Pg. 7 | Health alert Pg. 8 | Special report A severe cholera outbreak in Haiti is once again The spectacular Caracas MetroCable system bringing the already desperate nation to the point was selected for a special exhibit on transformational architecture of catastrophe. Venezuela is providing aid at New York’s Museum of Modern Art
FRIDAY October 29, 2010 No. 35 Bs. 1 Caracas
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
The birth of a multipolar world
Region mourns Kirchner’s passing
President Chavez’s 11-day tri-continental tour through seven countries has resulted in 69 agreements that will advance Venezuela’s development and strengthen strategic relations.
New accords for housing, energy development, technological transfer, agricultural imports and exports and economic growth were forged by the Venezuelan head of state during this important international trip. Venezuela’s foreign policy based on cooperation, integration and solidarity is changing the balance of world power and creating a new model founded on principles of equality, sovereignty and social justice.
Strengthening ties with Portugal
President Hugo Chavez visited Portugal on the last stop during his 11-day tricontinental tour through seven nations. Agreements were signed between both nations to increase trade in the areas of technology, housing and transportation. Venezuela and Portugal share long-term historic ties that have been strengthened and expanded during the Chavez administration.
World rejects US blockade against Cuba 187 nations voted in the UN to demand the US end the blockade against Cuba. Only the US and Israel voted to maintain the criminal policy.
Venezuela reduces unemployment
Despite the world financial crisis, Venezuela’s economic policies are creating jobs.
Free HIV medications for patients
The Venezuelan government has guaranteed access to treatments for HIV-positive citizens.
Venezuela celebrates 5th year as territory free of Illiteracy
n Thursday, October 28th, Venezuela celebrated the five-year anniversary of its declaration as a territory “free of illiteracy”, made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2005. Through Mission Robinson, a social literacy program, more than 1,500,000 Venezuelans have learned how to read and write. Mission Robinson is divided in three phases. The first phase is aimed at eradicating illiteracy, while the second stage seeks to
guarantee primary education for those excluded from the traditional education system. The third phase is dedicated to spreading and promoting the ongoing habit of reading. “This is not just a little achievement. For Venezuela it is very important, and not only because the world is recognizing us, but because it represents a development for our country and our people. This level of awareness and consciousness of people, and what is happening in the country with growing participa-
tion and people’s power, is the product of an educational process. The people have taken back their lives through knowledge”, stated President of the Samuel Robinson Foundation, Marisol Calzadilla. Mission Robinson has contributed to the universalization of education. The social program has also become one of the principal tools allowing the Venezuelan government to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. T/ YVKE
enezuelan President Hugo Chavez regretted the death of former Argentine President and Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Nestor Kirchner on Wednesday, and sent a message of condolence to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, also Kirchner’s wife. On his Twitter account, President Chavez expressed early Wednesday morning, “My dear Cristina. What sadness! What a great loss for Argentina and Our America! Long live Kirchner forever!” On Thursday, Chavez and other regional heads of state traveled to Buenos Aires for the funeral services, accompanying President Fernandez in her grief. Kirchner died on Wednesday from a heart attack after undergoing urgent surgery for a heart condition in southern Argentina. Nestor Carlos Kirchner Ostoic was born in Rio Gallegos, capital city of Santa Cruz province, in the Argentine Patagonia, on February 25, 1950. During his political career, he was Mayor of Rio Gallegos (1987-1991); Governor of the Santa Cruz Province (1991-2003); President of Argentina (20032007); Congressman (2009-2010); Secretary General of Unasur and President of the Partido Justicialista until his death.
| No 35 • Friday, October 29, 2010
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela: A foreign policy for sovereignty and independence President Chavez returned to Venezuela on Sunday after signing 69 bilateral agreements with seven nations during a two-week tri-continental tour
He also spoke of agreements reached for exporting cacao, coffee and other agricultural crops to markets in Europe, Asia and Africa. These agreements, said Chavez, serve, “to break the perverse model that has been imposed on us for over 100 years, the model of petroleum monoproduction”. “Each year the impacts will be greater and more relevant… We have been working on this for years, developing an entire network, a new financial system. We are not the International Monetary Fund, not the World Bank, but little by little we’re moving forward”, he said during a live televised address to the nation on Monday night.
enezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to Caracas on Sunday after an 11-day diplomatic tour that included stops in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Libya and Portugal. “Everything has been done with the interests of the Venezuelan homeland at heart”, stated Chávez in reference to the 69 bilateral agreements signed in the fields of energy, agriculture, trade, transport, science, industry, technology and housing. “The world has changed. It’s no longer what it was ten years ago. And in this new, multipolar world, the Venezuelan homeland and Bolivarian Revolution have begun to play a fundamental role now recognized in all four cardinal points of the planet”, Chávez said upon arrival at Maiquetía International Airport. Portugal and Libya agreements On the final leg of his sevennation tour, Chavez signed agreements with Portugal worth a total of $1.4 billion USD. Deals include plans for Portugal to build and sell 12,500 prefabricated homes, two ships for the transportation of asphalt as well as smaller passenger vessels to Venezuela. Also, Venezuela and Portugal are to develop joint renewable energy projects with the support of Portuguese wind and solar energy expertise and technologies. During his stop in Portugal on the weekend, President Chavez also signed an agreement consolidating Venezuela’s Canaima Program which distributes massproduced laptop computers to elementary school children. On site at one of Portugal’s JP Sa Couto laptop computer factories, Chavez announced the purchase of an additional 1.5 million laptops as well as plans to install a Canaima
production plant in Venezuela. “Over there [in Venezuela] we need something similar, because we have several million elementary school kids and beyond them, we have the entire Latin American market”, said Chavez in reference to the computer factory. To date, over 875,000 laptop computers have been distributed to Venezuelan kids through this program. Venezuela and the North African nation of Libya signed ten bilateral agreements, including the establishment of the Venezuela-Libya Investment Fund that will manage $1 billion USD for agricultural and industrial investments. “Each one of us will put 500 million dollars for investments here [Libya], there [Venezuela], as well as for investments in other third party nations, such as the ALBA countries, others of Latin America, Africa and elsewhere in the world”, said President Chavez in reference to the investment fund. TOUR MAKES HEADLINES While abroad, a number of the agreements signed by President Chavez and his counterparts made international headlines, including plans with Russia to build Venezuela’s first nuclearpowered energy plant, a frame-
work for Venezuela to provide oil supplies to Belarus through Ukranian pipelines without interruption “for the next 200 years”, and initial details regarding Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA investing $780 million USD in Iranian natural gas fields. US President Barack Obama commented on Venezuela’s development of a peaceful nuclear energy program, stating that Washington had no problem with such a program so long as Venezuela acted responsibly towards its neighbors and “obeyed” international regulations. In response, the Venezuelan President asserted that his US counterpart was “sowing doubts” as to Venezuela’s peaceful intentions. Following up on Obama’s statements, US State Department spokesperson Phillip Crowley told reporters that Venezuela’s plans to develop nuclear energy, “is something [the United States] will observe very very closely”. Regarding Venezuela-Iran energy cooperation, Crowley stated that Washington “will watch to see if any of these deals amount to anything and if they do, whether they constitute a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions against Iran”. “It is hard for me to see how Chavez’s current travels can be
seen as constructive”, Crowley concluded, with a tint of cynicism. BACK IN VENEZUELA On his return to Venezuela on Sunday, President Chavez made public statements highlighting a number of important agreements to improve housing and trade in Venezuela. With respect to housing, the Venezuelan leader mentioned Russian financing for the construction of 7,000 homes in the proposed Socialist City of Tiuna, while Belarus is expected to build over 4,000 apartments in the Venezuelan state of Aragua and Iran has committed to helping build over 10,000 housing units. Further, as cited above, Venezuela will also purchase from Portugal a total of 12,500 prefabricated homes. According to government figures, Venezuela has a housing shortage of 2 million. In trade, President Chavez emphasized deals made to diversify the Venezuelan economy. The Venezuelan head of state discussed a 100 million dollar initiative between Venezuela and Syria in which “socio-productive” projects in both countries are to be funded, as well as the one billion dollar collaboration with Libya to stimulate agro-industrial development.
