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Pg. g 6 | Social JJustice

Pg. g 8 | Opinion

More and more doctors in Venezuela are From collapse to action: A review of a documentary choosing to practice Community Medicine about the economic and social crises in the US

FRIDAY | July 22, 2011 | No. 73 | Bs 1 | C ARACAS

ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas

Chavez receives chemotherapy, delegates some power

New book on Chavez & the Revolution

President Chavez is recovering well from recent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and no more malignant cells have been found

Venezuela celebrates historic soccer victory

For the first time ever, the national Venezuelan soccer team, the Vinotinto, made it to semi-finals in the Americas Cup. Sports and athletics have been major priorities of the Chavez government and the Bolivarian Revolution throughout the past decade and the fruits of those investments have become apparent in Venezuela’s continued, and often surprising, success in different fields. From baseball to martial arts, gymnastics and now, soccer, Venezuelan athletes are becoming known for their excellent performance and dedication.

The Venezuelan President is undergoing chemotherapy in Cuba this week, beginning the 2nd stage of his medical treatment for a cancerous tumor in his pelvic region that was extracted during surgery last month. Before leaving Venezuela for Cuba, Chavez delegated some of his administrative functions to Executive Vice President Elias Jaua and the Minister for Finance and Planning, Jorge Giordani. Nonetheless, the Venezuelan head of state is still running government affairs during his treatment process and continues to be involved directly in government affairs via videoconference, telephone and electronic means. | page 2

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Integration

Peru and Venezuela advance relations Newly elected President Ollanta Humala visited Venezuela this week to strengthen ties. | page 3

Economy

Combating inflation A new price controls law sets out to control inflation and speculation. | page 5

Culture

Caracas becomes a kinder, more attractive city Major government efforts to improve quality of life in Caracas are underway. page 7

A

The Chavez Administration has tripled social spending

ccording to Venezuela’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Jorge Giordani, social investment in Venezuela has totaled $350 billion over the last 10 years, more than three times the estimated $100 billion spent over the previous 40 years. In a televised interview this week, Giordani explained that “revenue is beneficial if it is distributed as it is obtained. How has that money been distributed in Venezuela? Since [President Chavez took office in 1999], this money has been distributed in areas such as healthcare, education, hous-

ing, and infrastructure”, he explained. The cabinet member also highlighted a report from the United Nation’s Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) stating that Venezuela would grow 4.5 percent in 2011, above the estimated two percent. “There is no doubt that Venezuela was hit by the global financial crisis, but we are in a recovery phase”, he affirmed. Giordani also referred to oil revenues and social spending, taking into consideration the re-

sponsibilities delegated to him by President Chavez, who is in Havana, Cuba, to continue the process of treatment and recovery from two surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor. The Venezuelan head of state is now undergoing chemotherapy to prevent further cancer development. On July 16, Chavez signed a decree delegating some functions to the Executive Vice President, Elias Jaua, and Giordani, who has the ability to declare state budget shortfalls and exemptions of the Value Added Tax (IVA) and Income Tax, when necessary.

hecelebratedhistorianand he celebrated historian and British journalist Richard Gott launched the second edition of his book Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution at Marx House in London last Thursday the 14th of July. The second edition of the book contains a new prologue which focuses on the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in terms of the new regional institutions that have been created to fight against neo-liberal hegemony and to further the progress of 21st Century Socialism. The historian emphasized the importance of continuing to communicate the achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in books, articles and documentaries. “The most important institutions that have been created as part of the Bolivarian Revolution are TELESUR and UNASUR. They counteract the hegemony displayed by traditional neoliberal governments in the media and diplomatic community”, said Gott. He also called on journalists, academics, writers and diplomats to “understand the Bolivarian Revolution not as an event in history but also as an inspiration to European countries to take on the values of justice liberty and progress that have propelled change in Venezuela”.


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2 | Impact

NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Chavez undergoes chemotherapy, delegates some power Before his departure to Cuba, the Venezuelan President held a strategy meeting with cabinet members and leaders of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) where he spoke of the need to root out opportunism and sectarianism at the local level.

Before embarking to Cuba to begin his second stage of cancer treatment, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez temporarily transferred limited administrative and financial powers to his Vice President Elias Jaua and current Finance and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani last Saturday

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he move was announced during a meeting held in the presidential palace of Miraflores after authorization of the President’s absence was granted by the country’s congress, the National Assembly, during an extraordinary session. “I’m going to delegate. But I’m not going to hand over the government like some of the sectors of the opposition want. Believe me, I would be the first to comply with the constitution in the case that I was unable to govern. But it hasn’t been that way even in the worst moments of my post-surgery recovery”, the Venezuelan head of state said of the transfer on Saturday. Chavez’s return to Cuba follows an emergency operation performed on the leader in midJune to remove a cancerous tumor discovered during an official visit to the island. The surgery, which lasted over 6 hours, was successful in extracting all detected malignant cells and allowed for the President’s return to his native Venezuela on

