implicated in drug trafﬁcking [which is] “rampant, murderous and growing”. She notes too that, “State security forces still enjoy near-complete impunity for thousands of alleged human rights abuses and even murders since the 2009 coup”.
Change is brewing, however. The National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP), formed in the wake of the coup, launched the “Libre Party”, ofﬁcially known as the “Liberty and Refoundation Party”. Proclaiming its social democratic orientation, the party ratiﬁed Xiomara Castro’s candidacy at a national assembly on June 16. She is ex-President Zelaya’s wife. Polling data in May indicated 28 percent of likely voters in elections set for November, 24, 2013 prefer her over ﬁve other candidates. The secondplace candidate representing the conservative National Party gained 18 percent approval. Yet Honduras is seething. Its 2012 murder rate of 86 per 100,000 inhabitants was the world’s highest. Victims include human and environmental rights defenders, most recently Tomas Gomez. Security ofﬁcers detained and roughed him up in May along with Bertha Caceres, head of the COPINH indigenous advocacy group they both belonged to. On July 15 soldiers killed Gomez and wounded his son. COPINH had been leading demonstrations against a large hydroelectric project. On June 24 TV talk show host Anibal Barrow interviewed three Libre Party candidates. Thugs kidnapped and killed him later that day. Barrow’s murder marks the 36th journalist killed over 10 years, the 29th killed since the coup. Only one perpetrator has gone
to prison. Increasingly, says an observer, victims “are not common citizens but are journalists, humanitarian activists, pastors, and lawyers [whose deaths] have more impact on the social collective”. In Aguan, attacks by security forces and private police over four years have killed 60 small farmers. On June 24, police and soldiers violently attacked and dispersed 150 families in Rigores municipality. They destroyed churches, schools, crops, and 120 homes. For the fourth time in a year troops in early July evicted small farmers from land in Yoro department coveted by the foreign-owned SABMiller sugar- producing corporation. A victim observed, “We live under a regime where the security apparatus doesn’t serve the people, but rather the big landowners and the national and international impresarios”. An estimated 67 percent of Hondurans lived in poverty in 2012 – half in extreme poverty. Government debt now exceeds 70 percent of GDP. Banks that issued the coup government short terms loans at 15 percent interest are thriving. With 50% of governmental income being applied to debt service and salaries, public investment is nil. At least 80 percent of the population is unemployed or under-employed. Commerce depends largely on remittances from abroad worth $3 billion annually.
“North American priorities” like military build-up take precedence over any local agenda”, says close observer Giorgio Trucchi. “There are some 10 groups inside the Honduran security apparatus controlled, directed, and structured by the United States”, he adds. High US State Department ofﬁcial William Brownﬁeld recently expressed admiration for Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, chief of the Honduran police who organizes death squads. Tried for multiple murders and kidnappings, he went free, said an inside source, because “top agency ofﬁcials” short-circuited his prosecution. The Bonilla case was one reason US Senator Patrick Leahy blocked $30 million in aid for Honduras’ security forces. State Department ofﬁcial Brownﬁeld, however, indicated in March they’d be receiving $16.3 million. The pretext often given for US military intrusion is drug war. US military build-up in Latin America has consumed more than $20 billion since 2002. The US government sent $1.3 billion to Honduras in 2011 for a regional military electronics center, also $89 million and $25 million in 2012 for US troops and for barracks, respectively, at the Soto Cano air base. US military expenditure in Honduras has risen every year since coup – by 71 percent, for example, in 2011. There are new US bases in the Mosquitia region and in tourist-destination Guanaja.
Giorgio Trucchi views Honduras elites as “the most conservative in Latin America”. He suspects, “They are in a true state of panic over the possibility the Libre Party could win in the next elections”, Presidential candidate Castro’s remarks at the party’s national assembly on June 1 were not likely to have reassured them. She promised “a new social pact through a national constituent assembly that is original, inclusive, with deep popular participation” also supported food sovereignty, public education and health care for all. Interviewed a month later, she called for democratic, peaceful transformation, repeal of post – coup neoliberal laws, an end to impunity, and soldiers returning to their barracks”. Human rights activist Bertha Oliva fears that “if the polls continue pointing to a possible victory for Xiomara Castro, coup perpetrators will do anything to sew chaos and justify suspending the electoral process”. “Blood will run” if Libre wins, conservative Tegucigalpa mayor Ricardo Alvarez threatened. For former Zelaya –era government minister Enrique Flores Lanza, “The forces joined together within the Libre Party confront not only the power of the national oligarchy, but also the interests of North American imperialism and the whole international right”. Indeed, US trade with Honduras totaled $10.6 billion in 2011, when the United States provided 46.2 percent of Honduras’ imports and accepted 33.4 percent of its exports. In Honduras, suggests analyst Laura Carlsen, the US government “wants to have more control over internal security strategies of the Central American countries, [and] is trying to strengthen its military presence in order to confront what it sees as a threat to its traditional hegemony in the region”. Whether or not the US government will try to block Libre Party advances is unknown. A notorious US record does exist, however, of undermining popular movements in the region either when they are in power or in their formative stages – as with the US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965. If augmented US intervention materializes in Honduras in any form, solidarity movements worldwide – especially in the United States – will, or ought to, pick up the challenge to join the Honduran people’s ﬁght.
