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Pg. g 7 | Special p Report p

Pg. 8 | Opinion

Activist Jorge Rodriguez was assassinated for his political beliefs 35 years ago in Venezuela

The US debt crisis and the working class

FRIDAY | July 29, 2011 | No. 74 | Bs 1 | C ARACAS

ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas

Chavez will run for reelection in 2012

Chavez turns 57

President Chavez confirmed this week his candidacy for reelection in 2012. His cancer is gone for now. The Venezuelan President reiterated his candidacy for the 2012 presidential elections this week in an exclusive interview with Correo del Orinoco. He also revealed inside details of his cancer treatment and internal process of acceptance and struggle. Chavez underwent successful chemotherapy last week in Cuba and a series of tests determined no cancer cells were lingering in his body. However, the Venezuelan leader vows to continue his strict medical treatment in order to “live and prevail”. | pages 2-3

Venezuela celebrates The Liberator

Perhaps the most well known Venezuelan, after President Hugo Chavez, is Independence hero Simon Bolivar, who led the fight to free Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia from Spanish colonial rule 200 years ago. Today, Bolivar is cherished and revered as a fighter for social justice, equality, Latin American dignity and integration. His dream of a unified Latin America is finally seeing fruit in the XXI century, through initiatives such as ALBA and Unasur. This week Venezuelans celebrated his 228th birthday. | page 4

Politics

Venezuela rejects US aggression Yet again, the Venezuelan government condemns hostility from Washington. | page 3

Security

Prison reform a priority A new government institution is aimed at humanizing prisons. | page 5

Social Justice

Bolivia’s Evo Morales fights for water rights Morales spoke at the UN this week on why water is a human right. | page 6

Venezuela: lowest percentage of social Inequality in Latin America

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enezuela has the lowest percentage (0.38 percent) of social inequality in Latin America, according a report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The President of the National Institute of Statistics, Elias Eljuri, said on Monday that the ECLAC report shows that extreme poverty in Venezuela was reduced from 21 percent in 1999, when the Bolivarian Revolution began, to 6.9 percent, with a tendency to continue decreasing.

The report, which was recently presented by ECLAC Executive Secretary, Alicia Barcena, also confirms that Venezuela has been able to reduce the gap of income distribution per capita by almost 15 percent. The report’s data confirm figures issued by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), showing a 4.5 percent increase of GDP during the first trimester of the year, thanks to the government’s boost to the public and private sectors. Additionally, the ECLAC report highlights that the economy in Latin America and the

Caribbean would increase by 4.7 percent this year. During a radio interview, Eljuri also highlighted the increase of formal workers over the last 12 years, which stood at 46 percent and now reaches 57 percent. Social policies of the Chavez government have been largely responsible for the decrease in poverty and increase in overall social well being in the South American nation. Using oil profits, the Venezuelan state has invested heavily in healthcare, education and infrastructure to improve quality of life for all.

Happy Birthday Mr. President! On Thursday, July 28, President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias turned 57. Celebrations nationwide were held under the theme, “A song for the President”. Rodrigo Cabezas, ranking member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said at a news conference that the event would be held throughout the country. He said there is much to celebrate, “the joy of life, as traditionally celebrated by Venezuelan families, and now we have many more reasons”, referring to Chavez’s recent recovery from cancer. “We welcome with joy the President’s birthday as a celebration of life and hope for the recovery of his health. We will all celebrate as a gesture of solidarity”. Chavez also revealed he would lead a celebration with his people “as never seen before”. The event took place first in plazas throughout the country at the crack of dawn. In the late afternoon, thousands gathered at the presidential palace in Caracas for a concert and the big attraction, President Chavez’s birthday speech.


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2 | Impact

NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Chavez confirms candidacy for 2012 presidential elections In an exclusive interview with Correo del Orinoco, President Hugo Chavez affirmed he hasn’t “thought of retiring from the presidency for a single instant” and called his cancer “a counterrevolution that has confirmed I must live”. “I am determined to have a moral, spiritual, personal and collective victory”

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f the voice is reflective of well being in a person, then it’s sufficient to hear President Hugo Chavez to confirm he’s doing better than ever. “I feel unbeatable in spirit, in my state of mind, in my soul. And my body is responding extraordinarily in every sense”, affirmed the head of state this week during an exclusive telephone interview with Correo del Orinoco. There are some details about his health and recent cancer that the Venezuelan President has reserved. They are part of his personal experience, part of his life that only belongs to family. But when asked about his candidacy for the presidential elections in 2012, about which there has been plenty of speculation and rumor, he doesn’t hesitate in confirming his participation. “I have medical, scientific, human, love, and political reasons to maintain myself at the head of Government and my candidacy will proceed with more force than ever before”, he emphasized. “Personally, I can tell you I haven’t thought for an instant of retiring from the presidency. If there were reasons, I would do it; above all if there were physical or mental reasons. I would be the first to do so, and in a responsible way”. He underlined that he’s resolved to have “full and absolute recovery. We are not dreaming in a vacuum. We are not dreaming of the impossible. Those are the desires of the macabre, the perverse and the morbid, that belong

