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Name: Catherina
Gender: Female
Member since: Mon Mar 3, 2008, 02:08 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

Hugo Chavez depicted as tyrant for challenging western oil domination: McQuaig

Hugo Chavez depicted as tyrant for challenging western oil domination: McQuaig
Venezuelan leader redirected vast sums of national wealth to the swollen ranks of Venezuela’s poor.

Columnist Linda McQuaig with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez after she interviewed him at the presidential palace in Caracas for her 2004 book on the oil industry, 'It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet.'

Had Hugo Chavez followed the pattern of many Third World leaders and concentrated on siphoning off his nation’s wealth for personal gain, he would have attracted little attention or animosity in the West.

Instead, he did virtually the opposite — redirecting vast sums of national wealth to the swollen ranks of Venezuela’s poor, along with free health care and education. No wonder he alienated local elites, who are used to being first in line at the national trough.


He was accused of muzzling the press, although anyone who’s ever turned on a TV in Caracas knows there’s no shortage of Fox News-style media outlets carrying a frothy mix of celebrities, U.S. sitcoms and anti-Chavez tirades.


What actually appears to have infuriated the western establishment was Chavez’s audacity in challenging — and scoring some victories against — western dominance of the world economy.


Up until the 1970s, the major western oil companies, known as the Seven Sisters, controlled the world oil market through a cartel established at a secret retreat at Achnacarry Castle in Scotland in 1928. The Achnacarry agreement set out in detail how the companies would maintain their lucrative control of oil markets into the future, setting quotas among themselves, never competing with each other and preventing competitors from getting in on the action. (Page 41)



About those food shortages in Venezuela... "In the End, Awful Journalism"

One gets the opposite impression from much of the international media. Take a look at the following paragraph from last week’s article in the The Economist:

Behind the propaganda, the Bolivarian revolution was a corrupt, mismanaged affair. The economy became ever more dependent on oil and imports. State takeovers of farms cut agricultural output. Controls of prices and foreign exchange could not prevent persistent inflation and engendered shortages of staple goods. Infrastructure crumbled: most of the country has suffered frequent power cuts for years. Hospitals rotted: even many of the missions languished. Crime soared: Caracas is one of the world’s most violent capitals. Venezuela has become a conduit for the drug trade, with the involvement of segments of the security forces.

Amazingly, almost every sentence in the paragraph is false. Agricultural output did not drop, but rather grew by 2 to 3 percent per year,

and grain production,

which was the government’s major focus, grew by 140 percent. Inflation was considerably lower under Chavez than the previous two governments (http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuelan-economic-and-social-performance-under-hugo-chavez-in-graphs#.UTtL8fS2Mzs.facebook). Food shortages and power cuts were caused by the explosion in consumption among the poor, not a fall in production.

Both electricity production and food production have increased to all time highs. Thousands of new health clinics have been built around the country. However, it is true that many hospitals remain inadequate, that crime has soared, and that Venezuela is still a conduit for the drug trade, as it shares a large border with Colombia.

The claims of increased oil dependence are also not borne out by the facts. It is true that oil as a percentage of total exports has increased, but this is largely due to the fact that oil prices have increased nearly ten-fold since Chavez came to power, making it inevitable that their value in relation to total exports would also increase.

The critics say Chavez squandered the country’s oil wealth, which he could have used to transform it into a modern state. Indeed, the oil boom left Venezuela awash in oil money, a situation that Chavez’s policies had a hand in creating, as he united OPEC and increased royalties and taxes on the oil sector, giving the state vastly more funds to work with. If only this “awful manager” knew how to administer the funds, critics say, Venezuela could have been well on its way to becoming a modern, developed nation.



last week's article in the Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2013/03/venezuela-after-ch%C3%A1vez

Chavez on the advantages of Socialism vs Capitalism & why Democracy is incompatible with Capitalism

Speaking Freely, Vol. 5: Hugo Chavez

In this special volume of the series, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks to members of the international press corps about the advantages of socialism over capitalism and explains why true democracy cannot exist under the latter. Noting that the American empire's practice of privatization, foreign intervention, and violence is not conducive to a humanistic society, Chavez instead offers that the healthiest government is one in which all of its citizens play a role in its construction and development-that the ultimate voice is the voice of the people and that Venezuela will always be committed to maintaining that ideal. Taped on location in Caracas, this briefing is one that will never be shown on American network news and one that should be viewed by anyone who is intrigued by this controversial world leader.

Anatomy of a Coup

Anatomy of a Coup

Published on Mar 6, 2013
The astonishing story of how an American sponsored coup d'état almost led to the collapse of democracy in Venezuela. Featuring exclusive interviews with the key ringleaders and extraordinary archive footage - Chavez in jail arguing with his captors, secret meetings with the plotters and soldiers storming the presidential palace as plotters escape. As a fly on the wall documentary, you've never seen anything like it.

