Pg. g 7 | Integration g
Pg. 8 | Opinion
Fidel Castro analyzes President Chavez’s speech to his nation about his health status
Details on the judge Aﬁuni case, by Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Fernando Vega
FRIDAY | July 8th, 2011 | No. 71 | Bs 1 | C ARACAS
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
President Chavez: We will win this battle
Gustavo Dudamel awarded by UN
Returning to Venezuela this week, Chavez has shown clear signs of recovery and strength, as well as strong determination to move forward
Venezuela celebrates 200 years of Independence
Thousands of Venezuelans celebrated festively their 200 years of Independence from Spanish rule this week, in a multitude of different events throughout the country. On Independence Day, July 5th, Venezuelans attended in mass a civil-military parade that was an extraordinary showing of Venezuelan pride and progress. Other festivities have been taking place throughout the week, including art exhibits, cultural events, forums and concerts. Star-conductor Gustavo Dudamel led the Bicentennial Concert on Tuesday evening. | pages 4-5
Despite ongoing rumors, manipulations and distortions in national and international media, Venezuelan President Chavez is recovering well from his recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and is overseeing government as usual. Chavez, who spoke to thousands of his supporters upon his return Monday, is limiting public activities so as to comply with a “strict regime of treatment” in order to guarantee his full and speedy recovery. Media continue to speculate that Chavez is not well and that a “succession” is in order. Nonetheless, the Venezuelan leader remains at the helm of government and all signs show he will overcome this latest obstacle as he has with others before. | page 2
Students & youth rally Thousands of young people marched on the capital Sunday to show support & solidarity for the Venezuelan President. | page 3
Venezuela “rebuilt” under Chavez An interview with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Vietnam. | page 6
Venezuela: The happiest nation A new study suggests Venezuela is the happiest nation in Latin America. | page 6
Bicentennial celebrations continue with cultural events in Caracas
ecreational activities celebrating the Venezuelan Bicentennial of Independence continue in Caracas this weekend, the chief of government of the capital district, Caracas, Jacqueline Faria, said on Thursday. From July 8 to 10, the historic district will be the venue for photography, painting and poster exhibitions, all kind of cultural activities, and handicraft and gastronomy fairs. Some 20 Venezuelan local governments, 18 indigenous communities and eight foreign embassies will attend those events, Faria stated.
The official highlighted the participation of the Venezuelan people since July 1 in activities to commemorate the national date. In that sense, she referred to the July 5 civic-military parade attended by 100,000 people, including soldiers, battalions from several countries, children’s contingents, indigenous representatives, people with disabilities, athletes and members of the Mision Barrio Adentro Deportivo (Neighborhood Sports Program). Presidents Evo Morales (Bolivia), Fernando Lugo
(Paraguay) and Jose Mujica (Uruguay); Prime Ministers Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica), Gerrit Schotte (Curaçao) and Baldwin Spencer (Antigua and Barbuda); and foreign ministers from 21 countries also were present in the parade. Caracas’ historic district has recently been renovated by the municipal government and the cultural ministry for the first time in history. Now residents and visitors can enjoy architectural marvels such as the Principal Theater, the Old Post Office at Carmelitas and other sites.
enezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel received an award in New York on June 30, during the 5th Edition of the Women Together Awards at the United Nations. Dudamel was honored for his “magnificent educational work for young people through music”. Venezuelan orchestra conductor Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, in 1981. He currently conducts the LA Philharmonic Orchestra and began his international career in 2004, after he was awarded the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra’s Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, in Germany. He was educated under the System of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela, “El Sistema”, a widely known musical education program in Venezuela. El Sistema was created by Venezuelan maestro Jose Antonio Abreu and is funded by the Venezuelan state. It has received a major boost in support from the government of President Hugo Chavez. It’s goal is music education and the promotion of the collective practice of music through symphony orchestras and choirs as a form of social organization and community development.