BOLIVARIAN FOREIGN POLICY In written reflections published on Sunday, President Chavez said that while each agreement signed was intended to, “dignify the lives of all Venezuelans” he insisted that they also amount to, “the birth of a new model in which we [the South] understand and support each other in the international arena”. Chavez’s written remarks referred to what he considers an ever-changing, multi-polar world in which Venezuela’s role continues to grow. Referring to changes in Venezuela’s foreign policy under his administration, Chávez wrote: “This international tour was another illuminating confirmation that Venezuela exists. Today we are not at the point of just establishing relations to survive: Venezuela is now on the offensive, establishing relationships so as to accelerate the fall of imperialism’s hegemony and to guarantee the bright coming of a world in peace and equilibrium…” “For this reason, the more they attack me, the more I’ll go to Tehran, the more I’ll go to Minsk, the more I’ll go to Damascus, to ratify that we are and will continue to be free”. T/ Juan Reardon www.Venezuelanalysis.com
The artillery of ideas
No 35 • Friday, October 29, 2010 |
Venezuela: from “backyard” to multipolar world A successful tour of 7 countries in three continents made by President Hugo Chavez has produced 69 new agreements that will strengthen national development and consolidate the most powerful defense against imperial aggression: the union of nations and peoples
he most influential ideologue of the twentieth century in the United States, Henry Kissinger, declared during the 1970s regarding the expansion of socialism in the region, “If the US can’t control Latin America, how can it dominate the world?” Today, Kissinger’s concern has returned to torment the US and imperial forces, but this time, their conspiring fist can’t seem to silence the awakening of nations in Revolution. The US desperation during those years to subordinate countries in its “backyard” led to a series of coup d’etats, brutal dictatorships, sabotages, political assassinations, mass torture and disappearances, and the implementation of neoliberal, capitalist models that caused the worst misery, exclusion, poverty and alienation known in the region throughout history. Under the limited US vision, strategies and tactics of aggression achieved their goal by the end of the century, and in almost all Latin American nations, with the exception of Revolutionary Cuba, subservient governments were put in place, hailing the US-imposed economic and political model of neoliberal representative democracy. When a revolutionary Venezuelan soldier, Hugo Chavez, led a rebellion against the criminal, murderous and corrupt government of Carlos Andres Perez – a close ally of Washington – on February 4, 1992, the US underestimated him. A secret document from the Department of State, now declassified, commented on the event, stating “The coup attempt appears to have been the work of a group of mid level army officers…There is no indication of popular support for the coup plotters…”
At the same time, the US government recognized from its own surveys conducted in secret in Venezuela, “The incentive to follow support for Carlos Andres Perez is small; a recent poll showed him enjoying less than 20% of the electorate’s support…” In other words, the people did not support the neoliberal model imposed on their nation. Another secret report from March 10, 1992 revealed Washington’s true concern regarding the popular uprisings in Venezuela, “A successful coup in Venezuela would be a serious blow to US interests in the hemisphere. Despite the short term negative impact on the poor and the middle class, we believe Carlos Andres Perez’s (CAP) economic policies are exactly what are needed to reform the Venezuelan economy…CAP’s overthrow would send a chilling message to the region about the viability of implementing economic reform.” [*Although the US classified the action as a “coup”, Hugo Chavez called it a “popular rebellion against a dictatorship disguised as democracy”]. Paraphrasing Kissinger, if the US couldn’t control Venezuela, how could it control the region? The principal US concern was not whether poverty would increase and the middle class would disappear, but rather whether the neoliberal model would be implemented, at any cost, because this would be the only guarantee of permanent US domination in the region. When Hugo Chavez won office in Venezuela in 1998, Washington didn’t know what to do. The official policy was “wait and see” before acting. Imperial interests tried to “buy” the recently elected Venezuelan President several times, but their temptations didn’t
bear fruit: Venezuela had chosen an irreversible path towards independence, sovereignty, dignity and revolution. With the first changes – constitutional reform, a raise in oil prices and the rescue of OPEC – powerful interests were affected and US control over Venezuela decreased. The voice of Hugo Chavez began to be heard throughout the region, resonating with a rebellious song that inspired restless people’s movements. PERMANENT AGGRESSION Soon after, actions were initiated to try and neutralize what Washington had believed impossible: an anti-imperialist, socialist revolution in the XXI century, just south of the border. A wave of aggressions struck Venezuela – the coup in April 2002, an oil strike and economic sabotage, assassination attempts, subversion, multimillion-dollar funding to opposition groups, elections meddling and a brutal psychological war executed through mass media – but they didn’t achieve their objective and revolutionary forces began to rise throughout the continent. The birth of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americans (ALBA) in 2004 opened the path towards a new foreign policy based on cooperation, integration and solidarity. Relations between sister nations in the region began to grow, strengthening the ties between states that shared a collective vision for humanity, and building a new economic model of commerce and trade that promoted mutual benefits and development. ALBA TO A MULTIPOLAR WORLD From ALBA, the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) was
born with the objective of forging regional trade and creating a continental bloc of power capable of confronting world challenges. As the Revolution in Venezuela grew, US aggression increased. In 2005, Washington launched an international campaign to “isolate the Venezuelan government” and classify it as a “rogue state”. “Hugo Chavez is a negative force in the region”, declared Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January 2005, beginning the bombardment of lies about Venezuela before world opinion that hasn’t ceased to date. One year later, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld compared President Chavez to Hitler, and together with the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, they denominated Venezuela the “largest threat to US interests in the region”. That year Venezuela was placed on a list of nations “not fully collaborating with the war on terror” and a US-imposed sanction prohibited the sale of defense equipment with US technology to the South American nation. Chavez, recognizing the attempt to debilitate his armed forces, sought out other partners who weren’t subjected to US domination. Russia was the first country to offer to replace Venezuela’s military supplies. For the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union, a Latin American nation began to build ties with Russia, without US involvement. The initial purchase of defense equipment opened the door to a new commercial and strategic relationship between Venezuela and Russia, thanks to the US embargo. After Russia, Venezuela began to build relations with China, Belarus, Iran, Japan, Syria, Libya, India and other African, Asian and European nations. Chavez’s foreign policy initiated a radical transformation in the region and put Venezuela on the world map. “It was about radically changing the rules of the game: we wanted to relate to the world and not just one part of it. In reality, we were just learning how to walk with our own feet on the international stage. Don’t forget that before, we didn’t have our own foreign policy. Our foreign policy was directed by Washington”, explains President Chavez.
