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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 04:28 AM
Original message
Venezuelans, fleeing Chavez, seek U.S. safety net ;_ylt=AikA77fIDj6Xi9s21RFR.P2GOrgF

Venezuelans, fleeing Chavez, seek U.S. safety net

By Tom Brown Sun Jul 15, 7:10 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - A surge in the number of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the United States has some drawing parallels with Communist Cuba in the early 1960s.

As populist President Hugo Chavez tightens his grip on the world's fifth largest oil producer, wealthy and middle class citizens are fleeing, just as their counterparts did soon after Fidel Castro seized power in Havana more than 40 years ago.

In 1998, the year Chavez was first elected, just 14 Venezuelans were granted U.S. asylum. That number jumped to 1,086 in the 12 months ending September 30, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Venezuelans seeking asylum are just a small part of a big exodus, according to Venezuelan activists in Florida, who say some 160,000 Venezuelans are living in the United States illegally or on overstayed visas...........
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 04:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. This article actually isn't too poorly written compared to how US media usually covers Chavez
I'm not a Chavez supporter either, but I do recognize that the US media is biased against him.

When I read the first section of the article the first thing that went through my head is "The increase in asylum grants is political" and was pleasantly surprised to see the next section entitled "Politicizing Asylum". Kudos to Mr. Brown for pointing that out.

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Rydz777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 05:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Chavez is called a "populist" in the article. This has become a
default term when a journalist doesn't know what other word to use. It has been applied to a range of characters from Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Putin's Russia to our own George Wallace to Argentina's late Juan and Evita Peron.

I have an acquaintance in Venezuela, a pharmacist firmly in the middle class, with whom I correspond by e-mail, and he is frightened. He'd like to get out but doesn't know how. He says the rich not only have money but often dual citizenship and have a place to go. He doesn't. He has a family and not much money beyond his salary.

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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
29. Why does he say he's afraid? (n/t)
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Mr_Jefferson_24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 04:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. It's funny how both right and left wing...
...authoritarians always end up doing the same things.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. It's also funny how their apologists...
...act like a miniature version of the dictators they esteem!
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
24. Which post fits that description?
Edited on Mon Jul-16-07 11:45 PM by 1932
Post 5, perhaps?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 06:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. The increase in asylum grants could have been due to US anti-Chavez sentiment
I wish the author would have furnished a link to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services source that he cites regarding the number of Venezuelans who were granted asylum.

The number of Venezuelans currently living in the US illegally (160K), which is questionably sourced only to "...Venezuelan activists in Florida...", hardly represents an unusual exodus compared to other South American countries. According to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was renamed to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services when incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security, there were 10K Venezuelans living illegally in the US in 1990 and 34K in 2000.

Based on trends of the decade ended 2000, a Venezuelan population of unauthorized US residents should number around 100K by my own extrapolation. This leaves me underimpressed with the additional 60K who are supposedly in the US because they fled the tyranny of the commie boogieman Chavez, who is Castro's twin brother.

I believe there is some oppression going on but this is being exaggerated by a US administration that would like to promote a decades-long embargo against Venezuela just like the one we still have against Cuba.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. I agree with your sentiments generally, but I have to challenge this one:
"I believe there is some oppression going on."

Please give us details. I have found every item of the allegation that the Chavez government is oppressive or authoritarian to be untrue, in so far as I have been able to research it--which is pretty thoroughly. (See my post, below.) This allegation appears to me to be a classic Bushite/Corporate "Big Lie." It is without substance, and is the opposite of the truth. But it's so pervasive in the Corporate Media that people sometimes hedge their bets, and say things like you have just said ("I believe there is some oppression going on"). Is that what you are doing--hedging your bets, because the pervasive Corporate Lie has made you unsure? Or, do you have evidence of oppression? I am not dissing you. I'm just asking you about a vague meme that I find too often repeated without evidence.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 04:31 AM
Response to Reply #10
31. That opinion was clearly presented as conjecture but I'll stand by it.
Edited on Tue Jul-17-07 04:53 AM by Lasher
Imagine for a moment that you are the owner of a large sugar cane farm in Venezuela. The land has been in your family for many generations. Then suppose that a group, encouraged by the government, comes by one day to take control of your land at gunpoint, burning your crops. And let's say the government then helps the same group settle in and divide up what was your land, and provides to you what you believe is inadequate compensation or none at all.