to some opinion makers such as Roger Noriega. Noriega is a spokesman for the CIA”. Chavez informed that he has finished the first stage of chemotheraphy and “here I am”. The treatment, applied in Cuba, “is a strong attack against the possibility of the cancer spreading elsewhere. That’s why it’s an attack with chemotheraphy: to prevent any kind of spread”. He reiterated that everything he has told the nation is “the truth”. In this stage of recovery, “I should follow a strict regime” of nutrition and permanent evaulation, “awaiting new stages of chemotherapy”. Despite this, “I will be at the front of my job, of government, 24 hours a day, handling all my responsibilities”. One of them, “is my health and maintaining strict observance of the mandates of scientific medicine”. But this will not prevent him from celebrating his 57th birthday. And he will do it in Venezuela. He also guarantees it will be a celebration “with my people as never before”. FIDEL CASTRO’S SHORTEST SPEECH Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a key player in the diagnosis and

treatment of the President’s cancer, “was very happy” last Saturday, before saying farewell to Chavez in Havana. “He had joy on his face...It was very different from how he had been a month before”, confided the Venezuelan leader. Chavez recalled that when he returned to Cuba to begin the chemotherapy, he lived through a “very intense” journey, and he was subjected to diagnostic procedures with the most advanced equipment on the island, and in the world, in the area of imageology. The purpose was to find out if the cancer had spread throughout his body. “The second operation lasted almost 7 hours. They checked me organ by organ, taking samples to see if there was metatasis, and they found nothing. The tumor was encapsulated”, he remembered. But this wasn’t enough. The certain thing, he continued, “is that upon arriving, they gave me a full imageology. It was hours and hours of the most advanced scientific methodology that could be utilized”. After such overwhelming scientific-medical work, Fidel Castro gave him the good news. “He told me that regarding what they were

looking for, nothing was found. I had never heard Fidel make such a short speech”, he joked. However, immediately after, the Cuban leader clarified that this did not mean the problem was over. “Later, chemotherapy began during the week: long, hard, put up with and assimilated by this body and this soul with a lot of help” from Cuba, he said appreciatively. “Everyday, Fidel visited me to talk, eat something, bring me juice, or some other detail. He is like a father”. RESPECT THE BODY The head of state changed radically with the diagnosis of cancer. “The body I mistreated so much I am now learning to respect and love”, he confessed. “The human body is the seat of the soul. How can one disrespect it?” Chavez repeats, throughout the conversation, that he feels good and that his body has accepted the treatment. “This body, almost 57 years old, is responding well”. One, adds the Venezuelan President, “can feel good in his soul, but if he felt this or that in his body, or a process of degeneration, what do you do? I feel very good, and I’m set on that; on this battle, on victory, in every sense.

A moral, spiritual, personal and collective victory”. The President recalls that when the April 11, 2002 coup d’etat took place, he remembered a phrase by Leon Trotsky, which said that every revolution needs the whip of the counterrevolution to correct its path. “Now I say: to Chavez, who was going around like a wild horse, without paying attention to doctors, schedules, nutrition; without paying attention to life, that I needed the whip of a kind of organic counterrevolution that has now brought me a new consciousness that I need to live. I have to take care of this body to continue living and fighting, and contributing my grain of salt wherever I can”. -You have refered to a process that is going on through 2030. What do you mean? “This is not new in our strategic vision. Years ago, I used a phrase that stuck. At the start of the first decade of the century, I spoke of it as the bronze decade, which just ended when the first decade of the XXI century concluded. Now we are starting the silver decade: 2011-2020. And the golden decade will be from 2021-2030. This is in line with our bicentennial celebrations and the bicentennial of Simon Bolivar. I am resolved to make it to 2031”. When asked what he meant when referring to the “syndrome of Santa Marta”, which relates to the death of Simon Bolivar and the divisions of the country in 1830; divided, with the oligarchy once again taking power. He answers immediately: “We have to defeat it. The challenge is during these coming years, to be able to tell Bolivar we did not err in the sea. We have to change that phrase to this: ‘We have changed this world; we did it’. And just like that, look ahead, because the challenge will remain for our children, for that splendid and loving youth that rises today. The whip of this sickness has provoked in me my strongest will to live, to fight and to prevail”. T/ Vanessa Davies and Eva Golinger P/ Presidential Press


NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Politics

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Chavez back in Venezuela after successful cancer treatment Looking visibly stronger and wellrested, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to his native soil last Saturday after undergoing the second phase of cancer treatment in Cuba

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lthough Chavez’s return at 9:45pm on Saturday night came as a surprise to some, the Venezuelan President made clear before departing that his treatment would last only “a few days” and that he would soon be back to continue carrying out the duties of his post. Before leaving for treatment on July 16, exactly one week before his return, Chavez delegated limited administrative powers to his Vice-President Elias Jaua and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani. On Saturday, he thanked his cabinet members and the Vice-President for the diligent execution of their offices and assured the public that he has kept informed on all pertinent affairs in the country. “I haven’t missed anything that has happened in Venezuela and I congratulate the Vice-President and the ministers for their work.

