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The farce of Colombia’s democracy: human rights abuses and state cover up

Wikileaks documents show US role in 2008 coup attempt against Bolivia’s Evo Morales

FRIDAY | August 5, 2011 | No. 75 | Bs 1 | C ARACAS

ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas

Culture and Youth a priority for Venezuela’s Revolution

Venezuela: major strides in soccer

President Chavez presented his “new look” during a cabinet meeting this week focused on swearing in new heads of the Culture and Youth ministries

Anti-Chavez coalition prepares campaign

“It’s my new look” declared the Venezuelan President in English, after appearing for the first time on national television with his head shaved. Chavez has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for a cancerous tumor removed from his pelvic region in June, causing hair loss. During the broadcast, he was overseeing a special cabinet meeting dedicated to swear-in his new ministers of Culture and Youth. “The Revolution is young or it isn’t a Revolution”, exclaimed Minister for Youth, Maria Pilar Hernandez. The Youth Ministry was created last month to provide greater emphasis on the role and opportunities for young people in the Revolution. | pages 4

The opposition coalition known as “MUD” (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática) announced its electoral strategy this week with plans to present a unified ballot to oppose President Hugo Chavez in the 2012 presidential elections. Despite not elaborating on the proposed “unity”, opposition forces have stated they will hold primary elections in February 2012 to decide on a single candidate. Other sectors remain skeptical, however, and have called the opposition’s unity a “fraud”. Only time will tell. | page 2



Public TV station victim of violence Venezuela’s Vive TV was attacked this week with gunfire, leaving 2 wounded. | page 3


Homes for the People A public housing program is creating happy new homeowners. | page 5


Telesur now available in the US Latin America’s first TV channel can now be viewed by millions in the US. | page 6


Venezuela’s “Arepa” a sensation in the US

nly a few years ago, if you wanted a traditional Venezuelan arepa in the US, you’d have to fly to Miami, if not all the way to Caracas to get one. Now, the staple Venezuelan food – a baked corn flour patty stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables, or eggs, much like a sandwich – is becoming more popular in the US. This week New York’s NY1 reported on Arepera Guacuco, a Brooklyn-based restaurant that sells fresh arepas – including an innovative vegetarian version featuring avocado, tomato, fried

plantains, and traditional Venezuela queso guayanes. Guacuco joins the Caracas Arepa Bar, a Manhattan-based arepera that first opened in 2004. There are also areperas in other US cities. Boston has Viva Mi Arepa and Orinoco, while Philadelphia has the Sazón restaurant, which serves arepas along with other traditional Venezuelan fare. The Washington Metro area recently welcomed La Caraqueña, which also serves Venezuelan dishes ranging from arepas to Pabellón Criollo. Even Harrisburg,

Pennsylvania’s state capital, has joined the trend with Arepa City. The origin of the arepa goes back to when Venezuelan natives used “aripos,” or round iron plates, to cook little balls made with left-over cornmeal resulting from grounding corn with two stones. After centuries, and preserving its essence in the preparation, this dish is still enjoyed in Venezuela. Other Venezuelan delicacies like chocolate and rum have long received acclaim throughout the US. T/ Press Office

nquestionably, the FIFA World Ranking is a good indicator of the progress of a national team. Anyone in doubt need only look at Venezuela who, on the strength of a historic 4th place finish at the recent Copa America, jumped 29 places last month to an all-time high of 40th. Previously, Venezuela’s highest ranking had been 47th, a position they occupied during February, July and August of 2010. Moreover, their 29-place rise last month was their biggest singlemonth gain since the ranking was created. Indeed, no other country made greater gains than Venezuela’s team, La Vinotinto, in the most recent edition of the ranking. With just two months to go until the South American qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil kick off, Venezuela has become the 7th-highest ranked in the region for the first time ever. Major investments in athletics under the Chavez administration have resulted in impressive gains across the sports spectrum. Venezuelans are excited about qualifying for the 2014 World Cup and are rooting for their team.


2 | Impact

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The artillery of ideas

US-backed candidates in Venezuela announce electoral strategy President Chavez, who recently confirmed plans to run for reelection, called the opposition’s electoral strategy “a farce”, terming their coalition the “Roundtable of the United States”


his week Venezuela’s pool of opposition political parties announced plans to create a “unified electoral ticket” for next year’s presidential election in an attempt to garner enough votes to prevent Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from winning another six-year term (2013-2019) The new opposition “strategy” was unveiled on Saturday when spokesman Ramon Guillermo Aveledo told reporters that the opposition’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) had decided it will use a “single unitary” electoral ballot in its attempt to defeat Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in next year’s presidential election. The opposition’s decision is “a symbol” of the opposition’s “commitment to unity”, affirmed Aveledo, who went on to explain that each of the opposition’s major political parties is likely to maintain its own electoral ballot and that this “unitary compromise” does not apply to elections for mayor and/or governor also expected in 2012. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has yet to announce the exact date of next year’s presidential elections or the dates of next year’s elections for mayors and governors. Suggestions have been made that one single election will be scheduled, allowing voters to elect their national, regional and local representatives all on the same day. “If a certain party wants to use its own symbols (emblems, colors, mottos) in support of the MUD, that’s fine; just like it’s fine for them to set those symbols aside and join the MUD ticket”, explained Aveledo. The MUD, which includes an atypical mix of extreme-right, traditional conservative, and