July 4, one day before the nation’s bicentennial independence day celebrations. Upon return, the four-time popularly elected leader told the nation that he had successfully completed the first round of medical treatment, but still faces two further stages. The second phase includes the application of chemotherapy to ensure the eradication of any possible cancerous cells left undiscovered after the surgery. DELAGATING POWER The powers granted last Saturday mark the first time since the onset of his illness that the President has ceded administrative responsibilities to other government officials. As such, Vice President Jaua will now be charged with the authorization of ministerial budgets, the capacity to enact the forced acquisition of private businesses and the prerogative to change leadership personnel in public offices

and presidential commissions. Current Development Minister, Giordani, will have the authority to exonerate entities from certain tax burdens to further national development and declare ministerial budgets insufficient when necessary. CHAVEZ IN FULL CAPACITY Despite his delegation of duties to key members of his administration, Chavez informed on Saturday that he expects his absence from Venezuela to only last “a few days” and that his capacity to perform the responsibilities of his office will not be hampered by the illness. “I will be on top of internal affairs every minute and I’ll be in permanent contact with Executive Vice President Elias Jaua through different means as well as the other vice presidents of the cabinet whom I’m sending a warm embrace”, Chavez said from the presidential palace on Saturday afternoon.

UNITY AND MORE UNITY “We have to eliminate internal fractionalism” in the regions, he exclaimed, exhorting members of Venezuela’s largest political organization to “overcome the vices of the past”. Lashing out against corruption and individualism, the PSUV President compared the work of the party in the coming months to his current medical treatment. “We have to fight with great moral strength against these temptations…We have to make our best effort and not limit ourselves in anything. We’re going to check ourselves and if we find any cell that is doing damage, we have to eliminate it”, he affirmed. Apart from organizing for victories in the upcoming regional and presidential elections of 2012, Chavez encouraged party activists to organize the grassroots “towards a culture and the values of socialism”. In this way, the head of state called for the consolidation of a Patriotic Pole to coordinate the integration of allied parties and organizations in order to put politics “at the service of the people”. THE FIFTH INTERNATIONAL Chavez also called for the need to strengthen global solidarity, resurrecting an earlier idea of founding a new socialist interna-

tional to reassert alternatives to the crises of capitalism spreading across Spain, Portugal and Greece. “We’ve put an idea out there to the world, the idea of a new socialist international, and we have to explain it well. This derives from a debate that has been opened in Europe and which is gaining ground”, he said. The meeting closed to the sounds of Venezuelan traditional joropo music from the country’s plains in an emotional send-off to the president which included folkloric renditions performed by Youth Minister Maria Pilar Hernandez and congressman Cristobal Jimenez. Later in the evening, before heading to Simon Bolivar International Airport in the coastal city of Maiquetia, workers and military officers of the presidential guard gathered to wish the president the best of luck in Cuba. Just before boarding his plane, Chavez assured the nation that he will successfully complete his treatment and return to the country to further the advances his administration has made over the past 12 years. “I’ll come back and will continue moving forward in this new stage of my life with the greatest will to live together with all of you, to continue living together with the Venezuelan people in these times of resurrection. It’s not time to die, it’s time to live”, he said, repeating the immortal words of the revolutionary leader Che Guevara, “Until victory, always!” T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

Venezuelan Government implements electronic signature I

n recent years, the impact and use of electronic signatures and data messages, promoting a new way to work, learn and communicate by shortening time and distances, has been studied, discussed and even revolutionized, domestically and abroad. This technology is again in the

spotlight in Venezuela and for the first time, President Hugo Chavez has activated an Electronic Signature Certificate to validate his decisions and sign documents while he is undergoing medical treatment in Cuba. According to the Law on Data Messages and Electronic Signatures passed in 2001, Electronic

Certificates consist of a data message provided by a Certification Service Provider, which grants the certainty and validity of the Electronic Signature. The head of the Superintendence of Electronic Certification Services, Niurka Hernandez, explained that “President Chavez will be able to electronically

sign his documents via data messages: e-mails, memorandums, cooperation agreements, letters, digital contracts, among others”. The National System for the Management of Telematic Incidents generated the necessary cryptographic passwords, so the head of state could obtain his

Electronic Certificate, which was then stored in a smart card with top security measures. The electronic signature represents a great advantage to process documents, because it has the same legal validity as a written signature. T/ AVN


NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Integration

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Venezuela and Peru strengthen ties A

s part of his initiative to reach out to different Latin American governments before taking office, Peruvian President Elect, Ollanta Humala, met with Hugo Chavez last week in the capital of Caracas in a visit marked by common interest and a strong will for improved bilateral relations. “It gives us great joy and happiness to welcome you, brother President-elect of Peru”, President Chavez said upon his guest’s arrival in Venezuela last Friday morning. Humala, accompanied by his wife Nadine Heredia, had originally planned to visit the Venezuelan President in June but was forced to postpone the engagement due to Chavez’s recent illness. As such, the newly elected Peruvian head of state informed the press that his visit to Venezuela was as much about visiting a friend “going through a difficult time in terms of health” as it was about talking about formal, nation-to-nation relations. “We wanted to come to see him as a friend and if possible, talk casually about an open agenda between two fraternal populations that not only have the same history, but the same future”, Humala told Telesur. The brief meeting between the two leaders took place in the presidential palace where officials report that Chavez gifted a replica sword of South American Independence hero Simon Bolivar to the President-elect. The Caracas born Bolivar, also

