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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

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UNASUR Supports Venezuela's Electoral System

UNASUR Supports Venezuela's Electoral System

By Agencia Venezolana de Noticias

Chief of an electoral observation mission of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Carlos Alvarez said Wednesday that Venezuela possesses a reliable and transparent electoral system that inspires "plenty of confidence".

Alvarez said Venezuela's election infrastructure satisfies the requirements of a free and fair democracy, reported Prensa Latina.

On April 14, the UNASUR Electoral Council will again observe Venezuelan elections, after first doing so last October.

On 7 October 2012, Alvarez recalled, there was high participation rate in Venezuela's presidential elections, even though voting is not compulsory. In that process, Hugo Chavez won with 55.07 per cent of the ballot; 8,191,132 votes.

Secretary of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), Alvarez added that on April 14 he will chair "a neutral mission, which allows UNASUR to gather information, knowledge and experience to have a stronger Electoral Council."

"As UNASUR has an Electoral Council fully joined to regional tasks, the self-determination of its electoral processes will be...more guaranteed in the region," said Alvarez.

Alvarez said that initiatives such as the council remove the need for supervision from the so-called developed nations. "Less and less countries request...international observation [from] the developed world."

Latin America, he said, "has eliminated electoral fraud and the military coup d'etat, which used to be two tools for the [r]ight to prevent popular processes."

Concerning the recent passing of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez, he said that it "obviously left a very big emptiness, as in Venezuela as in Latin America, as in the rest of the world."

Edited by Venezuelanalysis

Published on Mar 29th 2013 at 2.35pm

Source: AVN


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

UNASUR supports Venezuela's electoral system


Alvarez said Venezuela's election infrastructure passes the tests of all critics and questions, which translates "in a great strength" for the political and electoral process in this country, reported Prensa Latina.

Accompanying Venezuela's presidential elections next April 14 is the third opportunity for the UNASUR Electoral Council in Latin American elections, being the first in Venezuela last October and then in Ecuador last month of February.


In addition, Alvarez said that with this progress in Latin America, it will not need the supervision of the so-called developed nations. "Less and less countries request for international observation of the developed world."

Latin America, he said, "has eliminated electoral fraud and the military coup d'État, which used to be two tools for the Right to prevent popular processes."



Latins Rally to Restore Human Rights Panel (Right wing AEI bs)

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.


The what? The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights? Lol, this is the same "Human Rights" organization that refused, absolutely refused, to condemn the 2002 coup against Chavez. Refused to do anything when the US, Francs and Canada kidnapped the legitimate President of Haiti to install their puppets.

The assholes even dare demand that national Supreme Courts reverse decisions that don't suit the US.

Say, where were there guys for the 2000 coup in the US? Bradley Manning- any word? Guantanamo? Embargo against Cuba? UN committed massacres in Haiti? The coup against Zelaya? Against Paraguay?

Of course not. Headquarters are in Washington DC.

The 14 April Venezuelan Presidential Election Campaign: Start of a New Era

The 14 April Venezuelan Presidential Election Campaign: Start of a New Era


Although the results of the presidential elections in a few weeks are quite predictable, we are going through a fragile, vulnerable period, with a future that is less predictable. These elections, because of their place in history- the start of the era of the Bolivarian revolution without Chavez – have some special characteristics and factors. The significance of these factors, of these weaknesses, opportunities, relationships of power, and so on, goes beyond the voting on 14 April.

In the Bolivarian revolution camp:

Unity and leadership: Both the government, and the Bolivarian revolution, need a collective leadership now. At the national level, interim president Nicolas Maduro has been clear of the importance of this, and for the first time in many years attended the national meeting of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV). He addressed the meeting, and obtained the party’s support for his candidature on 14 April. 14 parties in total have supported Maduro’s candidature, two more than supported Chavez last October.

Facing elections, at a national level, forces within the PSUV are united and working well together. However, it is likely that afterwards, there will be some factional or sectarian behaviour as different tendencies claim to be the inheritors of Chavez’s legacy.