In that situation would you feel oppressed?

Edit: I checked out your post below but I didn't feel like reading War and Peace this morning.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 06:42 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. You need to make time to inform yourself on the matters you attempt to discuss.
Holding forth from a position of utter confusion about the facts doesn't advance the Democratic discussion.

If you don't have time to read, to get the information you need to understand correctly, withhold wild speculation.

Other people don't have the time to follow along behind you, correcting your mistakes and misinformation.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #33
34. I don't accept reading assignments from belligerent people like you.
You are liberal with your isults without having bothered to cite one single fact to support your assertions, and you have no idea how informed I might happen to be on the subject. I will take your charge of wild speculation under advisement, however, as you are obviously an expert on the subject. I am quite capable of determining my own needs without the benefit of this drivel from you.
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
26. Why isn't the U$
giving Iraqis asylum too?
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 04:38 AM
Response to Reply #26
32. From whom would we give Iraqis asylum? Ourselves?
Are you aware that US forces currently occupy Iraq?
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. Good Point! eom
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #5
30. Hell, I with the author had supplied
any facts.

This fucking article is a hit piece on Chavez full of quotes from a couple of "scared Venezuelans" who have decided to desert their country and their countrymen.

Typical MSM hate piece on Chavez...
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
6. Hmm, I have my doubts about this story
They claim that Horacio Medina, 54, was a leader of Venezuela's oil workers' union before fleeing the country in December 2004, in the face of what he says were death threats and an arbitrary arrest order for his prominent role in a two-month strike.

A little research into this and I find that this so called strike that started all the trouble for Horacio Medina, was a bosses strike. That is it wasn't about better pay or benefits for oil workers, it was about Horacio Medina not losing his own job. I'm not sure you can call him a Union leader if a promotes a strike that is promoted by management and that is directed at him keeping his highly paid job. Can you just see the CEO of Wal-Mart encouraging his employees to strike in front of the Chinese Embassy because the Chinese are charging too much for their junk?

I don't think this article is telling the truth. I bet few middle class people in Venezuela are leaving. I bet it is mostly upper class. In a country with so much poverty as Venezuela, can you really call a person who makes an equivalent US middle class salary a middle class member of Venezuela?

Seems some of these bosses who encouraged a strike were involved in the attempted assassination of Chavez. This story appears to be more right wing propaganda then fact.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
8. Brain drain coming up! n/t
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
9. They float this one every once in a while. The Andes is the NeoCon's backup theater of war.
Rich is oil, gas, minerals, forests, fresh water and other natural resources. Leftist (majorityist) governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, and soon to be in Paraguay (the "bishop of the poor," Fernando Lugo, has announced his candidacy for president, and will likely win it). All these countries are undergoing a remarkable peaceful revolution, of which Chavez is the most well-known spokesman, although Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa, the US-educated leftist economist who won the presidency of Ecuador last year, are each quite eloquent, in their own way, and are very strong allies of Chavez, as is Nestor Kirchner in Argentina.

The tenets of this revolution are Latin American self-determination, independence from the U.S. and its loan sharks (the World Bank/IMF) and other global corporate predators, local control of natural resources, regional cooperation, and social justice. The malicious buttheads in Washington DC (and their allies in the Miami anti-Castro mafia) want very, very, very badly to toss Chavez out an airplane as a lesson to South America's vast poor population, and as the opening shot in destabilizing the region's democracies, but he has too many friends--because, a) he really is a democrat; and b) has really good ideas and the moxy and toughness to get things done (--such as initiating the Bank of the South, which is pushing the World Bank out).

His friends not only include the presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina (and soon, Paraguay), but also the leftist presidents of Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Nicaragua. Brazil (Lula da Silva) and Chile (Michele Batchelet) are a little more ambivalent vis a vis the U.S./Bush, for economic reasons (--not particularly good ones; for instance Lulu wants to cut a biofuels deal with Bush), but they nevertheless add to the bulwark of overwhelming pro-Chavez opinion in South America, and revulsion at past and current Reagan/Bush State Dept. evil and violent designs. Batchelet, for instance, was tortured by Pinochet (U.S.-backed dictator). Condi Rice twisted her arm to abstain from voting in the big brouhaha last year about Venezuela achieving a seat on the UN Security Council, but she could not get Batchelet to vote against Venezuela, because Bush is just too disgusting and ill-intentioned. Panama was the compromise. Batchelet paid a political price for not fully backing Venezuela. (Chavez really is popular throughout Latin American--VERY popular.)

