The current shortages in Venezuela have been pinned on the government, which critics say is to blame for the economic crisis. But the private sector is believed to have made record profits through Venezuela’s currency exchange schemes, ripping off the Central Bank and generating widespread shortages.
By Carlos Aznárez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / May 31, 2016
In Venezuela in particular, and the Central and South American continent in general, these are no times for weak positions. The empire and the regional right are attacking with full force and we don’t need any more evidence to know what they’re up to and why they’re willing to use any means necessary to achieve their goals.
It’s undeniable that several of these attacks, to which we’re getting used to, have obtained certain degrees of success. They are taking over governments, causing 180º turns in public policies and applying neoliberal recipes, the same ones that we endured in the 90s, which the peoples had rejected afterwards.
The new geopolitical map of Latin America and the Caribbean proves that the plan of the invaders is not just temporary. We can’t keep lying to ourselves nor keep having pointless discussions on whether the cycle of progressivist governments is over or not. Things are what they are: if we add up the right-wing governments and the ones that, even though they aren’t right-wing, are shamelessly flirting with the US and its allies in the European Union, we’ll see that they are a majority in the region.
The structures for regional integration are paralyzed and almost autistic. Luis Almagro, the monstrous Secretary General of the OAS, imposed by Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez and by José “Pepe” Mujica, is a blind follower of his own reactionary ideas and the script that imperialism has written for him to play. The diplomatic battle must be fought, but it’s neither the most important nor the most effective one to avoid losing ground.
Commander Hugo Chavez was right when he considered that it was necessary to create people’s militias to cooperate with the Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela to defend the revolution. What was difficult to imagine a few years ago is now around the corner. The enemy knows that Venezuela is not an easy territory to penetrate, because Nicolás Maduro isn’t weak as Fernando Lugo was when he was overthrown, and also, his people is not willing to accept coups without fighting back.
In Venezuela, things will play out differently to what we have seen in the rest of South America. The poor, who with the revolution have seen their rights fulfilled like never before, and acquired a new level of human dignity, they know that the oligarchy has such thirst for revenge and such hate that they will have no choice but to defend themselves however they can.
Maduro is right when he puts himself in the people’s hands, because that’s the only way to have a chance to emerge victorious from this war that attacks from all fronts and doesn’t admit an outcome with no defeated. This is raw class struggle, and the conciliators, social democrats, pacifists and opportunists are not needed. Either the Revolution wins, or the counterrevolution does.
Precisely because of that, the whole continent has to express solidarity towards Venezuela, setting aside differences and criticisms concerning how they arrived to this situation, and to actively build revolutionary unity to avoid, in the first place, that the Bolivarian Venezuela is destroyed by an internal opposition that doesn’t hesitate to call for a foreign military intervention to quench their thirst of revenge for the privileges they lost, and secondly, the sustained action of Washington’s government, its multinational companies and power lobbies, that want to transform the beautiful Venezuela into something similar to what is happening now in the Middle East.
It’s the hour of those who fight and not of those who cry, paraphrasing guerrilla Jorge Ricardo Masetti on the 87th anniversary of his birth, and in this sense, all that Nicolas Maduro, the commander in chief of the anti-imperialist counter-offensive, decides from now on is fundamental. He has already given an important step forward by pointing at the heart of that spurious National Assembly that has shamefully fallen under the figure of “betrayal to the Nation”, but it’s still necessary to duplicate the efforts and stop paying attention to “what the others will say”. To listen to the voices that come from the Communes and the more combative neighborhoods, those who are willing to join the ranks in the frontline and to not doubt about the need to toughen the policies to save the Revolution. To send the OAS and its lackeys to hell, like the dignified Cuba of Fidel did, and demand the urgent conformation of a front that rejects the coup, along with all fellow ALBA countries. Declarations of goodwill are abundant, but what’s needed in these times of war is to know exactly how many women and men we can count on and not wait for things to happen before we react, we must act before it’s too late.
Venezuelan authorities are conducting an internal investigation into the assassination of retired Army Major General Felix Velasquez, which is the latest case in a surge of killings targeting pro-government public officials and activists.
A man holds a poster of Henrique Capriles in protest of Maduro
Chavista Military Official Assassinated by Cops From Opposition-Held Municipality
In recent months, Western mainstream media outlets have remained silent regarding the violence waged against government supporters, left-wing activists and public servants, which many believe is an attempt to undermine the future of the Chavista movement in the country.
High Profile Assassinations
May 2016: Retired Venezuelan Army Major General Felix Velasquez was shot dead while driving his car in Caracas. Venezuelan police are investigating the crime to clarify the true motives of the assassination. So far, two suspects have been detained. According to Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, the two suspects are policemen from the opposition-held Caracas borough of Chacao.
March 2016: Marco Tulio Carrillo was “shot repeatedly” outside his home in Trujillo. Carrillo was the mayor of the La Ceiba municipality, and a member of President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Two suspects have been arrested to due their involvement with the murder.
March 2016: Socialist legislator Cesar Vera was shot in Tachira state. Vera was a member of the Great Patriotic Pole, a political coalition of parties aligned with the PSUV. A member of a Colombian paramilitary group was arrested in connection to the murder.
March 2016: Two Venezuelan police personnel were killed after a protest in a Tachira university turned deadly.
March 2016: Haitian-Venezuelan political leader and solidarity activist Fritz Saint Louis, 54, was shot dead in his home by masked gunman on Saturday evening.
January 2016: The well-respected journalist and prominent Chavista Ricardo Duran was murdered outside his home in Caracas. One suspect was arrested in connection to his murder.
March 2015: Local council member Dimas Gomez Chirinos, 47, was shot dead alongside his 20-year-old son, Eli David Gomez in the western state of Falcon, Venezuela. Gomez was also a member of the ruling PSUV. Three suspects were arrested in connection to the brutal killing.
May 2014: Rafael Celestino Albino Arteaga, 44, Vargas state chief of the Venezuelan Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), was shot dead by an unidentified male assailant in a shopping mall in the western city of Maracay.
April 2014: Major Otaiza, a friend and ally of the late president Hugo Chavez, was shot dead outside the capital, Caracas. Otaiza was named direction of national intelligence early in Hugo Chavez’s presidency. Following his death, Venezuelan Police arrested seven people in connection with the murder of the former public official.
February 2014: The high-profile killing of Robert Serra (27), a legislator of the PSUV, and the National Assembly’s (AN) youngest parliamentarian, was found dead in his Caracas home. In December 2013, Serra was elected as a local counselor for the PSUV in the Libertadores area. An investigation revealed that Serra’s assassination was planned by paramilitary leader in Colombia, Padilla Mendoza.
February – June 2014: Violent opposition protests, known as the Guarimbas, formed part of the widespread violence, which left 43 dead, over 870 injured and about 2,500 arrested. However, around half of the deaths were deemed to have been directly caused by opposition violence.
By teleSUR/ ns-OA-egb
Letter from the world social movements to the President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama
Dear Mr. President,
We, representatives from social movements worldwide, have seen with bewilderment and indignation how on the 9th of March 2015 you decreed a national emergency in your country in order to confront Venezuela by labelling it as “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
Such executive order is an act of aggression which violates international law, and it is the most severe attempt to change the democratic will of the Venezuelan people.
In addition, we believe that your executive order endangers peace throughout the continent, since it clearly implies that your government is determined to roll back the social advances that have been achieved during the last decade in Latin America.
Mr. President, you are isolating your own country by turning it into a true rouge state
You are treating Venezuela as an enemy, a country that over the last two centuries has cultivated a tradition of international peace.
You are acting as a world bully who wishes to forcibly impose his might over the rule of law and over people’s sovereignty.
The military and economic power of the United States shall never be enough to tread on the rights of the rest of humanity.
Mr. President, you want to change the Government of Venezuela in order to bring back the continent’s progress on social policies
The Government of the United States wants “to twist arms” to Venezuelan men and women because they decided, peacefully and democratically, to correct the social inequalities accumulated over centuries of racism against indigenous and Afro-Latino people, violence against women, oppression against rural and urban workers, discrimination against sexual minorities, exclusion of the minorities with special needs and environmental destruction.
Over the past 15 years, millions of men and women in Venezuela, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean, have seen their quality of lives improve by fighting against poverty, illiteracy, lack of medical attention, and for the recognition of their cultural, environmental and sexual rights.
This is due to a great historical change that has turned social movements into fundamental political actors, eroding the power of traditional elites.
Mr. President, you use the power of your country to privilege the powerful one percent which for centuries has oppressed the ninety-nine percent of Latinos.
By trying to turn back the clock of Latin American history, your Government plots against democracy, popular majorities and peace with justice that millions of us, Latinos, have built with so much sacrifice.
Venezuela is not alone
In this struggle for peace and justice, the people of Venezuela have the right to freely decide their future. They even have the right to make their own mistakes.
We join Venezuela in its liberation effort. The struggles of Venezuela’s majorities are our struggles. Their victories and defeats are ours.
Venezuela may well be unusual and extraordinary, but you Mr. President are the threat
Mr. President, you seem to be convinced that Venezuela’s defeat would create a “domino effect” all over the continent, halting the wave of social change that runs throughout the region. This error is born of your lack of understanding for Latino social movements, which prevails among the elites in your country. Your unjustified aggression is doomed to fail.
