Saturday, 28 February 2009
“The People Won the Vote, Now The People Must Become the Government”
February 25th 2009, by Vanessa Davies & James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis
Two days after the referendum in which 54.9% of Venezuelans approved a constitutional amendment to lift term limits on elected officials, journalist and activist of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) Vanessa Davies spoke with Venezuelanalysis.com about the meaning of the referendum, the next steps and challenges ahead for the PSUV, gender in the Chávez government, the media, and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Vanessa Davies, could you please describe your role in the Bolivarian process?
I am a journalist. I worked for many years in a very right-wing newspaper. I have always been an activist of the Left. I have always been connected to the revolution. I do volunteer work in [the Venezuelan state television channel] VTV, and I do volunteer work with other alternative media. I collaborate with everything I can that will support the revolution.
Since the year 2008, I have participated in the national leadership of the PSUV, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. We campaigned for the regional elections last November. In this campaign, the campaign for the amendment, personally, I dedicated myself to travelling around the country, to campaign face-to-face, and to work with the pro-amendment committee of VTV.
What is the significance of the results of Sunday's vote?
I think they show the revolutionary will of the majority of our people, their will toward transformation. Our oppressed and discriminated people are asserting their role in making the Bolivarian Revolution continue. Also, the majority of the people believes in and vouches for the leadership of Commander Chávez.
I think that when looking at the results we must also see who was defeated. I think the private communications corporations, incorrectly labeled the mass media, were defeated. These corporations act like political parties, and even beyond this, like conspiratorial groups, as in the case of Globovisión. I think they were defeated in the referendum. They had a campaign of lies, of terror. It is a campaign that we've dealt with throughout the Bolivarian Revolution, a campaign of deception, of manipulation of the middle class that has historically been very anti-communist in our country.
(click here to view entire article)
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Washington's Praise of Poll Suggests Detente with Venezuela
February 17th 2009, by Jim Lobe - IPS
WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (IPS) - Praise by the U.S. State Department for Sunday's referendum in Venezuela suggests that President Barack Obama is hoping to ease long-strained relations with President Hugo Chavez, according to regional experts here.
While State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid Tuesday noted that Washington had received "troubling reports of intimidation," he added that, "for the most part, this was a process that was fully consistent with [the] democratic process."
Asked whether Washington approved of the poll's results - which changes the country's constitution to enable Chavez to run for a third term in 2012 - Duguid said the question "was a matter for the Venezuelan people".
Washington's reaction marked a distinct change in tone from the consistently hostile rhetoric of the administration of President George W. Bush, which had welcomed a coup attempt against Chavez in 2002, and follows a remarkably conciliatory statement by the populist leader on the eve of the referendum, which Chavez won with a solid 54 percent of the vote.
Only last month, Chavez had denounced Obama - even comparing his "stench" to Bush - for publicly admonishing Caracas for its alleged support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgency. On Saturday, however, he said he was ready to engage in direct talks with the new U.S. president in order to restore better ties.
(click here to view entire article)
Hugo Chávez: Tides of Victory
February 20th 2009, by Julia Buxton - Opendemocracy.net
The Venezuelan electorate is bent on using democratic mechanisms to fuel the demagogic ambitions of its populist president, Hugo Chávez. The voters have backed him and his party in thirteen of the fourteen elections and referendums held in the country since Chávez was inaugurated in February 1999. Now, on 15 February 2009, a majority of them went so far as to grant him his wish of being president for life: for in the referendum on that day 56% voted to lift term-limits on elected officials, thereby eroding a noble Latin American tradition of safeguarding democracy by limiting incumbency.
The distant hope
So argue Hugo Chávez's opponents at home and overseas - particularly in Washington, were the anti-Chávez lobby is striving to maintain the disproportionate influence it had under George W Bush into the Barack Obama administration. After the 15 February referendum, media and academic commentators have painted a frighteningly dystopian vision of Venezuela's political future. It all amounts to significant pressure on the new Democratic administration to follow the Bush policy of isolating and destabilising Chávez.