2 | Impact
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8th, 2011
The artillery of ideas
President Chavez: We will win this battle Recovering from an emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in Cuba last month, the Venezuelan President returned home to a joyful reception of his supporters, vowing to overcome this latest obstacle
first pronounced by Francisco de Miranda and signed on July 5, 1811. “Now is the time of the Bicentennial, of the definitive Independence of the Venezuelan homeland. It’s the time of the Venezuelan people and I, as a child of the people, could not miss the Bicentennial celebration of life and the homeland”, he affirmed. For Leila Francis, a government supporter who attended Chavez’s speech, the convergence of the two events gives Venezuela’s Independence Day even greater meaning. “It’s a double celebration. First there’s the Bicentennial and second there’s the arrival of our President”, she said. Jesus Guzman, a Caracas resident also present during Chavez’s speech, echoed the comments of Francis on Monday. “For the Venezuelan people, it gives us great happiness that our president has been able to return to be able to celebrate the Bicentennial with us”, he affirmed.
midst emphatic cheers of support, cries of encouragement and even tears of happiness Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez greeted his backers last Monday in his first public appearance in the South American country in over three weeks. Chavez, who surprised the nation by returning from Cuba in the early hours of Monday morning, appeared on the “People’s Balcony” of the presidential palace of Miraflores in the late afternoon to meet his followers and put an end to the speculation surrounding his illness. “My return has begun”, Chavez said upon appearing on the balcony. “Greetings to all of you and thank you for all of your support”, he declared. The socialist head of state had been away from his country since mid-June, recovering from emergency surgery performed in Cuba after a tumor was discovered in his pelvic region during an official visit to the Caribbean island. According to the Venezuelan President, two operations were performed while in Cuba – the first to remove a pelvic abscess and the second to remove a cancerous tumor discovered as a result of the first procedure. “The second surgery was deeper and lasted for more than six hours. I gave myself to God, medical science, and the great will, love and passion that thanks to the people I carry in my heart”, Chavez told the crowd. MASS SHOWING OF SUPPORT Monday’s encounter with supporters lasted just over half an hour and was the first time the President’s backers have had the opportunity to deliver messages of solidarity directly to their leader since news of the illness was made public. “I can’t describe with words the feeling of seeing him here”, said Miriam Velasquez, one of the thou-
sands of Caracas residents present at the presidential palace. “Thanks to God and all the prayers of the people, we have him back. God’s timing is perfect”, she said. Over the past three weeks, a torrent of activity has engulfed the South American nation, from rallies to masses, wishing the President a speedy and full recovery. “Love is the best remedy for any kind of illness. Thank you for this shower of love that has come from all over Venezuela and the world”, Chavez exclaimed. Chavez also thanked the Venezuelan and Cuban medical staff and the attention granted by Fidel Castro who according to the head of state performed duties similar to that of a head doctor, informing the President on his operations and the progress of his recovery. During his speech, Chavez informed his followers that he has successfully completed the first part of his convalescence but that his full recovery is planned for three stages requiring “strict scientific medical control”. “We’ve begun to overcome the problems occurring in my body, but my presence here does not mean that we’ve won the battle. We have an uphill fight”, he admonished. Nevertheless, the popularly
elected leader who has survived coup attempts and economic sabotage intended to oust him from power, promised that he will confront this new challenge and finish victoriously, as he has in the past. “I swear to you that we will win this battle. This battle we will also win and we’ll win it to-
gether. The battle for the life, the homeland and the revolution!” he proclaimed to his backers gathered under the palace’s balcony. DOUBLE FESTIVITIES Chavez’s return coincided with the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s Declaration of Independence
CELAC POSTPONED Originally, to mark the Independence, the founding meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States was to take place last Tuesday in Caracas. The CELAC, a regional alliance that includes all the nations of the Western Hemisphere except the United States and Canada, represents yet a further step towards the unification of Latin American countries as dreamed by Independence hero Simon Bolivar. Chavez’s illness provoked the temporary postponement of the initial summit which is being planned to take place later this year. The Venezuelan President did, however, meet briefly with over twenty Foreign Ministers of CELAC member states on Monday evening who had arrived in Caracas to attend the Bicentennial celebrations. The attendance of the representatives for the Independence Day events has come as a sign of respect and solidarity with the Venezuelan President and the Venezuelan people, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro reported last weekend. “At their own initiative, the foreign ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean are going to accompany us on July 5th” Maduro informed, and they did. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8th, 2011
The artillery of ideas
Students & youth rally to celebrate Independence, support Chavez T
housands of Venezuelan youth took to the streets of the nation’s capital last weekend to celebrate the South American country’s 200th anniversary of Independence from Spanish rule and ratify their commitment to the revolutionary changes underway in the OPEC member state. Speaking from the Plaza Miranda in Caracas, Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua addressed the different contingents of workers and students gathered to express their anti-imperialist spirit and support for the government of President Hugo Chavez. “Today, just like two hundred years ago…the youth are in the streets to reaffirm that they are the motor of the Bolivarian Revolution and the best antidote against any kind of conservative movement”, Jaua told the enthusiastic group of demonstrators assembled in the plaza on Sunday. Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, led by Hugo Chavez and named after Independence hero Simon Bolivar, came to power with the ex-lieutenant colonel’s presidential victory in 1998. Calling for a second South American Independence free of US hegemony, Chavez has defined his movement by public policies aimed at benefiting economically impoverished sectors of the population while building bridges of unity with neighboring countries.