Then, just recently, Venezuela won a seat on the OAS human rights commission, against loud howls from the Bushites who have their own ideas about human rights (waterboarding, chainsawing union activists and throwing their body parts into mass graves--as their buds in Colombia are doing--bombing tens of thousands of innocent people, instigating chaos and civil war, death squads, spraying poor peasant farmers with U.S. chemical's latest poison, dumping depleted uranium everywhere, ripping off aid and reconstruction funds, blowing little children's heads and limbs off, and like that). The reason that the OAS voted Venezuela onto its human rights commission is that CHAVEZ IS A DEMOCRAT AND VENEZUELA IS A FREE AND LAW-ABIDING COUNTRY WITH THE LIVELIEST POLITICAL CULTURE IN SOUTH AMERICA, WHOSE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T TORTURE, KILL AND OPPRESS PEOPLE.

You wouldn't know that from reading the Bush State Dept. propaganda that gets retyped and reprinted by our war profiteering corporate news monopolies, but it's true. Just think: Iraq, WMDs--and you will realize how little you can trust what you read/see/hear about Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution in our very NON-"mainstream," fascist/corporate news media. (Note: Every time we call them the "mainstream media," chuckles break in the corporate news media monopoly board rooms.) ('Heh-heh, stupid leftist bloggers think WE speak for the majority.')

Speaking of Colombia, in the recent scandals there, involving rightwing paramilitary murder of thousands of union organizers, peasant farmers and political leftists, and large scale drug trafficking--with very close ties to the Uribe (friend of Bush) government, including the chief of the military, the former head of intelligence and many Uribe office holders including Uribe relatives--one of the plots uncovered was a rightwing paramilitary plan to assassinate Chavez, and other democratically elected leaders in the Andes region, and destabilize the region, so that rightwing dictatorships can be re-installed. Bush and the so-called Democratic Congress just larded Colombia with billions more in U.S. taxpayer dollars for the murderous U.S. "war on drugs" (--a policy that has been soundly rejected by the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador). Nothing like assassination and chaos plots to attract U.S. tax dollars, through the fingers of fascist or corrupt U.S. politicians.

The notion that Venezuelans are "fleeing" the country for human rights, or even economic, reasons is total bullshit. We cannot trust anything that any Bush-controlled government agent says about this, nor any rubber-stamp corporate news organization. Let me put it this way: If you believe the Bushites' tales about Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, then go ahead and believe that Venezuelans are "fleeing" to the U.S. because of "oppression" at home. It is WAR propaganda. It is laying down a narrative that will help them lull the people of the United States, when they make their next move against the PEACEFUL, DEMOCRATIC revolution that is occurring in South America.

Reuters (European financial interests, including World Bank/IMF) is SOMETIMES a cut above our filthy, lying, dirtbag, corporate propaganda machine that we call "the news media." But not by much. You can feel a bit of a struggle in this Reuters piece between the reporter (who may want to tell the truth, and seeks out a quote from a Venezuela official about the Bush/US manipulation of asylum numbers) and the corporate agent over him, likely the editor, who assigned the story at the suggestion of the Bush-purged CIA. (--just guessing, but likely, in my opinion). Although they find a Johns Hopkins professor who uses the phrase "as the regime hardens" (people are fleeing), the meme that Chavez is "increasingly authoritarian" comes straight from the Vatican. I tracked it, at one point. The corporate media kept using it, and kept attributing it this way: "According to his critics...." (Chavez is "increasingly authoritarian." But I couldn't find anyone who had actually said; then I stumbled upon an actual quote--by Cardinal Carillo Lara, a Venezuelan prelate who had spent his entire career in the Vatican finance office (and was fired in the fascist banking scandals of the 1980s). HE called Chavez "increasingly authoritarian."

It has also been repeated, I have since learned, by the Archbishop of Caracas, who directly participate in the Bush-backed violent military coup attempt against Chavez in 2002 (signed the fascist declaration that swept Venezuela's government away, suspended the Constitution, the National Assembly and the courts, and appointed a toady president, who lasted for three days; and appeared with the coup plotters when they announced this from Miraflores palace, the seat of government).