(click here to view entire article)
Monday, 16 February 2009
Venezuelans Vote to Eliminate Two-Term Limit on All Elected Office 54.4% to 45.6%
February 15th 2009, by Venezuelanalysis.com
February 15, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)— At 9:35pm local time, three and a half hours after polls closed and with 94.2% of voted counted, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced that Venezuelans had voted 54.4% to 45.6% in favor of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the two-term limit on all elected office. Chávez supporters celebrated the nearly 9-point victory margin with enthusiasm, as it will allow President Hugo Chávez to run for a third full term in 2012.
(click here to view entire article)
Venezuela's Term Limits
February 14th 2009, by George Cicariello-Maher - CounterPunch
The story is a familiar one. Amid the collapse of two-party dominance, an independent leader rises to power. In an effort to calm frazzled nerves, he insists he will respect the rule of law and the will of the voters by maintaining the peaceful transfer of power at the end of his legally-established term. "There's no organization that I know that would put somebody in charge for a long period of time," he insists, "you always want turnover and change." But in power for nearly eight years, having established a fervent support base and concentrated power in his own hands, our fair leader no longer feels the need to comfort his opponents, and his discourse radicalizes as his view of term limits shifts. Dismissing his opposition as rigid "dogmatists," the leader now insists on the need to change course flexibly to meet circumstances. True and sustained change, he argues, requires the continuity of his successful leadership.
Unsurprisingly, his opponents fiercely oppose the move as dangerous: "It shows a fundamental contempt for the democratic process," one maintains, "and it's changing the rules to benefit yourself directly." Ironically, it was this very same argument that the leader himself had made five years prior, when vetoing efforts to loosen term limits. Not without controversy, then, was the decision of the region's largest newspaper--aligned politically with the leader--to wade into these conflictive waters with the following declaration:
The bedrock of... democracy is the voters' right to choose. Though well intentioned... the term limits law severely limits that right, which is why this page has opposed term limits from the outset... Term limits are seductive, promising relief from mediocre, self-perpetuating incumbents and gridlocked legislatures. They are also profoundly undemocratic, arbitrarily denying voters the ability to choose between good politicians and bad.
While the paper had previously insisted that any change to term limits come through popular referendum, it now reverses this view, taking the position that for reasons of political expediency, a simple vote in the small executive council will do.
Of which banana republic are we speaking, where thinly-veiled authoritarianism threatens democratic checks and balances, and weak-kneed apologists parade about under the banner of free press? Why, the place is none other than New York City, the leader none other than Michael Bloomberg, and the newspaper none other than the New York Times. Patience: we haven't even gotten to the hypocrisy part yet.
"Hugo Chávez's Choice"
Term limits have a long history, dating from ancient Greece and Rome and Aristotle's concept of "ruling and being ruled in turn." With a trademark selectiveness (see, e.g., Senate Report 104-158), those upholding the sanctity of this standard in U.S. politics do so with no mention of the other elements Aristotle would associate with democracy, most obviously the filling of all positions by random lot (except for generals, or strategoi, who in an intriguing inversion of our own system, were to be elected). And nor is there much mention of those countries in the wealthy world which see no need for such limitations, or those celebrated leaders who have accomplished purportedly historic tasks without such fetters: Tony Blair served for 10 years, Margaret Thatcher for 11. Franklin D. Roosevelt, consistently ranked among the greatest U.S. presidents served for 12, and would have served for 16 had he survived. And this is not to mention the unlimited terms available to U.S. senators and representatives.
(click here to view entire article)
Friday, 13 February 2009
Robbery, Not Anti-Semitism, Motive for Attack on Venezuelan Synagogue
February 10th 2009, by James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com
Mérida, February 10th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com)-- Following a weeklong investigation of the burglary and vandalizing of a prominent Caracas synagogue, Venezuelan authorities have arrested eleven suspects, including a rabbi’s bodyguard who planned the crime, and a security guard who assisted the break in, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El-Aissami announced Monday.