known as The Liberator, led the fight against the Spainish Empire in the early 1800s, achieving independence for a vast part of the continent including modern day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. SHIFT IN RELATIONS Humala’s visit to Venezuela represents a prospective shift in relations between the two South American nations following a cooling of ties during the conservative government of Alan Garcia. This distancing was increased by Venezuela’s withdrawal from

the Andean Community of Nations trade block owing to the neoliberal policies of member states Peru and Colombia whose signing of free trade agreements with the United States subverted the intentions of the regional alliance. Yet in his electoral victory against the daughter of former Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori, currently serving a 25 year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption, Humala has taken a more integrationist position with respect to his southern neighbors.

Calling a meeting of the Union of South American States (UNASUR) immediately following his inauguration on July 28th, the former lieutenant colonel who once led a rebellion against the Fujimori dictatorship, has taken the first step towards defining a new path in international relations for his country. The Venezuelan government, a strong advocate of UNASUR, has called Humala’s initiative an “important gesture” and has confirmed its participation in the summit. “President Hugo Chavez has

insisted that UNASUR should have a dynamic policy as it has had. It needs to preserve its permanent agenda of discussion related to the most important topics of the region,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said in a press statement. Although Humala has assumed a moderate stance with respect to the United States, he has made clear his intention to work with Venezuela in overcoming the shared problems that face the continent. “Today we have a common enemy – poverty, inequality, the struggle against drugtrafficking, and so many other threats that surround our families. That’s why I believe and have the hope that this friendship that we are building will carry us to a common future”, the President-elect said during a joint press conference with his Venezuelan counterpart. During a recent visit to Washington at the invite of US President Barack Obama, Humala defended his willingness to strengthen Peru’s ties with Venezuela, a country that the White House has attempted to isolate as a “destabilizing” force in the region. “I don’t see any contradictions in the fact that Peru establishes better relations with the United States and at the same time strengthens relations with our sister nation, Venezuela”, Humala asserted. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

OPEC: Venezuela has world’s largest oil reserves O

PEC’s proven crude oil reserves rose 12.1 percent in 2010 to 1.19 trillion barrels led by Venezuela, which has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the group’s largest reserves holder, OPEC said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin. OPEC’s growth in oil reserves was mainly due to Venezuela, whose holdings climbed to 296.5 billion barrels from 211.2 billion in 2009, the report said. Top OPEC exporter Saudi Arabia’s reserves were steady at 264.5 billion barrels. Iran and Iraq also boosted their

reserves last year. In October, Iran increased its reserves to 150 billion barrels within a week of an upward revision by Iraq, ensuring that Tehran continued to rank above Baghdad. “OPEC has a fantastic history of competitive reserves upgrades”, said Bill Farren-Price, analyst at Petroleum Policy Intelligence. Reserves are one of the criteria OPEC has used in setting output targets. Iran and Iraq were rivals in the past over OPEC quotas and OPEC in the next few years is expected to tackle the issue of bringing Iraq back into the quota

system. Iraq is exempt at present. Iraq boosted its reserves to 143 billion barrels last year, up 24 percent, the report said. Iraq has said its reserves increased as work by international oil companies started to yield results. Venezuela’s move to the No. 1 reserves spot bumps Iran and Iraq to third and fourth place respectively. RISING GLOBAL SHARE OPEC said a year ago its reserves increased in 2009 because of Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez’s government said in Jan-

uary it had had overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world leader. Venezuela’s new deposits were booked in the South American country’s Orinoco extra heavy crude belt. The boost in Venezuela’s figures helped OPEC attain a larger share of the global total. OPEC holds 81.3 percent of the world’s proven crude reserves, up from 79.6 percent in 2009, the report said. Saudi Arabia, by far OPEC’s largest exporter, holds an advantage in that its oil is mostly light, conventional, easily-pumped

crude. The Orinoco oil needs to be upgraded or mixed with a lighter grade to create an exportable blend. Some countries such as Algeria, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had no change in their reserves in 2010 or in any year since 2006, the report said. OPEC’s 12 members pump more than a third of the world’s oil. Several producers, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have denied suggestions their reserves have been exaggerated. T/ Agencies


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4 | Sports

NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Venezuela excels at sports, has historic soccer victory For the first time in history, the Venezuelan national soccer team classified for the semi-finals of the Americas Cup. An emphasis and investment in athletics has been a priority of the Chavez government and the Bolivarian Revolution

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wo major athletic events that took place during the past week have combined to create a mix of excitement and pride in the Venezuelan population as a new buzz over sports is felt all over the country. First, the national soccer team, known as the Vinotinto, defeated Chile to advance for the first time in the country’s history to the semifinals of the world’s oldest soccer tournament, the Copa America, in Argentina. The Vinotinto played an excellent game against Paraguay in the semifinals this past Wednesday evening, in the bitter below-zero Argentine cold. The game went into overtime and later was settled by penalty kicks, during which Paraguay gained a one goal advantage and won. But Venezuela’s victory of classifying for the semifinals was widely celebrated by most of the nation’s 28 million citizens. Second, the 4th annual edition of the ALBA games was inaugurated in the city of Barquisimeto in the state of Lara, using athletic competition to encourage healthy living as well as advancing regional integration.