While Venezuela offers peace, solidarity and friendship to the people of the world, your government only offers a return to the past through the illegal use of force, military bases, threats and intimidation.
For us the choice is clear: Venezuela may be unusual and extraordinary; however, you Mr. President and the US Government pose a real threat to democracy, peace and justice in Latin America.
We call upon reflexion, so that arrogance may cease. We call upon respect for human rights of people all over the world. Finally, we also call upon the most active organization and mobilization of the ninety-nine percent to defend our social achievements and to advance our aspirations for peace and justice.
Therefore, Mr. President Obama, we demand that you repeal your executive order now!
Add your signature:
Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front
Movimiento Siglo 21
[Soon to be updated more signatures]
SIGN THE PETITION HERE
The member states of the Union of South American.
Nations (UNASUR) manifest their rejection of the Executive Order issued on March 9, 2015 by the government of the United States of America, for it constitutes a threat of interference against sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in other States´ affairs.
The UNASUR Member States ratify their commitment with the application of international law, Peaceful Resolution of Disputes and the principle of Non-Intervention, and calls upon governments to withhold the use of coercive unilateral measures that violate international law.
UNASUR reiterates its request to the United States´ governments to evaluate and implement dialogue with Venezuela as an alternative, under the basis of respecting sovereignty and self-determination of the people. Consequently, we request the derogation of the Executives Order.
QUITO, MARZO 14, 2015
In Ottawa, capital of Canada, despite adverse weather conditions, social organizations, solidarity groups, students and progressive Canadians, from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, joined the International Day of Solidarity with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its Constitutional President Nicolas Maduro Moros.
The delegations met at the Venezuelan Embassy, where they were received by Ambassador Barrientos and the Embassy staff. The crowd in a symbolic gesture surrounded the Embassy as a “protection shield”, to protect it against aggressions from the USA. Ambassador Barrientos, addressed the crowd expressing the government gratitude for the expressions of solidarity, affection to all the people supporting the Bolivarian Revolution.
A number of representatives from different social and solidarity organizations, presented documents, condemning the USA aggression and interference in Venezuelan internal affairs with false accusations of human rights, freedom of expression as portrayed by main stream media worldwide. All the organizations clearly and resolutely expressed that the work in Defense of the Bolivarian Revolution will continue as well as the commitment to reveal the truth about Venezuela.
From the Venezuelan Embassy the crowd march to the USA Embassy and Ottawa was filled with the chants, condemning the interference, threats and destabilization plans against President Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution. The march continued to Parliament Hill where the crowd filled the access steps to the Canadian Parliament with banners, Flags, posters and continue with the chants supporting Venezuela against foreign aggression.
Also Vancouver and Edmonton join the Day by rallying that Sunday in support of the Bolivarian Revolution before US new aggressions against Venezuelan people
In the Vancouver Art Gallery representatives of different political parties, social organizations and people who respect the principle of Self-determination of the peoples in the world gathered to express their “rejection towards the statement by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, declaring Venezuela a threat to his country and imposing new sanctions against the Caribbean country.
Ottawa’s was filled with:
Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana!!
Yankee go Home!!
By Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front
A panel discussion on democracy and human rights in Venezuela was held March 12 in Ottawa that featured Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Canada and two other speakers. The event generated considerable interest and every seat was quickly filled. The program opened with a screening of the film “Carbon Copy: The Economic War in Venezuela,” comparing the Venezuelan experience to the attacks on the Chilean economy before the U.S. backed coup on September 11, 1973.
The first speaker was Dr. George Sorger, a Venezuelan living in Canada for many years and former McMaster University Professor of Biology. He spoke about his childhood in Venezuela and the extreme poverty he witnessed around him; how malnutrition and lack of adequate housing led to a high number of deaths of infants and children. Dr. Sorger spoke of the lack of opportunities for the vast majority of the population that lived in extreme poverty and how the Bolivarian Revolution has changed things for the people and given them pride of place in the country. He said that in the old Venezuela the economy was simply seen as a way to make money and serve U.S. interests rather than an instrument to provide for the people. He explained how the democratic institutions present in Venezuela have grown deep roots. Everyone is organized into neighbourhood councils to set priorities and make the decisions on health care, education and infrastructure to meet their needs.
The next presentation by journalist Sam Heaton discussed how U.S. and Canadian intervention and coup attempts in Venezuela are justified on the basis of the Anglo-American imperialist definition of rights. The concept of rights promoted by the U.S. imperialists, Canada and the oligarchy is the one they imposed through the so-called Paris Charter in 1991 which declares that any country which does not have a market economy, human rights and elections of a kind which suit the U.S. is a pariah state and requires regime change. This was a declaration to oppose the countries which are building socialism which is the condition that guarantees people’s rights and the aspiration of the Bolivarian Revolution. He pointed out that the requirement to have multi-party elections in order to be considered democratic is problematic for the U.S. because it props up dictatorships all around the world, while in Venezuela everything is done democratically and the U.S. does not like the results.
What the U.S., Canada and the Venezuelan oligarchy speak of is not rights, but privileges, said Heaton. He pointed out that it is the Venezuelan government that upholds the rule of law, while the law is rejected by anti-Bolivarian forces because it is not based on their former privileges. Claiming these privileges are their rights, U.S. aggression is aimed at restoring these privileges through nefarious means. Heaton also explained the recent history of Canadian intervention and undiplomatic activities in Venezuela including those of Canada’s ambassador-designate, Ben Rowswell.
The final presentation by Ambassador Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández consisted in part of an in-depth survey of the state of Venezuela and its progress in the social, economic, political and cultural spheres during the Bolivarian Revolution. He showed how the gains of the revolution are being attacked through economic warfare and presented evidence of widespread hoarding and attempts by the rich to sabotage the production and distribution of goods. He showed how for the first time in Venezuela’s history the Bolivarian Revolution has invested oil revenue in health care and education and how the people have gained access to necessities previously available only to the upper classes. Ambassador Barrientos asked why these dozens of statistics are not spoken of in the media, which paint a desperate picture of the country. He invited people to go to Venezuela and see for themselves. It was pointed out that in the 1980s when oil prices collapsed the people had no support from the government and there were food riots and massacres. The difficult economic situation of Venezuela now with sabotage of the economy and the drop in world oil prices has not led to any hunger or food riots despite the scarcity of certain products. Despite the difficulties, he said, Venezuelans support the revolution and are determined to overcome.
Ambassador Barrientos said he was glad that many Venezuelans had come to the event and that he was happy for the opportunity to discuss with them. He urged people not to fall prey to divisions. He pointed out that Venezuelans who are concerned for the future of their country should involve themselves in solving problems and contribute to building unity. He presented extensive evidence of disinformation and lies on the part of U.S.-backed forces involved in attempts to overthrow the democratically-elected government. He also refuted spurious claims made by opposition figures before the Canadian Parliament.
Ambassador Barrientos spoke of his working class upbringing and how one of the biggest difficulties in getting an education was lack of transport to the schools. He said this inspired him to open up educational opportunities for the poor and working class in Venezuela and millions of people are now attending university. The Ambassador also discussed his experience as a comrade-in-arms of the late President Hugo Chávez as far back as 1992 and how he and Chávez agreed to meet with opposition figures to prevent the country being split by U.S. imperialism.
The Ambassador presented evidence refuting the claims that unrest following the opposition defeat in the 2014 presidential election was a result of repression of peaceful protests. He said there should not be violence between Venezuelans and that this is not an acceptable response from a minority of the population in opposition to the democratic process.
A lively discussion followed the presentations with many people making a point to thank the Ambassador for his participation. A variety of questions and comments were made by participants, some rejecting the Ambassador’s remarks and others asking for clarifications or more information. Ambassador Barrientos gave everyone the opportunity to state their positions and then systemically responded to each point or query.
To the Canadian Public Opinion:
RE: President Obama today issuance of a new Executive Order (E.O.) declaring a “national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela”.
The Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front (HCPDF) on behalf of the Canadian Latin-American community, social organizations, trade unionist, intellectuals, students and many more Canadians respectful of the legal framework in Venezuela, in the strongest possible terms reject the latest maneuver of the United States Government to destabilize the democratically elected Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We join forces with ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC, NAC plus China, Caribbean Community of Countries more than 135 countries, European parliamentarians and social organizations from around the world to condemn the latest attempt to destabilize a constitutional democracy.
Despite the relentless media attacks for the past fifteen years and countless violations of international law perpetrated by the United States Government, by providing funding to opposition political groups and violent ultra right-wing organizations through NED, USAID, Albert Einstein Institute among others, Venezuelans for the past fifteen years have successively, democratically elected Hugo Chavez Frias and Nicolas Maduro Moros as Presidents of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
What has Venezuela done to be considered a ” extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela”? Has Venezuela invaded countries in the area? Does Venezuela possess IBM’s? Nuclear weapons? Has Venezuela participated in the destruction of countries such as the case of Irak, launched under false claims? If there is a threat to Latin American countries and Venezuela in particular, it’s the one emanating from Washington and its history of intervention in the continent.