My personal recognition and moral and political support to you”, he said to the group of ministers gathered to receive him at the international airport Simon Bolivar in the coastal city of Maiquetia. As evidence of his ability to manage affairs while abroad, Chavez approved 1.5 billion bolivars ($348 million) for the work of the nation’s grassroots community councils on Friday as well as $5 million for humanitarian aid to famine victims in Somalia. The President’s trip to Cuba was the first time that he had returned to the island after a tumor was removed from his pelvic area there on June 20 during a diplomatic visit. Since then, the socialist leader has been subjected to a strict recovery regime that has limited his public appearances and kept him under the supervision of his Venezuelan and Cuban medical team. Fidel Castro has also participated actively in the President’s convalescence, reporting and interpreting test results to his friend and political ally. CANCER ELIMINATED On Saturday, the head of state confirmed that after undergoing intense studies over the past week, medics have be unable to

detect the existence of any further cancerous cells in his body. “They carried out rigorous exams that lasted all day. There’s still a risk and that’s why I received chemotherapy throughout the week in various sessions. It’s difficult but my body withstood it”, he said. While in Cuba, Chavez received visits from Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona. “We met with President Chavez in a spectacular hospital in Havana”, Correa said of his visit. “The

fact that [Chavez] looked good really put us at ease”, he explained. OIL POWER Upon his arrival home on Saturday, the Venezuelan President congratulated members of the country’s Navy and commented on OPEC’s recent findings regarding the nation’s oil reserves. According to the international cartel, Venezuela now possesses the largest reserves of crude in the world, calculated at 296.5 billion barrels. The announcement confirms what the Chavez administration

had reported earlier regarding the nation’s holdings in the Orinoco belt and represents an increase of 339 percent in the country’s reserves over the past five years. “Only independence, only freedom will allow us to develop and convert Venezuela into what it must be: a great republic, a great country, a great economy…a power in this part of the world and in a different kind of world. Not the world of bombs and aggressions but rather the free and multipolar world”, Chavez said of Venezuela’s social and economic potential. On Sunday, the President made a brief appearance at the home of Simon Bolivar to celebrate the 288th anniversary of the Independence hero’s birth. Despite the brevity of his visit, the President looked physically improved when compared with recent public appearances, singing a rendition of a famous Venezuelan folk song composed by the revolutionary musician Ali Primera. “I’ve kept my word”, Chavez said upon his return on Saturday. “I’ve come back better than when I left”. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

Venezuela rejects continued US aggression O

n Tuesday, the Venezuelan government condemned the permanent aggressive policies promoted by ultra right-wing sectors in the United States against the South American nation. The statement was made by Foreign Affairs Minister, Nicolas Maduro, during a high-level executive cabinet meeting. At the conclusion of Tuesday’s Council of Ministers meeting, Maduro issued a formal condemnation of the attacks coming from ultra conservative groups in Washington for their interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs and for maintaining a constant plan of aggression and threat against Venezuela.

OBAMA’S THREATS Maduro also rejected recent statements by the Obama ad-

ministration, accusing Venezuela of being a “permissive environment” for terrorism. A report issued on Monday titled “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime”, alleged that Venezuela “generates a permissive environment for drug trafficking and terrorist organizations”. The report was published by President Obama’s anti-terrorism advisor John Brennan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder. “We have evaluated and categorically rejected the new steps made by the far right-wing, dragging a wide proportion of the US Congress and government towards an absurd and extremist policy against Latin America and our nation, trying

to attack us and put obstacles in the path toward independence and sovereignty that our country is developing”, declared Foreign Minister Maduro.

Venezuela’s legislative body, the National Assembly, also issued an official statement rejecting the latest threats and accusations made by the US government against

the Caribbean nation. “We firmly reject these ongoing, unfounded accusations made by extremist sectors in the United States that attempt to justify aggressive policies towards Venezuela”, assembly members exclaimed on Tuesday. The US government has been backing anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela for years, providing them with millions of US tax-payer dollars to support plans to undermine the Chavez government. In recent months, Washington has stepped up its hostile policies towards Venezuela, including imposing sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Pdvsa, for selling two shipments of a gas component to Iran. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press


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4 | Politics

NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Simon Bolivar celebrated: independence, freedom and equality A variety of commemorative acts held last Sunday in Venezuela and around the world marked the 228th anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar, Venezuela’s most revered political leader and one of Latin America’s most important historical figures