At a regional level, in Merida for example, it’s a different story. Newly elected PSUV governor Alexis Ramirez not only excluded all pro-Chavez groups apart from the PSUV from the regional electoral campaign committee, but also only chose people from his own tendency within the PSUV.

Likewise, unfortunately the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), which was meant to be a space of collaboration between around 30,000 registered movements and collectives, has become just another electoral platform. In Merida, the GPP has been inactive since before last October, and now, regional leaders have chosen three PSUV leaders to convoke its meetings and head up its electoral campaign for Maduro.

The vultures of the international private media would like there to be just one person at the head of the Bolivarian revolution. It is easier to demonise it that way, it is more convenient for them. They aren’t used to talking about (and don’t want to talk about) collective leaderships or mass people’s protagonism. However, although Maduro is the candidate, he is aware of the importance of a different kind of leadership now, and we have seen this in practice, as various ministers and leaders like Jaua, Rodriguez, Villegas, and so on, make important public announcements.

Consolidation of Maduro: “I swear to you Chavez that my vote is for Maduro” – goes the new slogan (it rhymes in Spanish). Over the last few months people have warmed massively to Maduro, and have realised just how wise Chavez was in foreseeing this exact situation, and indicating who his preferred candidate was. His selection of Maduro meant the revolution did not have to spend time and energy arguing over its candidate- energy that is often useful in other contexts, but not when there is so little time before the election. Chavez lent Maduro his full support, but also chose a man who was almost perfect for the job.

Maduro is strong, committed, knowledgeable, a hard worker, humble, and somewhat reserved. The people trust in his loyalty to Chavez’s legacy and to the Socialist Program 2013-2019. He drove a bus to register as a candidate- capitalising on his working class and union origins. He’s getting better at public speaking, and the fact that he is less charismatic and extroverted than Chavez is a good thing, because it means the focus can stay on the people who say they are Chavez now, rather than on this new personality.

Although campaigning officially begins on Tuesday, Maduro’s characteristic, bold moustache has been drawn on the heart-flag used in last October’s campaign, painted on walls, and drawn proudly on people’s faces in Facebook photos. Maduro has been consolidated as a leader, but one without any pretentions of trying to replace the role that Chavez had.

Sympathy not a major support factor: Surprisingly, and despite the mainstream media trying to claim so, the sympathy factor following Chavez’s passing has not been a very significant contributor to Maduro’s support. According to the latest Datanalisis poll conducted on 23 March, the voting intention for Maduro is 53.1% and for Capriles, 35.6%; a small increase from their last poll conducted ten days previously. Then, the private, opposition supporting poll company found that Maduro’s support was 49.2%, compared to Capriles’34.8%. In the Datanalisis poll conducted before Chavez passed away, Maduro had 46.4% support, and Capriles 34.3%. The results show the 16% or so of undecided respondents moving more towards Maduro.

Sympathy and strong emotions have only increased Maduro’s support slightly, but will probably play a bigger role in terms of overall voter turnout. However, it is support for the Bolivarian revolution, rather than emotions, that is keeping voting intention for Maduro at around 18% higher than Capriles.

Electoral outcome aims: It would be politically useful for Maduro to obtain more votes than Chavez got in October. Such a target seems possible, if not likely. There is a much stronger feeling now than there was in October that this election is key, and that we “could lose everything” if we lose this election. Many activists who are usually frustrated with the PSUV and the constant election campaigning, people who usually prefer to continue their work in movements, collectives, and other revolutionary organising, are feeling the need, this time, to get involved in the election campaign. Participation in the PSUV youth in Merida has also grown.

This means that it is somewhat possible to at least pass the nine million vote mark (if not reach the aim of ten million), and send a strong message internationally that the revolution isn’t over without Chavez. It is not dispirited, lost, or confused, but rather more focused and determined. Such a victory would also boost Chavista motivation post elections, when one of our hardest periods yet will begin.

The ‘We’re all Chavez’ dynamic: There was a slightly new dynamic at a march here in Merida a few weeks ago. While it was the usual PSUV leaders and bureaucrats who gave speeches, the end of march rally was chaired by a media activist, and all sorts of people who had been marching simply made their way to stand up on the stage.