The completely baseless accusations emanating from Washington, erosion of the democratic system, human rights abuses, freedom of expression do not stand the test of what is really going on in Venezuela. The politicians arrested are being processed for crimes committed against the constitution of Venezuela and the carnage they caused. Due legal process is being followed in all the cases, and allegations of abuses are refuted clearly by the video evidence available, but never shown by the main stream media. Again Washington’s fiction does not stand the facts that emanate from Venezuela.
In fact, Leopoldo Lopez, Maria Corina Machados made a public call to remove the constitutional government. What is the penalty for a Canadian citizen if such call was made to remove Stephen Harper?
Antonio Ledezma, is accused of being involved in a violent coup d’etat plot, documents video evidence clearly indicate his involvement, confessions are also available from other plotters. What would happen to a Canadian mayor if he was involved in a plot to bomb Parliament Hill and other institutions in Canada? When arrested main stream media reported that he was handcuffed and physically abused by security forces, however video evidence demonstrates that all those claims were completely false.
It is time for the Canadian Public Opinion to learn the truth about Venezuela, isn’t that what journalist and news agencies are supposed to do? Furthermore, aren’t we Canadians entitled to learn the truth about Venezuela and allow Venezuelan Diplomats to defend the country against this barrage of misinformation? Only a balanced coverage will be sufficient to dismantle this international media campaign.
During all these years the Venezuelan reality has been manipulated by the main stream media, there is absolutely no mention of all the advances for the majority of the population, from a country with over 50% of the population living under the poverty line, illiteracy, education for the few, health for the ones that could afford it, miserable living conditions to a country, as recognized by international institutions, such as FAO, UN for the gigantic effort to eradicate malnutrition, illiteracy and acute poverty. Today Venezuela is proud to present a country where education in all its levels is free, illiteracy eradicated, free healthcare, more than 600.000 homes built for the poor, from just 200.000 pensioners to over a 1.5 million and growing and so on. Have the Canadian Public opinion been made aware of these achievements? The answer is a simple NO. It is shameful the way in which Canadian media has portrayed Venezuela, history will not forget those behind these blatant fabrications.
The world opinion has not forgotten Washington’s reaction whenever they are accused of interference, Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki went so far as to declare, “The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false.”
Partial summary of US interference in the continent, all of them denied by the United States Governments of the time, ” Anyone with minimal knowledge of Latin America and world history knows Psaki’s claim is false, and calls into question the veracity of any of her prior statements. The U.S. government has backed, encouraged and supported coup d’états in Latin America and around the world for over a century. Some of the more notorious ones that have been openly acknowledged by former U.S. presidents and high level officials include coup d’etats against:
– Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953,
– Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954,
– Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960,
– Joao Goulart of Brazil in 1964 and
– Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973.
More recently, in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government openly supported the coups against:
– President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002,
– Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004 and
– Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009.
Ample evidence of CIA and other U.S. agency involvement in all of these unconstitutional overthrows of democratically-elected governments abounds. What all of the overthrown leaders had in common was their unwillingness to bow to U.S. interests.”
We urge the Canadian Public Opinion to react against such blatant intromission in the affairs of a friendly nation in our hemisphere. The people of Venezuela, deserve to be respected as well as their constitutional and democratically elected Government, our democracy based on similar principles, leave us no choice, we need to true to our democratic ideals and condemn any attempt to destabilize the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Hugo Chávez People Defense Front
Ottawa- Montreal- Vancouver- Kitchener- Toronto
Vancouver rallied this Tuesday in support of the Bolivarian Revolution before US new aggressions against Venezuelan people
More than one hundred people gathered in the Vancouver Art Gallery to express their “rejection towards the statement by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, where he declared Venezuela a threat to his country and imposed new sanctions against the land of Bolívar and Chávez”, according to the communiqué the persons and social organizations signed.
The attendees reiterated their support to the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, led by compañero President Nicolás Maduro and his people in this new aggression by the Yankee imperialists.
The communiqué also stated “we understand and warn that this new escalade in the interventionist actions by the United States towards the people of Our Americas is an attempt to prepare the ground for a future military intervention with the objective of crushing the Bolivarian Revolution and weekend the processes of change that the people of the Patria Grande (Big Motherland) are currently carrying out”.
A statement was signed by the attending in support of the Bolivarian People and Government, strongly rejecting US intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela
With the Vancouver premiere of Oliver Stone’s documentary My Friend Hugo, Comandante Chávez’s life was honoured this Thursday March 5th in the south-western city of Canada.
Over a hundred people attended the event, including many representatives of different social organizations who see Chávez as a key figure in the struggle against the capitalist-imperialist system and in the creation of a multipolar world.
The commemoration was jointly organized by the Consulate General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Vancouver and the Hugo Chávez’s People Defense Front (FDPHC, by its Spanish acronym). This was the first time the documentary, directed by US filmmaker Oliver Stone, was screened to an English-speaking audience.
The turnout was massive, while some drove more than 60 kilometres from the United States to join the tribute. A second screening will be scheduled in the following days, thus providing an opportunity for the many that couldn’t make it into the venue due to capacity restrictions.
The occasion served to read out a statement signed by the attending social organizations and individuals, worth mentioning the Public Workers Union of Canada. The document, in support of the Bolivarian People and Government, strongly rejects US intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
After singing the Gloria al Bravo Pueblo, Venezuela’s anthem, the activity kicked off with welcoming words by Consul General Merli Vanegas: “We could spend hours talking about Chávez, but as a Venezuelan woman with a humble background, who has experienced the changes brought to my country by the Bolivarian Revolution, I can summarize by saying that Chávez honoured his pledge to his people,” the official stressed.
The documentary, which focuses on the Latin American leader’s human side, touched the hearts of the audience. Laughter and applause could be heard at each witty comment or remarkable speech by President Chávez.
One of his most famous quotes, part of a speech he delivered at the UN headquarters in September 2006, “In this place it still smells of sulphur,” in reference to the then US president, George W. Bush, marked the climax of the documentary. Many couldn’t hold their tears as the film reminded how Chávez got ill and showed the tragic news of his death.
After the film, an open microphone round of interventions gave the attendants the opportunity to share personal anecdotes with Chávez, analysis of the current political situation in Latin America and thank-you notes to the Comandante for his solidarity with the peoples of the world.
Marta Harnecker, a Chilean sociologist who was awarded the 9th edition of the Liberator’s Prize for Critical Thought for his book Un mundo a construir –Nuevos caminos (A World to Build –New Paths toward Twenty-First Century Socialism) and who worked directly with Chávez, was present and took the floor: “Chávez’s most important legacy was the concept of the Twenty-First Century Socialism, as he called it, one that is built by the people. This is what he always encouraged and it is why the Venezuelan people have matured so much,” the scholar said.
Karen Weill, a US citizen and Human Rights activist, and her husband drove about 64 km into Vancouver, across the border with the United States, to attend the event. “It’s wonderful to see Chávez not just as a legend, but as a real man who felt and loved deeply. That’s where his power came from; from his love for his people and his country,” said a tearful Weill, who has been in Venezuela to witness the Revolution by herself.
Hanna Kawas, an activist from Palestina, acknowledged Chávez’s work in ushering Latin America into endorsing the Palestinian cause: “Latin America’s support of Palestine is now even stronger than that by the Arab countries, and we owe this to Chávez,” he added.
Meanwhile, Macarena Cataldo, a researcher at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia and FDPHC member, referred to the hope the Bolivarian Revolution fills her with after that same dream was snatched from her country by a coup d’etát against President Salvador Allende, in September 11th 1973, and gave way to a neoliberal model imposed by the 17-year long Pinochet dictatorship in the South American nation.
To her, the Bolivarian Revolution represents an auspicious 13 for Chile’s 11, referring to Venezuela’s famous expression “every 11 has its 13”. The term evokes April 13th, 2002, when the Venezuelan people and Armed Forces regained power after the right-wing coup d’état that toppled Chávez for some 47 hours.
The event was also part of the Robert Serra’s Discussion Group, a monthly meeting for political debate and exchange of ideas that the FDPHC organizes the first Thursday of every month in Vancouver.
Collective access to water, seen as a human right, and how capitalism deprives millions of human beings from such right is the topic slated for the upcoming Discussion Group, to be held on Thursday April 2nd. The event will feature presentations from researchers at the prestigious University of British Columbia.
Gallery of Pictures
March 5 marks the second anniversary since the death of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez led the process that transformed Venezuela away from neoliberal failure. But his impact was much wider: He was at the heart of processes that forged new unity in South America, beginning to overturn decades of U.S. domination and he has become an international beacon for social justice, peace and a multipolar world.
By teleSUR English
Venezuelan Ambassador in Canada,
M/G Wilmer Omar Fernández Barrientos
February 26th, 2015 at 6:00 PM – FREE EVENT
Victoria College (OLD VIC), 2nd Floor. University of Toronto
91 Charles Street, West, Toronto
– Tasty snacks and refreshments (non-alcoholic) will be provided
– Closest subway Station: Museum
Endorsed by: Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front
The role of the United States in the later attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is more than clear. According to a U.S lawyer and author Eva Golinger’s Twitter post Obama’s administration just asked for $5.5 million to keep supporting the opposition in the South American nation. Before in 2014 Maduro denounced in The New York Times that U.S spends at least $5 million a year to support Bolivarian Revolution detractors.