MAJOR ADVANCES As a result, in the past 12 years, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolu-
tion has successfully cut poverty in half while providing free universal healthcare and education to all residents. Dozens of other social programs in the areas of agriculture, housing, and economic development have also been created, contributing to a marked increase in living standards for the nation’s previously underserved citizens. In terms of foreign policy, Venezuela has pioneered a new movement towards Latin American integration with the founding of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) in 2005, the promotion of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
SUPPORT FOR THE PRESIDENT Apart from initiating a series of celebratory events to mark Venezuela’s Independence Day on July 5, Sunday’s march and rally also demonstrated the youth’s solidarity with President Chavez, currently recovering from an operation performed in Cuba which removed a tumor form his pelvic region. Since news of the President’s illness broke, supporters of the socialist leader have been quick to display their loyalty to the Bolivarian government and the principles of the Revolution. Solidarity rallies and group prayer sessions wishing the President a speedy recovery have occurred on a daily basis
around the country as messages of support have poured in from all corners of the globe. On Sunday, that backing was once again articulated as student representatives from various universities and colleges, as well as different youth organizations, pledged their resolve to push the revolution forward. “We are wishing for our President to get well soon. In the meantime, we’ll be more unified than ever for him and for our Revolution so that it continues to consolidate and strengthen”, said Maria Calzadilla, student of University College in Caracas. Saul Pinto, member of the youth organization Francisco Miranda Front, also articulat-
ed the youth’s devotion to the struggle for social justice that Chavez has led for over a decade in the Caribbean country. “The people, from their different social organizations are saying ‘Let’s move forward Comandante!, don’t give up, your homeland is now conscious and is stronger and more unified than ever in order to continue working for equality’ – something that you started 12 years ago”, he declared. For his part, Chavez reciprocated the messages, utilizing his Twitter account to praise the Venezuelan youth for their patriotic spirit. “What Bolivarian youth!” Chavez wrote. “I see you, hear you and accompany you! Let’s join Bolivar, two hundred years later, in saying, ‘to hesitate is to lose ourselves’. We will be victorious, my youth!” he exclaimed. According to Marco Rincon, student of the Venezuelan Army Academy speaking at the rally, it is only the youth of the country that will be able to carry forth the program of the Bolivarian Revolution into the future. “The youth has the purity necessary to carry out a revolution. The organized, socialist youth will achieve the creation of a homeland for our children to enjoy. We, the youth, have been born, are growing-up, and will die in Revolution”, Rincon declared. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
Private television station investigated for incitation V
enezuela’s National Telecommunications Committee (Conatel) has instigated proceedings against private TV station Globovisión, confirmed the committee’s Director, Pedro Maldonado, last Thursday. Conatel maintains that from the June 16-19, during the confrontation in the El Rodeo prison complex, the rightwing television station deliberately sought to create a situation of uncertainty and anxiety within Venezuela. Throughout the operation the private media channel
aired interviews and images of worried family members outside the prisons (over 90 times in 3 days), but did not screen any state news or information to counterbalance public speculation. This campaign of disinformation was designed to create civil unrest, particularly within the nation’s prisons where inmates were encouraged to engage in illegal activities, argues Conatel. “It worries us that there appears to be an editorial line at Globovisión that aspires to
generate anxiety within society, especially amongst the prison population”, said Maldonado. By inciting “criminal behaviour, civil unrest, public disorder” and encouraging “disregard of the legal order”, Conatel claims that the corporation acted in violation of the Law of Social Responsibility for Radio and Television – specifically articles 7, 27 and 29. Conatel was particularly concerned by the statements of one Globovision reporter, who, without citing any sources, an-
nounced that family members had asked prisoner’s friends and relatives to “gather around the outside of the prison in order to prevent the militarisation of the penitentiary”. Possible sanctions include a fine of up to 10% of Globovisión’s net profits for the preceding fiscal year or a prohibition on broadcasting for up to 72 hours. The opposition station has been linked to illegal practices before, most notably for its manipulation of footage and participation in the short-lived 2002 coup against