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resident Hugo Chavez addressed the Venezuelan people early Sunday morning via his Twitter account exalting Bolivar’s legacy and the importance of his ideas to modern day struggles for social justice. “We will make sure that Bolivar lives everyday in us, in our ideas and in our behavior”, he wrote. Born in Caracas on July 24, 1783, Bolivar became the most significant military and political leader of South America’s independence movement, claiming victory upon victory against colonial forces in nearly ten years of armed struggle. The son of an aristocratic family with Basque roots, Bolivar committed his life to the cause of freedom from Spain, earning himself the title of “Liberator” for his decisive defeats of the royalist army in what is modern day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. INTEGRATION AND UNITY Central to his drive for autonomy was his firm belief in regional integration and his overall goal of unifying all of Latin America under a common political system. “To try to unite all of the New World into a single nation with one link that binds all of its parts to the whole is a magnanimous idea. As the region has one origin, one language, one religion and customs, it should therefore have one government confederated by the different states to be formed”, he wrote in his famous Letter from Jamaica in 1815. Bolivar called this immense confederation of states the “Great Colombia” and despite the fac-

tionalism of regional strongmen, or caudillos, that eventually tore apart integration, the vision of a united Latin America lives on today in the policies of the continent’s new leftist governments. LEGACY OF THE LIBERATOR The influence of Bolivar on Venezuelan society and culture is difficult to overstate. With a status that has been elevated to near mythical proportions, similar to what Lenin may have been for the Soviet Union, no single historical personality has had the impact that Bolivar has had on the collective consciousness of the nation. Venezuela’s currency bears his name and countless towns, municipalities, streets, and schools have been christened in his honor.

Even the smallest of rural hamlets boasts a public square dedicated to the legacy of the Liberator. Although the image of Bolivar has also played an important role in the country’s political discourse for decades, his prominence has been elevated in recent years owing to the revolutionary changes taking place in the South American nation. The government of Hugo Chavez, reclaiming the heritage of the Liberator through its “Bolivarian Revolution”, has renewed Venezuela’s sense of nationalist pride with respect to it’s anti-colonial struggle. Basing much of his political and economic program on Bolivar’s anti-imperialist stance as well as the integrationist dream of Great Colombia, Chavez and his supporters

have redefined the course of regional politics over the past decade. Such a redefinition has led to the formation of new power blocks like the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) which have arisen out of Latin America’s challenge to Washington’s neo-colonial pretensions in the hemisphere. The inauguration of yet another alliance, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is set to take place later this year and will create an even greater union of countries and territories in the Americas, leaving to the side the participation and influence of the United States and Canada. COMMEMORATIVE ACTIVITIES The international recognition of Bolivar’s legacy last Sunday is testament to the importance of this present shift in Latin American politics. Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Portugal and Iran all held ceremonies to honor the Liberator with a series of activities including floral offerings, sporting events, and public speeches. Venezuelan Naval Capitan William Hernandez, stationed in Cuba, commented during an event in Havana that the progressive governments of today’s Latin America embody the spirit of Bolivar. According to Hernandez, the freedom and peace once sought

by the revered leader “can only be achieved when all of us Americans possess awareness of the homeland, when we are all convinced that we need to continue the struggle against any and all forms of foreign intervention”. In Venezuela, the celebratory acts began at 6am with the raising of the nation’s flag alongside those of the five nations liberated by the sword of Bolivar. The event was coordinated by Defense Minister Carlos Figueroa, Communication Minister Andres Izarra, Education Minister Maryann Hanson, and a host of Venezuelan youth expressing their pride in the principles of solidarity and equality as advocated by the independence hero. In the afternoon, homage was paid at the Liberator’s birthplace in downtown Caracas where President Chavez, recently returned from cancer treatment in Cuba, led a tour of the Liberator’s home. During his visit, the Venezuelan head of state read fragments of Bolivar’s letters and spoke of his contemporary presence throughout the national territory. “All corners of Venezuela have something of this heroic Caracas, this Bolivar who was born here on this day in the middle of winter of 1783 when Caracas and Latin America were on fire”, Chavez said of the beginning of the South American independence movement. Referring to Latin America’s still pending “desire for independence” the socialist leader linked the struggle of the early 1800s to that of today, reminding the public of the massacre of indigenous peoples carried out by the Spaniards during colonization. “It’s been calculated that there were close to 90 million inhabitants on the continent when the ships began to arrive. Two hundred years later, there were less than ten million inhabitants. This is genocide”, he said. The commemorative activities closed on Sunday evening with a lowering of the Venezuelan flag carried out by members of the presidential cabinet. T/ COI P/ Agencies


NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Security

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New Ministry for Prison Reform to Change Ailing System The new state institution will be dedicated to working together with families and communities to humanize prisons and address the root causes that lead to imprisonment

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oving ahead with prison reforms in the wake of recent tumult, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appointed congresswoman Iris Varela to head the newly created Ministry of Penitentiary Services. The announcement was made last Tuesday morning during the broadcast of the program Todo Venezuela on state television. The new ministry, Chavez informed via telephone, will be charged with guaranteeing the health and education of incarcerated populations as well as ensuring safe and appropriate conditions for inmates. “It’s a very large debt that we have with the penitentiary system. I would say it’s a stain on our government”, Chavez declared during the program. Recent inmate riots in the Rodeo prison outside of Caracas thrust the state of Venezuela’s penitentiary system into the national and international spotlight. Plagued by gang activity, drug trafficking and violence, many prisons in the country have been overrun with the corruption of a blighted system. Negligence and apathy on the part of previous governments per-