REGIONAL GAMES AND SPORTS IN VENEZUELA The ALBA games, a product of the regional trade and political block, the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), has convened nearly two thousand athletes from 23 countries around Latin America and the Caribbean to compete in 35 events. The competition will take place in ten different regions in Venezuela until July 30. Venezuelan Vice President, Elias Jaua, addressing the athletes during the opening ceremonies, reminded participants that although ALBA grew out of the need to promote economic in-

tegration in Latin America, the regional alliance stands for more than just commerce. “ALBA isn’t just a space for trade or for the economy. It’s also for healthy competition, for sports and for the meeting of Latin American youth”, Jaua proclaimed. Sports Minister Hector Rodriguez, also addressing the crowd, spoke of the preparations that have been made by the Venezuelan government to ensure the successful execution of the games. “This year’s games have the highest amount of athletes participating. It’s an edition that will help unite athletes and the people. We’re very pleased that Venezuela is the host of these games”, Rodriguez declared. The promotion of the ALBA games in Venezuela is part of the Chavez administration’s prioritizing of sports as socially beneficial activity and its raising awareness on issues of healthy living. In 2006, the government created the Sports Ministry and this year, the nation’s legislative body, the National Assembly, has been debating a new law which would allow professional athletes to elect members of their ruling federations as well as guarantee social security benefits. According to Minister Rodri-

guez, the new law is focused on democratizing athletics in Venezuela. “The central point and priority is the athlete, his or her social security, studies, and professionalization”, he said earlier in July. COOPERATION AND SOLIDARITY Through international agreements and mutual cooperation, Cuba has also played an important role in developing the culture of athletics in Venezuela as a multitude of trainers and health professionals from the island have provided their services to the residents of the South American country. The Chavez government has also introduced a great number of infrastructure projects around the nation, building sports complexes to facilitate greater opportunities for previously excluded populations to practice and train in different areas. THE VINOTINTO-VENEZUELA’S PRIDE Representative of this new emphasis on athletics in the Caribbean country has been the recent success of Venezuela’s national soccer team in international competition. Traditionally known as a country that has only produced numerous world-caliber baseball players, the Vinotinto has been

South America’s perpetual underdog of soccer, overshadowed by powerhouses such as Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. That reputation may be changing, however, as Venezuela surprised the world yet again last weekend by defeating the heavily favored Chileans 2-1 and moving on in what has turned out to be a tournament full of surprises. Both Argentina and Brazil failed to qualify for the semifinals this year, being knocked out of competition by Uruguay and Paraguay respectively. For Luis Mendoza, ex-soccer player who served the Vinotinto for 19 years, the change in performance on the field has been provoked by a change in training and attitude. “The players have taken on a technical-tactical philosophy that is concentrated on their own abilities and not centered on the rival team. They are thinking about what they can do, not about what they are going to confront in a Brazilian team with Ronaldo or Bebeto”, he said. Mendoza rejected the assertions of analysts and critics outside the country who continue to underestimate and even belittled the Venezuelan team. “We’re a selection that has a lot of power and tactical order on all

of our lines and we can leave any rival behind, just as we did in the first round of the Copa America with Brazil, Paraguay and Ecuador, and later with Chile in the quarterfinals”, he affirmed. The Vinotinto’s superior playing skills were further evidenced during the semi-finals against Paraguay, during which the Venezuelan team appeared to have scored several goals that were later declared by one of the referees to be invalid. The game on late Wednesday night went into overtime in Argentina, and tense penalty kicks left victory in the hands of Paraguay. But Venezuelans still celebrated their success of arriving to the near end of the tournament. Plazas throughout the capital city Caracas were set up with large screen televisions where the games were broadcast and Venezuelans watched collectively, wishing their team well. President Hugo Chavez watched from Cuba, where he’s undergoing chemotherapy treatment after the successful removal of a cancerous turmor last month. “Lets go boys! You are the Golden Generation of Venezuela”, he tweeted on his Twitter account @ chavezcandanga. T/ COI P/ Agencies


NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez used his standing legislative authority to sign into law a new price control mechanism aimed at putting an end to speculation and hoarding

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Venezuela combats inflation, enacts new Price Control Law

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he newly enacted Law for the Protection and Defense of Economic Rights for People to Access Goods and Services, or “Law for Just Prices and Costs”, allows the government to limit the prices charged for goods and services across broad sectors of the economy. Elaborated by representatives of the ministries of food, commerce, basic industries and mining, planning and financing, and the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV), the law creates a National Integrated System for the Administration of Prices (SINACOPRE) which will regulate, administer, supervise, inspect, and control prices charged to consumers. The agency, under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Presidency, will also be responsible for sanctioning those in violation of the law when necessary. According to Vice-President Elias Jaua, within three months the new agency will begin to monitor costs of both production and importation so as to determine a fair price that can be charged to the public. “The objective of the law is to stabilize prices”, said Jaua. “It is a law of labor against capital, a law of the rights of workers to obtain products at fair prices”.