People are taking the ‘We are Chavez’ slogan seriously, although their interpretation of what it means varies. For some, it is mostly emotional and symbolic: Chavez lives on, but for many it means the need for each person to take more initiative, responsibility, and to work harder. There’s a healthy confidence and boldness in the slogan; capitalist society teaches us to devalue our own potential to change things and be active protagonists in society, and it especially teaches that to the poor and to people in third world countries. But it’s time for all of us to fight.

Opportunities: This emerging new dynamic means however that this period and the current electoral campaign are key opportunities for the grassroots and the revolutionary left to work together, increase their profile, and strengthen their political influence relative to the centre-left and bureaucratic elements.

Type of electoral campaign: After a period of grieving, groups of all kinds are now holding general meetings and discussing the electoral campaign and the new political situation. Many of these meetings begin with a symbolic minute of clapping for Chavez (rather than a minute of silence). Then, it is down to business, because unlike last October when there were three official months allowed for campaigning, this time there are only ten days.

At one of these meetings, someone said, “For 14 years now we’ve campaigned in election after election, in bourgeois style campaigns with a carnival of postering and content-less slogans, of parties seeking votes without deepening consciousness, and spending too much money”. The comment isn’t entirely true- too much is spent on campaigns, but nothing compared to what would be spent comparatively speaking in the US, for example. The comrade’s argument reflects though, an accumulated frustration felt by the more revolutionary left with electoralism.

Here in Merida city, some collectives have got together, for the first time in years, to coordinate campaign efforts. The meetings have been small (around 25 people representing 11 groups), and disappointing, but are also just the beginning. Collectives discussed contingency places for if the opposition tries to pull something, and individual collectives have decided to hold cinema-forums and debates in their communities and spaces of influence.

In the opposition camp:

Disunity: Unlike in October, this time round the opposition is running on just one ticket, as the MUD, on the ballot paper. It paints a picture of unity, but the reality is quite different. There are power struggles within the MUD, especially between the older, traditional AD and Copei parties, and the newer First Justice and Popular Will ones. One opposition substitute, Ricardo Sanchez, yesterday denounced that the latter parties were encouraging violence in order to gain influence. Further, it seems pretty clear that the MUD’s nomination of Capriles- publically announcing it in a way that pressured him to accept – was a set up. Capriles will lose this election, for the second time in a row, which could be a political setback for him within the opposition.

Deluded or disillusioned: According to polls, around 20% of respondents believe that Capriles will win. Last October elections, even more believed he would win. Despite constantly losing elections providing evidence to the contrary, this sector tends to believe whatever Capriles and the private local media say.

On the other hand, there is a larger proportion, this time, of opposition supporters who realise it is a lost battle. They would have seen the millions of people queuing to farewell Chavez’s remains. It is likely that this time around this sector of the opposition will be less motivated to vote, despite maintaining their support for Capriles. On the other hand, Maduro supporters have to be weary of the same phenomenon for the opposite reason, triumphalism and the solid belief he’ll win.

Strengths and weaknesses: The opposition’s mobilisation power is very weak, its student protests are small, and Capriles didn’t even have a mobilisation when he registered as candidate. The first campaign rally he spoke at he held here in Merida. It mobilised the same number of people as a Chavista rally a few blocks away that didn’t have the benefit of Maduro speaking.

The opposition’s main strength is its national hold on the media, and the basically unconditional support given it by international private media. This time round it also has the economic situation in its favour. While things are mostly fine and normal, the opposition has exploited the recent devaluation of the bolivar in its discourse, and referred to the new government exchange system as a “second devaluation”. The opposition is also using the line “include all Venezuelans” or “Venezuela for everyone”, arguing that opposition supporters often feel excluded from institutions and public life. Clearly the opposition’s real interests have nothing to do with inclusiveness, but the slogan resonates with some people who are sick of the “polarisation” as portrayed to them in national and international media.

Capriles has also made the mistake of mocking Maduro’s bus driver background, a pretty silly thing to do if he hoped to get any support from the majority poorer or working classes. Largely, his campaigning and speeches have been clumsy, and at times absurd. His comments about the government lying about the date of Chavez’s passing, instead of creating distrust in the government, only made him seem insensitive and desperate.