President Chavez during which over 18 people died. The channel was also fined $3 million dollars in 2009 for tax evasion and the illegal use of microwave frequencies. “There is complete freedom of expression in Venezuela, but in the same way that we are the guarantors of that freedom, we have to be the guarantors of the responsibility that is implicit within that freedom”, concluded Maldonado. T/ Rachael Boothroyd www.venezuelanalysis.com
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8ht, 2011
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8th, 2011 |
Venezuela celebrates 200 years of Independence and Revolution With a series of celebratory acts including a civic-military parade on scale with the largest ever seen in the South American nation’s history, Venezuelans celebrated their 200th anniversary of Independence from Spanish rule last Tuesday
n the parade carried out last Tuesday July 5th to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s Independence 12,495 people participated, including members of community organizations and social missions, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) and representatives of 21 sister nations who joined the festivities. Army Inspector General Carlos Alcala Cordones explained that the parade required two months of preparation. Since 1999 a civil component has been added to the traditional military parades “because our Constitution orders a joint responsibility of
he bicentennial events began at 6am with the hoisting of the tricolored Venezuelan flag in capital of Caracas accompanied by a ceremony paying homage to Independence hero Simon Bolivar whose military and political leadership liberated much of South America from Spanish dominium in the early 1800s. Later in the morning, in the Oval Room of the Federal Legislative Palace, Vice President Elias Jaua flanked by a number of federal lawmakers, opened, in an official act, the chest containing the original Declaration of Independence signed during Venezuela’s first congress on July 5, 1811. The ceremony was joined by a rendition of the National Anthem by members of the nation’s symphonic orchestra and officials report that the document will remain on public display until July 15 as part of the commemorative festivities. CIVIL-MILITARY PARADE Adding to the events, just before midday, the nation’s attention turned to Los Proceres Avenue in Caracas where a massive bicentennial parade brought together members of civil society, cultural organizations and the Venezuelan armed forces in an unparalleled display of national pride. The procession was inaugurated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who, recovering from recent surgery, broadcast his speech via satellite from the presidential residence of Miraflores. Surrounded by members of the Military High Command, the socialist head of state drew reference to the example of Bolivar, exalting his country’s recent break with US imperialism and urging the Venezuelan people to consolidate the social gains made by his Bolivarian Revolution over the past decade. “Venezuela in the past 10 years has recovered its independence. Today,
Over 12,000 Venezuelans paraded on the Bicentennial
in the name of Bolivar, this recovered independence is the open door that we must keep open in order to recover in the coming years and decades all that belongs to the people: freedom, equality, happiness, life, and the homeland”, he asserted. Although Venezuelan revolutionary leaders such as Francisco Miranda and Juan Roscio drafted the country’s Declaration of Independence in July 1811, it wasn’t until June 24, 1821 after military forces led by Simon Bolivar and Antonio Paez defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Carabobo that the territory now known as Venezuela could claim victory over the royalist army and freedom from imperial rule. BUILDING INDEPENDENCE, EXPANDING FREEDOM During his address on Tuesday, Chavez called on the Venezuelan people to repeat this year’s bicentennial celebration on the date of the Battle of Carabobo ten years from now. “I invite you to begin a new long march towards June 24, 2021 to commemorate again the 200 years since Carabobo, our national Independence, and the consolidation of the
new socialist and Bolivarian homeland. That’s where we’re headed with the help of God”, he declared. REGIONAL SOLIDARITY In addition to the attendance of more than 20 Foreign Ministers from around Latin America, the parade also saw the presence of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Paraguayan
President Fernando Lugo, and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica. According to Fernando Lugo, the vision of Bolivar to create a unified South America under the banner of one great homeland remains on the agenda of the region’s progressive leaders. “Today, we are rescuing the dreams of our forefathers and I hope
that this dream of a great homeland becomes a reality for the well-being of all Latin Americans”, the Paraguayan President commented. Chavez received Lugo, Mujica, and Morales upon the completion of the extraordinary event and expressed his gratitude for the visit which he considered to be one of the best possible treatments for his illness.