Definitely a must watch. It exposes ever more lies by the Chavez haters.

Anatomy of a Coup

Anatomy of a Coup

Published on Mar 6, 2013
The astonishing story of how an American sponsored coup d'état almost led to the collapse of democracy in Venezuela. Featuring exclusive interviews with the key ringleaders and extraordinary archive footage - Chavez in jail arguing with his captors, secret meetings with the plotters and soldiers storming the presidential palace as plotters escape. As a fly on the wall documentary, you've never seen anything like it.

Definitely a must watch

George Galloway on his friend Hugo Chavez

George Galloway on his friend Hugo Chavez (and a horrid Republican Congressman troll weighing in)

Why Chavez Chose Social Safety Net Over Skyscrapers

Thom Hartmann: Why Chavez Chose Social Safety Net Over Skyscrapers

Venezuelans revered Hugo Chavez for the same reason that officials here in the U.S. hated him

We Have Lost Our Best Friend

We Have Lost Our Best Friend
By Webmaster on March 11, 2013

The best friend the Cuban people have had throughout their history died on the afternoon of March 5. A call via satellite communicated the bitter news. The significance of the phrase used was unmistakable.

Although we were aware of the critical state of his health, the news hit us hard. I recalled the times he joked with me, saying that when both of us had concluded our revolutionary task, he would invite me to walk by the Arauca River in Venezuelan territory, which made him remember the rest that he never had.

The honor befell us to have shared with the Bolivarian leader the same ideas of social justice and support for the exploited. The poor are the poor in any part of the world.


At that time, 66 years had passed since the Liberator Simón Bolívar wrote, ”…the United States would seem to be destined by fate to plague the Americas with miseries in the name of freedom.”


Not even he himself suspected how great he was.

¡Until victory forever (Hasta la victoria siempre), unforgettable friend!


How's this for a Labor Law?

While the US has been regressing by leaps and bounds this last decade, Venezuela has been protecting workers rights. No wonder the neoliberals are so eager to get their puppet Capriles in there.

Fact Sheet:
Venezuela’s New Labour Law 2012


This new law replaces the former labour law, passed in 1997 by President Rafael Caldera under pressure from the IMF. The so-called “Caldera Law” removed legal requirements from employers such as severance pay and compensation for unfair dismissal.

The new law will also build on the current rights established in the 1999 constitution. As a result of these constitutional rights, there has been a dramatic increase in the proportion of the work force engaging trade union activity. Before President Chavez’s election in 1998 trade union membership figures stood at 11%. Now, over 28% of the workforce is unionised.

Workers rights
 Free access to justice/legal services
 All workers have the right to social security, including housewives (and the recognition of the economic value of domestic work)
 Exploitative private subcontracting is abolished.
 Right to strike 120 hours after presenting a list of demands.

Gender equality
 The state has the responsibility to guarantee gender equality in all aspects of work and employers are responsible for encouraging and promoting the equal participation of women in managerial and director level roles.

Maternity and paternity leave
 Maternity leave increased to 6.5 months.
 It is made illegal to submit women to medical exams and pregnancy tests
 Suitable working conditions must be found for pregnant women.
 Protected job security from the start of the pregnancy right up to 2 years after giving birth.
 14 consecutive days leave for fathers from birth and 2 years job security
 Women who adopt a child under 3 years old will receive 26 weeks leave.
 Employers with over 20 employees must provide crèche for children between 3 months and 6 years old and a room for breastfeeding
 Permanent job security for the parents of disabled and gravely ill children.

 All discrimination on the grounds of age, race, sex, socio-economic background, creed, marital status, trade unionism, religion, politics, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, etc is prohibited.
 State must promote and support employment of disabled people. Employers must employ 5% disabled workforce.
 Workers cannot be discriminated against in their right to work on the basis of having a criminal record.
 Workers cannot be discriminated against on the basis of trade union affiliation.

Protection of children and minors
 Children under the age of 14 cannot work except in artistic and cultural areas.

Working hours
 Night workers have a right to 30% extra salary than day workers.
 At least 50% extra for extra hours worked (time and a half).
 Paid bank holidays and 50% extra if work these days (time and a half).
 Workers should not work over 5 hours continuously without a break of at least 1 hour a day.
 Workers should not work more than 5 days a week with 2 days continuous rest (paid) a week.
 No more than 8 hours a day - 40 hour week.
 If on night work - 7 hours a day, 35 a week.

Salary and holiday entitlement
 Christmas bonus for all workers, equal to one month’s pay minimum, due in the first 15 days of December.
 15 days holiday entitlement after 1 year and a holiday bonus of at least 15 day’s pay and 1 more day for each year worked up to a total of 30 days.