frustrated leftist parties was formed in 2008 as an electoral tool aimed at confronting the pro-Chavez United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in September 2010 National Assembly elections. The PSUV, founded in 2007, is currently Venezuela’s largest political party with an estimated seven million members. To guarantee Chavez’s reelection in 2012, pro-Chavez forces have begun forming the Polo Patriotico, or Patriotic Pole, a coalition that includes the governing PSUV, the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), and numerous grassroots social movements. WASHINGTON’S CANDIDATES Cilia Flores, socialist assemblywoman and Vice President of the PSUV, responded to the MUD’s recent announcement by asserting that opposition forces are looking to disguise ongoing “infighting” with a “false show of unity”. The opposition’s electoral ticket, she said, “is not singular, nor unified. It’s not even one single ticket, but one more among many”. According to Flores, the MUD presidential ticket is nothing more than another attempt to

“show unity where none exists”. In a televised interview on Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister and PSUV Vice President Nicolas Maduro told viewers that opposition parties have one uniting force, “the sectors of transnational power, especially those in the United States” that finance their efforts. Maduro reiterated Flores’ assertions that the opposition seeks to “swindle its own voters” by creating “false illusions of unity” and added that the opposition’s “unity ends up being secured by the (US) embassy”. The Foreign Minister pointed out that 14 of the opposition’s possible presidential candidates have already traveled to Washington “to ask for its (Washington’s) blessing before launching their presidential bids”. Maduro went on to assert that Venezuelan President Chavez will win his reelection bid next year because Chavez is united with “the most humble of this country, those who had always been forgotten, those who have awoken as part of this Revolution and those who have now become incorporated into political power”.

DIRTY TACTICS President Chavez, who recently confirmed he has every intent on running in, and winning, next year’s presidential elections, said the Venezuelan people must “unmask” the opposition’s plans for next year. According to Chavez, the opposition “claims it’s us (socialists) that are divided” when in fact “they are the ones living through the night of the long knives”. Opposition forces, affirmed Chavez, “are attacking, stabbing each other in the back, as they define their candidates for governor in the states of Aragua, Bolivar, Carabobo, Miranda and Zulia”. The President also said that opposition spokespeople have “already begun talking about Cubans manipulating the electoral registry, people’s identifications and voting machines”, as a way of trying to promote a perception of electoral fraud, in the likely event Chavez wins. Beyond the “farce” announced last weekend, said Chavez, the opposition’s plans for next year’s elections include “taking to the streets, creating disturbances and chaos, discrediting the armed forces and claiming that Cubans are somehow in charge”.

“At the hour of our Bolivarian victory”, Chavez concluded, the opposition’s only real plan is “to cry fraud”. Chavez also pointed out that among his popular base in the PSUV, allied political parties, and grassroots social movements in both urban and rural areas, “we have unity, loyalty, a single political project and an ideology”. The President also explained that he has already begun outlining his program for the 2013-2019 presidential term, a program which includes “transitioning away from capitalism’s perversity” and overcoming “the cultural, moral damage, the destruction of values, of nationality, of the self-esteem of Venezuelans” caused by capitalist relations of production, distribution and consumption. In the country’s previous presidential election (2006), Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won 7,309,080 of the votes, or 62.84%, against the opposition’s Manuel Rosales, who garnered 4,292,466 votes (36.90%). The opposition’s Rosales later abandoned his post as mayor of Maracaibo and fled the country to avoid charges of stealing public funds, accepting bribes for public contracts and hoarding lands and capital using front names and companies. He currently lives in self-imposed exile in Peru, though he has suggested he might return to Venezuela to participate in the opposition’s presidential primaries set for February 2012. Referring to possible opposition candidates, including Rosales, Maria Corina Machado, and Henrique Capriles Radonski, Chavez affirmed “those people are incapable of running the country. It would be the disaster of all disasters”. “They aren’t unified”, affirmed Chavez. “The only thing they are is a threat to this country, and we take it upon ourselves to ensure that they don’t become that threat” by winning the election, said Chavez. T/ COI P/ Agencies

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The artillery of ideas




Venezuelan public TV station victim of violent attack bia, the state of Zulia, as well as the western state of Tachira, have been known for their lawlessness and paramilitary activity linked with narco-trafficking. Zulia also has the unsavory reputation of being the origin of many hit men, known in Spanish as sicarios, hired by individuals and organized mafias to assassinate political opponents or carry out personal vendettas. Governor Pablo Perez, current governor of the state, was in Washington DC last week when the attacks against Vive occurred. News agencies report that Perez was attending a conference at George Washington University where he hinted at his intentions to stand in Venezuela’s presidential elections in 2012.