“For my soul…and our struggle for life, this is a great and powerful injection”, he declared in a brief press conference held after meeting with the heads of state. DUDAMEL BRINGS THE HOUSE DOWN The events of the day came to close after a final act at 6pm, led
by the internationally renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the world famous Venezuelan Symphonic Youth Orchestra. The “Great Bicentennial Concert” was held as a re-inauguration of the Plaza Diego Ibarra in Caracas and saw the blending of traditional Venezuelan folklore with more strictly classical musical compositions.
Although President Chavez could not be present for the event, he utilized his Twitter account to praise the young conductor and the Venezuelan Orchestra for their performance. “How marvelous is the youth! How marvelous is Gustavo Dudamel!…How marvelous is Venezuela! I’m there with you!” he wrote.
INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATIONS In addition to the commemorative activities carried out inside the country, many in the international community took it upon themselves to congratulate the Venezuelan people on their historic accomplishment and celebrate alongside the country. The internet search engine, Google, decorated its homepage with a “doodle” depicting Venezuela’s national flower, the orchid, set to a backdrop of the South American nation’s colors of red, blue and yellow. In China, over a thousand people attended a floral offering made in the capital of Beijing to the busts of Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti, the Cuban revolutionary and writer.
governance between the State and the people. Since the Revolution began, we decided that the Venezuelan people would take part in the annual Independence parade together with the military”, informed Alcala Cordones. The parade was focused on “six aspects”, he said. First, members from the communes and community councils as the highest representation of the People’s Power; then the health sector; indigenous peoples; youth and sports; education and culture; science and technology. T/ AVN
Similar events were held in Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, and Argentina. For Edwin Castro, head of the Sandinista Party in the Nicaraguan Congress, Bolivar’s drive for South American independence is bound up with the independence of all Latin America. “Today we’re celebrating the bicentennial of the first cries of independence from Venezuela that would have repercussions for the independence of Central America”, Castro said after a minute of applause in the country’s legislature to mark the occasion. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press
6 | Social Justice
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8th, 2011
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela rebuilds under Hugo Chavez Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Rondon Uzcategui spoke to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his country’s Independence from Spanish rule
hat has the Bolivarian Revolution meant for Venezuela? The Bolivarian Revolution has brought about significant changes in Venezuela. Most notably, it has brought about a reduction in poverty from 80 percent to 30 percent. Previously disadvantaged people now enjoy better services in various fields, particularly healthcare, education, housing and essential commodities. Among the biggest beneficiaries are indigenous peoples. Venezuela has fully nationalized the oil industry and consolidated its position in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), while implementing its sovereign, open and cooperative diplomatic policy with other countries, particularly within Latin America and the Caribbean.
Venezuela is the founder of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), and Petrocaribe. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean states, Celac, another Venezuelan initiative, is scheduled to be launched later this year. In addition, our country has expanded its relations with other countries in Africa and Asia. What are the biggest achievements and the main challenges for the Bolivarian Revolution?