Venezuela's past rightwing regimes wrote financial support of the Catholic Church by Venezuelan taxpayers into Venezuelan law. Chavez has cut back some of these payments. That is why the top layer of the Venezuelan purple-robe crowd hate Chavez, and rail against him as "increasingly authoritarian"--an accusation for which there is NO evidence. None. Zero. Zilch. Every bit of so-called evidence for this allegation evaporates upon examination. For instance, is Chavez shutting down opposition news media in Venezuela? No. His government refused a license renewal to ONE station, RCTV, that openly and blatantly participated in the violent military coup attempt. (You can see it happening in the Irish filmmakers' documentary "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." They film the RCTV segments hosting the coup plotters, during the coup, and broadcasting disinformation in support of the coup--for instance, telling the baldfaced lie that Chavez had resigned.)

And what is happening NOW to this PUBLIC airwave, which, prior to RCTV's license non-renewal, was filled with incendiary calls for civil disorder and violence, and non-stop fascist propaganda? The government has invited the people of Venezuela to participate in design of a station that will broadcast a wide range of independent productions, and will be more inclusive of Venezuela's poor, minorities, the indigenous and other excluded voices. Yes, this is certainly a "dictatorship"--if you yourself are a fascist pig and want to exclude everybody else, and shut everybody else up, and torture, kill and oppress the poor. If RCTV's and the Vatican's and George Bush's fascist coup had succeeded, how long do you think that anyone who spoke out publicly against that coup would have remained among the living?

Is land--or any property--being confiscated by the Chavez government? No. They are scrupulously following the law and private property rights in their land reform program. Venezuela imports much of its food and has a critical need to keep farmers on the land, and to attract small farmers back to the land, so it is looking for every bit of unused farm land that it can find, for food production. When such land has clear title, the owner is compensated. Further, the Chavez government nixed a proposal by the more leftist mayor of Caracas to seize two country club/golf courses in Caracas to build low cost housing for the poor (a desperate need) because, as the Chavez government stated at the time, "private property is protected by the Venezuelan Constitution." How dictatorial is that? The Constitution. Hm-m. Rule of laws, not men. Interesting idea.

Is Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution hurting anyone financially? No. All indicators are up, with the private sector the largest area of growth over the last several years. Yup. The PRIVATE sector.

There have been several attempts by the Bush Junta and its fascist allies in Venezuela to overthrow the democratically elected Chavez government. The violent military coup attempt of 2002 (which was foiled by the people of Venezuela, who poured into the streets by the tens of thousands and surrounded Miraflores palace, demanding the return of Constitutional government, and their kidnapped president) was followed by the crippling oil professionals' strike, which was also aimed at toppling the government. The issue was how the already nationalized (long before Chavez) state oil company would be managed, and how much of the revenue would be used to help Venezuela's vast poor population, and how much would leave the country as foreign oil corporation profit. In the end, Chavez had to fire all these privileged managers and oil workers, and replace them. They were striking on behalf of foreign oil corporations, and their parting shot against their own country was to sabotage all the computers that were vital to oil production.

Having recovered from the crippling oil strike, the Chavez government was then hit with a Bush (U.S. taxpayer funded) recall election, which Chavez won handily (with nearly 60% of the vote). The Venezuelan Constitution provides for recall of the president--a Constitution that Chavez fully supported and helped write. This particular recall election was wasteful and absurd. Chavez has the overwhelming support of the Venezuelan people. Last year, he received 63% of the vote in the presidential election.

Wish we had a recall provision here.

Anyway, the meme that Chavez is "increasingly authoritarian" originated from well-fed looking Catholic Church monarchs whose government gravy-train was threatened. Odd that the Vatican would be writing U.S./Bush State Dept. copy. Well, maybe not so odd. And who knows, really, which is the wag and which is the dog, of this tail?

I should add that, since the death of the Archbishop (Velasco), the more Liberation Theology-oriented segments of the Church in Venezuela have emerged--the lower rungs of the clergy, and the more enlightened bishops. And Pope Benedict seems to have concluded that the anti-Chavez activism of the top clergy was a bad move. The Church is fast losing members in South America, and the Church's open fascism in Venezuela is one of the reasons. The vast majority of people support Chavez, democracy and social justice, and long to be free of U.S. domination and exploitation. In short, the Church has backed off.