An attack against state-owned television channel Vive TV in the Western state of Zulia left two people injured last Sunday morning when assailants opened fire on the station’s offices in the city of Maracaibo


ustavo Ceballos, police officer on guard at the station underwent emergency surgery after being shot in his right leg while Jose Brito, another security guard, suffered a leg fracture as he took cover from the gunfire. The attack took place as a team of journalists left the station for an assignment at 10:10am. According to eye witness accounts, a white Jeep Cherokee with tinted windows and lacking license plates, drove past the station, firing into the channel’s Western headquarters. Authorities have reported the retrieval of video footage of the suspects from a nearby pharmacy where the Cherokee was stolen only 10 minutes before the drive by. “The owner of the truck told police officers that the unit was recovered and is being subjected to forensic tests. They are telling us that there were two men with a shotgun and a .40 caliber pistol and they were recorded by the security cameras of the pharmacy”, said Vive TV’s Western Director, Jose Luis Mendez in a press conference. COMMUNITY TV Although not shying away from political affairs in the country, much of Vive TV’s broadcasts focus on Venezuela’s community issues, grassroots organizing and cultural events. On Monday, station Vice President Sergio Arria assured that the community work of the station will not stop despite ongoing threats and intimidations. “Vive isn’t alone. It can count on its courageous workers and a government that will guarantee the protection of the channel”, he said during a press conference. On Monday, Venezuela’s Attorney General’s office announced the designation of two prosecutors to work the case in conjunc-

tion with the nation’s investigative police. Communication Minister Andres Izarra announced on Sunday via his Twitter account that the possibility of a calculated attack on the station is appearing more likely. “The hypothesis of intimidation and terrorism against the headquarters of Vive Zulia is gaining strength. Investigations are advancing”, he wrote. For station chief Ricardo Marquez, the idea that the attack was premeditated is a foregone conclusion. “What they want is to intimidate and silence what we do at Vive, but they’re not going to be successful”, he declared. HISTORY OF AGGRESSIONS This is the second time this year that members of the station have been the target of violence. In May, journalists covering the occupation of a water treatment facility in the city of Barquisimeto were attacked by members of opposition Governor Henri Falcon’s security forces in the state of Lara. In addition to physically assaulting journalists, undercover police forces and other

members of Lara’s political opposition are reported to have stolen audio-visual equipment directly from Vive’s vans during the occupation. “They flattened the tires, damaged the engine [of our truck] and stole all of our production equipment except for the camera that we were using”, witness Leonardo Fernandez told the media at the time. Vive Vice President Arria affirmed earlier this week that a pattern of violence against members of the station has been occurring since 2004 when the channel began covering the murder of small farmers by contracted killers in Zulia. Such attacks and threats continued in 2006 and 2006, he declared. In 2009, journalists from the channel where beaten while covering an opposition demonstration and in 2010, the station’s headquarters in the city of Merida were ransacked, causing the office to close. “If we look at the history of Vive, we can see that we’ve been the victims of intimidation and a number of threats”, Arria affirmed.

PSUV SUPPORT Members Venezuela’s largest socialist party, headed by President Hugo Chavez, have expressed their solidarity with the station, calling for an end to the violence against community media. “In the name of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and the activists in the state of Zulia, we want to express our condemnation of these acts that took place over the weekend against the channel Vive TV. It´s evident that these acts can be classified as an intimidation against the communication policies of this station that broadcasts the advances of the revolution”, said party leader Magdelis Valbuena. Other party activists pointed the finger at Zulia’s conservative political establishment, including former Governor Manuel Rosales and current Governor Pablo Perez, for allowing organized crime in the state to grow unremittingly in recent years. “We will place the blame on the governor and his team for any act that threatens the life and the tranquility of these compatriots”, declared Maria de Queipo. Sharing a border with Colom-

INTERNATIONAL DOUBLE STANDARD Barely a mention of the attacks against Vive TV has been reported outside of Venezuela. This compares starkly with coverage of opposition media stations who purport to suffer from a clamp down on freedom of speech in the country, government supporters point out. When the private station RCTV, a major player in a violent coup attempt against President Chavez in 2002, was denied a renewal of its broadcast license in 2007, international NGOs and media outlets around the world protested the Venezuelan government’s actions. Allegations of violations of freedom of expression have continued in the same fashion for more than 4 years. Yet, when a pro-Chavez station is the object of attack, silence reigns in the international community, corporate media critics assert, Despite this censorship, members and supporters of Vive have remained resolute in their committed to the station and their mission of informing and educating the Venezuelan people. “We’re not going to stop working or saying the truth. Above all we’re not going to stopping giving the people their [media] space, which is our objective”, said Father Vidal Atenciao, station advisor in Zulia. T/ COI P/ Agencies


4 | Politics

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez led the inauguration of two new ministers and a new chief of the presidential guard last Monday in a nationally televised ceremony broadcast from the presidential palace of Miraflores in Caracas