The attack on the synagogue occurred in the early morning of January 31st. Burglars tampered with security cameras, stole property, defaced sacred items including the Torah, and spray-painted the walls with anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli phrases.
A confession by security guard Víctor Escalona revealed that a personal struggle over money was the motive of the crime. Edgar Cordero, a Caracas police officer and bodyguard of Rabbi Isaac Cohen had been denied a loan by the rabbi, so he planned to rob money from the synagogue’s coffers, and approached Escalona for assistance, according to investigators from the from Venezuela’s national Criminal, Penal, and Scientific Investigations Unit (CICPC).
El Aissami said anti-Semitism was not the motive, but rather a tactic used for two purposes, “First, to weaken the investigation, and second, to direct the blame toward the national government.”
(click here to view entire article)
Why The Venezuelan Amendment Campaign Is So Important
February 11th 2009, by Diana Raby
Next Sunday, 15 February, Venezuelans vote in a referendum on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that will allow for any candidate to stand for the Presidency, or indeed for any elective office, without restriction on the number of terms they may serve. Only the people's vote will decide whether they are elected and how many terms they serve.
In other words, if President Hugo Chávez, who is already serving his second term under the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, wishes to stand for a third term, he may do so. Equally, the opposition mayor of Greater Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, may stand three or four times if he wants (and if the people vote for him).
This is no different from the practice here in the UK, where Margaret Thatcher won four elections for the Conservatives (although we did not have the privilege of voting for her personally as Prime Minister), and Tony Blair won three times for Labour. It is of course different from the situation in the US, where some sixty years ago a limit of two consecutive terms was introduced for the presidency.
But why is there such a fuss about this proposal in Venezuela? Once again, as so many times before in the last ten years, the media are full of stories about Chávez' dictatorial tendencies or being President for life, and the opposition goes on about "the principle of alternation [alternabilidad]". But they know perfectly well that Chávez will only be re-elected in 2012 if the people vote for him in elections which have been certified time and again as impeccably free and honest, and that the possibility of mid-term recall still exists and will be maintained. And alternation, as the experience here in the UK and in so many "advanced democracies" shows, is all too often a neat device to prevent any real change while giving the appearance of choice with a superficial change of personnel.
(click here to view entire article)
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators
February 5th 2009, by Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray and Luis Sandoval - CEPR
For the full report in its original PDF format, click here (255kb).
This paper looks at some of the most important economic and social indicators during the 10 years of the Chávez administration in Venezuela, as well as the current economic expansion. It also looks at the current situation and challenges.
Among the highlights:
The current economic expansion began when the government got control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003. Since then, real (inflationadjusted) GDP has nearly doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.
Most of this growth has been in the nonoil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.
During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and does take into account increased access to health care or education.
Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.
Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.
Real (inflationadjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.
From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than onethird. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.
There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999/2000 to 2007/2008.
The labor market also improved substantially over the last decade, with unemployment dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains.
Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.
Over the decade, the government's total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP.
Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has been falling over the last half year (as measured by threemonth averages) and is likely to continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide.
The current situation and challenges:
(click here to view entire press release)
Monday, 9 February 2009
Hillary Clinton and James Steinberg "Talk Tough" on Latin America
February 2nd 2009, by April Howard - upsidedownworld.org
While President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their appointees emphasize a return to diplomacy in foreign relations, so far they show little inclination to be diplomatic toward leftist governments in Latin America. In fact, comments by Clinton and other recent appointees show a continuation of an antiquated analysis and a lack of understanding of recent Latin American social movements and regional integration.
On a visit to the State Department on January 23, Clinton promised "I will do all that I can, working with you, to make it abundantly clear that robust diplomacy and effective development are the best long-term tools for securing America's future." Obama made similar assertions in a speech to diplomats, and 'diplomacy', symbolizing a return to international peace and prosperity, was the word of the week.