U.S has said they are not undermining Venezuela. Even though earlier this week after detention in Venezuela of Mayor Antonio Ledezma claimed to be involved in the U.S backed coup thwarted last week in Caracas, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said his government is considering new actions to steer Venezuela in a new direction.
In fact, after he denied U.S government involvement in Venezuela political issues Earnest pointed out that “the Treasury Department and the State Department are obviously closely monitoring this situation and are considering tools that may be available that could better steer the Venezuelan government in the direction that they believe they should be headed”.
In response to that President Maduro emphasized U.S don´t have the right to interfere in other countries´ affairs and call on for solidarity with the Venezuelan people before this attacks. “I call on all the brother governments of Latin America and the Caribbean. I am calling on all our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is the moment for solidarity with the Venezuelan people, who are being attacked by the government of the United States. No one should stay quiet in the face of this aggression”.
Likewise Maduro questioned the position of the White House and its “new tools” against Bolivarian revolution. “What are the ‘tools’ that are being considered by the (U.S.) Treasury Department? More economic war. What are the ‘tools’ that are being considered to move us in any direction they should please? Who said that the government of the United States has any authority to move Venezuela in any way in this world?”
However the list of known U.S interventions in Venezuela during Maduro’s presidency since last year gets longer.
In the document bellow issued by the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to denounce before International Organizations White House actions we can see how far U.S government has gone this time regardless of the international regulations of non-interference in internal affairs of States.
DENUNCIATION OF THE COUP AGAINST VENEZUELA AND CONTINUED INTERFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been denouncing since 2014, has been reporting since 2014, a new unconstitutional onslaught by the Venezuelan right and foreign elements to overthrow the democratically constituted government in the country. Violent attacks against Venezuelan democracy come from the extreme and violent ultra-right sector whose goal is to threaten the stability of the democratic system, trying to impose their agenda above the popular will which has been ratified successively in different elections in the country over the last 15 years.
Since January 23rd, 2014, the opposition’s plan called “The Way Out”, a term that refers to the imposed resignation of President Nicolás and his overthrow by the so-called “peaceful” demonstrations that later turned violent, causing painful deaths, injuries and creating a climate of fear and constant tension in the population of some states and municipalities, controlled by local authorities that oppose the revolutionary government.
One of the most noted leaders who promoted the so-called “Exit” is Mr. Leopoldo López, leader of the People’s Will Party, who declared through social networks: “We have raised the need for an exit to the disaster, an exit which is to build a popular force that is active in the streets”, “See you on the streets of Venezuela” he said while he indicated that the country is approaching “The Exit and change “.
This call was backed by several leaders, different political sectors of the Venezuelan right and student sectors mainly from private universities that were pushing a destabilizing plan which led to violent and destructive actions that began on February 12th, 2014. The tragic toll of the actions perpetrated by these different groups left a total of 43 deaths, hundreds injured and incalculable damage to public property.
The violent events brought about by these sectors of the ultra-radical opposition, were distorted by large national and international private media corporation making them look as “peaceful” protestors repressed by the Venezuelan government, noting that the legitimate action of law enforcement officers to enforce the law for the protection of property and lives of the majority of the population and the peace of the country, were not within the framework of the proportional use of force, but acts of alleged massive violations of human rights of allegedly peaceful demonstrators.
Before, during and after the failed escalation of violence, President Nicolás Maduro made a sincere call for dialogue, peace and understanding. Also, with the participation of UNASUR, a dialogue roundtable was organized to which all sectors were summoned, with national radio and television transmission. However, this effort was disregarded by the Venezuelan opposition, by their own decision they discontinued their participation in the dialogue process, tried to impose conditions to pursue the dialogue, showed no interest in reaching an understandings in the framework of the National Constitution and laws. The political opposition in general, by action or omission preferred to stick with the destabilizing agenda, keeping the continued action for a Coup d’état that highlights the non-willingness to recognize the legitimately constituted authorities with support from the government of the United States and some European allies to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
Due to the failure of violence they created in the streets by the so-called guarimbas, the oposition and some elements of the industrial comercial bourgeoisie unleashed an economic war against the Venezuelan people, thereby seeking to create a climate of dissatisfaction in the popular sectors that would bring about a rejection of President Maduro’s Government and produce looting and social upheaval. The main weapons used are by way of hoarding, speculating, smuggling, and mass propaganda by large media Corporations, that wanted to deprive the Venezuelan people of the basic food and hygiene products. This action, still in development, has been dismantled by the Bolivarian Government, which has devoted great efforts to stop the war against the economy, which directly affects the Venezuelan people’s conscience, spirit and moral.
During these months, the Bolivarian government has managed to disable the acts of violence, shortages, usury, hoarding, however, renewed actions for a coup continued, although at the military level conceived by a group of Officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Force politically linked to elements from foreign governments to cause a violent act against the President of the Republic, some fundamental institutions of the State and unarmed civilians. The new coup attempt was orchestrated by sectors of Venezuelan extreme right who offered money and a number of perks to officers who would participate in the coup, including visa to enter the territory of the United States of America, while obtaining support from that country for the coup as a whole (civil and military).
Notably, on the 11th and 12th of February 2015, one year after the implementation of the so-called “Exit”, several opposition leaders would have signed a document entitled “CALL TO VENEZUELANS FOR A NATIONAL AGREEMENT FOR TRANSITION”. Such document was signed by leaders of the Venezuelan ultra-right political opposition María Corina Machado, Antonio Ledezma and Leopoldo Lopez, possible members of a Transitional Government that stand to the overthrow the Government of President Nicolás maduro Moros.
In this sense, it is necessary to report that the dismantling of this coup has received to date, the detention of 10 officers, while three other soldiers are fugitives – outside of the country.
There has been multiple statements made by opposition politicians towards the Venezuelan government, which clearly reflect an attitude for a change of government, outside the existing constitutional rules, even calling for the Bolivarian National Armed Force to alter the constitutional order in the country. As noted States in a statement made by a Venezuelan organization in the United where they demand “free us from the yoke of the totalitarian mafia that is in power and has led Venezuela to its ruin”; or as shown in the statements made by the owner of a media written the same day of the supposed coup attempt had happened: “In Venezuela there are elections in 2018, but the situation is so catastrophic, discontent is so great in all sectors, including in the Chavistas and the Armed Forces, that anything can happen.”
All these elements are clear evidence of the continued destabilizing efforts by sectors in Venezuela, whose firm objective is to violate the constitutional order of the country.
Parallel to this situation that these right-wing groups have tried to create in our country, an increased participation or intervention of the Government of the United States of America has been noted. Its main government representative took on the main task of issuing disproportionate and wrongful judgments on the actions of President Nicolás Maduro, in order to create an international narrative, to justify a Coup d’état, foreign intervention and a “peaceful transition” towards democracy.
The Government of the United States, flaunting its alleged hegemony, has been systematically failing to comply with international obligations of non-interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, in developing a series of actions such as declarations and legislation, in order to discredit and undermine the Bolivarian Government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros and the Venezuelan democratic institutions, thereby undermining the participatory and legitimate democratic system constitutionally valid.
Indeed, the US government, through official statements, has held since 2014 a perverse behavior of publicly discrediting the policies developed by the Venezuelan Government to address the crisis sponsored by Venezuelan political far right sector, private entrepreneurs and businesses.
This is observed when the Secretary of State, John Kerry [05/21/2014] distorted specific situations of violence occurring in Venezuela, calling them peaceful demonstrations, insisted on the false violation of political rights in our country and dared to demand the release of those who promoted vandalism and criminal acts, justifying them as an “attempt to exercise their democratic right to express dissent.”
Likewise, US Vice President Joe Biden during his visit to Brazil [16 and 17/06/2014] openly expressed that the Government of the United States considered that there was a weakening of Venezuelan democratic institutions, which should be understood as a lack of democracy and no guarantee of human rights.
On July 30, 2014 the US State Department imposed restrictions on the granting of visas for Venezuelan officials, under the pretext that there was judicial intimidation towards dissenting Venezuelan politicians and excessive use of force to control specific situations of violence, which during those dates only occurred in isolated urban sectors, and understood as peaceful protests, aiming to ensure that the human rights violators would be accountable.
The State Department, through its spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, has provided continuous and repeated declarations that sustain the false narrative on the economic situation in our country and has built an opinion stand concerning the alleged criminalization of the Venezuelan political dissent, obviating criminal vandalism that political leaders of the Venezuelan far-right encouraged and promoted directly and publicly, these being the real reason for their trials.
In this sense, the Government of the United States has spared no opportunity to question the integrity of the Venezuelan justice system, particularly when it comes to the judicial process of citizen Leopoldo López¸ one of the main promoters of “The Exit”.