CHANGING THE BALANCE OF POWER Chavez’s tour to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, Syria, Libya and Portugal, from October 1324, 2010, is a sign of a new multipolar world on the horizon. Of the 69 agreements signed with these nations, Venezuela will have numerous valuable benefits, including the construction of tens of thousands of homes for Venezuelan people, agricultural development, economic growth, energy production, new industries, diverse exports and strategic, balanced relations with other nations – all for the maximum benefit of the people of Venezuela. Not one of the 69 agreements contains exploitative elements that could cause disadvantage for Venezuela. The foreign policy of the Chavez government doesn’t permit exploitation or capitalist contamination that could harm the South American nation. For example, in Belarus, Venezuela won’t just buy heavy cargo mining trucks and public transport vehicles, but also will create joint ventures with Belarussian companies to establish factories in Venezuelan territory, assuring technological transfer which will aid in the diversification of Venezuela’s industries and the creation of jobs for the Venezuelan people. IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD, THERE CAN BE NO EMPIRE “Venezuela must objey”, declared President Obama in reference to the agreement with Russia to develop nuclear energy for peaceful use. “We are monitoring the agreements between Venezuela and Iran to see if they violate the sanctions”, announced Philip Crowley, State Department spokesman, as though Washington was still the world police. The desperate tone eminating from the White House is the product of its weakening global power – the Empire’s time is up and a new multipolar world has been born. Kissinger’s nightmare has come true – the US can’t dominate Latin America anymore, and much less the world. The revolutionary Venezuelan soldier they once underestimated has become a symbol of resistance against US hegemony, and is inspiring millions who seek a better world. T/ Eva Golinger
| No 35 • Friday, October 29, 2010
The artillery of ideas
Venezuela and Portugal Strengthen Ties New agreements were reached between the two nations to supply Venezuela with high-tech ferries for public transportation, as well as other nautical vehicles and computers for Venezuela’s school children
ulminating an 11 day visit to ally countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with his Portuguese counterpart Jose Socrates last Sunday, signing accords in areas of education technology, energy and transportation. Among the agreements solidified during his visit are the construction of two cargo ships for Venezuela’s transport of asphalt and Portugal’s supply of minilaptop computers for an educational program of the Chavez government. “It’s a great day for relations between our two countries”, said Prime Minister Socrates who recognized the “historic friendship” that exists between the two nations. According to Socrates, Venezuela’s purchase of more than 1 billion euros worth of Portuguese products represents “a contribution to the economy and employment” for the financially embattled nation. For his part, Chavez expressed his contentment with the outcome of his visit and referred to the strengthening of relations with countries such as Portugal as essential in order to overcome the global economic crisis. “We have to take advantage of our friendship and our similarities in order to increase economic trade and confront the challenges of this century”, Chavez explained. FERRIES, SHIPS AND LAPTOPS Upon arriving in Portugal in the city of Oporto, Chavez visited the Viana do Castelo shipyards which, in accordance with the agreements signed between the two countries, will construct two cargo ships for the transport of asphalt. “We will have a great fleet”, Chavez said of the ships, which will form part of the state oil company PDVSA’s naval division.
Nuclear reactor in Venezuela to have strictly peaceful purposes
According to reports, the construction of the ships will cost approximately 130 million euros, the financing of which will be made available through the Portuguese bank, Espiritu Santo. An agreement was also signed for Portugal to provide Venezuela with 1.5 million new mini-laptop computers over the next three years for use in the government’s educational program known as Canaima. Canaima seeks to provide every Venezuelan grammar school student with a laptop computer, an initiative that will complement the children’s academic curriculum. The computers, which are already beginning to be used by some students, contain multi-media educational programs in the areas of culture, language, social sciences, history, and science and technology.