NoÊÇxÊUÊFriday, August 5, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Culture & Youth a priority of Venezuela’s Revolution


edro Calzadilla and Maria Pilar “Maripili” Hernandez, chosen to head up the Ministries of Culture and Youth, respectively, are now official cabinet members of the Chavez administration while Wilfredo Figueroa has assumed the Presidential Honor Guard. The swearing-in of a third official to lead the newly created Ministry of Penitentiary Services was postponed due to the illness of Iris Varela, former congresswoman from the state of Tachira designated to run the new office. President Chavez urged the new ministers on Monday perform their duties with “supreme, revolutionary and historic responsibility” working in consort with the Venezuelan people. “I swear-in these compatriots, friends and comrades who have accepted this difficult work…we work for the history that brought us here to [the presidential palace] and the epicenter of the Bolivarian Revolution”, the head of state said. ATTENTION TO YOUTH Chavez created the Youth Ministry last March as a way of providing students and young citi-

zens with an opportunity to take a leading role in the social transformations occurring in the country. On Monday, Minister Hernandez spoke of the essential role that youth and students play in the revolutionary process. “The revolution is young or it isn’t a revolution. The revolution must maintain itself young and fresh. The creation of a youth ministry doesn’t just address policies designed specifically for the youth, but also it serves to rejuvenate the revolution”, she said.

Part of the mission of the new ministry will be to create a network of organizations and affiliations that play a direct role in defining the direction of its work. The executive branch has allocated 10 million bolivars ($2.3 million) to be spent by the ministry to make connections and reach out to particularly vulnerable sectors of Venezuela’s youth. Additionally, the already existent National Youth Institute (INJ), previously under the administration of the presidency

and charged with coordinating youth-related activities and programs, will now be placed under the authority of the new ministry. Hernandez spoke on Monday of the need to incorporate youth into socially beneficial endeavors designed to improve living standards and enhance future prospects. “We’re developing a social ministry oriented towards the resolution of fundamental problems facing the youth. We also want to generate this sector’s socio-productive development”, she explained.

CULTURE AT THE FOREFRONT In swearing-in Pedro Calzadilla as the new Cultural Minister, Chavez reaffirmed his government’s commitment to promote and celebrate the nation’s heritage through the creation of a new National System of Popular Culture. The System, according the socialist leader, will be charged with training in folkloric knowledge, creating a registry of popular culture, stimulating creative activity, promoting a cultural economy, and providing services for those who work in cultural areas. During the ceremony, Chavez addressed the need to transform the country from a society based on consumerism and individualism into one based on solidarity. He affirmed his country’s need to end the “perverse capitalism that has done such great damage to Venezuela and the world. The worst damage is cultural and moral – the destruction of the truth and of values, of nationality, of self-esteem and of being Venezuelan”, he said. Using the terminology of the Italian Revolutionary Antonio Gramsci, Minister Calzadilla referred to the work of his ministry as a “struggle to establish a different kind of cultural hegemony” by putting the focus on the customs and traditions native to the country, not those imported from abroad. “For us, culture is not something that belongs to the elite. It belongs to the people in all of their expressions. That’s why the ministry needs to be run by the majority in their communities”, he affirmed. T/ COI P/ Presidential Press

Venezuela won’t recognize Libyan “Transition” Council T

his week President Hugo Chavez affirmed his government rejects the transition council installed in Libya, approved by the US and [some] European countries, because “it violates international law”. “We categorically reject this pantomime of a transition council and the hypocritical show by the US and these European countries that have recognized a group of terrorists, who recognize them in the form of a transition council and give them legitimacy by doing so”, Chavez said. The transition council represents a “very dangerous situa-

tion...and they can do this any one of us. That is, if they [NATO] here [in Venezuela] recognize a transition council in Plaza Altamira [an opposition and wealthy person hotspot], that can’t be tolerated, so we reject the measure categorically, with all our revolutionary might”, he declared. “We’re a government that respects international law and the legitimacy recognized by nations and governments independent of their ideology”, he added. Venezuela’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, met with a representative of the Gaddafi gov-

ernment this week, Abdul Hafid Al Zleitni, who handed over a letter sent by Gaddafi to Chavez. According to a statement later released by the foreign ministry, Maduro and Al Zleitni “analyzed the scenarios set out by the illegal war of aggression that NATO is waging against the Libyan people”. Chavez read the letter from Gaddafi on national television. In the missive, Gaddafi “prayed” for the Venezuelan President’s health and quick recovery “in order to continue the march of the destiny of the Venezuelan people and the formation of the Com-

munity of Latin America and Caribbean States”. Gaddafi also mentioned the transition council and his concern for Libya’s sovereignty, and expressed his “hope” that he could count on Chavez’s “opposition to such behavior which constitutes a dangerous precedent in international relations”. FIRST LIBYA, NOW SYRIA Foreign Minister Maduro also commented on the situation in Syria, arguing that, “A similar model of harassment and aggression is being executed against Syria, like in Libya”, referring

to the events leading up to the NATO attacks on Libya. Maduro lamented the victims that have resulted from what he described as “confrontations between the police and illegally armed groups” in Syria. Finally, he reminded people that the Venezuelan government was among the first to “warn about the plans of the Western powers to divide and intervene in Libya in order to appropriate its abundant natural resources and petroleum... and that’s the same scheme they are trying to apply in Syria”. T/ VenezuelAnalysis