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n interagency committee is presently evaluating benefit requests for inmates who have a serious illness. The committee is operating according to a protocol designed to avoid irregular use of conditional parole and humanitarian measures, explained Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz on Tuesday. “False expectations are rising among inmates”, said Ortega Diaz referring to the lists of inmates that her office has been asked to process. Benefits are only granted

mitted the culture to grow while the progressive values of the Chavez administration have attempted to humanize the penitentiaries. Since coming to power 12 years ago, Chavez and his supporters have implemented social programs in prisons with music, sports, and educational activities never before available for inmates. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS In 1999, prisoners’ rights were formally written into the nation’s constitution for the first time in Venezuela’s history and more recently, in April, the country’s highest legislative body, the National Assembly, passed a law designed to revamp the country’s prisons. The new law seeks to improve prisoner rehabilitation and guarantee humane conditions for inmates based on strict adherence to the principles of human rights as enshrined in the constitution. President Chavez’s announcement on Tuesday morning continues with this wave of reforms by creating a new cabinet position to deal directly with the problem of overcrowding, violence and internal corruption. According to the head of state, the nation’s prison system should function as training centers for the creation of “the new man”. “Community work can be done. We need humanistic laws to create real humanism. We have to create just laws and abide by them instead of submitting to the blackmail of the bourgeoisie and the old culture that we carry inside ourselves”, Chavez said.

selves into action groups to bring cases to light which may result in the commutation of sentences. “I’m sure that through an exhaustive review, a great percentage of people are going to be free because they are victims of a bureaucratic system”, the new minister said.

ALTERNATIVE PUNISHMENT The new Minister of Penitentiary Services, Iris Varela, said that she is ready to begin the task of devising changes and reconstructing the nation’s penitentiaries. “I’m a revolutionary who, very humbly, intends to carry out this work. I’m here to accept the commitment and you can be sure that I will not let you [the people] down”, she affirmed. One of the objectives of the Ministry, Varela said, will be to identify crimes of lesser severity in order to promote alternative sentences and thereby lessen pressure on the prison population.

“Not all crimes necessarily require prison sentences. Depending on the nature of the crime, mechanisms can be created so that the person who commits some type of transgression does their time through supervised community work. All of these options need to be evaluated and studied”, she explained. Part of this strategy requires reviewing cases of current inmates who may have been unjustly incarcerated due to administrative errors or who have already served their time but still find themselves among the incarcerated population. Varela invited inmates and family members to organize them-

Committee evaluates irregular use of preventive measures for inmates to inmates with serious or terminal illnesses, according to the protocol, she reminded. Convicted persons can only receive humanitarian measures, while those accused can obtain conditional freedom, in cases where they have a serious or terminal illness, Ortega Diaz made clear.

“If these policies are used irregularly, all the inmates will request a preventive measure”, the attorney general warned. As an example, Ortega Diaz commented that out of the 54 inmates evaluated last week, only two were eligible to receive the humanitarian measure. “We have to be very careful with recommendations”, she

said. As part of the proceedings, inmates are first evaluated by a forensic doctor certified by the Ministry of Interior and Justice, who refers the patient to a specialist doctor so he/she can send the final medical report to a judge. According the inmate’s health condition, the judge determines whether he/she can

INTER-AGENCY EFFORT Formerly a congresswoman from the Andean state of Tachira, Varela intends to meet immediately with the nation’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz as well as the President of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Luisa Estella Morales, to determine a strategic plan for the ministry. Both Diaz and Morales welcomed the selection of Varela for the position and expressed their eagerness to work with the new minister to resolve the problems affecting the prison system. “This is good news because we’ve been debating this topic of what measures need to be taken”, Morales told VTV, reminding viewers that over the past month the government had already begun establishing reforms. “From June 21 to July 21, thirtysix initiatives have been implemented such as in cases where a youth commits a minor crime for which he/she should not be in prison”, explained the Supreme Court Justice. Varela also met with Interior and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami on Tuesday to discuss the new institution and propose a plan for the creation of reforms. T/ COI P/ Agencies receive a preventive or humanitarian measure, the attorney general explained. Inmates with tuberculosis, HIVAids and terminal cancer are priorities, Ortega Diaz explained. The Ministry of Health will provide medical treatment to those who cannot afford it, she informed. Until Monday, the committee had received nine lists of ill inmates and its members will meet this week to continue the evaluations. T/ AVN


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6 | Social Justice

NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Bolivian President denounces water privatization “Water is life. Water is humanity. How could it be part of the private business?” asked Bolivian President Evo Morales Wednesday, stressing the social and economic consequences of the growing trend of private ownership over water supply and delivery systems in many parts of the world