Using dirty tactics: Because the opposition is not going to win, they have been depending more on casting doubt on the electoral system, on insults, and on small pockets of violence, than campaign promises, proposals, or arguments.

Last Friday opposition youth and students clashed violently with police and presented the CNE officials with a list of demands for a “transparent and fair” election. Media and their spokespeople have also being using that rhetoric, as has the US government.

Diego Arria, a former Venezuelan diplomat, wrote in the Huffington Post that the CNE is “no more than a tool of the regime (sic: Venezuelan government) to maintain its power”, and Capriles has argued that the CNE isn’t independent, and its directors are biased towards the Bolivarian revolution. The campaign against the CNE makes little sense, given the opposition used the CNE to run its own primaries last year, and also recognised last December and last October’s election results. It’s also a pretty lousy way to motivate people to vote.

The night Chavez died and we all went to the plaza, I remember talking with some comrades about contingency plans in case of opposition violence that night, or later nights. I remember we felt vulnerable, and we predicted that at the very least the next day there would be panic buying in fear of scarcity provoked by the opposition, and possible disturbances.

In reality though, the mood was calm and respectful the next day, there was more buying than usual, but it wasn’t panicked. Since then, some products such as milk, yellow cheese, and flour are still a bit hard to get, but the opposition hasn’t reacted how we thought then that they would. Last week over a period of just 5 days there were 8 small incidences of armed or violent confrontations by the opposition here in Merida city, but they haven’t been at all on the scale we imagined, and that we’ve experienced in the past.

With the sale of Globovision apparently set for after the elections, it feels like the opposition is practically giving up. That would be useful, in that if they did that we could focus more energy on the revolution’s problems, yet it seems unlikely.

Possible reasons behind their tactics, and aims for the elections and beyond: Apart from feeling defeated, it is possible that the opposition’s tactics aren’t as stupid as they seem. It is likely they are testing the revolution without Chavez, rehearsing in a sense, and considering their options in a context where they can’t seem to win elections. Some feel they are heading towards a recall election, and Ricardo Sanchez denounced yesterday that they were planning to not recognise the election results. Such a move though would have more impact in the international media than it would among Venezuelans, who know their electoral system well and participate massively in it because they trust it.

The opposition’s tactics aim to discredit the revolution and the government, which is one way of getting overseas (imperialist) financial support. The US and the opposition, and most people actually, also want to know how strong the revolution is now without Chavez. Post elections, the opposition will no doubt work on encouraging divisions within Chavismo, and the international private media will be by their side.


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

Three Opposition Legislators Withdraw Support, Allege Plans to not Recognise Election Results

Three Opposition Legislators Withdraw Support, Allege Plans to not Recognise Venezuelan Election Results


Merida, March 26th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Three opposition substitute legislators, Ricardo Sanchez, Carlos Vargas, and Andres Avelino announced publically yesterday that they were withdrawing their support for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

Sanchez, substitute legislator for Maria Corina Machado, alleged that the opposition alliance MUD have plans to not recognise the 14 April election results, and criticised Capriles’ campaign team for “encouraging a climate of instability and violence, where the terrible and painful consequence ...intensifies the perverse division between Venezuelans”.

Sanchez said he wanted to prevent opposition students from being used like “cannon fodder” as part of the supposed MUD plan.

He also called on the parliamentary committee for internal politics to investigate the alleged plan.

“The country demands responsibility from those who hold a government position, that’s why we’re withdrawing our support for Henrique Capriles,” Sanchez said.

In response to a question from a private media journalist over if he had received money to withdraw his support, Sanchez responded, “It’s not me who has been caught on video receiving cheques”. He was referring to an incident last year in which an opposition supporter was filmed receiving illegal campaign funds.

The moves by the opposition supporters follow clashes last week between opposition students, police, and Chavistas outside the National Electoral Council (CNE). They also follow weeks of comments by opposition leaders and press claiming the CNE isn’t “transparent and fair”.

Sanchez defected from the MUD coalition last November at the start of the campaign for the regional elections. He left with three other legislators, and at the time criticised the MUD for its internal decision making mechanisms, and “failure” to learn from political mistakes.



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

‘Vampire’ holiday: The passing of Chávez

‘Vampire’ holiday: The passing of Chávez
By Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

March 22, 2013

Transcribed from a March 8, 2013, audio column at prisonradio.org. The writer is a political prisoner housed at SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, Pa.

The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has brought out the malicious and carnal glee of the corporate press, who report breathlessly, not only on his mortal passing, but an end to the Bolivarian Revolution.

They are the voices of their vampire, Wall Street bosses, who delight in owning more of the earth, no matter how much misery they may cause for millions.

In fact, Chávez was beloved by the vast majority of Venezuelans — poor, Indian, and African — who saw in him their rising in the world.

Upon his death, seven nations declared days of mourning in his honored memory — Cuba, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Iran. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, decreed three days of mourning and called Chávez an inspiration of the revolutionary transformation sweeping through Latin America.

Argentina’s president, Cristina Kirchner, also ordered three days of mourning to mark the passing of Chávez.

For millions of Latin Americans, Chávez brought dignity to them, by refusing to play the puppet for El Norte — the U.S. Empire.

He helped found ALBA [the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America], the International Latin American Bank, and became, in Fidel Castro’s retirement, a son of his spirit, who learned from his mentor how to resist the Empire.

According to virtually every newspaper in America, Chávez was ‘anti-American.’ Why?

Because he refused to bow, scrape and kiss the boots of Empire?

Because he wanted the oil wealth of the nation to be used for Venezuelans, instead of investors on Wall Street?

How many of us know that CITGO provided low cost heating oil to over one and a half million Americans, and that CITGO — a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuelan oil — did so with Chávez’s blessings?

Would an ‘anti-American’ make sure that over a million Americans are warm in winter at reduced cost?

Chávez was anti-imperialist, and he opposed how the U.S. ran roughshod over Latin American countries and their independence at will.

When he took to the rostrum of the U.N. and said, “The devil was here yesterday,” and that the place “smelled of sulphur,” he was a global hit — except for U.S. puppets.

The “devil” was U.S. Imperialism, still a dangerous, drone-invading, bomb- dropping threat to millions worldwide.

Chávez, on the other hand, was loved and admired by millions, both in and out of Venezuela. ¡Viva Hugo Chávez!


National day of action April 11 to keep U.S. out of Venezuela

National day of action April 11 to keep U.S. out of Venezuela

By Kris Hamel on March 26, 2013

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle has called for a National Day of Action on Thursday, April 11, against U.S. intervention in Venezuela and in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution. The call is for organizing actions to tell Washington and the Venezuelan elite oligarchy: No to destabilization efforts and no U.S. intervention in the Venezuelan elections.

The world is watching as Venezuela prepares for the April 14 presidential election following the death of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias on March 5.

The call to action states: “After the tragic death of our beloved President Chávez, the imperialist nations of the world are preparing to attack the Bolivarian Revolution. Venezuela is getting prepared for a new presidential election and the imperialists are intent to intervene and sabotage the election.

“The solidarity movement in the United States right now faces a critical challenge with regard to Venezuela as well as the revolutionary process in Latin America. The tragic death of our comrade President Hugo Chávez has many believing that the important process for progress in Venezuela, Latin America and the world has been dealt a … blow, but we know that the Venezuelan people and the region will never go backward. And our solidarity will continue as they move forward in their struggles for self-determination, sovereignty, integration and social justice.

“The people of Venezuela will honor the last will of President Chávez by overwhelmingly voting this coming April 14 for Nicolas Maduro for president. The Venezuelan people clearly remain committed to the process of fundamental change in their country, no matter what. We are confident that the roots of the Bolivarian Revolution will remain strong and grow.

“But the death of our dear President Hugo Chávez will be used by U.S. imperialism and the elite oligarchy in Venezuela to carry out aggressive plans to destabilize the revolutionary process in Venezuela. We must send a strong message to Washington right away: We are organizing our voices of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and demand no intervention during this coming election in Venezuela.

“Why April 11? The Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002 was a failed coup d’état on April 11 that saw late President Hugo Chávez ousted from office for 47 hours, being restored by a combination of military loyalists and massive public support for his government. Chávez was initially detained by members of the military and of pro-business elites represented by Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras) President Pedro Carmona, who was declared the interim president. Carmona’s brief rule saw the Venezuelan National Assembly and the Supreme Court both dissolved, and the country’s 1999 Constitution declared void.

“In New York City, we will gather at Times Square to express our love and solidarity with the legacy of … Chávez and then we will march to the U.S. Mission to tell President Barack Obama: We do not want U.S. intervention in Venezuela.

“If you are in a city where no action is taking place, call, fax, [or] email the White House and voice your opposition to intervention. Or better yet, organize a local action!

“Please contact us and let us know how your organization can support this national day for the Bolivarian Revolution: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com.”

For a list of cities holding demonstrations, visit iacenter.org.


Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Petrocaribe: Paying beans for Venezuelan oil

Petrocaribe: Paying beans for Venezuelan oil
Some 17 countries receive shipments of crude or refined oil products with preferential repayment terms under the Petrocaribe energy pact. But some nations fear oil shipments could stop post-Chávez.

By Ezra Fieser, Correspondent / March 27, 2013



Last year, the Chávez government sent some 240,000 barrels a day to countries in the region – regardless of whether their politics fell in line with Mr. Chávez's socialistic ideals.

Some 18 mostly small countries, including Venezuela, are members of Petrocaribe. It is an energy pact under which members receive shipments of crude or refined oil products from Venezuela that they pay for over the course of 25 years at minimal interest rates.


"Any cut to Petrocaribe would be disastrous for countries" that receive Venezuelan oil under such deals, says Jorge Piñon, an energy analyst and Caribbean specialist at The University of Texas at Austin. "It's become an integral part of their economies."


Last year, the Dominicans sent beans, literally: 10,000 tons of black beans headed to Venezuela to repay the petroleum debt. What's more, to plant those beans the Dominican government had to import seeds from the United States – which has frigid diplomatic relations with Venezuela.



Lol oh lol, beans from the Dominican Republic, cattle from Bolivia, all that lovely cash not getting into the bank accounts of vultures who prey on the people. How the thought of all that "lost" money must keep them up at night, seething, plotting, lusting for what is not theirs.

Lol oh lol ABC! Venezuela Election is a High Stakes Affair for Local Vigilante Groups

written by @ruedareport
Latin America correspondent for @UnivisionNews covering #drugwar, politics and culture

The article is worth a sardonic read.

Venezuela Election is a High Stakes Affair for Local Vigilante Groups

March. 27, 2013

Members of the Victor Polay Campos colectivo await for Chavez?s casket to arrive in Caracas'23 de Enero Neighborhood on March 15, 2013. The Polay Campos Colectivo is one of twenty vigilante groups that patrols this Caracas neighborhood with guns and long range weapons. (Martin Markovits/Freelance)

In the Caracas barrio of 23 de Enero, a coalition of armed vigilante groups serves as the de facto security force. It also helps run social welfare programs for a neighborhood overrun by drug dealing.


There are more than 20 autonomous colectivos in Caracas, and they're mostly centered in 23 de Enero, a community of makeshift shacks and public housing projects that is home to about 100,000 people. Their arsenal of weapons includes AK-47s, handguns and homemade grenades.

These Marxist-leaning groups are firm supporters of Venezuela's current socialist government, and over the past decade, have organized massive voter turnout campaigns that helped Chávez to comfortably win a majority of votes in the areas under their control. On April 14th, they will engage in another such campaign, and every member of the colectivos will be required to bring ten residents to the polls.

"We support Nicolas Maduro, whom we have known since he was a kid. He was a member of revolutionary groups just like ours. We are going to do whatever it takes to win the 10 million votes (that the government is aiming for in this election)," said Lisandro "Mao" Perez, director of colectivo Guerrilla Pedagogica.