Most recently, however, newly appointed Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, boldly stated that "Our friends and partners in Latin America are looking to the United States to provide strong and sustained leadership in the region, as a counterweight to governments like those currently in power in Venezuela and Bolivia which pursue policies which do not serve the interests of their people or the region." This begs the question of exactly who "our friends and partners in Latin America" are, as many Latin American countries are happily accepting funding for humanitarian projects from Venezuela, and Bolivia is hardly in an economic position to pull strings around the continent. These and other comments by Clinton show that the Obama administration intends to continue a foreign policy in Latin America based on corporate benefit and a misplaced fear of Latin American nationalism.
(click here to view entire article)
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Francisco Toro and Venezuela’s “Savage” Democracy
February 8th 2009, by Samuel Grove - Red Pepper Venezuela Blog
In a recent online debate about the 10th anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s presidency in
The ‘anti-democratic’ charge is one frequently levelled at Chavez by commentators and groups (and more controversially an international human rights organisation). However, it has to be conceded, even by those making this charge, that it is counterintuitive to say the least. Under Chavez, Venezuelans have gone to the polls a record number of times. In the most recent municipal elections Chavez’s PSUV received an impressive 52.5% of votes cast and won 17 of 22 governorships in the process. Participation was 65% (unheard of in western democracies for this type of election), a figure which tallies with recent findings of the respected polling agency Latinobarómetro which reported that satisfaction with democracy in
However Toro remains defiant on this point; he writes “democracy means more than just elections” and while
The first allegation concerns the independence of the judiciary. The Chavez government, Toro claims, has undermined democracy by “purging all but die hard loyalists” from the Supreme Court. Yet this was the same Supreme Court that was complicit in the April 2002 coup that briefly removed Chavez from power. As pointed out by Gregory Wilpert, it is difficult to imagine any “government in the world [that] could tolerate a Supreme Court that claims there was no coup when everyone else in the world recognizes that there was one”. It is also worth noting that since Chavez’s Supreme Court alleged “purge” countless decisions have gone against Chavez and his supporters.
The second allegation refers to freedom of expression. Echoing HRW’s accusations (only more hysterically) he writes “the Venezuelan state has morphed into an extension of a single man's will, where every dissenting idea is presumed treasonous and where only unquestioning submission to the president's ideology protects you from the increasingly brazen abuse of state power.” In
If this were the sum total of Toro’s case against Chavez then it would be a meagre one indeed. However the thrust of Toro’s criticisms do not concern the state of
Toro, a Venezuelan journalist, political scientist and blogger who has reported for the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Financial Times, is unquestionably a major contributor to the public discourse he describes. It is then worth taking a look at whether Toro himself promotes such a discourse of “co-existence”.
Fortunately we do not need to conduct a deep and thorough analysis of Toro’s writings in order to find out his views of “political ideas [he does] not share” as he has provided his own detailed synopsis of it here.
Drawing from the work of the philosopher J.M. Briceño Guerrero, Toro describes a number of “separate, mutually incompatible strains” to Latin American culture. The strain that Toro himself belongs to is the “Western rationalist” strain. This strain derives from the European conquest of the hemisphere and is the “discourse of privilege” and “the privileged”. Western rationalists are committed to a “basic faith in reason… as the key to understanding… social reality.” Toro opposes this strain with the non-western/anti-rational Savage sentiments of
Toro does not deny that Chavez and the PSUV represent the integration, possibly for the first time, of a popular poor majority into the political arena. What he rejects is the idea that this is a democratic development. Toro is able to criticise
Toro’s intellectual sleight of hand is clever but not new. As Richard Seymour has pointed out this has been an ideological feature of imperialism and domination for as long as democracy has threatened to undermine them. “It is often implied that democracy is a kind of technology, a cultural state, rather than a political one. This is a common assumption on the part of those who would wish to deny the right to independence and self-government to non white peoples.”