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The artillery of ideas




Homes for the People: families celebrate new public housing program Pushing forward with its new public housing plan that seeks to provide a dignified home for all residents, the Venezuelan government delivered more than 2,000 new residences to families around the country last weekend


he deliveries were carried out under the auspices of Grand Mission Housing Venezuela, one of the largest social programs initiated to date by the Chavez administration. Ricardo Molina, Minister of Housing and Habitat, told state television last Saturday that the wave of housing construction is proof of the government’s effectiveness in working with residences to improve living conditions in the South American nation. “These houses demonstrate that the organizational efforts and planning of the government of Hugo Chavez as well as the participation of the organized community are yielding results”, he declared. Since torrential rains exposed Venezuela’s housing needs last year, the Chavez administration has been working with public and private industries to eradicate the country’s current housing deficit by building 2 million homes during the next six years. The deliveries last weekend are part of the governments efforts to reach this year’s goal of providing 153,000 living units. A combination of separate public programs, building schemes, financing and subsidizing on both the national and international level have all been incorporated into the program, known as the “Grand Mission”, in order to ensure its success. “This is an advanced process that has a high degree of participation of the people. We’re following a detailed plan together with the executive branch”, Molina said.

HAPPY HOMEOWNERS Last Sunday, 202 homes were

officially delivered to residents in the neighborhood Barrio La Lucha in the municipality of Irribarren in the city of Barquisimeto. The initiative forms part of the government’s implementation of the housing mission in the Central-Western state of Lara, coordinated and carried out by the Ministry of Communes. “We can see that the Ministry of Communes has surpassed its housing construction goal for this month and for this reason we’re especially celebrating Mission Housing Venezuela and people’s power”, said Amalia Saenz, mayor of the municipality of Irribarren in Lara on Sunday. During the title-delivery ceremony, Saenz highlighted that only through community work alongside the policies of the national government can advances such as these be made for the true benefit of residents. “The most important aspect of this program is that the houses have been built by the hands of our people. The national government aided our communities in making the construction of these homes we’re delivering possible”, she affirmed. Nearly four million bolivars

($975,000) were also made available through the national government to grassroots community councils in order to carry out housing projects under the program “Shacks for Homes”, now a part of the housing mission. HOMES FOR DISPLACED Minister Molina confirmed the construction of more than 7 thousand homes in the coastal state of Falcon, one of the areas most affected by torrential rains last year. The announcement was made during the delivery of 70 apartments in the Paraguana Balcones Residential Complex in the city of Punto Fijo. “We have the commitment to build 7,223 homes this year in Falcon. These homes are in construction and we’re providing part of them today. We’re carrying out the work in an organized and coordinated way that will guarantee their completion”, Molina said. Officials report that small brigades of community activists have begun to canvass neighborhoods in the state to verify census data and evaluate the needs of

the families enrolled in the public housing mission. GOOD LIVING The governor of Trujillo, Hugo Cabezas, reported that Mission Housing Venezuela has already delivered more than 1,000 homes this year for residents in the Western Andean state. “This work has been scientifically planned and coordinated in order to ensure that in the next 7 years we’re able to provide two million homes”, he informed. Cabezas made the declarations during the delivery of 34 living units for families in the neighborhood of Tres Esquinas over the weekend. The governor was accompanied by Transportation and Communication Minister Francisco Garces who assured that the homes “will help bring Good Living” to the recipient families. For Mary Rusa, one of the beneficiaries, the ability to move into a new apartment is a blessing. “I’m grateful to God and to our President, Hugo Chavez. It’s so beautiful that they’re providing us with these marvelous homes”, Rusa declared.

ACROSS THE PLAINS In the capital of Guanare in Portuguesa, the Venezuelan government working with residents provided 81 families with dignified homes last Friday as part of its commitment to fulfill the needs of those living in the central, flatlands state. The neighborhood of Eleazar Lopez Contreras was built, officials and residents report, by a joint effort between the government, the national guard and the organized community. “The 81 families involved in the project helped to raise the foundations of the neighborhood and today we can see that our dream has become a reality”, said Ramon Delfin, one of the community activists who participated in the construction efforts. “Team work bears fruit”, he exclaimed. The cost of each unit, calculated at 110,000 bolivars ($25.500) will be subsidized by up to 37 percent. According to Minister Molina, the state of Portuguesa should receive over 5,000 new living units this year as part of the program. HOUSING SOLUTIONS In the western state of Zulia, 383 homes were provided to families in 7 municipalities last Friday. “With these 383 homes that the Grand Mission is providing the people of Zulia, we continue advancing at the rhythm foreseen by the national government with respect to the housing solutions for the people”, affirmed Francisco Arias Cardenas, PSUV legislator from Zulia. Officials report an investment of nearly 34.5 million bolivars ($8 million) in new housing for the oil-rich state, which will be the beneficiary of over 15,000 more living units over the next year. Apart from the above mentioned states, similar housing deliveries took place Tachira, Sucre, Cojedes, Guárico, Mérida, Monagas, Miranda, Apure, Carabobo, Yaracuy and Bolivar. T/ COI P/ Agencies