Under the guidance of President and Commander in Chief Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan citizens have helped to build a new Venezuela. His honoring of the commitments he has made to the people is expected to help him win the 2012 elections. Nevertheless, the Bolivarian Revolution still has to tackle information wars launched by private communications companies and the constant threat coming from
the United States as well as attacks from the opposition parties inside the country. But one thing I can assure you is that President Hugo Chavez has the support of the Venezuelan people. How are relations between Vietnam and Venezuela? I must say that bilateral relations between the two countries over the last five years have gone from strong to even stronger. Close ties have manifested them-
selves in regular visits by senior officials from the two countries, and the mutual support and solidarity exhibited at international forums on issues of interest to the international community. In addition, over the last five years a number of friendship organizations have been established and bilateral agreements signed on energy, agriculture, technology, education and culture. The establishment of Petromacareo, a joint venture between Petro Viet Nam and the state oil company of Venezuela, Pdvsa, is a shining example of the close co-operation enjoyed by the two countries. Petro Viet Nam holds a 49 percent stake in Petromacareo, while Pdvsa holds 51 percent. The company extracts 200,000 tons of crude oil per day in the Campo Junin 2 oil field, which is affiliated to the Orinoco oil reservoir. The crude oil is then transported to the Dung Quat Oil Refinery in Vietnam and consumed in Vietnam. The cooperation agreement on oil extraction also includes issues relating to production, processing, technology and transport. T/ VNS P/ Agencies
Venezuela: Latin america’s happiest nation W
armth matters for happiness, wealth doesn’t. At least that’s what a recent survey on happiness in Latin America concludes. The survey, conducted by the marketing analysis firm Cimagroup, measured the level of happiness in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Venezuela came out on top, and happiness tended to be greater in warmer climates. Peru took last place. The richest country (Chile) was second-to-last, tied with the poorest country (Bolivia). The United Nations Human Development Index ranks Chile as the best country in which to live in all of Latin America. Yet the country has unusually high rates of depression. According to the survey, “Workers endure long work hours — officially 45 hours a week, but often more. And for blue-collar workers, the stressful daily routine in the capital is compounded
by the several extra hours they spend getting to and from their jobs on overcrowded buses or the metro. Chileans regularly complain that the time and energy left for family life, recreation and even sex is far too scarce”. Another recent study looked at the happiest emerging nations. It found that Brazil was the happiest of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). On a scale of 0 to 10, Brazil has a happiness index of 8.7, South Africa and Russia 5.2, and China and India 4.5, according to the study by the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Centre for Social Policies with support from the Inter-American Development Bank. The study credits Brazil’s good cheer to its success at pulling millions out of poverty. So is Latin America in fact a very happy place to live? A 2010 Happy Planet Index by the New Economics Foundation found
that eight of the top 10 happiest countries are Latin American, with the other two being Jamaica and Vietnam.
It certainly runs counter to traditional thought. Jonathan Glennie asks in the Guardian whether there’s a convincing explanation:
“Colombia, land of the drugs lords and where a soccer-player got shot for scoring an own goal during the World Cup. A country of guerrilla and paramilitary terrorism, massive internal displacement of civilians (second only to Sudan), of trade unionist murder (more are murdered in Colombia than in the rest of the world put together), and one of the happiest countries in the world, in most rankings”. “You will have to have visited Colombia to understand how this can be so. You will have to met the people who have suffered tragedy beyond what most of us can imagine, and yet who smile and dance, not forgetting, but getting through”. I’ve seen it, but that doesn’t make me any clearer as to why it is so. What is it that makes people in Latin America so happy? Culture? Weather? Spirituality? These things and more. Who knows? T/ Stephanie Garlow
NoÊÇ£ÊUÊFriday, July 8th, 2011
The artillery of ideas
Analysis | 7 |
A brilliant and courageous statement A
ttending to other matters that are now top priority, I momentarily strayed from the frequency with which I had been writing reflections in the year 2010; however, Hugo Chavez’s proclamation last Thursday the 30th, obliges me to write these lines. The President of Venezuela is one who has done the most for the health and education of his people; since these are subjects where the Cuban Revolution has accumulated the most experience, we gladly collaborate to the maximum with this sister country in both areas. It is by no means a matter of that country lacking doctors; quite the opposite. They had an abundance of doctors, among them there were even first-class professionals, just as in other Latin American countries. It is a social matter. The best medical doctors and the most sophisticated equipment was placed at the service of private medicine, as it is in all capitalist countries. And often not even that, because in underdeveloped capitalism, like the type that used to exist in Venezuela, the wealthy class had sufficient means to go to the best hospitals in the United States or Europe, something that was and is customary and nobody can deny it. Even worse, the US and Europe have been noted for seducing the best specialists from any exploited Third World country to abandon their homeland and to emigrate to the consumer societies. Training doctors for that world in the developed countries implies fabulous sums of money that millions of poor Latin American and Caribbean families would never be able to pay. In Cuba, that used to happen until the Revolution took up the challenge, not just of training doctors capable of serving our own country, but also the other peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean or the world. In Cuba we have trained tens of thousands of doctors and other top-level professionals, for free, in order to send them back to their own countries. Thanks to the profound Bolivarian and Marti-inspired revolutions, Venezuela and Cuba are countries where health and education have been extraordinarily developed. Every citizen has the right to receive general education and professional training at no