Of course the notion that “rationality” is peculiar to either the West (or Western culture) is a myth. Chavez’s supporters can rightly claim that the development course
In George Orwell’s 1984 language is manipulated to ‘meet the ideological needs’ of the powerful; the objective being to make certain ‘modes of thought impossible’. This involved the invention of new words, the elimination of undesirable words and stripping words of their orthodox meanings. While Newspeak is a dystopic vision, the device is common among political elites and their supporters. A brand of Newspeak particularly favoured by elite opinion is the dressing up of offensive half baked ideas into sophisticated technical jargon. The Guardian describes Toro’s blog as a must read. I strongly suggest that anyone who takes the Guardian’s advice not be intimidated by Toro’s [attempted] elaborate prose and high minded references to status figures like Derrida and Foucault. Instead they should stick with their gut reaction. Toro’s assertions are indeed both “relentlessly polarising” and quite breathtakingly offensive. More importantly they should remember what words mean. “Democracy”, if it is to mean anything at all, means the political inclusion of all—regardless of wealth or privilege. For those in favour of this principle, the last 10 years of the Chavez government is very much something to celebrate.
What Effect has 10 Years of Hugo Chávez Had on Venezuela? A Debate
February 3th 2009, by Francisco Toro and Redmond O'Neill - Comment is free
::: Francisco Toro to Redmond O'Neill
Venezuelans who understand that democracy means more than just elections have little reason to celebrate today. Ten years into the Chávez era, Venezuela is a more violent, less tolerant and far more divided country than it was. Despite an oil boom that has brought an unprecedented gush of petrodollars, Venezuela's economy is more oil-dependent than ever.
And while the oil boom has brought a much needed decline in poverty, the price we've paid has been the gradual debasement of our democratic institutions, our public discourse, and our capacity to co-exist peacefully, side-by-side, with people whose political ideas we do not share.
Let's be clear: by 1999, Venezuela's democratic institutions had become ossified and corrupt. They were in dire need of reform; nobody sane
would deny that. Rather than reforming them, Chavez has relentlessly
undermined them, purging all but die-hard loyalists from every state
body right up to the supreme tribunal and leaving notionally independent
agencies unable to curb on a hyper-empowered executive. Egged on by a
relentlessly polarising discourse, the Venezuelan state has morphed into
an extension of a single man's will, where every dissenting idea is
presumed treasonous and where only unquestioning submission to the
president's ideology protects you from the increasingly brazen abuse of
::: Redmond O'Neill to Francisco Toro
Objective discussion of a serious topic requires a thorough examination of the relevant facts. If the facts contradict a theory it must be changed.
For the half century before the election of President Chávez, income per head in Venezuela rose just a quarter of the average rate of the other large Latin American economies. Since the Chávez-led government gained control of the national oil company in 2003, this disastrous economic performance has been transformed, with one of the highest growth rates in the region, a dramatic reduction in debt and an accumulation of currency reserves sufficient to offer significant protection from fluctuations in oil prices.
This economic success has been used to eradicate illiteracy, provide free healthcare to the majority of the population for the first time and radically reduce poverty.
Social progress has been accompanied by a dramatic expansion in democracy with more national electoral contests than virtually any other country in the world and respect for the outcomes, including the defeat of Chávez in last year's constitutional referendum.(click here to view entire debate)
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
'Guardian' Comment Piece Falsifies Venezuelan Reality
February 4th 2009, by Venezuela Information Centre
Vanessa Neumann's negative comment piece in today's Guardian ('No, Chávez is not the answer to Venezuela's poverty and inequality') contains a number of false claims, including that "praise for the president [Chávez] flies in the face of facts on literacy and other social indicators." 5 of the key false claims in the piece, and the reality with regards to these, are below.
1) Claim: "None of Chávez's health and human development indicators are beyond that which is normal in the midst of the sort of oil boom which Venezuela recently enjoyed."
Reality: It is not the case that in all oil-exporting countries when oil prices go up that poverty or social inequality dramatically declines. The 1970s oil price increases were greater in real (inflation adjusted) terms than those recently. But in the 1970s, in Venezuela income per head fell relative to the average for the eight other largest South American economies, even though they did not have such oil wealth. To make use of oil price rises to decrease poverty, a country needs to have a strong state machinery capable of redistributing the wealth; something Chávez has gone about establishing in Venezuela. Additionally, the true scale of poverty reduction in Venezuela in recent years can't be underestimated – 75.5% percent of the population were in poverty in 1995.