“The content of Canaima is marvelous because it forms part of a liberation process that can only be achieved through education”, Chavez said about the program. “Our objective is that in a short time, every Venezuelan child that enrolls in first grade has a computer”, he stated. GROWING RELATIONS The accords signed on Sunday mark a steady growth in the economic activity between Portugal and Venezuela in recent years. According to President Chavez, trade with the European nation has grown exponentially. “Commercial trade was almost nothing”, said the Venezuelan head of state during a press conference. “It was at 17 million euros [in 2007]. In 2009 we’ve reached more than 200 million euros. Look at how we’ve
multiplied [trade] more than 10 times. This just indicates the great potential that we have”, he remarked. Chavez’s visit marks the sixth meeting that he has had with his Portuguese counterpart in the past three years. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Socrates visited Venezuela where he signed 19 agreements in areas of energy, housing and goods and services. With respect to last Sunday’s encounter, other agreements signed between the two nations include the evaluation of future infrastructure projects for the storage of crude in Portugal and the establishment of a mixed public-private business for the liquefaction and transport of natural gas. A commitment was also made to study future cooperation in the sectors of food and agriculture. Affirming the mutually beneficial relationship that the two countries continue to develop, President Chavez expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Socrates for the transparency and clarity of the new agreements. “The open door that Portugal offers to Venezuela has allowed us to arrive at the level of alliance which we have been arriving at in terms of the economic, social, and political relations reflected in this new set of agreements”, he stated. T/ Edward Ellis P/ Presidential Press
he Ambassador of Russia to Venezuela, Vladimir Zaemsky, ratified this Tuesday that the nuclear reactor, which will be built in the South American country, will have strictly peaceful purposes. “Building a reactor and an atomic bomb are two very different things”, assured Ambassador Zaemsky during a local television interview. After emphasizing that Venezuela has the full right to diversify energy sources, the diplomat explained that nuclear energy with peaceful purposes will be very useful for the country, most of all to develop stateof-the-art technology allowing the optimization of food and pharmaceutical production. “The use of nuclear energy can be really useful to solve people’s needs”, he underscored. In order to keep moving toward full energy sovereignty, President Hugo Chavez signed an agreement with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to build a nuclear plant with peaceful purposes in Venezuelan territory, aimed at diversifying energy sources and reducing the dependence on fossil fuels. Ambassador Zaemsky explained that the accord reached between Caracas and Moscow is just a framework agreement and it still needs to define certain details. “Venezuela will decide how many reactors [are going to be built], what kind of plant will be constructed and in what timeframe. The use of nuclear energy requires many things, such as the training of operations staff”, he commented. Zaemsky affirmed that Russia has close ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and any agreement endorsed with other countries in this area will abide by international law. Moreover, he commented that thanks to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Russia has developed nucleoelectric plants, which generate 16% of their electric energy. T/ Venezuelan News Agency
The artillery of ideas
No 35 • Friday, October 29, 2010 |
Venezuela: Leading the Battle Against Poverty
new report released by the Organization of American States (OEA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has cited Venezuela as one Latin America’s most advanced countries with respect to the fight against poverty and inequality in the region. The report, entitled “Our Democracy”, analyzes the current sociopolitical situation in 18 Latin American countries and provides statistical information on a range of social and economic indicators in the region for the period 1999 – 2008. According to the study, Venezuela has seen a reduction in poverty from 49.4% in 1999 to 27.6% in 2008, translating to a diminution of 44% while the average for the region is 24.4% Last week, President Hugo Chavez made reference to the new findings, stating that Venezuela “is three steps ahead of the chaos. During the past decade, the country has worked tirelessly to end the subordination of power that only belonged to the interests of the bourgeoisie”. The report also highlights the fact that homelessness in the country has been reduced from 21.7% to 9.9% while the average for the region is 12.9%. In terms of inequality as measured by the GINI coefficient, Venezuela is the leader in Latin America with a decrease of 17.9%, 5 times the region’s average of 3.9%. “This is why the wealthy hate us, because we’re concerned with benefiting the average person”, Chavez said of the report’s findings on Sunday. T/ EE
World Nations Reject US Blockade Against Cuba A decades-old US policy towards Cuba was once again rejected by the majority of countries around the world, yet the US refuses to lift the damaging blockade
ember states of the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to end the economic blockade that the United States has imposed against the island nation of Cuba, causing widespread hardship for the citizens of the Caribbean country for nearly 50 years. The final vote tally was 187 in favor of lifting the blockade, with only the United States and Israel voting against the motion. The Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau abstained from the vote.
This is the 19th time that the UN General Assembly has voted to end the economic sanctions, which many around the world consider to be a clear violation of human rights and have cost the impoverished nation an estimated 751 billion USD. Venezuela’s representative to the United Nations, Jorge Valero, referred to the measure, which the United States implemented in 1962 to derail the Cuban Revolution as “a denial of a UN member state’s right to development”. “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects this aggresion against the Cuban people which goes against the peaceful coexistence of nations and international legality”, Valero said during the General Assembly session. According to the Venezuelan representative, the blockade “has a direct impact on the Cuban population”, especially on children unable to receive needed medication for diseases like lukemia due to the restrictions on imports caused by the policy.
The embargo, Valero said, also “blocks the arrival of construction materials which doesn’t permit the improvement of buildings affected by natural disasters and creates losses of millions of dollars for Cuba’s basic industries”. In addition to limiting Cuba’s ability to import, the measure also prevents the country from being able to export products to the United States or conduct business with financial insitutions linked to the North American nation. Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, declared the blockade to have “no ethical nor legal” basis and critized Washington for its continued refusal to change its cold war policy towards the nation. WASHINGTON: NO CHANGE Rodriguez commented that although the Obama adminstration declared a new beginning in terms of Washington’s relations with Cuba, nothing has changed,
and there has been no flexibility in the United States stance regarding the blockade. For his part, Representative Valero coincided with the Cuban Foreign Minister, critizing the United States for its continued intransigence in the face of international opinion. “The government of the United State continues to ignore the voice of the people of the world who are demanding an end to the genocidal policies that violate the most essential human rights”, Valero declared. The nearly unanimous vote against the blockade, the Venezuelan official stated, represents the will of UN member states “to respect the sovereignty and free determination of people and condemn the threats to political independence that come from states incompatible with the principle of the United Nations Charter”. T/ Edward Ellis
The artillery of ideas
Venezuelan unemployment rate drops
he president of the Venezuelan National Statistics Institute (INE), Elias Eljuri, reported last week that unemployment in Venezuela fell to 8.4% for the month of September, a difference of 1.2 points from the previous month. According to Eljuri, the diminution represents a clear sign that the Venezuelan economy is in full recovery from a recession that had affected the nation due to the global financial crisis. The official commented that the nation’s recovery has come “independent of the dictatorship of financial bodies like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank” and that the new numbers are the result of Venezuela’s “orientation towards an economic and social policy designed to decrease the unemployment rate”.
| No 35• Friday, October 29, 2010
Although unemployment figures had been on the rise in Venezuela since May, the most recent figure of 8.4% is 0.1 point less than September of last year and Eljuri is confident that the number will be reduced to 7% by the end of the year. Upon reporting the findings, the
INE president pointed out that unemployment before Hugo Chavez took office in 1999 was over 16% and that in the last 11 years, close to 3.4 million people have been incorporated in the job market. “The Venezuelan economy, between 1999 and 2010 was not only able to absorb the totality of
the economically active population for this period – more than three million people – but it was also able to absorb 400 thousand people who were unemployed, to arrive at a figure of close to 3.4 million people incorporated in the job market”, Eljuri explained. Despite a high percentage of workers in the Venezuelan economy that still labor in the informal sector, the head of the statistics institute also pointed out that there has been an increase in 8 percentage points in the formal sector job market bringing the total formal employment to 56.4% of the workforce. Dario Vivas, Vice President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, attributed the advancements in employment to the efforts of the Chavez administration to improve the standards of living for the population.
“This indicates that we’re improving because we’re doing things in order to better the quality of life for Venezuelans. There’s more labor stability and the government is honoring commitments that it has with different sectors”, Vivas said during a television program last week. According to the National Assembly’s Vice President, Venezuela’s decrease in unemployment contrasts starkly with the numbers emanating from the United States and Europe where “levels of unemployment have grown at alarming rates”. Unemployment in the United States is currently at 9.5% while in some countries of Europe, such as Spain, it has reached as high as 20%. T/ Edward Ellis
Venezuela to guarantee access to HIV medications
tarting next year, the Venezuelan government will guarantee antiretroviral medication to people with HIV, and will expand the use of a Cuban-made medicine to treat diabetic foot ulcers nation-wide, according to recent announcements by the Venezuelan Health Ministry. Venezuela’s HIV-positive patients “will have their treatment guaranteed next year; we have made preparations to acquire the medicines and cover the whole population free of charge”, said Venezuelan Health Minister Eugenia Sader in an interview with the state television station VTV last week. Marbelys Hernandez, who manages the Health Ministry’s AIDS program, said that next month the ministry will begin to use a new HIV test that produces results in one hour. Hernandez made the announcement during the 9th Venezuelan Conference on Infectious Diseases in midOctober. Also this month, Venezuela participated in a meeting of Latin American Parliament representatives in Panama to discuss public policy on the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS. The meeting was sponsored by the United Nations Development Program.
Venezuela does not have a law governing HIV and AIDS policy, but the National Assembly is discussing the possibility of incorporating articles on the diseases, including treatment for HIV-positive prisoners, into the nation’s Health Law, according to Legislator Marelis Perez, who participated in the Panama meeting. Non-governmental organizations in Venezuela have repeatedly complained of the lack of access to antiretroviral medicines. On Monday, Jhonatan Rodriguez of the Stop VIH Organization told the press the drug known inside the US as Abacavir and outside the US as Kivexa is often not available in hospitals and pharmacies. “People with HIV have been confronted with four shortages [of medicines] so far this year in Venezuela”, said Rodriguez. “To this, we add the arbitrary changes in treatment plans by people who do not have the attributes or the competence to do so, and the scarcity of condoms distributed free of charge”, the activist added. The Venezuelan government launched a publicity campaign aimed at public education about HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment in 2005. Free condom distribution was part of the campaign, but did not continue after
HIV-positive people in Venezuela. 35,512 of them are currently receiving antiretroviral drugs, including 950 children. Most of those with the virus are between the ages of 25 and 45. According to a recent study by Doctor Alejandro Risquez that was presented at the Venezuelan Conference on Infectious Diseases this month, in Venezuela five people per day, or 1,825 people per year, die from AIDS. HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, leads to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a deadly disease that weakens the immune system. There are treatments that reduce the effects of HIV and AIDS, but there is no cure.
the campaign ended toward the end of 2005. According to government figures, there are as many as 56,500
DIABETIC FOOT ULCERS Venezuela also plans to expand the use of Heberprot-P, a Cuban medicine that has produced positive results in curing diabetic foot ulcer patients. Currently, Heberprot-P is used in 15 Venezuelan states, and Venezuela’s goal is to expand its use to all 24 states, according to Doctor Loyda Gafaro de Valera, who coordinates the Health Ministry’s Endocrine-Metabolic Health Program. Since 2008, when the drug was first used in Venezuela, 12,500
Venezuelans who suffer from diabetic foot ulcers have been treated with Heberprot-P, and only 96 of them ended up needing amputations – a number that might have tripled if it were not for the use of the drug, Gafaro de Valera said. The doctor said there are currently 100,000 patients in Venezuela who need the treatment, which is provided though a bi-national cooperation accord between Venezuela and Cuba that includes Cuban doctors who administer the treatment free of charge in local public clinics. Gafaro de Valera made the remarks during the International Congress on Biotechnology, which was held in Havana, Cuba last week and hosted 139 international participants from 33 countries, along with 300 Cuban participants. According to IPS, Heberprot-P was invented by the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and has been used to treat more than 18,000 patients. The drug is approved for use in Argentina, Algeria, Venezuela, and Uruguay, and awaits approval in Mexico, the United States, South Africa, Australia, and India. T/ James Suggett www.Venezuelanalysis.com
The artillery of ideas
No 35 • Friday, October 29, 2010 | |
Haiti: On the verge of catastrophe
he natural vulnerability of Haiti and its precarious position on the margins of global capitalism have exposed its population to yet another potential catastrophe this week as a cholera outbreak threatened the population. Some 295 people have died as a result of the disease in the Caribbean country and 3,612 are infected, according to World Health Organization data released on Tuesday. The United Nations still fears a much bigger death toll, possibly in the tens of thousands. This comes only nine months after the devastating January earthquake, which rated seven on the Richter scale and killed over 300,000 Haitians. VENEZUELA SENDS AID On Tuesday, the Venezuelan government sent a team from its Ministry of Health along with 10,000 doses of medication, 4,500 intravenous drips and rehydration tablets to Haiti to help battle against the disease’s spread and relieve the symptoms of those at risk. The team from the Health Ministry was planning to assess the situation on arrival with the goal of subsequently sending a specialist medical group to attend to victims. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez referred to the Haitian crisis on Monday, “Here is our air force, our revolutionary air force, and our government reaching out to our Haitian brothers and sisters and people in need, people exploited by savage capitalism and by imperialism”. Venezuela’s contribution is part of a regional effort coordinated by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), a political and diplomatic multilateral regional body. The rotating president of the Unasur Health Council, Ecuadorean Health Minister David Chiriboga, announced, “each country has committed to send Ecuador a list of the resources and medical supplies to contribute to Haiti so that this could all be given to the Haitian Health Minister with the objective of prioritizing necessities”. Dr Michel Thieren added, “the next news will be when geographically, new pockets of the epidemic emerge, in Port-auPrince or elsewhere”. Despite the positive regional response to the cholera outbreak,
Dr Thiere said that cholera is likely to “settle” in Haiti over the coming months even if the death toll doesn’t increase significantly from the current figure. This is the first time cholera has been seen in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1991, when an outbreak occurred in Peru. Most cases have been found in the rural region of Artibonite, about 60 miles north of the capital Port-au-Prince. Cholera spreads through contaminated water supplies, causes chronic diarreah and can kill within a matter of hours if not treated. DISEASE SPREADING One of the biggest worries is that cholera might spread to the sprawling refugee camps located in and around Port-au-Prince, set up after the earthquake earlier this year. The camps hold around 1.5 million people and the conditions are terrible. There is little running water and massive overcrowding means that if the cholera reaches the camps, then it will be almost impossible to contain. Fears increased last Sunday when five people were discov-
ered infected in campsites, but the patients were quickly isolated and treated and the UN said that the cases did not mean the disease had reached the camps. Around 75 percent of people with cholera don’t suffer from the symptoms at all but act as carriers, making its spread difficult to contain. The cure is simple provided the disease is diagnosed quickly. Rehydration tablets or drinking purified water mixed with water and sugar are all that is needed in standard cases. Mainstream media organizations have reported the serious dangers that the refugee camps pose for a spread of cholera, given the conditions there. One question they don’t seem to ask is why the conditions are still terrible nine months after the earthquake occurred. At the time, the disaster left bodies piled high in the streets. The United Nations described Port-au-Prince horrifyingly as a “tomb”, which was a lethal combination of decomposing bodies, with no water, electricity, sanitation or food supplies - a paradise for cholera to spread. The presence of a long-term Cuban medical team of over 400 doc-
tors that arrived long before the earthquake was accompanied by Venezuelans shortly afterwards, who provided relief alongside other teams and organizations from around the world. Venezuela also cancelled Haiti’s debt immediately after the tragic earthquake. The initial international response to the crisis in Janaury, led by the US, was militaristic and frightening. The French government publicly attacked the US miltary, accusing it of turning away aid at the Port-au-Prince airport so that its military build up could continue. Some $5.3 billion USD in aid was promised by countries across the globe in the wake of the disaster, but most of the funds have not come through. On October 6, former US president Bill Clinton, who is now co-chairperson of the commission overseeing Haiti’s alleged reconstruction, had to acknowledge that only $732 million, or less than 14% of the funds, had reached Haitians. The United States leads the world in its shortfall. Not one cent of its supposed $1.15 billion share has been paid to Haiti.
This will undoubtedly add to the devastation the cholera outbreak will cause if it spreads to the refugee camps around Portau-Prince. The so-called international development budgets from developed countries are being cut in the global economic crisis, so international help for Haiti is unlikely to move beyond the rhetorical to the material. Haiti is a victim of its location on a geographical fault line that makes it vulnerable to earthquakes. Hispanola, the island Haiti shares with Dominican Republic, is also in the path of hurricanes, as are many other Caribbean islands. But Haiti is also the poorest country in the western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank, and one of the poorest in the world. The Caribbean nation also has a long history of colonialism and occupation. Haiti was the first country of African people to free itself through an anti-colonial slave rebellion from French rule in 1804, led by Touissant l’Ouverture. T/ Steven Mather P/ Agencies
FRIDAY October 29, 2010 No. 35 Bs. 1 Caracas
ENGLISH EDITION The artillery of ideas
A publication of the Fundacion Correo del Orinoco Editor-in-Chief | Eva Golinger • Graphic Design | Arturo Cazal, Pablo Valduciel L., Alexander Uzcátegui, Jameson Jiménez • Press | Fundación Imprenta de la Cultura
Caracas MetroCable on exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art T
he innovative MetroCable inaugurated this year by the Chavez government in the neighborhood of San Agustin was selected as part of an exhibit at MOMA focusing on extraordinary architectural projects to improve social conditions and transform lives The hills surrounding the city center of Caracas have long been the sites of barrios, informal settlements populated by a steady influx of poor, rural migrants. It is estimated that about sixty percent of the city’s five million inhabitants live in such communities, but due to their illegal status these areas have never been formally connected with public transit or other civic services. The result has been a seemingly inexorable social divide between the two parts of the city. In 2003 architects Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, founding partners of UrbanThink Tank, made a proposal to the city to build a cable car system linking two barrios with Caracas’s public transit system. The plan, the result of site surveys, community workshops, and
other on-the-ground fieldwork by the architects, centers on the cable car system but calls for “plug-in” buildings—structures attached to each station housing cultural and recreational programs—as well as other, smaller-scale interventions close by. The idea was a radi-
cal departure from official planning strategy, which sought to gradually link the barrios to the rest of the city by creating new
surface streets. The construction of roadways in the barrios would entail the loss of many dwellings; the cable car system intrudes minimally and selectively into the existing fabric. President Hugo Chavez personally embraced the plan and set up a joint venture
in May 2006 between the state and an Austrian gondola engineer to begin implementing it. The city’s first completed cable car line, with five stations, serves the barrio San Agustin; regular service began in January 2010. Some elements of the highly politicized project have been altered or not yet realized, but the project will continue to contribute to gradual changes in Caracas’s social structure; Urban-Think Tank has set a new precedent for development in the informal city. The exhibition will be on view from October 3, 2010, through January 3, 2011 at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Concentrating on a group of architects who confront inequality by using the tools of design, Small Scale, Big Change will examine the ways these architects engage with local, social, economic, and political circumstances to develop positive architectural interventions that begin with an understanding of and deference to a community. T/ Urban-Think Tank P/ Iwan Baan
The birth of a multipolar world. President Chavez’s 11-day tri-continental tour through seven countries has resulted in 69 agreements that...