It is also important to mention that the US government has maintained a distorted opinion on the violation of human rights in Venezuela and the criminalization of the political dissent. All these findings by the US Government are reflected in various State Department statements and speeches (July 30, 2014 and January 30, 2015, among others) as well as the statements made by US President Barack Obama on September 23, 2014 in support of Leopoldo López. Everything that Government established constitutes a line of action to continue supporting the political opposition for the change of the constitutionally democratic, participatory and legitimate regime in Venezuela.
Similarly, through the publication of the 2015 National Security Strategy, the US Government explicitly stated, and other interventionist, that Venezuelan democracy is at risk. Such conjecture can be interpreted as an attempt by the US Government to pave the way to propagate to the world that our society is in crisis and therefore prone to a coup, or other phenomena, that would results in an unconstitutional change of government in Venezuela.
Moreover, it is imperative to refer to the infamous “Law for the Protection of Human Rights and Civil Society in Venezuela”, passed by Congress and enacted by President Barack Obama in December 2014; in fact that “law” of eminent interventionist nature, finds support in the conviction of that Government that the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela violates human rights in its effort to enforce the law, maintain peace and security for all Venezuelans, even if it means preventing violent factions paid by the Venezuelan political far-right to commit vandalism and criminal actions.
During its passage through Parliament, the Government of the United States of America stated before Congress that through the sanctions established in this “law”, the favoured the Venezuelan political opposition’s claims.
It should be mentioned that US law imposes unilateral sanctions, not authorized by international law, against the interests of the Venezuelan nation, which, according to contemporary internationalist doctrine, based on recent legal cases at the International Court of Justice and practiced by the United Nations, it is a violation of the fundamental principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of another state, enshrined as an universal obligation in international law governing international relations between states, to ensure the international peace and security.
Additionally, it should be noted that the Act aims to coerce the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, through “targeted attack” on the property assets of Venezuelan citizens summarily and secretly marked by the Department of State (Executive Branch of Power) to apply sanctions and in violation of the fundamental rights recognized in the civilized society.
This interventionist action of the Government of the United States of America has been recognized and strongly condemned by the G77 and China, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) by the States of Latin America and the Caribbean grouped in MERCOSUR ALBA-TCP, UNASUR, being remarkable the calls to the Government of the United States to respect, in their relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the commitment to not intervene directly or indirectly in the internal affairs of any other State and observe the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and self-determination of peoples (CELAC), and refrain from imposing unilateral sanctions that violate the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other States (UNASUR and MERCOSUR).
However, the US government has ignored the firm call of at least 134 Member states of the United Nations, who have repeatedly reminded to comply with international law, the rejection of punitive measures against Venezuelan government officials, which were rejected again by the aforementioned regional bodies, and similarly the international community spoke through the MNOAL, who urged “to repeal such illegal coercive measures that affect the spirit of dialogue and political understanding between Venezuela and the United States of America.”
In light of the above mentioned, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela appeals to the international community to strongly reject the systematic and continuous interference established by the Government of the United States of America in our internal political affairs, since it undermines the fundamental values for peaceful coexistence between states, and contrary to universal international law established in the United Nations Charter.
INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS ON NON-INTERFERENCE IN INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF STATES, VIOLATED AND DISREGARDED FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- The numeral 7 of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, clearly provides fundamental principle governing the actions of both the organization and its member countries, the obligation not to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of States. This principle is fully developed in the “Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations” (Resolution of the General Assembly of the UN No. 2625 (XXV) of 24 October, 1970), which provides as follows:
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, and whatever the reason, in the internal or external affairs of any other. Therefore, not only armed intervention but also all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements that constitute it, are violations of international law. “
- Similarly, Article 3(e) of the Charter of the Organization of American States establishes as a binding principle on all members of the organization “the obligation of no intervention in the affairs of another State”, and Article 19 of the Charter, expressly mentions that:
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, and whatever the reason, in the internal or external affairs of any other. Therefore, not only armed intervention but also all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements that constitute it, are violations of international law. “
The coding rules of this principle undoubtedly makes it mandatory for all countries of the region, in order to maintain a good relationship that will lead to ensured peace and security.
- Another manifestation of this universal principle is an hemispheric practice, practiced with full obligation by all countries in the Americas, as can be seen in paragraph 23 of the Declaration of Caracas of 2nd and 3rd December 2011, issued by the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in which this political and integration mechanism, which means more representation from the Americas, acknowledged as one of its values and guiding principles, respect for sovereignty; respect for territorial integrity; and the non-interference in the internal affairs of each country.
- Reaffirming this principal stance by the Special Declaration on Democracy and Constitutional Order in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) of 3 December 2011, is expressed as follows:
“We reaffirm the Rule of Law, respect for legitimately constituted authorities as an expression of the sovereign will of peoples, the non-interference in internal affairs, and defense of democratic institutions are essential guarantees to ensure peace, stability and economic prosperity and social justice … “
- Similarly, at the regional level, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has reaffirmed on several occasions the conviction of its Member States in relation to the obligation for the entire international community of the principle of non-intervention, unreserved respect of the sovereignty of States and the non-interference in internal affairs. This in order to maintain regional security and international peace.
- The Decision on the Establishment of the South American Defense Council of UNASUR, of December 16, 2008, was strongly put forward by Article 3, as guiding principles for the defense of South American:
“(A) [The] unconditionally respect of the sovereignty, territorial and inviolability integrity of States, the non-intervention in internal affairs and self-determination of peoples.
(e) [The] safeguarding the full validity of international law, in concurrence with the principles and rules of the United Nations Charter, the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Treaty of UNASUR.
(m) Reaffirm the peaceful coexistence of peoples, the compliance of democratic systems of government and its protection in matters of defense against external or internal threats or actions within the framework of national legislation …”
- The Joint Statement of the Special Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Union of South American Nations, the August 28, 2009, reiterated its emphasis that “full respect for the sovereignty, territorial and inviolability integrity of States, the non-interference in internal affairs and self-determination of peoples are essential to strengthen regional integration”, and in a similar line of thought, expressed “willingness to consolidate in South America a zone of peace, the foundation for a comprehensive development of our peoples and the preservation of natural resources, through conflict prevention, peaceful settlement of disputes and refraining from the use of threats or force. “
On Thursday February 19 The Guardian published an edited version of the below, initiated by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and signed in less than 48 hours by prominent figures from across British society, including filmmaker John Pilger, writer and broadcaster Tariq Ali, writer Richard Gott, journalist Victoria Brittain, actor Andy De La Tour, poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, numerous national political figures from four different parties, campaigners for peace and in solidarity with Latin America, senior representatives of the Unite, UNISON, CWU, National Union of Teachers, PCS, UCU, UCATT, TSSA, Musicians Union and ASLEF plus TUC regions and the General Federation of Trade Unions and many more.
The statement reads:
We the undersigned note with grave concern the announcement of the discovery of a plot to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela in a coup on Thursday February 12. Government officials have said the plans included violent attacks on the presidential palace and other government buildings.
The thwarting of this latest coup attempt comes as leaders of numerous Latin American countries have warned of a similar situation developing in Venezuela to that which preceded the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, which led to the horrendous dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The Non Aligned Movement (118 nations) has also echoed Latin America’s rejection of attempts to overthrow Venezuela’s legitimate government.
Sections of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition have previously used violent and anti-democratic means to destabilise and seek to overthrow the country’s elected Government, most notably the temporarily successful coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002, and many right-wing opposition groups in Venezuela committed to overthrowing the elected, constitutional Government continue to receive funding from the US.
We call on all governments internationally to respect Venezuela’s elected, constitutional Government and condemn this latest coup attempt.