2) Claim: There are "severe food shortages of staples such as milk, eggs, beans and rice."
Reality: Venezuela's National Nutrition Institute estimates that 98 per cent of Venezuelans eat three times per day thanks to government provision of subsidised food.
3) Claim: "In 2005 he [Chávez] announced that his Robinson programme had eliminated illiteracy…. That too looks false. A study conducted by Francisco Rodríguez (former chief economist of the Venezuelan national assembly) and Daniel Ortega (of Venezuela's IESA business school) found that at the end of 2005 there were more than 1 million illiterate Venezuelans, not significantly down from the 1.1 million in the first half of 2003, when the Robinson programme started."
Reality: Due to 'Mission Robinson' in Venezuela, 1.6 million Venezuelans have learnt to read and write. The Rodriguez/Ortega report quoted here has been discredited by the well-respected CEPR (see http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/literacy_2008_05.pdf) who argued it "has serious problems and their statistical tests lack power and are not robust. Even overlooking these issues, it is only by ignoring reasonable assumptions about the [illiteracy] program's reach that they can claim to show that the program was not a large-scale effort." Indeed, Rodriguez is hardly a reliable source on the current government, having been part of the previous regime.
4) Claim: Chávez is guilty of "economic mismanagement."
Reality: Since the Government gained control of PDVSA in 2003, Venezuela has had one of the highest growth rates in the region, a dramatic reduction in debt and an accumulation of currency reserves.
5) Claim: "The average share of the budget devoted to health, education and housing under Chávez (25%) is identical to that in the last eight years before his election" and "inflation rates for healthcare [are] around 65%."
Reality: Prior to 1998, no system of free healthcare for the mass of the population was developed. Now, the share of national income devoted to public health has more than doubled. This has meant infant mortality has been reduced, from 21.4 per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 13.7 in 2007, with the World Health Organisation acknowledging "an accelerated decline in the infant mortality rate and prevalent childhood diseases." Additionally, the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans now have access to free public healthcare, rather than facing "inflation rates for healthcare."
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Human Rights Coverage of Venezuela and Colombia Serving Washington’s Needs
February 2009, by Steve Rendall and Daniel Ward and Tess Hall - FAIR
Click here to download pdf.
Any evenhanded comparison of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments’ human rights records would have to note that, though Venezuela’s record is far from perfect, that country is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism.
But a new survey by FAIR shows that, over the past 10 years, editors at four leading U.S. newspapers have focused more on purported human rights abuses in Venezuela than in Colombia, and their commentary would suggest that Venezuela’s government has a worse human rights record than Colombia’s. These papers, FAIR found, seem more interested in reinforcing official U.S. policy toward the region than in genuinely supporting the rights of Colombians and Venezuelans.
Colombia’s ‘appalling’ record . . .
Over the past 40 years, Colombia has been known for its rampant human rights violations, untouchable drug cartels, government-linked death squads and violent guerrilla groups. The principal specialist on Colombia for the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch (HRW), Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, told Congress (4/23/07), “Colombia presents the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere.” She also noted that government-linked paramilitary groups are largely responsible for Colombia’s grim status.
(click here to view entire article; click here to view the BoRev blog's take on this)
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Chávez Speaks to Social Movements About New Revolutionary Path at World Social Forum
January 30th 2009, by James Suggett - Venezuelanalysis.com
Mérida, January 30th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Social movements in Latin America have been in the “trenches of resistance” against global capitalism, and now need to move to an “offensive,” taking concrete steps toward the creation of alternatives to capitalism, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez expressed during a speech to thousands of participants in the World Social Forum Thursday in Belém do Pará, Brazil.
“Just like Latin America and the Caribbean received the biggest dose of neo-liberal venom, our continent has been the immense territory where social movements have sprouted with the greatest strength and begun to change the world,” said Chávez.
Chávez expanded upon the traditional slogan of the World Social Forum, “Another world is possible,” adding, “another world is necessary, and another world is being born in Latin America and the Caribbean!”
(click here to view entire article)