6 | Integration


his week Latin American television network TeleSur expanded its distribution capacity to allow the Caracas-based news channel to reach over 100 million homes across the United States. In an agreement signed with Globecast WorldTV, TeleSur is now available free of charge to all viewers of WorldTV, a digital network that sells satellite radio and television to people across North and Central America as well the Caribbean. TeleSur, which celebrated six years of non-stop programming last month, was first established in 2005 as an alternative to USbased programming on Latin American news and events. Before signing the agreement with WorldTV this week, TeleSur was already available to some 250 million viewers in all of Latin America, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The station’s live streaming television programming has always been available free of charge to those with internet access. TeleSur’s association with WorldTV means that the 24-hour Spanish language news channel is now potentially available to 116 million households in the United States. WorldTV, which sells satellite television and radio services worldwide, affirms that 60 million homes in the United States with access to their network speak a language other than English. Founded by member states Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay, TeleSur uses the motto “Our North is the South” as part

NoÊÇxÊUÊFriday, August 5, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Latin America’s TeleSUR now available to US viewers

of a stated editorial policy of “showing Latin America through the eyes of Latin Americans” instead of through US-based networks such as CNN, Voice of America, and others. The pan-Latin American news network has been described by Nicaragua’s La Voz del Sandinismo network as “an example of integration and the voice of the people in their struggle for social justice”, and by the Ecuadorian and Latin American Public News Agency (ANDES) as “Latin

America’s multimedia means of communication, with a social vocation and an orientation towards the processes of unity between the people of the South”. EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE TeleSur reporters have been some of the only journalists on the ground during a number of recent important news events, including the military coup in Honduras (2009), the failed coup in Ecuador (2010), the devastating earthquake in Haiti (2010),

the Israeli attack on the humanitarian shipment of aid to Gaza (2010) and the Egyptian people’s successful protests against former leader Hosni Mubarak (2011). Just this week, TeleSur was the only international media outlet present at popular protests in Madrid, Spain, as the so-called “indignant” youth and student movements repeated their calls for new policies of social inclusion in economically-troubled Spain. In many cases, such as in Honduras and in Egypt, TeleSur reporters have suffered physical assaults by security forces. At its July 25, 2005 launch, Venezuelan Minister of Information and founding President of TeleSur Andres Izarra explained that the network “is an initiative against cultural imperialism and against imperialism in any of its expressions. But this should not be interpreted as an initiative against the people of the US”. Uruguayan journalist and previous TeleSur Information Director Aram Aharonian explained that TeleSur aims to “construct an audio-visual medium with global reach that disseminates a real vision of our social and cultural diversity. It is about a global high quality structure for the

transmission of progressive contents; for presenting the reality of the continent in an immediate, truthful, believable, balanced, contextualized form, which stimulates public opinions that are favorable for the integration of our peoples”. Aharonian affirmed that TeleSur is an important step towards “the democratization of the television spectrum”. According to the promotional information on the WorldTV website ( TeleSur is a 24-hour Spanish language news channel from Latin America. It delivers high quality news focused content from Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela. With 26 news correspondents in 12 cities, TeleSur’s network of correspondents is the largest in all of the Americas. Programming line-up includes news, documentaries, opinion and analysis programs, sports coverage and more. PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS: TeleSur Noticias - Brings viewers breaking news from Latin America and around the world. Deportes TeleSur - Full coverage on the world of sports including highlights, interviews and special features. Impacto Economico - Daily report and coverage of Latin America’s economy featuring Abraham Istillarte, Lorena Gil and special guests. T/ Juan Reardon

Venezuela top 3 user of social networks in Latin America A

ccording to analysis by Digital Trends, a company specializing in digital market research, 30 percent of Venezuelans use Facebook and at least 21 percent of Internet users in the country have Twitter accounts. “Social networks are providing infrastructure to maintain relationships that are already maintained in the ‘real world,’ but they are promoting them on a global scale”, explained Carlos Jimenez, president of Digital Trends in an interview with the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion. The rankings were calculated using a methodology that places the countries of Latin America on a scale of greater or lesser use of Web 2.0 tools, taking into account

four dimensions: user adoption of Web 2.0, content creation, sharing of content, and influence, which is defined by the ability of users to generate impact through the creation of groups with similar interests, causes or events.

Chile, Brazil and Venezuela are leading the ranking of the top Web 2.0 adopters, followed by Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, according to the study. The research also revealed that although there are a greater num-

ber of active users on social networks, they do not use them in the same way, but rather depend on the market sector to which they belong. Regarding the adoption in the use of social media, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina took the top three on Facebook with 47 percent, 36 percent and 35 percent, respectively, followed by Uruguay, Venezuela and Costa Rica. The leading countries in the use of Twitter are Uruguay (17 percent) and Venezuela (eight percent). In May 2010, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched his Twitter account (@chavezcandanga), which spiraled the South American country into a Twitter

frenzy. Today, President Chavez is the second most followed head of state worldwide, after US President Barack Obama, and is the most followed “tweeter” in Venezuela. Venezuelans have turned Twitter into a major political and journalistic tool to send brief notes about current events to thousands of followers. The country’s Internet access and usage has also increased tri-fold during the past three years due to statesponsored programs providing free Internet access terminals across the nation and an increase in carrier capacity. T/ Agencies P/ Agencies