Tariq Ali, writer & broadcaster
Victoria Brittain, writer & journalist
Andy De La Tour, Actor, writer & former election observer in Venezuela
Richard Gott, writer & journalist
Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Poet
John Pilger, writer & filmmaker
Dave Anderson MP, Member of Parliament, Labour Party
Jeff Cuthbert AM, Member of the Welsh Assembly, Labour Party
Ian Davidson MP, Member of Parliament, Labour Party
Neil Findlay MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament, Labour Party
George Galloway MP, Member of Parliament, Respect
Bethan Jenkins AM, Member of the Welsh National Assembly, Plaid Cyrmu
Lord Nic Rea, Member of the House of Lords
Bill Adams, Regional Secretary, TUC Yorkshire & the Humber Region
Andy Bain, Treasurer, TSSA
Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA
Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers
Denis Doody, UCATT Regional Secretary, Northern Region
Simon Dubbins, Director of International, Unite the Union
Jayne, Fisher, Vice-Chair, South Eastern Region Trade Union Congress, International Committee
Dominic MacAskill, Head of Local Government, UNISON Wales
Carl Maden, National Executive Council, Communication Workers Union
Tommy Murphy, EC Member, Unite the Union
Steve Murphy, General Secretary, UCATT
Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions
Bernard Regan, Chair, SERTUC International Committee & Cuba Solidarity Campaign Secretary
John Smith, General Secretary, Musicians Union & President, International Federation of Musicians
Marie Taylor, Chair, CYW Section, CYWNfP Sector, Unite the Union
Phil Thompson, International Officer, UNISON Greater London Region
Steve Turner, Unite the Union Assistant General Secretary
Max Watson, NEC Member, UNISON
Adrian Weir, Assistant Chief of Staff, Unite the Union & former election observer in Venezuela
Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF
Alan Whitaker, Past President, UCU – the University & College Union
Tony Woodley, Unite the Union
Maggie Bowden, General Secretary, Liberation
Ben, Chacko, Acting Editor, Morning Star
Liz Davies, Barrister
Lalu Hanuman, The Barbados Bar Association
John Hendy QC
Zita Holbourne, NEC Member, PCS & Co-chair Black Activists Rising Against Cuts
Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Carolyn Jones, Director, Institute of Employment Rights
Martin Mayer, Chair, United Left (in Unite the Union)
Pablo Navarrete, Filmmaker & journalist, Alborada.net
David Nissen, Musician
Anni Pues, International Committee, Scottish Green Party
Christine Shawcroft, NEC Member, Labour Party
Selwyn Strachan, Caribbean Labour Solidarity
Enrico Tortolano, Latin America Correspondent, Tribune
Derek Wall, International Co-ordinator, Green Party of England & Wales
Gillian Watson, Nidos, Edinburgh
Pete Willsman, Former NEC Member, Labour Party
Dr. Hakim Adi, Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester
Professor Mike Cole, Bishop Grosseteste University
Dr. Michael Derham, Senior Lecturer in Latin American Politics and History, Northumbria University
Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American Studies, Middlesex University & VSC Secretary
Maura Duffy, HCRI Programme Director BSc in Global Health and Lecturer in Global Health, University of Manchester
John Gledhill, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester
Dr. Peter Hallward, Kingston University
Dr. Steve Ludlam, University of Sheffield
Hazel Marsh, Lecturer, University of East Anglia
Dr. Thomas Muhr, academic & writer on Latin America
Dr. David Raby, Senior Fellow, Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool
Dr. Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics & Political Science
Joy Johnson, Journalist & EC Member, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Rob Miller, Director, Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Louise Richards, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group
Matt Willgress, National Co-ordinator, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Venezuelan opposition Mayor and longtime rightwing politician, Antonio Ledezma, has been arrested by the country’s intelligence services, SEBIN, for his alleged role in plotting to stage a coup against the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro.
The planned coup was uncovered last week by security forces, just hours before several US backed Air Force officials had planned to partake in a bombing spree of strategic targets in the capital. They had hoped this would lead to the assassination of the country’s president and bring about regime change in the South American country.
“Antonio Ledezma who, today, by order of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, was captured and is going to be prosecuted by the Venezuelan justice system, to make him answer to all of the crimes committed against the peace and security of the country and the Constitution… We’ve had enough of conspiracies, we want to work in peace!” announced Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, amidst a chorus of cheers from onlookers.
Last week, Ledezma, who is current Mayor of the Metropolitan Capital District of Caracas, signed a statement calling for a “National Transition Agreement” alongside opposition politicians, Maria Corina Machado and currently detained leader of the Popular Will party, Leopoldo Lopez.
The document calls on Venezuelans to unite behind a plan to remove elected President Nicolas Maduro and sets out an action programme for the would be provisional government. This includes facilitating the return of “exiled” Venezuelans, prosecuting current members of government and reaching out to international financial lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund.
Circulated on February 11th, the statement was disclosed just a day before the attempted coup was set to unfold and was reportedly the signal to set the plan in motion.
“It has no base in any juridic text, it is a putschist act of conspiracy that is unfortunately to the liking of thousands of opposition militants who have been indoctrinated to attack democracy,” Constitutional Lawyer, Jesus Silva, told Venezuelanalysis.
Ledezma’s detention comes in the wake of several other arrests, including those of a number of airforce officials implicated in the plan.
According to revelations made by the President of the National Assembly, Diosadado Cabello, on Wednesday night, Ledezma has since been named by one of the arrested officials under questioning.
The confession links Ledezma to a plan to “eliminate” opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez last year in order to create “chaos” and destabilise the government. Fellow opposition politician and National Assembly legislator, Julio Borges, is also implicated in the assassination plan, which forced an intervention by the government in early 2014. At the time, Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, stated that the government had acted to protect her husband’s safety.
Unlike, Ledezma, Borges cannot be prosecuted as National Assembly legislators are protected by political immunity.
The “Blue” Coup
Although details surrounding Ledezma’s exact role in the recently discovered “Blue” coup plot are still unclear, it appears that the opposition politician is implicated beyond his call for a transitional government.
Following the announcement of the coup plot last Thursday, the Maduro administration suggested that further arrests were to be made once there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the political ringleaders of the plan.
“In these intelligence investigations, we have discovered a codified message, in another language, by an important leader of a party. On translating it, we found that it gave the details, the elements of the coup. We are about to capture the person who brought the script that they were going to read, the script they were going to read out was already written, and circulated by a person who I will name at the correct moment”, said Maduro, referencing a preplanned statement which was to be read out to the public following the aerial bombardment, announcing a “rebellion” of the armed forces against the government.
Arrest and possible prosecution
Although international press has widely reported that the Mayor was manhandled when SEBIN officers entered his office, a video of the detention has emerged appearing to show a reticent but unharmed Ledezma being escorted from his office by several armed guards. Photos published of glass on the floor in Ledezma’s office by news agency, Ultimas Noticias, appear to show that SEBIN forcibly entered the building.
He has since been transferred to the SEBIN’s head office in Plaza Venezuela, Caracas, where a few hundred of his supporters gathered outside in protest in the early evening. They were joined by former presidential candidate and current Governor of Miranda State, Henrique Capriles Radonski. Streets were clear by around 10pm.
It is expected that the opposition politician will now await a hearing before a judge to decide whether there is sufficient evident to proceed with the case against him.
“Ledezma is Mayor and for that reason he does not bear the Constitutional right to impunity as legislators, governors and the heads of national public powers do. Legally speaking, he should be presented before a judge, along with a public prosecutor and his defence lawyer within the next 48 hours,” Silva informed us.
It is not the first time that Ledezma has been implicated in a plan to violently overthrow the government. In 2002, he participated in an attempted coup which saw socialist president of the time, Hugo Chavez, ousted for a period of 47 hours. Last year, he was also named several times as a “principal ally” by currently detained terror plotter, Lorent Saleh. Saleh was one of the main underground activists fuelling the armed barricades known as guarimbas which last year claimed the lives of at least 43 Venezuelans. He had planned to go on a killing spree with the help of Colombian paramilitaries but was arrested before the plan could take place.
Popularly known as “the vampire”, Ledezma began his political career in 1973 as a member of the “Democratic Action” Party. In 1989, he infamously became Governor of the Federal District of Caracas, when he oversaw one of the most violent periods in the history of the Caracas Metropolitan Police.
The police body, which was since disbanded in 2010 due to its human rights violations, regularly opened fire on unarmed student protests, systematically repressed street vendors, pensioners and the unemployed, as well as regularly disappeared political activists.
During this period he also oversaw the “Caracazo,” when up to 3000 people were killed and disappeared by security forces in the wake of violent protests against a government imposed austerity programme.
This particular period of Ledezma’s career earnt him the reputation of “student killer” amongst working class Venezuelans. He is founder and current leader of the rightwing party known as the “Brave People’s Alliance”.
The U.S. government contradicted itself Friday afternoon regarding its interventionist policies on Venezuela by saying that the White House was considering adopting new “tools” to “steer” the Venezuelan government “in a more positive direction.”
White House spokesperson Josh Ernest was asked by reporters whether Washington was considering new sanctions against the Latin American country in light of the arrest on Thursday of Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, accused of plotting to topple the democratically-elected government of President Nicolas Maduro with the support of the Obama administration.
“The Treasury Department and the State Department are closely monitoring this situation and are considering tools that may be available that can better steer the Venezuelan government in the direction that they believe they should be headed,” Ernest said.
Earnest said allegations by Maduro that the United States was trying to destabilize his government were “ludicrous.”
Friday’s statement by Ernest contradicts Thursday’s State Department press release that stated, “The United States is not promoting unrest in Venezuela nor are we attempting to undermine Venezuela’s economy or its government.”
It also states, “The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Consistent with the principles enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the United States reaffirms the region’s commitment that changes in governments must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful, and in accordance with the rule of law.”
Early February, the United States imposed new unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, a measure that was widely rejected and condemned by various international organizations and governments, including the Non-Aligned Movement, which is integrated by 120 nations. The NAM is a group of countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
Documentary screening and discussion panel
After losing the elections of April 14, 2013, and having failed in their efforts to cast doubt on the electoral results, the Venezuelan right-wing, with the guidance of US agents, changed its strategy. They recycled a 40-year old plan used against Chile and Salvador Allende to launch an economic sabotage aimed at bringing down the Venezuelan government lead by President Nicolas Maduro.
We look at the response to this situation by the Bolivarian government, in alliance with Socialist Communes, PSUV Party, Social Movements, Workers and other sectors of the organized population.
After screening a short documentary ‘Carbon Copy: The Economic War in Venezuela’ about the current situation in Venezuela, there will be a discussion panel with speakers presenting ongoing resistance to economic sanction and tactics to oppress people of Palestine and Chile.