The leftist (majorityist) revolution in South America is a political/social movement whose time has come. There is no stopping it. This is not to say that the Bush Junta will not cause trouble and inflict more suffering. They likely will. They are pouring money into Colombia, and badmouthing Chavez at every opportunity, for that purpose. And Bush appointed John "death squad" Negroponte as Undersecretary of State for Latin America, for that purpose. But they will not succeed. And I think Pope Benedict (a fascist himself) is a pretty good bellweather for that prediction. The Church cannot afford to "lose" South America, and it has tempered its policies accordingly. (Also, I think Chavez may have backed off a bit, on the financial cuts of Church subsidies, after the 2002 coup attempt--wise fellow that he is.)

Unfortunately, many of the Venezuelans who come here are the greedbags and the coup supporters whom democracy has defeated. They cannot become the dictators of Venezuela, so they cry in their beer with their fellow would-be dictators of Cuba, in Miami, who are angling for government subsidies of these Venezuelan "refugees" to bolster their numbers in support of fascist Bushite/Corporate policy. It is "shuckin jive" of the most lethal kind. And it is one of the most disgraceful policies of the Bush Junta--after Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, of course--that our government is not supporting the amazing triumph of democracy in Venezuela, and in South America, and is, instead, conspiring to return the Pinochets of this world to power there. And it is very saddening.


Note: A good place to start getting unbrainwashed about the Bolivarian revolution is . The documentary "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is available in DVD at .)
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jmp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Just out of curiosity ...
... and their allies in the Miami anti-Castro mafia ...

What is your pet name for Castro's nearly 5 decades long "presidential" term?

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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Why didn't the US blockade the Soviet Union and China?
We didn't and the Soviet Union fell and China is turning towards capitalism.

Our blockade of Castro helped keep him in power.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
12. This is the ornery upper middle class flight
They supported the coup against Chavez and now find that they are equals under the law with the poor. Hurts their egos.
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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. And it could have to do with taxes...
Venezuelan Government Surpasses Tax Collection Goals
Mrida, July 11, 2007 ( Venezuela's tax collection agency SENIAT announced yesterday that the government reached 63.7% of its tax collection goal for 2007 in the first half of the year. SENIAT collected more than Bs. 37 trillion (US $17.2 billion) in that period, compared to only Bs. 25.6 trillion (US $11.9 billion) in the same period of 2006. As a part of a policy that seeks to reduce state dependence on oil revenues, the Chavez government has increased tax enforcement in the country, while at the same time reducing the tax burden on the poor.

According to SENIAT Superintendent Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora, speaking at the Foreign Minister's office yesterday, the total collection goal for 2007 is Bs. 59.2 trillion (US $27.5 billion). This amount represents a 43.5 percent increase in tax collection from the year before.

SENIAT released the numbers for the month of June as well, which showed a total collection of Bs. 6.5 trillion (US $3 billion), 33.5% more than the established goal of Bs. 4.9 trillion (US $2.3 billion). Vielma Mora also said that for the month of July the agency has already collected Bs. 967 billion (US $450 million) of the total goal of Bs. 4.3 trillion (US$2 billion).

The government has been trying to increase tax income through a tax collection program called "Zero Evasion and Contraband," and SENIAT attributed the increased tax revenues to the efforts of this program. But Vielma Mora stated that the agency is still struggling to enforce the increased tax rates and prevent some sectors from evading payment.

"The neoliberals don't want the taxes to go up," he said, explaining that tax evasion "is a common practice and maneuver of the world capitalists and neoliberals."


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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Do you know that for sure or are you assuming that's who's leaving
because it fits your world view?
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #18
25. Nothing in that post alleges that that that's certainly the reason, so relax.
It seems like an opportunity to use irony and humor to convey a fact about tax collection in Venezuela.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #25
35. We seem to be just a tad touchy on this subject, don't we?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
15. Absolutely pathetic story. Quote from Carlos Fernandez, who has chosen to flee to Miami,
Edited on Mon Jul-16-07 12:06 PM by Judi Lynn
as he's in hot water in Venezuela, whiling away his time with the virulent right-wing Cuban "exiles," who organized a pro-Bush parade on the very same day the entire rest of the world was marching in the streets globally, protesting Bush's Iraq war.