Decent working conditions
Employer must guarantee and safeguard the following:
 Physical, intellectual and moral development
 Exchange of knowledge and training at work
 Time for rest and recreation
 Healthy work environment
 Protection of life, health and safety at work
 Prevention of sexual and other harassment
 Free transport provided if live over 30km from workplace



- 30 days for each year of service, based on final salary per year,

- If employment was less than three months, severance is calculated at five days of salary per month of employment.

Vacations, year-end bonuses and other employment benefits

- vacation bonus is increased from 7 to 15 days of salary after the first year of employment plus an escalating factor of one additional day of salary per year up to a total of 30 days of salary.

- The minimum payment for yearend bonuses is increased from 15 to 30 days of salary

- suspension due to injuries or sickness- the employer is required to pay the difference of the salary that is not guaranteed by the Social Security Institute.

- prohibits outsourcing. (The law requires that those outsourced employees be transferred to the beneficiary company within 3 years from the passing and publication of the law. During the process of transferring the outsourced employees, these employees are protected against termination and shall keep the same employment benefits and conditions.

3. Workday

-work week is reduced from 44 to 40 hours a week.

The last 3 points taken from here http://www.mondaq.com/x/177808/Employee+Rights/Highlights+Of+The+New+Venezuelan+Labor+Law

Of course I agree with the 6 preceding comments, sadly the leap between AIE and the DLC

I agree with the 6 preceding comments, sadly the leap between AIE and the DLC is a tiny, tiny step. Neoliberals are drooling just as obscenely as the neocons over the largest proved oil reserves on the planet and they're only 4 hours away instead of 4 days like Middle Eastern oil. My snips don't do this justice, read the whole thing.

Chavez’s Death A Huge Opportunity -- If Venezuelans Can Seize It

By Lawrence J. Haas | March 07 2013 11:13 AM


First, will the government Chavez left behind conduct a fair election to replace him, which is supposed to occur within 30 days? Second, if the Venezuelan people get the opportunity of a fair election, will they choose wisely? The early signs don't necessarily point to governmental acquiescence in a free and fair plebiscite.


The great stakes involved in Venezuela’s future demand that Washington and its allies, in the region and beyond, pressure Caracas to give its people a chance to chart a new course for their country.

Washington and its allies also should give some serious thought to providing covert aid, as appropriate, to the likely opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, who lost a relatively close race to Chavez in October and who had pledged to steer Venezuela in a dramatically new, pro-Western direction.


Now, ponder a future that the death of Chavez, followed by a victory for Capriles, would bring.

All at once, the region’s socialist axis, which has already suffered a sharp blow with the death of its charismatic leader, would weaken further as Capriles closed the financial pipeline through which Caracas propped up the dictators, loosened his government’s control of the economy, and moved to U.S.-style free markets.


Lawrence J. Haas, former communications director for Vice President Al Gore, is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and author of “Sound the Trumpet: The United States and Human Rights Promotion.”


The part about "give some serious thought to providing covert aid" is too funny because Capriles and his party receive generous funds from the International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy.



In reports published by the USA State Department on Venezuela and published by Wikileaks, Capriles was linked to the assault on the Cuban Embassy in Caracas, and as a suspect in the assassination of the Venezuelan Prosecutor, Danilo Anderson.


On April 12, 2002, during the most tense hours of the coup d’etat, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba was assaulted by a group of extreme right demonstrators that were led by two individuals identified in Venezuela to terrorist acts against Cuba, they are Salvador Romani and Ricardo Koesling. These two were soon after joined by Capriles and the former commissar of the DISIP (former secret police), the assassin, Henry Lopez Sisco.

They cut the electricity and water supply to the diplomatic headquarters, they destroyed the vehicles of the diplomats and they surrounded the embassy so that no one could leave it. Capriles Radonsky was caught on film by the Venezuelan TV stations climbing a ladder and jumping over the embassy fence, then enter the embassy and threatening the Ambassador of Cuba in Venezuela, German Sanchez Otero, with more violence if he did not give up the Venezuelan officials whom they thought were hidden in the Embassy.



After many lies and spins of the right concerning the circumstances of the assault, on March 16 2004, the prosecutor Danilo Anderson, in charge of more than 400 cases of people suspected in the coup d’etat of April 2002, issued an order of arrest against Capriles, accusing him of violating the fundamental principles of international law, violating private property and of abuse of power. While these proceedings were going on, Capriles was kept in detention until September.

On November 18, the young prosecutor died when his car exploded, destroyed by a bomb that contained the explosives C-4, a powerful artifact the type that has been used en in numerous occasions by Cuban-American terrorists.


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