Friday, July 26, 2013 | Nº 168 | 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 - Audra Ramones
What the empire didn’t hear: US spying and resistance in Latin America T/ Benjamin Dangl
S imperialism spreads across Latin America through military bases and trade deals, corporate exploitation and debt. It also relies on a vast communications surveillance network, the recent uncovering of which laid bare Washington’s reach into the region’s streets and halls of power. Yet more than McDonald’s and bullets, an empire depends on fear, and fear of the empire is lacking these days in Latin America. The controversy stirred up by Edward Snowden’s leaked documents reached the region on July 7th, when the ﬁrst of a series of articles drawing from the leaks were published in the major Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The articles outlined how the US National Security Agency (NSA) had for years been spying on and indiscriminately collecting the emails and telephone records of millions of people in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Argentina, just as it had done in the US, Europe and elsewhere. The articles pointed out that data collection bases were located in Bogota, Caracas, Mexico City and Panama City, with an additional station in Brasilia which was used to spy on foreign satellite communications. The NSA gathered military and security data in certain countries, and acquired information on the oil industry in Venezuela and energy sector in Mexico, both of which are largely under state control, beyond the reach of US corporations and investors. As with the spying program in the US, Snowden’s leaks demonstrate that this method of collecting communications in Latin America was done with the collusion of private telecommunications companies in the US and Latin America. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called the spying a “violation of sovereignty and human rights”. The presidents of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and other nations in the region condemned Washington for its ac-
tions and called for an inquiry into the surveillance. “A shiver went down my back when we learned that they are spying on us from the north”, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in a speech. “More than revelations, these are conﬁrmations of what we thought was happening”. Indeed, the region is no stranger to US spying and interference. And with the election of leftist presidents across Latin America over the past decade, it should come as no surprise that the US has been spying into what Secretary of State John Kerry recently referred to as Washington’s “backyard”. The shadow of 20th century dictatorships hangs over much of Latin America, orienting the region’s democratic processes and struggles for justice. Brazil’s Rousseff and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica are
among today’s various Latin American presidents who were active in the social movements ﬁghting against brutal USbacked dictatorships in their respective countries. Rousseff was jailed for her activism from 1970-1972, and Mujica was shot by the police six times, tortured and imprisoned for 14 years, including being conﬁned to the bottom of a well for over two years. Under the leadership of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, Argentina has sought justice for the some 30,000 people disappeared during that nation’s dictatorship. Needless to say, the legacy of USbacked coups, right-wing spying networks, and police states looms large in Latin American politics and recent memory. So when Snowden’s leaked documents pointed to contemporary spying, it harkened back to Washington’s Cold War allies
who, through coordinated efforts like Operation Condor, collaborated regionally to monitor dissidents and supposed communists, intercepting mail and spying on phone communications as a part of their continental nightmare. But the Cold War is over, and from Argentina to Venezuela leftist politics have dominated the region’s landscape over the past decade, labor and indigenous movements have been on the rise, and a decidedly anti-imperialist stance has been common on campaign platforms and political policy. While Washington has succeeded in supporting coups against left-leaning leaders in Honduras and Paraguay in recent years, a US-dominated regional trade agreement was shot down, its military bases have been pushed out of certain areas, US policy in the war on drugs is
meeting resistance in key countries, and Latin American governments are going elsewhere for loans and aid. As a historic shift in politics has taken place south of the US border, Washington has often appeared out of touch and grasping for allies. In this context, leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was grounded in Europe upon its return home from Russia on July 2nd. US ofﬁcials behind the grounding of the plane believed Snowden, currently based in a Moscow airport, was on Morales’ ﬂight, as the whistleblower was seeking asylum in South America. Upon returning to Bolivia, where a meeting was convened among Latin American leaders to address the US and European nations’ action against Morales, the Bolivian president said “the United States is using its agent [Snowden] and the president [of Bolivia] to intimidate the whole region”. Latin American presidents across the board were outraged at the actions against Morales, and Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia all offered asylum to Snowden in a protest against the US and in solidarity with the whistleblower. Others said they would help to protect him from US prosecution. When US Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa to not give asylum to Snowden, Correa thumbed his nose at the US, renouncing $23 million in US trade beneﬁts, and offering those funds instead for training of US ofﬁcials on civil liberties and human rights. In regards to the spying revelations and to the grounding of Morales’ plane, Correa told reporters, “We’re not 500 years behind. This Latin America of the 21st century is independent, digniﬁed and sovereign”. In all of the data that the US gathered across the region, it missed one crucial fact: that Latin America is no longer Washington’s backyard. In spite of the empire’s wide reach, there are places where it will always be deﬁed, in the telephone booths and dreams of a world that it will never truly own.