In Miami, they celebrated the coup, the strikes, and chose Carlos Fernandez, and Carlos Ortega to lead their parade. Here they are, Ortega in the white shirt, Fernandez to his right, in the dark gold shirt, with the hat.

Coverage of that parade from the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida:

Fernandez and Ortega left Venezuela in 2003 after helping lead a two-month national strike that paralyzed the country's economy, including the oil sector, but brought few concessions from President Hugo Chvez's government. Ortega, former head of the country's largest labor group, sought political asylum in Costa Rica a year ago; Fernandez now lives in Weston.

Organized by Cuban and Venezuelan leaders, the march called for an end to human rights abuses and advocated greater democracy in both countries, according to organizers like Luis Prieto of Todos Por Venezuela, or All for Venezuela, an opposition group with members in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

"We are here to denounce two governments that pose a serious threat to Latin America," Prieto said.

About 1,500 people walked down Calle Ocho, according to Miami Police Officer Jane Walker.

The march was a stark contrast to last year's protest that drew thousands of Venezuelans including political leaders, beauty queens and entertainers, many of whom left the South American nation because of the national strike.


While participation in the "general strike" found even less support on the fourth day, this was the day that tanker captains decided to get involved and began blocking the transport of oil to and from Venezuela. This, more than anything else the opposition has achieved so far, has the potential of bringing the economy and thus the government to its knees. Venezuela's economy is so heavily dependent on oil that any interruption in oil production has nearly immediate effects on the economy. The fact that the opposition cheered this act of sabotage (it is one thing not to show up for work, another to blockade a country's ports), shows just how desperate and how far it is willing to go to "topple the regime," as the Fedecameras president Carlos Fernandez calls the aim of the protest.
~snip~Thats when managers of the oil company PDVSA8 decided to bring the oil industry to a halt. According to Moyano, Marisel Benavides (SUPROBAUXs financial secretary) and Carlos Rojas (labor director of the Venalum aluminum workers union), out of 35,000 employees, including 18,000 professionals and specialists, only 3,000 directors and managers went on strike. 9

But before walking out, the bosses sabotaged the highly automated computer technology that controls production, distribution and export of oil, paralysing the industry. They adjusted temperature controls as high as boiling point causing explosions, disrupting electricity, gas and oil, and creating a humanitarian crisis as people could not cook or get healthcare. As a result, most workers could not do their jobs. But workers soon got the plants functioning by going back to manual operation like we had 20 years ago, and working 16-hour shifts seven days a week to keep the industry afloat. The corporate opposition is now resorting to terrorism, placing bombs and shooting holes in oil pipes.10

Banks joined the attempted oil and media coup, closing their doors to the public to create a financial crisis (similar to what happened in Argentina as a result of IMF and World Bank profiteering). Most bank workers unions dissociated themselves from their bosses. They claim that Fetrabanca, the union affiliated to CTV which joined the strike, represents only 1.7% of bank workers, and the unions opposed to the strike, which they list, represent 60-70% of bank workers.11

The statement issued by Pedro Eusse, General Secretary of CUTV, dated December 18, 2002, makes clear where workers generally stood: . . . the Venezuelan working class has not joined any general strike, whose clear aims are to destabilize and bring down the legitimate government in order to meet the ambitions of the national oligarchy and of American imperialism which wants to take charge of our oil industry and prevent the formation of an alliance of governments and peoples in Latin America (Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador) who oppose its plans for domination based on the implementation of ALCA.

Following the defeat of the oil coup by the oil workers and workers generally, President Chavez was urged again, by trade unionists and others, to move on FEDECAMARAS, the employers organization, and on the corrupt CTV leadership. In response, Carlos Fernandez, the head of FEDECAMARAS was arrested and a detention order issued against Ortega for instigating criminal acts, conspiracy and sabotage, in attempts to bring down the elected government. Ortega ran away and was granted asylum by Costa Rica.
It would seem that where the oppositions efforts to oust Chavez via a non-stop media campaign, large demonstrations, a coup, and four general strikes have largely failed, the management take-over, or coup, of the oil company might succeed. The scenarios for doing so are still murky, though. Many among the more radical elements of the opposition, to which the main actors behind the general strike belong, such as Fedecameras President Carlos Fernandez, CTV President Carlos Ortega, and Caracas Mayor Alfredo Pea, seem to be hoping for another military coup attempt.