cost, something that the US has not been able to ensure for all its inhabitants. The reality is that the government of that country invests billion of dollars every year on its military machine and its war adventures. Furthermore, it is the greatest exporter of weapons and the instruments of death and the greatest market for drugs in the world. Because of this traffic, tens of thousands of Latin American lives are lost every year. It is such a real and well-known fact that more than 50 years ago, a US president with military origins bitterly denounced the decisive power accumulated by the military-industrial complex. These words would be superfluous if it were not for the hateful and repugnant campaign unleashed by the Venezuelan private media, at the service of Empire, using the health problems of the Venezuelan President. Some were surprised by the coincidence of his visit to Cuba with the necessity of seeking medical care. The Venezuelan President visited out country with the same aim that took him to Brazil and Ecuador. He had no intention of receiving medical care in our homeland. It is well-known that for a few years now, a team of Cuban health specialists are providing their services to the Venezuelan President
who never considered them to be undesirable foreigners, but sons and daughters of the Great Latin American Homeland. President Chavez placed great emphasis on relating with our health personnel. A bond of confidence and friendship was born between him and the Cuban doctors who were always very sensitive to the treatment of the Venezuelan leader; and he was able to create thousands of health centers and outfit them with the necessary equipment in order to provide free services for all Venezuelans. There was no other government in the world that did so much, in such a short time, for the health of its people. A large percentage of Cuban health personnel provided services in Venezuela and many of them also acted as teachers in certain subjects that were being taught to train more than 20,000 young Venezuelans who began to graduate as medical doctors. Many of them began their studies in our country. The internationalist doctors, members of Battalion 51, graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine, have earned solid prestige in carrying out complicated and difficult missions. On these bases my relations in this field with President Hugo Chavez were built.
I should add that in the course of more than 12 years, since February 2, 1999, the President and leader of the Venezuelan Revolution has not rested one single day and thus he occupies a unique place in the history of this hemisphere. All of his energy has been dedicated to the Revolution. One could say that for every extra hour Chavez dedicates to his work, the president of the United States rests for two hours. It was difficult, almost impossible, that his health would not suffer some sort of breakdown and this is what happened in the last few months. He is a person used to the rigors of military life and he would stoically put up with the aches and pains that were plaguing him with ever increasing frequency. Given the friendly relations developed and the constant exchanges between Cuba and Venezuela, added to my personal health experience that I underwent on July 30, 2006, it is not unusual that I should have noticed the need for a strict medical check-up for the President. He is far too generous in granting me any special merit in this matter. Of course, I admit that it was no easy task that I set for myself. It wasn’t difficult for me to notice that he had some health problems. Seven months had gone by since his last visit to
Cuba. The medical team devoted to caring for his health had pleaded for me to take up the matter. From the very first moment, the President’s attitude was one of informing the people, with complete clarity, about the state of his health. That was why, via his minister of Foreign Affairs, he informed the people about his health and he promised to keep them informed in detail. Each treatment was accompanied by rigorous cellular and laboratory analyses, of the kind that are done under such circumstances. One of the tests, several days following the first surgery, showed results that determined more radical surgery and special treatment for the patient. In his dignified message on June 30th, the noticeably recovered President speaks about the state of his health with absolute clarity. I admit that it was no easy task for me to inform my friend about the new development. I could see the dignity with which he received the news that --while his mind was dealing with so many important tasks, among them the celebrations commemorating the Bicentennial and the formalization of the agreement on Latin American and Caribbean unity – much more than the physical suffering that radical surgery would imply, signified a test, as he put it, that he compared to the difficult moments he had to face in his lifetime as an unyielding combatant. Along with him, the team of persons caring for him, and who he described as sublime, fought a magnificent battle which I have witnessed. With no hesitation whatsoever, I state that the results are impressive and that the patient fought a decisive battle that shall lead him and Venezuela along with him, to a great victory. Now the external and internal enemies of Hugo Chavez are at the mercy of his words and his initiatives. Without a doubt there shall be surprises in store for them. Let us wish him our most steadfast support and trust. The lies of the empire and the treason of some shall be defeated. Today there are millions of Venezuelans who shall never be made to submit to the oligarchy and the empire. Fidel Castro Ruz July 3, 2011 4:12 p.m.