We also commemorate the Day of Dignity of the Venezuelan People, the attempted coup of 1992 lead by Hugo Chávez and his Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 directed against pro-US President Carlos Andrés Pérez and his neoliberal economic reforms. This historic event was the seed to build and spread the Bolivarian project across Venezuela and Latin America.
– Martha Pardo is the General Consul of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela in Toronto.
– Santiago Escobar is the Director of Alianza PAIS Canada, he has been working in Social Movements in Ecuador and Venezuela for about 12 years; specially focusing on implementing People’s Media platforms, and against oil giant Chevron. Since arriving in Canada 5 years ago, he has worked on migrant workers’ rights with migrant farm workers in the Niagara region.
– Robert Massoud is a Palestinian-Canadian. He is the founder of Zatoun, Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine (since 2004) and in 2010, he founded Beit Zatoun as a meeting place for building awareness and solidarity across communities and issues – local and global.
– Manuel Luna is member of the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Front, economist and past lecturer at York University, who landed in Canada as political refugee during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.
Live music by Juan San Martin and Victor Zaldivia.
Event organized by General Consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Toronto, Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front and Beit Zatoun.
More info at: www.venezuelasolidarity.ca
Need to know:
– Doors open at 6:20
– Free event
– Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
– Please avoid using strong-scented products due to sensitivities
– Tasty snacks and refreshments (non-alcoholic) will be provided.
In the recording, opposition members detail their plans to create violent conflicts outside supermarkets in order to provoke repression by state security forces.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro revealed on Wednesday a recording that allegedly shows a plot by members of the right-wing opposition to sow chaos near supermarkets. President Maduro shared the recording during his annual address to the nation.
Venezuelans have faced product shortages and long lines at stores, in large part due to deliberate hoarding by companies, and the opposition has deliberately worked to take advantage of these shortages and cause disruptions.
In the recording, Ivan Carrratu Molina, a security official under former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, and Jose de Jesus Gamez Bustamente, a retired Venezuelan general, discuss plans to generate violence and disorder in Venezuela. Their goal being the overthrow of the democratically-elected national government.
In the audio recording Jose Gamez details their plot. The opposition would bring supporters to the lines outside supermarkets and have them break windows in order to provoke looting by those waiting to enter. According to Gamez, this would result in repression by the Venezuelan National Guard against working-class people, the political base of the Bolivarian revolution.
Gamez alludes to the violent street protests organized by the opposition in early 2014 and suggests that the same strategy would not work and that instead the street conflicts should happen outside of supermarkets and not on main streets. During the three months of opposition violence early last year, the national guard remained almost entirely peaceful, despite the deaths, violence, lack of access to schools and hospitals, burning of hundreds of items of public property including buses and institutions. These violent protests, known in Venezuela as guarimbas, were widely unpopular amongst Venezuelans, even amongst supporters of the opposition. Their actions resulted in the death of 43 persons, the overwhelming majority at the hands of right-wing protestors.
Gamez also openly talks about promoting the opposition as a peaceful movement to the world, while actually hiding a violent agenda.
In a second recording, Gamez boasts about attending the School of the Americas, the military school run by the U.S. armed forces that has been widely condemned by activists for training military officers from the Americas in torture techniques and coup plots. Gamez himself refers to the institution as a “school of assassins” and boasts about being an expert in “psychological operations.” He reiterates that the goal of the opposition is the ouster of the government.
The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, denounced a plot last week where he alleged that members of the right-wing opposition party Popular Will intend to hire mercenaries to stir up conflict outside supermarkets in the country.
Audio of the recording can be heard below (in Spanish):
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
in Canada and the General Consulate in Toronto
III Gathering of Knowledge
CITIZENSHIP, MEDIA AND NEW WORLD ORDER
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2014
4700 Keele St., Toronto ON M3J 1P3
Professor and co-author of Cuban Medical Internationalism: Origins, Evolution, and Goals and several other works on Cuba’s popular culture, 19th-century history, religion, foreign relations and its revolutionary process since 1959
Activist & Author of The Ugly Canadian — Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy and The Black Book Canadian Foreign Policy
Professor and author of Canada: A New Tax Haven and Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries
Professor and author of The New Politics of Protest: Indigenous Mobilization in Latin America’s Neoliberal Era
For more information, please contact Ms. Ana Carolina Rodríguez, Chargée d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Canada.
“those who die in the name of life cannot be called dead, and from this moment it is forbidden to cry for them.”
The Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front (HCPDF) in Canada expresses its most energetic condemnation of the vile fascist assassination of the renowned socialist deputy Robert Serra and his companion Maria Herrera: an assault which ended the life of a couple committed to the Bolivarian Revolution and the struggle of Commander Hugo Chavez.
The assassination of Robert Serra and his companion was planned and executed with great precision, as shown by Miguel Rodriguez, minister of the popular power for interior relations, Justice and Peace. Beyond doubt, this atrocious crime confirms what was expressed by the terrorist and leader of the Venezuelan right, Lorent Gomez Saleh, during video-recorded conversations, where he identifies the drug dealer and paramilitary leader Alvaro Uribe Velez as well as members of the Venezuelan right as the intellectual authors of the past, present and future terrorist actions against Venezuela.
Similarly, President Nicolas Maduro indicated that the authors of the crimes have been identified and that they are presently in Miami, financed by Alavaro Uribe.
The objective of this assassination is to deepen the psychological war and increase the feeling of insecurity in order to terrorize the Venezuelan population. This follows a systematic plan formed by the most reactionary forces of the Venezuelan extreme right, closely tied to North American imperialism. The use of hit men, following the tactics of the Colombian paramilitaries, is a fundamental part of the plan aimed at destabilizing and defeating the revolutionary Bolivarian government headed by Nicolas Maduro.
Today, more than ever, we support the Venezuelan people and are confident that the justice system will find the material and intellectual authors of this premeditated crime and bring them to justice, to be judged according to the laws of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Robert Serra and his companion will be for all Venezuelans, as for all peoples who struggle for their own self-determination, an indelible symbol of struggle and revolutionary conscience.
The HCPDF-Canada urges all patriotic Venezuelans, and especially the youth, not to allow themselves to be intimidated and to continue the struggle for the deepening of Bolivarian Socialism and the unity of our America, which at this time is the only real and concrete alternative to capitalism.
Honour and Glory to those who give their lives in defense of their fatherland. With us now and forever.
HUGO CHAVEZ PEOPLES DEFENSE FRONT
Venezuelan National Assembly member Robert Serra was killed on Wednesday at around 10 p.m. Venezuela time, according to government spokespeople.
Serra was a prominent left wing politician and close ally of President Nicolas Maduro, and at 27 years, one of the youngest members of the National Assembly in recent years. He was also a youth leader
He was a well known youth leader in Maduro’s socialist party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
“The revolution needs the best youths and experiences (ones) – as the…key to constructing Chavista socialism,” Serra said on September 14.
Official sources say he was killed in his home in the barrio of La Pastora, Caracas.
“About an hour ago … we don’t know yet the motive behind the murder… We call for calm… we guarantee that we will investigate what is behind this and provide more information in a few hours,” said Miguel Torres, Minister for Internal Affairs, to teleSUR, tonight.
Also read here to see how Venezuelan authorities denounced in last weeks a campaign by right wing prompt to carry out targeted killings.
Venezuelan authorities have revealed in recent weeks a series of videos which show how extremist right wing groups in that country were planning to carry out terrorist acts to destabilize the Bolivarian Revolution.
This material demonstrates the support of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez as well as other senators and military personnel of that country to these extremist groups as well as it highlights that these right wing actors also seek to extend their reach against countries with progressive governments in Latin America, being Ecuador their closest target, a country that in recent weeks has also experienced a number of violent acts by right wing groups.
One of those involved in Venezuela is Antonio Ledezma, the opposition Mayor of Distrito Capital (the capital of the country), one of the leaders of “The Way Out” operation which sought to violently overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, causing the death of at least 43 people across the country in recent months.
The Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace of Venezuela, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, has made public four videos since September 15 to this date where three young Venezuelans explain their violent plans through videoconferencing. Lorent Saleh, a member of Operación Libertad (Operation Freedom), an extremist right wing group which operates under the guise of a non-governmental organization (NGO) stands out among these youths. Saleh was deported to Venezuela last September 4 by Colombian authorities after being in that country for months.
In these videos, Lorent Saleh explained that he had secured 10 snipers, who were each going to be paid a high amount of dollars to carry out assassinations in Caracas and other states with the aim of blaming the Venezuelan government for these deaths.
It is presumed that the snipers would act in a similar way than those hired guns recruited by the coup-plotters who opened fire against Chavez supporters and opposition marches during the rallies leading to the coup against President Hugo Chavez in April 2002. Those killings served as an excuse for the military high command to revolt accusing the president of causing these deaths.
One of the videos shows that the leader of Operation Freedom was planning the selective assassination of 20 targets (people) within 48 hours, in line with the directives of Henry López Sisco, former commissioner of the defunct national security police of Venezuela DISIP (Spanish acronym), and of Nestor Gonzalez Gonzalez, military coup-plotter (April 2002), after a meeting in Costa Rica.