Economy

Venezuelan officials often blame the country’s private sector for artificially inflating the price of goods and services in pursuit of economic and political objectives and hope this new law will help control the country’s inflation, currently at around 30%. After signing the legislation into law, Chavez said it will benefit the majority of Venezuelans, except those who “monopolize production, hoard and hide products, inflate prices, and take the big slice (of earnings) with them as a result of their pillage”. AFFORDABLE CONSUMPTION The President made special mention of the exorbitant price charged to Venezuelan workers who purchase ready-to-eat foods outside of the home. Referring specifically to the price of arepas, Venezuela’s popular corn-based

tortilla filled with any combination of ingredients (meats, beans, eggs, cheese, etc.), Chavez highlighted the difference in prices charged at private areperas and the chain of government-operated areperas socialistas. Venezuela’s areperas socialistas, which maintain operations with no direct government subsidy, currently sell arepas at 7.50 BsF ($1.75 USD) per unit and earn a total 0.75 BsF ($0.17 USD) in profits per arepa sold. According to Chavez, the average arepa purchased from a private arepera can reach up to 35 to 40 BsF ($8.149.30 USD), when the total cost of production of this food item is between 7 and 8 BsF maximum ($1.63-1.86 USD). According to Chavez, the areas of the Venezuelan economy most affected by the “tricksters” of capitalism are food, housing, cloth-

ing, and automobiles. Chavez said that the new “socialist” law is intended to bring an end to capitalism’s “trickery, immorality, and thievery”. “This is another enabling law to advance the struggle against the injustices of capitalism and to protect the people, the entire nation, all sectors except the exploiters and speculators”, said Chavez. Chavez enacted the law by way of legislative authority granted to him by the outgoing national assembly in December 2010. Venezuela’s inflation rate in 2010 was 27.4%, while figures released at the end of the first quarter of 2011 put inflation so far this year at 22.9%. At the end of June figures from the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) placed inflation at 23.6%. GREATER GOVERNMENT ROLE IN ECONOMY Venezuelan Minister of Commerce Edmee Betancourt recently affirmed that the national government “now plays a role in 44% of the economy, and plans to strengthen the public distribution and marketing networks so as to reach 50% by the end of the year”. Earlier this week the Venezuelan President nationalized Llano Arroz S.A., a private rice threshing and packaging firm that processes an estimated 20,000 tones of rice per year. The company is said to have sustained major

5| debts with the government’s MERCAL network of subsidized supermarkets before being sanctioned over a year ago. The expropriation of Llano Arroz, S.A. places the firm in the hands of the state-owned and operated Arroz del ALBA, S.A. and calls for the firm to be transformed into a “socialist unit of production” in which workers play a greater role in decisionmaking. Last week, Chavez also enacted legislation that creates the Venezuelan Agricultural Bank (BAV), a publicly-financed bank worth some 340 million BSF ($79 million USD) intended to finance Venezuela’s strategic agricultural sector. The BAV, under the auspices of the Venezuelan Ministry of Land and Agriculture, will begin by providing 20-year loans to rural producers, allow smallscale farmers to open checking accounts, and provide rural Venezuelans with credit cards to improve their quality of life. Shares of the BAV worth one (1) Bolivar ($0.23 USD) are to be sold to the public and an assembly of shareholders will assume the role of defining the bank’s rules, regulations, and financing policies. According to the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN), as part of the Venezuelan government’s AgroVenezuela Mission the state has recently issued some 242 million BsF ($56.28 million USD) in low interest-rate loans (4%) to 1,854 Venezuelan producers of rice. This financing is expected to facilitate rice production on over 50,000 hectares of arable lands. T/ Juan Reardon www.venezuelanalysis.com

New Venezuelan laptop factory increases production B

etween 500 and 100 Canaima laptops have been produced daily since June 1st, by thirty Venezuelans who work at the Technology Complex Simon Rodriguez, in Miranda state, adding up to a total 2,100 units so far. Last Saturday the first line of computers manufactured at the Technology Complex were released. The Complex aims to produce 48,000 laptops more this year, to reach a total of 50,000 Venezuelan made Canaimas. “It is not only about distributing computers among students in public schools...but also about manufacturing such comput-

ers”, said Manuel Fernandez, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, while speaking to a local television station during the broadcast of a cabinet meeting chaired by President Hugo Chavez. The Science and Technology Ministry expects that work on the second phase of the project will conclude between November and December this year. The second phase includes the construction of a warehouse adjacent to the Technology Complex Simon Rodriguez, enabling Venezuela to manufacture and store up to 500,000 computers which

will later be handed out to primary school children throughout the year. Vice-Minister of Scientific and Technological Development, Jorge Arreaza, explained that this manufacturing line has been made possible by taking advantage of the facilities and knowhow of the Institute of Technology Innovation. The content in the Canaima computers, recalled the Vice-Minister, is produced by Venezuelan teachers using freeware, ensuring full industrial and technology sovereignty. A group of workers from the