FRIDAY | July 8th, 2011 | No. 71 Bs 1 | C ARACAS
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
A publication of the Fundacion Correo del Orinoco • Editor-in-Chief | Eva Golinger • Graphic Design | Alexander Uzcátegui, Jameson Jiménez • Press | Fundación Imprenta de la Cultura
A few facts about the case of judge Aﬁuni S
ome of my friends in the US and internationally have had some concerns about recent events in Venezuela. From here in Venezuela, however, it seems there may be some misinformation, something common, of course, in mass media. One of these issues is the case of Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was indicted for corruption and placed in detention for her illegal actions and abuse of her judicial power. Despite the fact that the US government and other international “human rights defenders” claim Venezuela has a terrible problem with judicial corruption, when authorities act against such malaise, then the government is accused of “cracking down on dissent” or being “authoritarian”. Ironically, Judge Afiuni has claimed to be innocent and a political prisoner of President Chavez. Afiuni was judging a financier named Eligio Cedeño who was involved in several corruption cases. He was initially charged with embezzlement of millions of dollars from banking institutions, essentially stealing the money from customers. Another charge against him was that he and an accomplice deceived CADIVI, our office of currency control, by ostensibly
buying computers for almost US $30 million but bringing only empty containers to the country. The financier’s accomplice was arrested in Panama more than a year and half ago, and after being turned over to the authorities of Venezuela confessed the whole scheme. His lawyers delayed the trial with legal maneuvers, until about six months ago, when Judge Afiuni herself walked Mr. Cedeño out of the courtroom and escorted him with two other employees of her court to the internal parking lot for judges, where Cedeño boarded a motorcycle that was let into the lot by Afiuni’s instruction. Then Afiuni returned to the courtroom to write the ru-
ling with the decision to liberate Cedeño and afterwards she sat down and said loud and clear that she would sit where she was to wait for the suspension letter to arrive from her superiors. The usual legal practice is that whenever an inmate is freed by ruling of a judge, he is taken back to prison where he waits for the arrival of the release order signed by the judge, something that usually happens in a matter of one or two hours. This was violated by Afiuni to be sure Cedeño would get away. The judge, suspected of a felony, was suspended pending further investigation, and usually, in the corrupt system, nobo-
dy ever got sanctioned because in cases of bribery people released simply flee to another country to enjoy the money they’ve stolen stashed in some bank account of a family member, like to Miami, USA, for example, where Cedeño went. This explains the approach of Afiuni, but this time things worked out differently because she was arrested and held to trial for bribery. MY REFLECTION: I have to say that I find it strange for people abroad concerned with justice and Venezuelan progress, to defend people like Judge Afiuni. I think she deserves to have the same treatment as any other citizen who is judged for similar rea-
sons and is under custody because a serious and probable flight risk exists. Afiuni already has privileges, including originally being in a fairly comfortable cell with TV and a laptop (and Twitter), and enjoying visits at times no other inmate is allowed. Now she is in house arrest, where she enjoys all the comforts of home. Since Afiuni knows the judicial position she is in, she keeps on playing the card of being a political prisoner, which of course she is not. We have no news of Afiuni being a political partisan of any group or defender of any ideology. Simply, Afiuni was a judge who received a payoff for the release of Cedeño and now is eager to part the country and enjoy the money. If we had had a violent Revolution we could fight corruption with violent means, but since our Revolution follows a democratic and peaceful path, we can only put the felons in jail. To forego that option would be to forego law, on the one hand, and open the door to further violations on the other. - Fernando Vegas Torrealba Fernando Vegas Torrealba is a Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice.