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Profile Information

Name: Catherina
Gender: Female
Member since: Mon Mar 3, 2008, 03:08 PM
Number of posts: 35,568

About Me

There are times that one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I don\'t know the answers. I think sometimes one wishes one was dumber than one is so one doesn\'t have to look out into the world and see the pain that\'s out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do - Bernie Sanders http://www.democraticunderground.com/128040277

Journal Archives

Maduro to Spanish Foreign Minister : "Take your nose out of Venezuela"

Posted on 05/01/13

The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, advised the authorities of Spain to "get their noses out of Venezuela", over the proposal of the Chancellor of the nation, José Manuel García Margallo to mediate between the opposition and the Bolivarian government because of the violence from the rightwing after their refusal to recognize the results of the April 14 election.

During a meeting with socialist workers in the Junin Theatre reopened in downtown Caracas, President Maduro contrasted the reality of the Venezuelan people with those of the citizens of Spain, where workers are marching in the streets because their pensions were taken away and their wages were lowered.

"Spain's foreign minister came out and said that he's ready to come mediate in Venezuela. Sir, don't come mediate in Venezuela, go to your own streets to respond to the Spanish working class from whom you've taken away the right to work, salary and pensions," he said.

"Spanish Foreign Minister, take your nose out of Venezuela. Out of here, Spanish Foreign Minister, you impertinent. Venezuela is to be respected," stressed the head of state after which he was cheered by the audience shouting "that's how you govern."

He then sent a special greeting to "the Spanish working class. "They have to get out in the street to fight for what the fascist right took away from them. Just imagine what that right would do if it could get its hands on political power in Venezuela"....



US 'deeply concerned' by reports of bipartisan support for illegal wars

Whoops no, wrong title. That would be too good to be true.

For anyone under the illusion that the US is "deeply concerned' about increased homelessness, unemployment, the accelerated loss of civil liberties in the US, all the innocent people being tortured at Guantanamo, US corporations not paying taxes as they subvert democracy, here's what the US is concerned about right now:

US 'deeply concerned' by brawl in Venezuela assembly

(AFP) – 58 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — The United States said Wednesday it was "deeply concerned" by a brawl in Venezuela's parliament, urging calm in the wake of the country's disputed presidential elections.

Political tensions boiled over in the National Assembly Tuesday as government and opposition lawmakers clashed physically.

"Let me speak clearly: violence has no place in a representative, democratic system and is particularly inappropriate within a National Assembly," US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington.

"We're deeply concerned by the violence that occurred, express our solidarity with those injured and again we urge all parties to refrain from acts and attitudes which contribute to physical confrontation."


Ventrell also reiterated Washington's request for a vote recount.


LMAO. Be concerned all you want. Be concerned rather that your polite bipartisan congress dragged our country into wars we didn't want and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Be concerned rather that your complicit, bipartisan Congress is taking food out of the mouths of the elderly, the poor, the young, the defenseless to fatten the coffers of corporations. Be concerned rather that your Congress works for the banking industry. Concerned lol. Pffft. Try to find something worthwhile to be *concerned* about.

More Evo? Yes, please!

More Evo? Yes, please!
April 30, 2013 — Sabina Becker

From Bolivia, a little good news today:

The Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal of Bolivia has declared it constitutional that president Evo Morales and vice-president Alvaro García Linera may stand for re-election in the general elections of 2014. The case was decided in light of the fact that the first term of the government of the Plurinational State took place after the enactment of the new Bolivian constitution, approved in February 2009.

The president of the tribunal, Ruddy Flores, informed during a press conference that the tribunal ruled in favor of the candidacy of Morales in response to a consultation submitted by the parliament on the insistence of Morales’s party.

“The seven magistrates have unanimously determined the constitutionality of the project, in respect to Article 4,” Flores said.

The Bolivian constitution limits presidents to two consecutive terms in office, but Morales has always maintained that his first term (2006-2010) cannot be counted, since it took place before the re-founding of the country and did not complete the legal period of five years.


Once re-elected, Morales will govern Bolivia until the year 2020, and will thus become the longest-reigning Bolivian president.


Of course, the opposition are crying foul, but that’s to be expected. They have a bad case of the butthurt. Even if Evo were to stand down and let Alvaro run in his stead, the MAS would still win. And Evo could always run again when Alvaro’s term was up, and win handily. But since he didn’t complete his first term anyway when the new constitution was enacted (triggering new federal elections, which he won), that point is moot. Evo has a case, and he won fair and square in the courts. As he will at the ballot box again, when the time comes, next year.

So we’ll be seeing a lot more of his chipmunk cheeks and groovy aguayo-trimmed jackets in the foreseeable future. The only potential downside to all this is that we’ll also see more putschist efforts to topple him, like those of 2008. Let’s hope his federal police are keeping their eyes open, and their pistols well oiled.


Auditing Process Begins in Venezuela amid Opposition Claims of “Lies” and “Persecution”

Auditing Process Begins in Venezuela amid Opposition Claims of “Lies” and “Persecution”

By Tamara Pearson

Merida, April 30th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – As Venezuela’s electoral organisation begins auditing the 14 April elections, ex-opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has announced his team will not participate, Spain has offered to mediate the “conflict”, and the arrest of retired general Antonio Rivero has been met with accusations of “political persecution”.

Auditing process

Yesterday the National Electoral Council (CNE) began preparations to audit the 46% of voting boxes not already audited on the day of the elections. The process is the result of a deal reached between the CNE and the opposition, although since the making the agreement Capriles has withdrawn his support for it.

Yesterday the CNE set up the technical group which will carry out the auditing, approved by the electoral organisation on 18 April. The opposition requested one witness per candidate in the broadcasting/information room, and another one in the “contingency rooms” with working group members, which was approved by the CNE.

“These additional guarantees, including the second auditing...add up to a total of 18 auditing processes, which are now not being recognised and are being silenced . With this, they are seeking to damage the electoral process, alluding to things that were already checked and certified by their own technicians, as is demonstrated by the minutes that are publicly available,” CNE head Tibisay Lucena said.

Nevertheless, the CNE is continuing with the process, and now that the technical group is set up, today is conducting the random selection process of boxes in storage that were not already audited on 14 April.

From 2-5 May the material to be audited will be organised, and from today until 2 May the CNE will be selecting and training the auditors, who will then be accredited on 3 May.

Then, the first phase of this second audit will occur between 6-15 May, the second phase from 16-25 May and the third phase from 26 May to 4 June. Venezuelan citizens will conduct the audit in the Mariches storehouse, where all the boxes are currently stored.

A team from the Central University of Venezuela will accompany the process and 24 auditors, 60 external auditing assistants, 60 CNE assistants, 6 external coordinators, 12 CNE coordinators, and 30 technicians from political organisations will be involved in the process.

Capriles’ stance on auditing process

Capriles today confirmed that his team is “preparing evidence” in order to legally challenge the electoral results through Venezuela’s Supreme Court. He said they would likely lodge the appeal between this Thursday and the following Monday. He has until 6 May to challenge the election results.

"The next step, as I have indicated, will be for me to request an annulment of the results, and in so doing eliminate the matter legally as a domestic issue," Capriles said.

Further, he called the audit a “farce”, said that Lucena was being “ordered” by “her party”, and claimed his reason for refusing to back the process was that there won’t be “access to the voting books, the only instrument that personalises the vote, where the thumb prints and the signatures are”.

Capriles said the heads of the CNE “lie and make fun of” Venezuelans by saying they will conduct a complete audit, and “sooner than later the country will have a new election...a government like this, based on illegitimacy, won’t be able to sustain the lie”.

"I have no doubt that this will end up before an international body," Capriles concluded. This document was submitted by the opposition to the CNE, claiming to prove fraud committed during the voting on 14 April.

United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Diosdado Cabello also stated he didn’t agree with the second audit, arguing, “If those who requested it aren’t going to be present, what’s the sense in doing it? Why spend time, money and work ?...The opposition knows that the result of these audits will favour Nicolas Maduro ...however, we respect the decision of the CNE”.

Spain offers to mediate

Spain has offered to mediate between the two sides "to guarantee peace, prosperity and stability in Venezuela," its foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo said. Garcia is currently visiting Washington in order to speak at a meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and today is set to meet with the U.S’s John Kerry. After the 14 April elections, Garcia initially supported a recount and “noted” that the CNE had proclaimed Maduro the winner of the elections; however Spain later officially recognised the victory.

Garcia clarified that the Venezuelan government is the one who should request mediation.

Meanwhile, two opposition legislators, Angel Medina and Tomas Guanipa, informed press today that since 22 April they have been visiting political leaders of the European Union, including Spain, France, Germany and Belgium, to “present and explain the political situation in Venezuela”. According to Guanipa, the leaders have reacted with “astonishment” to the “proof” of persecution that “Venezuelans are subject to, especially workers who decided to support Capriles”.

Arrest of opposition leader and retired general Revero

Late last week, Venezuelan security forces arrested a US citizen, claiming he was connected to an alleged plot to “violently destabilise the country” after the elections. As part of the investigation into the plot, authorities also presented a video showing opposition member and retired army general Antonio Rivero appearing to give tactical advice to opposition protesters on 15 April. In the video Rivero also referred to the role of Capriles in leading those protests.

Rivero has now been arrested for allegedly being an accessory to a crime and conspiring to commit a felony, according to his lawyer Guillermo Heredia. Rivero is being held in the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) headquarters, and has declared himself on a hunger strike.

In response to the arrest, opposition leader Leopold Lopez alleged that Rivero is a “political prisoner” and that it “is the first step towards the illegalisation of political parties” in Venezuela.

Capriles called the arrest a “sign of fascism”.

According to Venezuelan Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, the violent events which took place on 15 April and 16 April, after the general election, left 9 dead and 78 injured.

Update on voting results

The CNE yesterday updated the voting results to include votes cast overseas. 93.1% of these votes (53,845) were for Capriles, and 6.8% (3,919) were for Maduro. 62% of voters registered with Venezuelan embassies voted. 88.7% (3,383) of those in Colombia voted for Capriles, and 97.9% of those in the United States (18,237) voted for him. To be eligible to vote overseas Venezuelans must have legal residency in those countries.

That means that 99.93% of votes have now been tallied, with Nicolas Maduro obtaining 7,586,251 votes (50.61%) and Capriles 7,361,512 votes (49.12%).

Published on Apr 30th 2013 at 7.52pm

This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license

Honor Venezuela's Election; Maduro Won Fair and Square

Honor Venezuela's Election; Maduro Won Fair and Square

By Daniel Kovalik - Post Gazette, April 30th 2013

I just returned from Venezuela where I was one of 170 international election observers from around the world, including India, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, South Korea and France. Among the observers were two former presidents (of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic), judges, lawyers and high-ranking officials of national electoral councils.

What we found was a transparent, reliable, well-run and thoroughly audited electoral system. Two unique and endearing features of the Venezuelan process is that both campaigning and alcohol sales are forbidden in the final two days before an election.

What has been barely mentioned by the U.S. mainstream press is that over 54 percent of the voting machines in the April 14 election have been audited to ensure that the electronic votes match the back-up paper receipts. This was done in the presence of witnesses from both the governing and opposition parties right in the local polling places. I witnessed such an audit, and the Venezuelan electoral commission has since agreed to audit 100 percent of the ballots.


The United States could halt this violence quickly by recognizing the results of the April 14 elections. The reason it does not do so is obvious -- it does not like the government chosen by the Venezuelan people and would be glad to see it collapse in the face of violence.

We should all understand that the United States is undermining, not supporting, democracy and stability in Venezuela.


Here is the proposed bill in full, on Scribd


Here is where you can track the bill. The bill itself is not yet provided on govtrack

H.R. 1687: To provide for the imposition of sanctions with respect to foreign persons responsible for or complicit in ordering, controlling, or ...

... otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of ALBA countries, and for other purposes.

Apr 23, 2013 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Referred to Committee

Introduced ------------------Apr 23, 2013
Referred to Committee -------Apr 23, 2013
Reported by Committee ...
Passed House ...
Passed Senate ...
Signed by the President


'trying 2 bait US 2 get involved, 2 try 2 establish order in a country... spiraling out of control'

“I wouldn’t be surprised with summary arrests. I wouldn’t be surprised if they declared a state of siege to get people off the street. You’re also trying to bait the United States to get involved and to try to establish order in a country that’s very close to spiraling out of control.”

Conressman Adam Schiff, (D-West Hollywood)


Press Release for H.R. 1687

(Emphasis and underlines, theirs)

Press Release

Ros-Lehtinen and Sires Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Stand With The People of ALBA Nations and Hold Violators of Human Rights Accountable
Apr 25, 2013

Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1687 - Countering ALBA Act of 2013. The Countering ALBA Act is a bill that:

- Directs the United States Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States at the OAS to defend, protect, and strengthen the independent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to advance the protection of human rights throughout the Western Hemisphere.

- Urges the President to sanction persons who are officials of ALBA Governments or persons acting on behalf of ALBA Governments, who the President determines are responsible for or complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of ALBA countries. Such sanctions may include: ineligibility for a visa to enter the United States, blocking of property, and prohibition on financial transactions pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

- Calls on the President to transmit to Congress a report on persons that are engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to ALBA countries that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of ALBA countries; or limit access to print or broadcast media.