If people took the time to find out who these characters are, and what they have done, these articles wouldn't hit them like wild baseball pitches, leaving them dazed, confused, happy to swallow the most twisted, tied-in-knots propaganda yarns.

Folks, folks, you owe it to yourselves to read about these things YOURSELF, and not be a sitting duck for any clown who spins off another piece for political reasons in the corporate media, or any sneaky right-winger who thinks he/she will just insinuate him/herself in a liberal/progressive meeting place and start trying to eliminate any chance for discussion among Democrats.

Bypass the spin, go right to the sources and start separating the real from the spun yourself. That way you won't need to rely on anyone, liberal or right-wing, who tells you anything, any time. It's all in your hands.


He was in this group of coup plotters who took over the Presidential Palace in April, 2002, after they had kidnapped Hugo Chavez:

Un gouvernement de transition
Miraflores, le palais prsidentiel, le nouveau prsident nest pas investi par les militaires putschistes, mais par un groupe de huit personnalits influentes qui sortent de lombre. Il est compos de :
*S. Exc. Mgr Ignacio Cardenal (Opus Dei) (*That's Ignacio Velasco)

Luis Enrique Ball (entreprises)
Jos Curiel (partis politiques)
Rocio Jigarro (associations)
Miguel Angel Martinez (mdias)
Gouverneur Manuel Rosales (gouvernements rgionaux)
Alfredo Ramos (syndicats)
Carlos Fernandez (patronat)

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Saboburns Donating Member (690 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
16. Watching the vilification of Chavez from our own DEMOCRATS tells me all I need to know...
About my Country's history in the region.

My God, it just need mentioned. Dictator. And OUR OWN SIDE fill in the rest.

Sad really.

I see how these things work, and have worked for over a hundred years.

How easy it is to get our citizens to brand, to hate, to bomb, to invade.

And I do mean EASY.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
17. Kick.
:kick: :kick: :kick:
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Progressive Friend Donating Member (362 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 03:48 PM
Response to Original message
19. The Florida GOP is overjoyed for sure
1,086 new activists.
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. How can you be so sure you know exactly who is leaving?
Or is this an assumption being made?
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ludwigb Donating Member (789 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
21. Can Someone Say Propaganda?
The tragic thing about the propaganda against Chavez is after crying wolf so often, progressives won't be listening when Chavez does something that's actually worthy of criticism and outrage.

It's kind of like the Iraq War. Someday soon a prevenative attack might be necessary to avert a terrorist attack, but many Americans won't buy it because they'll assume it's bullshit.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. He hasn't, so far! Even if he did, it would be up to the Venezuelan people to remove him.
They have the built-in Constitutional authority to call for a referendum, UN-elect him at any point after he has served half of his term. They also, of course have the option of impeaching him, as they did the President, Carlos Andres Perez, who ordered the military to fire directly into crowds of protesting poor people in Caracas, in the national tragedy known as "El Caracazo, in 1989." They impeached that scum of the earth for embezzlement and corruption.

It's truly TIME TO STAY THE #### OUT of Latin America's internal business. This bullying is going to get us in deep trouble one of these days, and could eventually provoke the rest of the world to finally close around us. That kind of murderous drive to dominate can only be tolerated a few centuries before it's going to be thrown back in our faces.

The right to rule over other countries: a contemptible weakness only the most morally and mentally deficient ever embrace.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
23. In addition to being the next home of former right-wing death squad leaders
from Latin America and the Caribbean, right-wing deposed Presidents, etc., it's also the home, apparently, to the murderers of Venezuela's Attorney General who was investigating the crimes committed during the run-up to the coup:
by Weekly News Update on the Americas