NoÊÇxÊUÊFriday, August 5, 2011

The artillery of ideas

Analysis | 7 |

Play Democracy, hide the corpses

Business as usual in Colombia N

ot a week goes in Colombia without reports of assassinations and persecution of labor and political activists. Ana Fabricia Cordoba, gender activist and leader of displaced peasants, was shot dead on June 7th inside a street bus, after she foretold her own death due to constant threats and abuses against her family. Manuel Antonio Garces, community leader, afro-descendent activist and candidate for local office in southwestern Colombia received on July 18 a disturbing warning that read “we told you to drop the campaign, next time we’ll blow it in your house” next to an inactive hand grenade. Keyla Berrios, leader of Displaced Women’s League was murdered last July 22, after continuous intimidation of her organization and threats on behalf of death squads linked to Colombian authorities, a fact so publicly known after hundreds of former congressman, police and military personnel are either jailed or investigated for colluding with Paramilitaries to steal elections, murder and disappear dissidents, forcefully displace peasants and defraud public treasury, in a criminal network that extends all the way up to former president Alvaro Uribe and his closest aides. The official explanation to these crimes is also well known: Bacrim, an acronym which stands for “Criminal Gangs”, a term created from the Colombia establishment including its omnipresent corporate media apparatus to depoliticize the constant violence unleashed against union leaders, peasants and community activists, Human Rights defenders or anyone humane enough to point at the extremely unequal and unjust structures of power and wealth which rely heavily on repression. However, no matter how much effort is put into misleading public opinion about the nature of this violence, the crimes are so systematic and their effects always turning out for the benefit of the elite that a simple class analysis debunks the façade of these “gangs” supposedly acting on their own, and exposes the mutual benefit relation between armed thugs and political power in Colombia, an acute representation of present-day fascism in Latin America. In a country overwhelmed with unemployment and poverty - nearly 70% - and 8 million people living on less than $2 a day who daily look for their subsistence in garbage among stray dogs or selling candies at street lights and city buses, it is also shockingly common and surreal to see fancy cars - Hummers, Porsches - million dollar apartments, country clubs and a whole bubble of opulence just in front of over-exploited workers, ordinary people struggling merely to make ends meet, or at worst, children, single mothers, elderly, and people with disabilities, without social

security and salaries, much less higher education and decent housing. For instance, in Cartagena, a Colombian Caribbean colonial city plagued with extreme poverty, beggars, child prostitution and $400 a night resorts, you can pretend to feel in Miami Beach or a Mediterranean paradise, and in less than five minutes away you can also visit slums which would make devastated Haiti look like suburbia. The same shockingly contrast can be experienced in all major cities in Colombia. In order to keep vast privileges of a few amidst infrahuman conditions of the majority, the elite need to have an iron grip on political power, and once its power is contested or mildly threatened by the collective action of social movements, democratic parties and conscious individuals, a selective burst of state violence is unleashed effectively dismantling any kind of peaceful organizing by fear and demoralization. The high levels of attrition suffered by activists raising moderate democratic banners such as the right to assembly, collective bargaining, freedom of expression and reparation from political violence, are the result of decentralized state repression car-

ried out by death squads led by high state officers who supply them with intelligence and economic resources extracted from defrauding public treasury and money laundry in the narcotics chain, where social investigators claim that most of the profit accounts for institutional economy, the banks and the state. This elaborated repressive strategy differs from the one perpetrated by the military juntas the ruled Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, where public forces exercised directly the political violence against dissidents without pretentious democratic credentials, such as the ones constantly regurgitated by the Colombian establishment, making it more difficult to expose its deep dictatorial mechanisms that have disappeared more than 30,000 Colombians in the last years of US backed “counterinsurgency” policies, far surpassing Pinochet’s reign of terror. In this place where dominant class reactionism has dumped thousands of disappeared into mass graves, killed union leaders at the highest world rate, and forcefully displaced millions of peasants already surpassing Sudan figures, it is easy to expect

political idleness and fear from the masses amid savage neoliberal policies and primitive capital accumulation. This state of matters posits a basic question, as James Petras puts it: “How does one pursue equitable social policies and the defense of human rights under a terrorist state aligned with death squads and financed and advised by a foreign power, which has a public policy of physically eliminating their adversaries?” Some in Colombia already found and an answer in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that constitutes the basis for all modern states: “Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”. In the light of the exposure of the Colombian hybrid state which pits formal democracy and excessive privileges for a few against brutal repression and poverty for the majority, it’s feasible to comprehend the existence of an armed conflict, beyond the official construct of terrorism. This class confrontation has resulted in a “polarization of civil war proportions between the oligarchy and the military, on one side, and the guerrilla and the peasantry, on the other”, and is mostly funded by the US government using taxpayer money to back a rogue state and a comprador elite that prefers to wage dirty war against its own population rather than yield some political power and moderate social reforms. Modernity hasn’t arrived in Colombia, where few can enjoy excesses and vices of promised ‘civilization’ in fancy restaurants and country clubs, and most still live in 1789. In times when President Obama justifies his “humanitarian intervention” and escalation of the Libyan civil war by having public opinion believe NATO and US bombs are there to protect civilians, and when the International Criminal Court applies selective justice as it rushes to levy charges against Gaddafi for alleged crimes that pale in comparison to the ones daily committed by the Colombian regime, the international community is turning a blind eye to crimes against humanity in the shameful custom of double standards and insulting those truly resisting, with their teeth, the savagery and abuse of power. T/ Jose David Torrenegra