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orales, the first-ever indigenous president of Bolivia and an outspoken advocate of the rights of “Mother Earth”, also criticized capitalist countries of the North for failing to adopt a rights-based approach towards the problems of global warming and the rapid loss of plant and animal species. “If we don’t respect the rights of Mother Earth, we cannot respect human rights”, he told a news conference at UN headquarters before heading to the UN General Assembly where he addressed a meeting on water and sanitation. More than two billion people across the world have no access to sanitation facilities and clean water. Numerous UN studies have shown a strong link between deadly diseases and the lack of access to clean water in many countries of the South. Research shows that inadequate access to clean and safe drinking

water remains a major obstacle for the success of international initiatives on sustainable economic and social development in financially impoverished regions of the world. The international community has pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, a target that is unlikely to be met on time. “Progress is on track”, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, but warned diplomats at the General Assembly gathering that the world “will miss the water and sanitation target”. “It is not acceptable that poor slum-dwellers pay five or even 10 times as much for their water as wealthy residents of the same areas of the same cities”, he said. However, in the same breath, Ban added: “Let us be clear: a right to water and sanitation does not mean that water should be free”. Morales’s stance on this issue reflected a completely different worldview. “Without water, there can be no food, no life”, he said, challenging the notion that water management by private corporations will accelerate the process of development. “Competition of any sort cannot resolve the issue of poverty”. The first-ever indigenous president of Bolivia, who is wellknown for his outspokenness and socialist views, said his government had already expelled some

multinational companies that were seeking privatization of water in his country. “Water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, and that it should be available to all the people”, he said, a view endorsed by a number of diplomats from the developing countries who spoke at the General Assembly meeting. “Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a pre-condition to eradicate poverty”, said Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Brazilian envoy to the UN. “The right to safe water and sanitation [is] intrinsically connected to the right to life,

to physical integrity, to health, to food, and adequate housing”. The US delegate also supported the view that access to water is a universal human right, but shied away from discussing the role of the private sector in the supply and distribution of drinking water. “The US is committed to solving the world’s water problems”, he said. According to Food and Water Watch, a non-governmental organization- based in Washington, many women and children in rural areas in developing countries spend hours each day walking kilometers to collect water from unprotected sources such as open

wells, muddy dugouts or streams. In urban areas, they collect it from polluted waterways or pay high prices to buy it from vendors who obtain it from dubious sources. The water is often dirty and unsafe, but they have no alternative. Carrying the heavy water containers back home is an exhausting task, which takes up valuable time and energy, according to the group. It often prevents women from doing vital domestic or income-generating work and stops children from going to school. “Water is a human right. We believe that corporations cannot provide better service to consumers”, said Kate Fried of the Water and Food Watch in support of Morales’s views. “Water service can be provided more effectively by public-public partnership”. Water Aid, another non-profit organization, says the total global investments in water and sanitation would need to double for the Millennium Development Goals’ target of halving the proportion of people living without water and sanitation by 2015 to be met. Asked if his views on the right to water are getting support from the richest countries, Morales said that Spain was the only country from the European Union that was in alliance with Bolivia on this subject. “There should be no one without access to water”, he quoted Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, as saying. T/ Haider Rizvi P/ Agencies

Venezuela ships 50 tons of food to Somalia O

n Wednesday, Venezuela shipped 50 tons of food to Somalia, where at least 780,000 children are in danger of death due to a heavy drought that has caused a devastating famine. Venezuelan military cargo aircrafts departed from the Simon Bolívar International Airport to this nation located in the Horn of Africa, Venezuela’s Minister of Interior and Justice, Tareck El Aissaimi informed. With this shipment, the Venezuelan government responds to Unicef, which urged the international community to develop needed efforts in order to fight the “worst food crisis” in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

According to Unicef, over 2.3 million malnourished children live in these three African nations. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced last Friday that his country will cooperate with a $5 million donation for Somalia, in addition to the shipment of humanitarian aid to alleviate hunger. On Sunday, as part of the Venezuelan aid, President Chavez called on the 7,000,000 militants of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to contribute with one day of salary for this cause. Rodrigo Cabezas, member of the PSUV national bureau, explained that members of the po-

litical party will transfer funds to different accounts in state-run banks from August 1. “The funds will be sent to the African country through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, Cabezas said. “We urge all the militants of the PSUV, our friends, supporters, any good-willing Venezuelans, to contribute”. Unicef officially declared famine in the southern Somali areas of Bakool and Lower Shabelle, while requesting the governments of the world provide $300 million to save lives in those territories. T/ AVN P/ Miguel Gutierrez


NoÊÇ{ÊUÊFriday, July 29, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Special Report | 7 |