Technology Complex sent one of the Canaima laptops to President Chavez to take with him to Havana, Cuba. Receiving the laptop before leaving to Havana to continue his medical treatment, President Chavez exclaimed, “When I touch this laptop and I see it, I say to myself that we have to continue living to continue seeing these things, to continue enjoying the progress towards this new life we are building in our homeland”. T/ Agencies P/ Presidential Press


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6 | Social Justice

NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

In Venezuela, doctors prefer Community Medicine be at the service of our country, with a humanist vision of social service, a distinct vision of a medicine that we want to practice as part of the Revolution”. Of the 1,017 medical students currently enrolled in the CCM Program in the rural state of Portuguesa, 313 are expected to graduate this year. All of them currently receive medical training alongside Cuban doctors in 21 hospitals and clinics across the state. Almost 25,000 medical students are currently enrolled in Venezuela’s National Program in Comprehensive Community Medicine, part of the ‘Sandino Commitment’ signed in 2005 by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and then Cuban President Fidel Castro. The agreement, aimed at developing 200,000 health professionals to serve the peoples of the Latin America and the Caribbean, also includes the flagship Miracle Mission, which has provided free site recovery surgery to some 1.3 million people to date.

Venezuela will soon welcome some 8,000 newly trained doctors into its public health system thanks to the country’s revolutionary medical training program in Comprehensive Community Medicine

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he result of an ongoing collaboration between Cuban and Venezuelan medical professionals, the program is to graduate its first generation of “ethical and humanist” doctors in December of this year. This influx of new doctors, trained alongside thousands of Cuban doctors who currently attend to the most excluded sectors of Venezuelan society, is expected to greatly improve Venezuela’s growing National Public Health System. These doctors are also expected to gradually replace the estimated 15,500 Cuban doctors that currently staff the Bolivarian Revolution’s Inside the Barrio social mission. According to Antonio Torres, National Coordinator of Venezuela’s National Program in Comprehensive Community Medicine (CCM), these newly trained doctors “have the capacity to diagnose, treat, and adequately rehabilitate patients with the aim of providing the most specialized attention to the public in hospitals and clinics”. “From the very beginning these medical students learn in both theory and practice,” affirmed Torres. “They work alongside Cuban doctors throughout the entire process of medical training and by doing so they perfect their primary care capacities. They also spend all of the fifth and sixth years of the program as interns of internal medicine”, he explained. Similar to many medical school programs across Latin America and in Europe, medical school in Venezuela starts immediately after high school and lasts for a total of six years. Postgraduate studies are also available for doctors who wish to specialize. According to Ali Barrios, Chief of Staff at the Doctor Jose Ignacio Baldo Hospital in Anitmano, Caracas, a group of 90 CCM medical students are currently rotating

through the hospital’s numerous medical wards. The student interns will spend between eight and ten weeks in each of the hospital’s surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, and maternity wards, preparing themselves to provide a “quality and humanizing medicine”, Barrios explained. PAY RAISE Referring to the 30% increase in doctors’ salaries decreed by Chavez last week, Barrios affirmed that the Venezuelan President, “dignifies the medical profession on a daily basis. During the 4th Republic (pre-Chavez), doctors in this country never earned a decent salary. With the arrival of the President (Chavez), all professional guilds have seen improvements”, she affirmed. In May of last year, Barrios and her colleagues were joined by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to inaugurate the installment of 33 state-of-the-art maternity ward beds at the Caracas-based medical center. “In the battle to strengthen quality medical services, we will win”, affirmed Barrios at that time. FOCUS ON PREVENTION Responding to criticisms from the conservative Venezuelan Medical Federation (FMV) – the same medical association that outright rejects the presence of Cuban medical professionals in Venezuela – CCM National Coordinator Antonio Torres explained,

“physicians who prepared themselves in private universities have nothing to fear.” Torres, who studied at the prestigious Razzeti Medical School of Central University of Venezuela (UCV), a public university, stated that he vouched “for the CCM students who use the same classic medical texts as we did. The only difference is that the educational system of the CCM program dedicates its vision to health education and prevention”. Ana Majano, a CCM medical student in the State of Mirando, affirmed proudly that she or any one of her fellow students “could be the Minister of Health, since our clinics and communities are like a small country”. Ana knows every one of her community’s pregnant or breastfeeding residents, as well as all

those who have hypertension, diabetes, and physical or mental disabilities. Seeing these patients, and observing her Cuban medical professors when they engage in surgeries and other medical interventions, is a permanent “doses of education and training”. Ana’s father, Victor Hugo Majano, asserts that there is “no doubt whatsoever that the graduation of the first comprehensive community doctors is going to result in a radical change in primary care services nationwide, as well as the availability of specialists in the near future”. Henry Hernandez, Coordinator of the CCM Program for the State of Falcon, told press that Falcon state is to contribute 221 of the 8,000 doctors that graduate in December. These newly trained doctors, affirmed Hernandez, “will