U.S. general ‘predicts’ problems for Cuba, Venezuela

U.S. general ‘predicts’ problems for Cuba, Venezuela

The head of the U.S. Southern Command, Gen. John Kelly, who oversees U.S. forces in Latin America, is afraid that Nicolás Maduro will become the new Venezuelan president and that the Bolivarian Revolution will continue. That didn’t stop him from engaging in a little wishful thinking — or from slandering and implicitly threatening the Venezuelan and Cuban revolutions.

Venezuela will be hard-pressed to keep providing cheap oil and loans to Cuba and other allies given the“faltering” state of its economy, Kelly said on March 20 to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. The general admitted that Maduro, the current acting president of Venezuela, has a lot of public support: “Expectations are that the vice president [Maduro] will win the election of April 14 and things will be business as usual, at least for the time being. Who knows within five years.” (DPA, German Press Agency, March 20)

The general’s comments received prominent and favorable coverage in a conservative Caracas newspaper, El Universal, which has opposed the Bolivarian Revolution led by the late Hugo Chávez. For example, in April 2002, when the U.S.-backed coup against Chávez appeared to be successful, El Universal carried the headline “Un Paso Adelante!” or “One Step Forward!” (Luis Duno-Gottberg, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, 2004)

What is important about “predictions” of the sort made by Gen. Kelly is not their accuracy. Rather, those who support and defend the Bolivarian and Cuban revolutions should examine who made the statements, to whom they were made and in what context.

Neither an economist nor a social scientist, Gen. Kelly is a Marine commander. He was in charge of U.S. troops in Iraq from 2008 to 2009. In addition to being the chief of the Southern Command, Kelly is the senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense and personally greeted Secretary Leon Panetta at the entrance to the Pentagon on July 1, 2011, Panetta’s first day as secretary.

The Southern Command was created in 1903 in order to control the Panama Canal zone, which had just been illegally seized by U.S. imperialism. Over the years its scope has expanded to include all of Central and South America and the South Atlantic Ocean. It is an “interagency” task force, meaning it is composed of virtually all branches of the U.S. military as well as several other federal departments.

Kelly made his statements to the House Armed Services Committee immediately following Chávez’s death. Given the extreme hostility of the U.S. toward both Cuba and Venezuela, it is not difficult to assess their meaning or intent.

Millions spent to destabilize Cuba

The U.S. has a long history of trying to destabilize and defeat revolutions and progressive movements in Latin America. These efforts continue today.

Between 1996 and 2011, the U.S. government earmarked over $205 million to try to bring down the Cuban government. Programs were carried out by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State over the last eight years — from former President George W. Bush’s second term to President Barack Obama’s first term — according to a statement released by the Cuban Foreign ministry. (Xinhua, March 15)

This figure does not include an additional $30 million spent on illegal propaganda broadcasts and intelligence operations in support of anti-Cuban activists. According to the Cuban foreign ministry, this money would “be better used in building a respectful relationship between the two countries.”

Poor people in the U.S. might add that the money has been stolen from vital social services and that the economic and social problems which Gen. Kelly attributes to Venezuela are present within every major U.S. city. The difference is that governments within the U.S., instead of trying to help the poor as the Venezuelan government does, squeeze the poor even more on behalf of big business.

During the Obama administration, Washington’s illegal embargo against Cuba has become even more severe.

These facts clarify the statements by the Southern Command. U.S. imperialism aims to break the solidarity among Cuba, Venezuela, and other Latin American countries, the better to defeat them all. Washington’s efforts to strangle socialist Cuba, particularly with an oil boycott, were made much more difficult by the development of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. Progressives around the world must be vigilant and see to it that Washington’s threats and machinations fail.


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Venezuela Creates Over 3,000 Committees Against Speculation

Venezuela Creates Over 3,000 Committees Against Speculation

Caracas, Mar 26 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela has about 3,500 committees constituted and sworn against speculation and hoarding, reported today the Minister of Commerce, Edmee Betancourt.

From the state of Cojedes, the official reported that more than 15,000 Venezuelans have joined government efforts to combat usury.

Betancourt said that in the context of the national fight against speculators and hoarders, a total of 28,736 tons of food have been seized so far, which were distributed throughout the country to support the population.

We must always be ready to defend people's access to goods and services and in compliance with the Law of Food Sovereignty, the official said.


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