Remembering injustice: venezuelan activist Jorge Rodriguez assassinated by government forces in 1976 T

his week Venezuelans commemorated the life and legacy of Jorge Antonio Rodriguez, the popular socialist leader brutally murdered on 25 July 1976 by forces loyal to then president Carlos Andres Perez (Democratic Action, or AD). Thirty-five years after the founder of Venezuela’s Socialist League was kidnapped, tortured and murdered for his active role in the struggle for Venezuelan socialism, his family, friends and allies, including leaders of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), joined together to reaffirm their commitment to Rodriguez’s struggle for social justice. On Monday, Jorge Rodriguez Gomez, son of the slain leader and PSUV mayor of Caracas’ Libertador Municipality, told those gathered at the capital’s General Cemetery of the South that his father’s death must not to be remembered with “sadness alone”. Instead of “sadness and ceremony”, he said, those who meet every year to mark the anniversary of the leader’s death must “ratify our commitment to life, to the Bolivarian Revolution, to the future, to loyalty and above all else, to our absolute and unbreakable decision to advance the Bolivarian Revolution, with Hugo Chavez, building the homeland that our children deserve; that same homeland Jorge Rodriguez wanted for his children, grandchildren, and for all Venezuelans”. According to Rodriguez, at the time of his father’s death the Venezuelan right-wing already understood “what we only sensed at that time; that this tomb (of Jorge Rodriguez) was becoming something very dangerous for the oligarchy and for the Fourth Republic, that his grave was an example for the homeland that we are all building today, the homeland of the Revolution that we are building each day alongside Chavez”. “At that time we didn’t understand that after all the suffering and torture, all the physical torment, his life would begin to grow in the heart and soul of all those Venezuelans who want what is best for the people, who live with hope”, he concluded.

FALLEN ACTIVISTS Former Venezuelan Vice-President and award-winning investigative journalist Jose Vicente Rangel asked those gathered at Monday’s ceremony to consider, “how much of what is real today, as part of Venezuela’s revolutionary process, is not the result of the struggles of Jorge Rodriguez, Alberto Lovera, Fabricio Ojeda, and the many others?” Alberto Lovera, Secretary General of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) in 1965, was kidnapped on 17 October 1965. His body, mutilated by acts of torture, was found submerged off the Caribbean coast over a week later. Fabricio Ojeda, leftist journalist and guerrilla fighter, presided over the Patriotic Council that helped oust former Dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez (19521958). In June 1966, after being picked up by state security forces, these same forces claimed Ojeda “committed suicide” in his Caracas prison cell. According to Rangel, “without the extraordinary sowing” of revolutionary ideals by Venezuela’s socialist leaders of the past, the Bolivarian Revolution “would not have coalesced as it has”.

Rangel also said that remembering the legacy of those Venezuelans who suffered state violence “is one of the ways we can fight against impunity”. Rangel made specific reference to the Law Against Silence and Forgetting, elaborated by members of the PSUV in conjunction with victims of government repression during the Fourth Republic (1958-1998), which seeks to establish greater clarity around the violence suffered by the Venezuelan people during that period. “It’s not about hate”, said Rangel, “but about the struggle for justice”. Rodrigo Cabezas, member of the PSUV’s National Directorate, said that the example of socialist leaders such as Jorge Rodriguez guides the “socialist militants, revolutionaries and Venezuelan patriots” of today. The socialists of today, he affirmed, “are making real part of the dreams for which he (Jorge Rodriguez) lived and struggled”. JORGE ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ (1942 – 1976) Jorge Antonio Rodriguez is considered one of Venezuela’s most important socialist militants, leaders, and ideologues.

Born on 14 February 1942 in Carora, state of Lara, he first became involved in Venezuela’s political life as a student of education at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV). While at the university, Rodriguez led an increasingly radical student movement and, in 1973, helped establish the Socialist League – a leftist alternative to the political parties and structures formed during what is commonly referred to as the Fourth Republic. Rodriguez was Secretary General of Venezuela’s Socialist League until, on 25 July 1976, members of the state’s security forces kidnapped and tortured him, leaving him to die from his injuries while in detention. “We raise the red flag”, Rodriguez once said, “because red is the color of Revolution”. And in the case of Venezuela, he affirmed, this revolution is based on “courage, happiness, and a total disposition to fight”. Rodriguez also insisted on the active participation of women, youth and students, campesinos and other excluded sectors of Venezuelan society, affirming that their participation is at the heart of “making and creating revolution”.

WOMEN’S ROLE Women’s presence in the struggle, for example, “has a profound revolutionary significance”, he argued. “To rebel against a system of exploitation and oppression which attacks them with extreme forms subjugation, and then to embrace proletarian positions, is a level of capacity” that must be appreciated by all those who struggle for socialism in Venezuela. “Without women”, he said, “a real mass revolutionary movement can not exist”. An outspoken socialist, Rodriguez was also highly critical of reformist tendencies within the Venezuelan left. He called reformism “the enemy at home” and said that reformists “present a false package of what struggle and revolution look like, serving only to help consolidate the power and domination of the bourgeoisie over the working class”. To combat reformism, Rodriguez said, the Venezuelan left should engage in a “fraternal ideological battle, a banner of shared experiences and dispositions”, that must be made reality without sacrificing “revolutionary unity”. “We must be consequential with our calls for struggle”, he affirmed. “Socialism is consolidated through social struggle and one must not rest for one minute in this fight; a fight that is limited only by total victory or death”. SOCIALISM REVIVED Before his assassination, Rodriguez warned the governing Democratic Action party that Venezuelan revolutionaries would “take the struggle for socialism to the ultimate consequences” and if they are “killed in combat” there will always be “other valuable comrades who will certainly continue the struggle” for Venezuelan socialism. The Bolivarian Revolution, led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is based on the progressive ideas established by the country’s constitutional assembly (Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, 1999) as well as the Simon Bolivar National Project (20072013) – the country’s first five-year plan for socialist development. T/ COI P/ Agencies