- Directs the Secretary of State to transmit a comprehensive strategy to ensure that ALBA governments are democratic governments that are committed to making constitutional changes that would ensure regular free and fair elections and the full enjoyment of basic civil liberties and human rights by the citizens of ALBA countries; and have made demonstrable progress in establishing independent judiciaries and electoral councils.

Ros-Lehtinen said on the introduction of the bill,
“I thank my colleague Congressman Albio Sires for joining me on introducing the Countering ALBA Act. Last month, ALBA leaders failed in their attempt to weaken the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States and the latest human rights report from the Department of State illustrates that the regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia continue to oppress their people and violate human rights. This important bipartisan bill will hold the oppressors accountable by sanctioning those persons who are responsible for or complicit in serious human rights violations and directs the President to defend and protect the independent Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua reminds us that democratic principles continue to be under threat in the Hemisphere. The bill also calls for the Secretary of State to create a comprehensive strategy to ensure that free and fair elections are held and reforms are made to establish real independent judiciaries and electoral councils.

Sires said on the introduction of the bill,
“ I join my colleague, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in advocating accountability against persons responsible for human rights violations and calling for strengthening the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This Act will help advance the principle that democracy, rule of law, and freedoms of expression should be freely exercised by all peoples in the hemisphere.”


U.S. Congressmen introduce bill calling for sanctions on ALBA countries

U.S. Congressmen call for sanction on ALBA countries
Posted on 4/27/13

A bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives introduced legislation yesterday to the government to impose a range of sanctions, including the denial of visas, against "officials in ALBA countries who are involved in serious human rights abuses" .

The extreme rightwing Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, and Albio Sires, DN.J., both with ties to the Cuban-American terrorist mafia, want to apply sanctions on government officials from countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA ), or persons acting on their behalf, "if the U.S. determines that the Executive is involved in serious human rights abuses" in those countries, reported (the Spanish News Agency) EFE.

The list of sanctions includes denial of entry visas to the United States, the freezing of assets and a ban on financial transactions in the country, according to a statement from the office of Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the committee that supports the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles in Miami.

The measure, which must be approved by both houses of Congress, asks the White House to submit a report to the legislature on individuals "involved in censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit or penalize freedom of expression and assembly" of citizens in the countries of the ALBA, or "that limit access to the press or broadcast media."

The bipartisan measure, contained in 23 pages, also calls for the United States, through its representative at the Organization of American States (OAS), to "defend, protect and strengthen the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights". The controversial body is virtually a dependency of the US State Department.



Directly Related:

The Online Magazine of the American Enterprise Institute

Latins Rally to Restore Human Rights Panel
By Roger F. Noriega
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Filed under: World Watch, Government & Politics

Latin American countries have finally rallied and rejected a bid by leftist regimes to silence the region’s human rights watchdog. Now regional democracies must restore the organization’s credibility after years of yielding to Chavistas.

In what might be remembered as the end of the line for Chavismo as a regional political force, last week key Latin American countries soundly rejected a bid by leftist regimes to silence the region’s human rights watchdog. Those democratic nations – along with the United States – must now retake some of the momentum that they ceded to Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chávez’s destructive agenda.


The latest assault on the commission came as Ecuador, Venezuela, and like-minded states proposed “reforms” that would have severely restricted the IACHR’s budget and taken away tools that it has long used to hold governments accountable for rights violations. Many democratic governments sat on the sidelines rather than be bullied by Chávez’s rabid rabble, but human rights groups and free press advocates resisted valiantly. Members of the U.S. Congress from both parties weighed in forcefully to defend the commission, and the Washington Post helped ensure that the attack received prominent attention in the U.S. print media.


In June 2009, virtually every government in the region helped scrap the historic Inter-American Democratic Charter when they advocated the re-admission of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba to the ranks of the OAS. They also went along as the OAS ignored systematic human rights abuses in leftist states while sanctioning governments that did not tow the Chavista line. Chávez bought, bullied, and berated his way to exaggerated influence in the Americas. Much damage could have been avoided if governments that opposed the Chavista agenda had simply defended their principles.

It is possible that Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will regroup to launch another attack on the human rights system. However, with Chávez dead and his heirs preoccupied with their own survival at home, it is likely that this destructive diplomacy will run out of steam.


Roger F. Noriega is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; he was assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and ambassador to the Organization of American States in the administration of former President George W. Bush from 2001-2005.


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