FRIDAY | August 5, 2011 | No. 75 Bs 1 | C ARACAS

ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas

A publication of the Fundacion Correo del Orinoco • Editor-in-Chief | Eva Golinger • Graphic Design | Alexander Uzcátegui, Jameson Jiménez • Press | Fundación Imprenta de la Cultura


Bolivia: WikiLeaks expose US conspiracy R

ecently released cables from the United States embassy in Bolivia have provided additional insight to the events leading up to the September 2008 coup attempt against the Andean country’s first indigenous president. On September 9, 2008, President Evo Morales expelled then-US ambassador Philip Goldberg as evidence emerged that Goldberg and embassy officials had been meeting with several key civilian and military figures involved in an unfolding coup plot. These meetings took place in the midst of “civic strikes” and roadblocks called by the right-wing opposition prefects (governors) of the eastern states. These actions were denounced by the government as an attempted coup. The prefects announced their intentions to begin implementing “regional autonomy” statutes, which they claimed had been approved by illegal referendums held in the four eastern states between May and July. These statutes were aimed at securing regional control over natural resources and state security bodies. Taking over government buildings and cutting off food supplies, the right-wing insurgents carried out a reign of terror on the streets, mobilizing paramilitary forces. Soldiers and police officers were targets of their violence. The hope was to trigger an armed confrontation, banking on important sections of the military refusing to obey government orders. The secret US cables released by WikiLeaks show how such a scenario was already envisaged months before by the US embassy. A December 12, 2007 cable assessed the situation within the military. It said that, faced with conflict, the government could “at best” rely on only “sporadic and half-hearted compliance from a minority of commanders”. Based on intelligence gathered from military officers, the cable concluded: “Although they can be expected to protect government infrastructure and transportation, most commanders are likely to sit out any violent confrontation with opposition forces”. Field commanders were “prepared to stand down and confine their troops to barracks”, even if a written order was signed by Morales. Evidence for this was provided by a source that “was on hand when a high-ranking civil defense officer told the commander in Tarija Department to demand a written order from President Morales if asked to take action against opposition leaders or demonstrators”. “If they received such an order, the offi-

cer advised non-compliance and a post lock down to commanders from Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, and Tarija”. The cable quoted another military official stationed in Santa Cruz as saying that commanders originally from the west were “unlikely” to unseat the same opposition leaders they were working with. “As for the large minority of officers from the Media Luna [Bolivia’s eastern states]”, the official in question noted “there is ‘no way any of us are going to attack our own people’. Rather, he said, they would side with the opposition if forced to take sides”. Opposition figures also told the embassy they did not “believe the ‘divided’ military would repress them”. Cables from the weeks immediately leading up to the coup attempt have yet to be released, but evidence of ongoing communication between the embassy and military commanders, right up until Goldberg’s expulsion, was provided in a report by former parliamentarian Walter Vasquez Michel published in La Epoca on September 28, 2008. With coup plans well underway, the article

reported that US embassy officials met with four retired generals and a security representative from the Santa Cruz prefecture on September 2. Three days later, the US embassy’s head of military affairs spoke with high ranking active military officials based in Santa Cruz to “plan the handing over of military units to paramilitary groups”. The aim was to “create the sensation that the government had lost control of the Armed Forces”, a scenario outlined in US embassy cables issued only months prior. Instead, the plot backfired as government supporters and loyal troops moved into action. With violence growing in the east, government supporters began marching on Santa Cruz. Residents in poor neighborhoods of Santa Cruz set up self-defense groups to repel fascist attacks. After the massacre of dozens of unarmed peasants in the eastern state of Pando on September 11, a wave of revulsion swept through the country. This included middle-class sectors in the east who had, until then, supported the autonomy protests.

This revulsion spread to the armed forces. Soldiers demanded the government send them in to crush the fascist uprising, even if it meant breaking the chain of command. This allowed the government to overcome internal resistance within the military and to deploy soldiers onto the streets of Pando. Within 24-hours, the paramilitary forces had been pushed back and calm was restored. Fearing a similar scenario elsewhere, and with Santa Cruz now encircled by government supporters, the coup plotters were forced to back down. There may be further evidence to come of US complicity in this violent attempt to bring down the elected Morales government brought to power on the back of an indigenous-led mass movement against neoliberalism. The cables released so far reveal the US embassy was in communcation with forces in the military working against the government. Federico Fuentes This article was originally published in Green Left Weekly, an Australian publication

English Edition Nº 75  

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