HUMANIST MEDICINE “To guarantee the fundamental rights of human beings...is socialism”, declared Chavez at the signing of the Sandino Commitment. “Capitalism privatizes health and education. So when we speak of building 21st Century Socialism, this is exactly what we are doing – guaranteeing basic human rights, starting with health and education”, he affirmed. According to Venezuela’s Office of the National System of University Enrollment Planning (OPSU), a total 128,949 students will begin university-level studies this fall, 48% of which plan to focus their studies on science and technologies, 28% on social sciences, 16% in education or sports, and 8% in the fields of health. This figure does not include the students who have been invited to enroll in this year’s CCM enrollment process, free of charge and open to anyone with a high school diploma and “an interest in developing themselves as a doctor with a scientific and humanist outlook and a focus on actions that serve the individual, family, and community”. T/ COI P/ Agencies


NoÊÇÎÊUÊFriday, July 22, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Culture | 7 |

Caracas becomes a greener, nicer city After decades of abandon and decay, the municipal and national governments have joined together in an intense effort to humanize Caracas and make it a more liveable city

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hroughout the latter half of the twentieth century, Venezuela’s capital city, Caracas, became an overcrowded, chaotic, violent city with little attraction for visitors and even less space for residents’ enjoyment. Parks were abandoned and inhabited by homeless and drug addicts, street lamps were left broken, sidewalks destroyed by bulging tree roots and a lack of urban planning led to an overly-congested, polluted and people-unfriendly urban center. But during the past few years, under the local leadership of Caracas mayor Jorge Rodriguez and the national government’s Governor of the Capital District, Jaqueline Farias, major projects and plans have been underway to turn Caracas into a proud, beautiful, liveable and attractive city. Authorities and local residents have decided to multiply initiatives to humanize the Venezuelan capital [Caracas] and show its

kinder side”, reported the French news agency AFP on Wednesday. “More green areas, wider sidewalks, asphalted streets, a historic and restored downtown, higher police surveillance and outdoor cultural events are some of the new developments appearing over the last few months that show something is happening in Caracas, which was a city previ-

ously known at the turn of last century for a quality of life that attracted dozens of thousands of immigrants,” reported AFP. “I think people are fighting more for their spaces. There has to be pressure from the grassroots, from citizens who are demanding their rights; and from high levels of government with concrete policies to recover areas

for the people”, Cheo Carvajal, columnist in a Venezuelan daily told AFP. “You don’t recover the vitality of a city by insisting that it is dangerous. Caracas has possibilities and there has to be a little bit of risk to conquer them. The more people are in the streets, the more safe they become”, affirmed Carvajal, who also promotes ini-

tiatives to favor pedestrians and cyclists through his newspaper column. Patricia Medina, a Caracas resident and mother, said, “We need more public outdoor areas, people have to overcome fear and go to those public spaces and take care of them, instead of staying shut away at home”. There is confidence that authorities will consolidate these improvements for the big metropolis. “We are going to transform Caracas and turn it into a kinder city”, Jorge Rodriguez, Mayor of Libertador Municipality –the city’s most populous- told AFP. The Mayor also explained that the plan to restore public areas and pedestrian areas will continue in the nation’s capital. “Caracas will become a tourist destination”, Rodríguez declared. Caracas’ perfect spring-like climate year round makes it an ideal place for living and visiting. Once the city infrastructure is improved and renovation projects completed, including new parks, a unified public transportation service and the downtown historic Caracas center with major tourist attractions and hotels in restoration, the lives of locals will change dramatically. T/ Agencies P/ Agencies

Angel Falls among finalists for “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” O

ne of Venezuela’s greatest and most beautiful attractions, the higest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, may soon be considered a top worldwide wonder. Angel Falls, the Amazon Rainforest, El Yunque Rainforest, Galapagos Islands and Iguazu Falls are the five Latin American sites chosen among the 28 finalists in the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” competition. The selection process began in 2007, and over 100 million people have voted to choose the finalist site. This year over one billion people are expected to participate. The winner will be announced on November 11, 2011. The group of experts chose the 28 finalists, considering the beauty of the place, its diversity,

ecological importance, historical legacy and geographic location, in order to have an equitable distribution by continent. ANGEL FALLS AND THE AMAZON Angel Falls, also know in Venezuela for its indigenous name Kerepakupai Meru, is located in Canaima National Park, Bolivar state, in the deep southwest of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The park is a protected area that has waterfalls, gale-force winds and large rivers combined with immense savannas and tepuyes (table-topped mountains found only in Venezuela), which set the stage for the highest waterfall in the world: Angel Falls. The Amazon Basin represents 50 percent of the tropical forest in the

world and has a 7.8 million kilometer surface area. The Amazon covers territories in Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Suriname, and the Guyanas. OTHER FINALISTS Bay of Fundy in Canada; the Black Forest of Germany; Bu Tinah Shoals in the United Arab Emirates; the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland; and the Dead Sea in Palestine, Jordan, and Israel are among the remaining finalists. Additionally, other finalist sites in the competition include Mount Vesuvius (Italy), Ha Long Bay (Vietnam), Mount Kilamanjaro (Tanzania), the Great Barrier Reef (Australia and Papua New Guinea), the Grand Canyon (United States), Jeita Grotto (Lebanon)

and Jeju Island (South Korea). The list of finalists finishes with Komodo in Indonesia, the Maldives Islands, the Masuria Lakes in Poland, Mount Cervino in Switzerland and Italy, Milford Sound in New Zealand, the Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan, the Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Uluru /