FRIDAY | July 29, 2011 | No. 74 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

USA: the debt crisis and the working class T

he most remarkable thing about the debate over the debt ceiling crisis is not what will result if the US government defaults. Commentators from a wide spectrum of political and economic opinion cannot agree on what might take place on August 2 if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. The startling thing is that here, in the heart of world capitalism, with a ruling class of unparalleled wealth and power, the political representatives of this system are stumbling along unable to fashion a solution. Nothing more clearly shows how out of control the capitalist system is than this fact. One would think that with capitalism still mired in economic recession, with more than 30 million counted as unemployed or underemployed in the US, with the foreclosure crisis dragging on for years, that all sections of the ruling class would unite on an economic plan of action to avoid default. But they can’t. It is the class character of the United States that is making a solution so difficult to achieve in this bourgeois democracy. The Republican Party represents the highest ranks of the Wall Street bankers and corporations. But because this is a “democracy”, this billionaire class has had to cultivate a mass base in the middle class and even sections of the working class. For decades they have appealed to racism, anti-union and antiimmigrant prejudices to bring under their wing groups like the Tea Party and religious fundamentalist elements. Thus Congress is filled with a host of new, ignorant and rabidly right-wing politicians. Many of these representatives are so unschooled they don’t even realize who their real bosses are. So they play with the fire of default on the debt in order to press for massive cuts to all social programs won by the working class over three-quarters of a century. Republicans with more sense and more connection to Wall Street understand this, but they have difficulty resolving this conflict between their masters’ economic stability and the need to maintain a mass electoral base. MASS ACTION NEEDED The Democratic Party leadership, with President Barack Obama leading the way, is willing to begin dismantling Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All they are asking of the Republicans is that they agree to some paltry tax loopho-

le closings. The Democrats could then tell their mass electoral base — of poor people, people of color and the unions — that the rich gave up something, too. The objection of a section of the Democratic Congress to any cuts to Social Security and other critical programs only shows their fear of losing their constituency’s support. What is missing in all this drama is a real mass reaction in the streets. The union leadership, despite decades of losses, still clings to the Democratic Party as their only salvation. With all the attacks at local, state and national levels, they are still mobilizing more for Obama’s reelection than for real mass struggle.

For example, the Service Employees union has spent millions of dollars and put hundreds of paid staff into the streets to organize “Good Jobs Now” rallies in Detroit and other cities over the past few months. But their own speakers have expressed worry that workers won’t come out to vote for Obama in 2012. They hope that by getting people into motion through rallies and picket lines for jobs they can then direct them into the polling booth next year. The Democratic Party dares not unleash a real mass movement for fear it could not be controlled. Polls show that the majority in the US want big tax increases

on the rich. But this is totally unacceptable to the capitalist ruling class, which wants to unload the entire crisis onto the backs of poor and working people. While the majority of the people oppose the wars abroad, no serious proposal has been put forward to end the wars and redirect the trillion-dollar military budget to solve the problem. Neither the politicians nor the capitalist-controlled mass media allow these logical solutions to get a hearing. The working class doesn’t have the organization or the influence as yet to intervene decisively in this debate over the debt ceiling. It lacks consciousness to put forward a real class program that puts the blame and the solution entirely onto the backs of the banking and corporate bosses. Without these the working class remains a spectator to the show being put on in Washington. ‘DEMOCRACY’ FRAGILE The inability of the capitalist “democracy” to resolve this issue, so important to the stability of finance capital, points to a hidden danger that every worker should be made aware of — the fragility of our “democracy” itself. Capitalism is an economic system that can exist under many different governing forms. It has existed under monarchies, military dictatorships, fascist regimes and representative governments. Capitalists often prefer operating under representative government (bourgeois democracy) as the best way to hide their real dictatorship and keep the masses deluded. But in times of crisis when the “democratic” system isn’t able to protect them or serve them, the capitalist class wastes no time in shifting its support to a naked dictatorship. At the federal level we can see the decline of the power of Congress in the refusal of the President, the head of the executive branch, to follow the War Powers Act when the US launched its assault on Libya. Even though this act and Article 1 of the Constitution itself give war-making powers only to Congress, that body caved in to the executive branch with barely a peep. It isn’t impossible to imagine that a severe financial disaster could propel this country further away from democratic forms of rule. Only the intervention of the vast working class and its allies can reverse the declining standard of living and end the hidden or open dictatorship of the capitalist ruling class. - David Sole


English Edition Nº 74