Investigators probing the Nov. 18 car bomb assassination of Venezuelan state prosecutor Danilo Anderson have found telephone records suggesting that the killing was planned at a meeting in Miami this past September. One of the participants at the meeting was Jose Augustin Guevara, a brother of ex-police agents Otoniel and Rolando Guevara, who were arrested on Nov. 26 on charges of "premeditated homicide" and conspiracy in the Anderson murder. Otoniel Guevara is accused of being an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A cousin of the three brothers, Juan Bautista Guevara, is suspected of having planted the bomb on Anderson's car. Eyewitnesses place him at the scene shortly before Anderson's car exploded.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Jose Guevara in Miami in 2001 when he attempted to withdraw funds from a bank account belonging to Peru's then-fugitive spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, who was wanted in Peru in connection with corruption and human rights abuses. The FBI then released Jose Guevara into its witness protection program. The Guevara brothers are said to have been paid $1 million for hiding Montesinos in Venezuela. Montesinos was arrested in Caracas on June 24, 2001. Venezuelan government spokespeople have also accused Florida-based rightwing Cuban-American Rodolfo Fromenta, head of the anti-Castro paramilitary group Comandos F-4, of links to the Anderson murder.

Venezuela's Attorney General's Office has taken over the investigation of the Anderson murder after concerns were raised about irregularities in the probe conducted by agents from the Scientific Criminal Investigations Corps (CICPC), including links between the Guevara brothers and the CICPC. (, Dec. 2; El Nuevo Herald, Miami, Dec. 1; La Republica, Lima, Nov. 27) On Nov. 26, CICPC agents fatally shot lawyer Antonio Lopez, a possible suspect in the Anderson case, in an alleged gunfight. The same day, former police agent Juan Carlos Sanchez, also wanted in connection with the Anderson killing, died in a confrontation with police. Both Lopez and Sanchez were linked to the Guevara brothers. Authorities later raided Lopez's home and said they found high-powered weapons and explosives. (AFP, Nov. 26; NYT, Nov. 24)

At the time of his death, Anderson was heading up investigations into some 400 opposition figures for possible involvement in an April 2002 coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias or other destabilization attempts against the government. On Nov. 26, two of the men Anderson was investigating sought asylum in the Salvadoran embassy in Caracas. Lazaro Forero and Henry Vivas, former chiefs of the Caracas Metropolitan Police, were arrested by Venezuelan authorities on Dec. 3 after the Salvadoran government turned down their request for asylum. The two are accused of responsibility for violence which killed 20 people and wounded dozens more at an opposition march in Caracas on Apr. 11, 2002. Opposition forces used the violence as a pretext for their coup attempt against Chavez the next day. (BBC, Reuters, Dec. 3)

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
27. But but... Venezueal is heaven on earth!
Chavez is walking on water - if DUers are to believe - for the mere fact that he bad mouthed Bush. Now, we cannot have this can we now?

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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
28. The Greedy Rats
instead of joining with the People to help create the better society are deserting.

Aw, the poor babies can't leech off the People any more...And I guess they don't want to have to pay to see RCTV, eh?

Big surprise.

It's also no surprise that the bushies are granting them "asylum", they're the new greedy rich-fuck Cubans...

by the by, where are all you anti-immigrant bozos when it's the Venezuelan "middle class" and rich fucks who are the "ILLEGALS"? Hmmmmmmm?
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
36. Asylum is terribly politicized and unfair
During the Reagan administration, when people from all over were fleeing real dictatorships and getting turned down by U.S. immigration, athletes from countries with Communist governments were getting political asylum. I specifically remember a Chinese tennis player and an East German swimmer. The East German swimmer came right out and admitted in a TV interview that he wasn't involved in politics but had received a cushy scholarship offer from a U.S. university.

And don't get me started on the Cubans. If they can make it to Florida, they have instant refugee status, regardless of their actual circumstances in Cuba. But Haitians, who are trying to leave a place that essentially has no working government and is terrorized by warring gangs and ekes out a lliving in poverty that looks as if it shouldn't be survivable, no such luck.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
37. Quick, someone give them Tom Tancredo's number
I'm sure he'll be glad to lend a hand to these refugees from tyranny.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
38. When i picture refugees...
I usually envision a poor family walking miles with just the clothes on their back.

The Venezuelan "exodus" is purely for economic reasons: fire-up the Leer Jet. America will protect your ill-gotten assets from that evil dictator.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-17-07 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. A DU'er who lived in that area wrote here that the Venezuelan expatriot community
in South Florida bought ENORMOUS "homes" there. Gi-mongous. They are hardly "driven" here as beaten down oppressed peoples.

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