Ayer’s Rock in Australia, and the Yushan Mountain in Taiwan. The “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” organization will visit each of the 28 sites and will attempt to organize a promotional events in each place along with the local governments. T/ Agencies P/ Agencies


FRIDAY | July 22, 2011 | No. 73 Bs 1 | C A R A C A S

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

OPINION From collapse to action

Grassroots solutions to US crises W

hen the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit the US on September 15, 2008, filmmakers Sílvia Leindecker and Michael Fox began a journey across the country to see how the economy was impacting people’s lives. Their interviews, which span two years and nearly 40 states, draw from farmers, truck drivers, homeless people, workers, immigrants and more. The result is the documentary Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action, a film full of desperation, hope and grassroots solutions. Leindecker and Fox are the makers of the earlier documentary Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas, and Fox was an editor of the book Venezuela Speaks!: Voices from the Grassroots. Like these earlier works, Crossing the American Crises highlights the voices of people participating in grassroots activism and everyday struggles for a better world. The first stop of their trip is Detroit, where the camera cuts to empty store fronts and factories. “Detroit is what it is because of industry and the industrial revolution, and capitalism, and so-called democracy and how all those failed. And this is what we have left with it”, Jon Blount of the activist collective Detroit Summer tells Leindecker and Fox. Such bits of hard-won insight from streets, factory floors and living rooms across America are interspersed throughout the film. The next visit is to the Rosebud Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where they speak with Alfred Bone Shirt. “We’re seeing that there’s a segment of our society that feel we’re left out, neglected, abused; rights are violated. We’re in a depression down here so bad that people just wanna give up”. His words are underscored by footage of the reservation itself, a place crushed by economic depression. After stops in Utah, Oakland and Los Angeles, they head out onto Route 66, where, Fox tells the camera they want to “see the direct effects on the local community”. And indeed, that is what they find at nearly every stop in their tour; very real life stories of how the US economy is making life difficult for people from coast to coast and everywhere in between. In New Orleans, they speak with people in the Lower 9th Ward, a neighborhood that was destroyed by Katrina in 2005. Robert Green and his family lived in this community for 38 years before Katrina hit, and at the time of the

shooting of the film they were still living in a FEMA trailer. Fox asks Green what he thinks about the government bailout, the major issue of the day. Green tells him, “It’s ironic that it only took [the government] 2 weeks to issue a $700 billion check. It took them 3 years after Katrina and this is what you see”. He pointed to the empty lots, saying the names of the families that used to live there. “So basically every house, every family that’s gone actually was a family that should be here now. And if

they would have been given the money in 2 weeks like the way they did in Congress, the way they did in Wall Street, then every last one of these families would have rebuilt their houses, and this whole Gulf Coast area would have been rebuilt”. This story conveys a sentiment shared by many of the interviewees in this film: outrage at the disparity between the government’s concern for Wall Street over the people bearing the everyday grind of the crisis. Crossing the American Crises then turns to the hope people felt in the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Yet after the election, the camera cuts to a stream of grim economic news, and stories of people struggling to make ends meet. One college graduate appearing in the film went through 109 job interviews before finally finding a very low-paying position at Staples. On a cold, snowy street corner in New York City, they interview John Lambertus, a homeless man who lost his job in May of 2008 and couldn’t find new work. Lambertus points to a plastic bag he’s carrying, saying, “You see this? This is my blanket, another jacket in case this one gets messed up, and another pair of pants – and that’s my situation”. He wor-

ked in a printing press for thirty years before losing his job. “I’ll be 51 in April and I’m in the street”. So what is to be done with all of this bleak news from the US crises? That leads to the second part of the film: Action. Crossing the American Crises goes on to include many solutions to these economic and social problems, focusing on inspiring stories of grassroots alternatives and responses. There is the Vermont Workers’ Center fighting for affordable healthcare for all, the Green Worker Cooperative in the Bronx that sells recycled building materials, the Santa Fe Alliance in New Mexico advocating for local producers and businesses over tax-dodging multinational chains, and the Iraq Veterans Against the War struggling for veterans’ benefits. There are stories of people working for affordable housing, jobs, better working conditions, improved public transportation and prison justice. These groups are largely led by the people who are impacted the most by these various crises. Organizers are meeting these challenges in states across the country. “Organizing is the key!” JoAnn Watson from the Detroit Council tells a boisterous crowd at the US Social Forum in her city. Alongside these stories of hopeful organizing is a vision for a better world. “The people have to act through their own organizations to implement their vision of what life should be like”, explains Kathleeen Cleaver, a law professor at Yale University. That’s a central message of this film – that when the politicians, banks, bosses and economy fail to work for the people, it’s the people that have to form the backbone of movements for economic justice, peace and equality and rights. Such insight from people across the country makes Crossing the American Crises an impressive film that captures the spirit of the US today. Its stories of human hardship, solidarity and hope paint a portrait of the US that is both heart-breaking and inspiring. This documentary is a powerful reminder of the countless social movements working each day to transform the US, from the fields of Oklahoma to the streets of New Orleans. Benjamin Dangl Benjamin Dangl is author of Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America (AK Press).


English Edition Nº 73