The aim of this plot was to murder those who, according to them, mobilized Chavez supporters to the streets in defense of their rights and against the barricades set in some parts of the country from February to May of this year.
In one of the videos, Lorent Saleh states that the set objectives had been proposed after they realized that they would not be able to assassinate Jose Vielma Mora, the governor of Tachira (state bordering Colombia where the “guarimbas”1 had been organized), or Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela.
Another video shows that the plans for San Cristobal, the capital city of the state of Tachira included the blowing up of the premises of an insurance company, a parking lot with heavy fuel carrying vehicles, the gubernatorial building and a state financial institution.
Links to Alvaro Uribe and some Colombian sectors
Some of the videos obtained from Lorent Saleh originated from the city of Bucaramanga, Colombia, in which it is noted that “meetings were conducted with Colombian military personnel to plan terrorist acts in Venezuela which were later analyzed in Bogota between Saleh, Uribe, other senators and individuals involved in these plans.”
Saleh also affirmed that through these groups he was able to secure passports of Colombian and other nationalities “to get people out of the country” (Colombia), in order to place them in Venezuela.
This young man also stated that the actions had been delayed to allow for the presidential elections in Colombia, conducted between this past May and June, to be completed because according to Saleh “it would not be the same to carry out (these actions) with (Juan Manuel) Santos (as President) than with (Oscar Ivan) Zuluaga” the candidate supported by Uribe. Saleh is also seen clearly expressing how much easier it would be to work from Colombia if Uribe were in command.
According to the newspaper El Tiempo, some of the photographs released by this written media show Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valles (another individual present in the videos) carrying weapons and army fatigue uniforms, only permitted to be worn by the armed forces of that country, which brings to the table the question of what contacts these individuals had within the Colombian army that enabled them access to these items.
Similarly, at the time of Saleh’s deportation in early September, Colombian senators Jose Gaviria, Mauricio Lizcano along with Alvaro Uribe, who can be seen in pictures with Saleh, criticized the decision of the Colombian authorities and of that country’s President Juan Manuel Santos, who was accused of conspiring with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
However, Saleh’s ties are not confined to his known relations with Colombian politicians, but he has also been involved in scandals for his participation in meetings with Colombian Neo-Nazi groups such as the Alianza Nacionalista por la Libertad (Nationalist Alliance for Freedom) and Tercera Fuerza (Third Force).
Saleh, the weakest link in the chain
The reaction of like-minded Colombian and Venezuelan political actors to the deportation of Saleh and his associates was swift as they immediately expressed solidarity with these men, who are now charged with conspiracy.
However, as days pass and more evidence comes to light, these incriminated individuals are finding themselves abandoned, to the extent that any right wing actor in both countries have refrained from uttering another word on this matter, denying even any links with these men, accusing them of being violent and of being on the wrong side of the “democratic plans” of the Venezuelan opposition.
Currently, Lorent Saleh and Gabriel Valle, deported from Colombia as well as Ronny Navarro, have been accused by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Venezuela of conspiring to incite rebellion, which can cost them from 12 to 24 years in prison. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan authorities remain alert to destabilization plans, not only against Venezuela but against all of Latin America. Plans in which these young people are just the weakest link in the chain, a link that is currently serving as a scapegoat for whom would surely had supported violence if these plans had not been discovered in time.
- The so-called guarimbas are a form of violent protest, characterized by small groups of people who block streets with barricades. This method has been used by the Venezuelan opposition on several occasions, the most recent one being during the first half of this year, which caused dozens of deaths.
Katrina Kozarek, active member of the Ataroa Socialist Commune, in Barquisimeto (Lara state), Venezuela, spoke in Toronto about the current situation in Venezuela and the process of building socialism through the creation of communes. Kozarek is also a long term organizer with the National Association of Community Free and Alternative Media (ANMCLA).
Her talk, which was well attended, gave an overview of the Bolivarian process in Venezuela, as well as the historical process that lead to the creation of the communes. This presentation was followed by a short video and questions.
Her speech was articulate, factual, and very passionate. During the question period she demonstrated that she is not just some sort of functionary but a honest and intelligent person who while recognizing the victories of the Bolivarian revolution is also willing to admit the problems in this process and tackle them head on.
Comparing her talk to that of Maria Corina Machado, who also visited Toronto some months ago, one sees the difference between the goals of the Bolivarian revolution, and those of the opposition.
The first being a humanitarian and compassionate process aimed towards a better future for the people; while the opposition has shown to seek a regime that will only benefit the elite, and is willing to use cold and brutal tactics to fulfill their goals.
I was very glad to attend this event, and wish the people of Venezuela success in building a just socialist society based on the commune model.
By Julian Ichim – Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front – Kitchener
When: September 26th, 2014 at 6:30 PM.
Where: Beitzatoun, 612 Markham St, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2L8 [MAP HERE]
Guest speaker Katrina Kozarek, ia a social activist, documentary filmmaker, multimedia producer, and active member of the Ataroa Socialist Commune, in Barquisimeto (Lara state), Venezuela. As well, she is a long term organizer with the Nacional Association of Community, Free and Alternative Media (ANMCLA).
Since 2006, in an effort to deepen and fortify the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela has begun to create a new matrix of power, where direct democracy and participation in the economic, social and political decision-making happens at the grassroots level through communal councils, communes, communal cities and the possibility of a communal state. This has been an experiment in action in Venezuela that aims to bring the country to the point of no return towards a truly democratic and socialist future. http://youtu.be/zqwNzo5LR-0
In this forum we will explore some of the experiences of these popular-power-organizations in Venezuela. As well, the permanent threats implemented by the US right-wing opposition, such as: Economic, Media and Psychological warfare.
About Katrina Kozarek
She currently manages video productions at the community television station of the Ataroa Commune ‘LaraTve’. She also produces a program focused on popular struggles and the construction of popular power from the perspective of revolutionary women from socialist communes and popular communities in Venezuela.
Katrina grew up in Apollo, Pennsylvania, and has been active in the Bolivarian process since her arrival in Venezuela in 2003. She is a co-founder of the ‘Street and Media Collective’ (Colectivo Calle y Media), renowned for its audio-visual productions from the grassroots, where she was involved in the production of documentaries such as Venezuela Bolivariana: People and Struggle of the Fourth World War, The Old Man and Jesús: Prophets of Rebellion, Down with Colonialism, Free the Pachamama, and television series, such as Rostros de La Vega: Memories of my Barrio.
In 2013, Katrina participated in the creation of the Popular Press Center Nuestroamericano, an example of construction of people’s alternative communication from social movements of Ecuador.
She has also participated in several international forums in North and South America, where her contributions have focused on popular struggles and the construction of free, popular and alternative communication.
Need to know:
– Doors open at 6:20
– Free event
– Accessible on demand via portable ramp; washrooms not accessible
– Please avoid using strong-scented products due to sensitivities
Tasty refreshments (non-alcoholic) with Zatoun oliveoil+za’atar dipping.
Organized by: Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front – Toronto
On September 11th, 1973 socialist President Salvador Allende would be murdered as part of a US backed coup d’état, ending government plans established in Chile by and for the people, in which the nationalization of natural resources, like copper, was important. This was the beginning of a 17-year brutal military dictatorship headed by General Augusto Pinochet.
In January this year, the Chilean Supreme Court closed the case to investigate the death of Allende, supporting the theory that he committed suicide. However, Dagoberto Palacios, nephew of General Javier Palacios at that moment in charge of surrounding La Moneda (presidential house in Santiago de Chile, capital city) with tanks, says his uncle confessed that he was the one who shot Allende when the President and his guards did not surrender.
With his testimony, and those by many other experts, the theory of suicide loses credibility, and is seen by many as a strategy to lower Chilean people’s tempers at that time by telling them their leader had taken his own life.
For many, the fact that the Chilean State apparatus, legacy of Pinochet, has not helped to clarify the facts of the death of Allende leaves little hope of prosecuting those responsible for the disappearance and death of thousands of Chileans during the military dictatorship.
Below is an excerpt of 2007 John Pilger’s documentary The War On Democracy, in which we can see how the USA were involved in the economic sabotage to the government of Allende and the subsequent coup. Later, the same CIA agents involved in the coup have said that if people knew what they did, in other circumstances they would have been seen as heroes and granted medals.
Toronto, Saturday 26 of July in the city downtown core, in front of the Provincial Parliament, the largest demonstration in the history of the city supporting the Palestinian cause and its people. It is estimated that over 10.000 people participated. They came from different cities in the province of Ontario. The demonstration had the endorsement of 17 people’s organizations, such as labor movement, students, professors, community organizations, tenants associations etc.. People of all races and faiths, including Jews that reject the policies of a Zionist fascist government in Israel.
The demonstrators carry numerous signs and posters denouncing the war crimes committed against a civilian population with over a thousand people killed, including a high percentage of children and women. In the demonstration you could see entire families loudly rejecting the war of aggression and the loss of Palestinian lives. The demonstration started in the Provincial Parliament and ended in front of the US Consulate, where thousands of voices chanted “Free, free, Palestine” and “Viva, Viva Palestina”
Prior to the demonstration, a vigil was held in the vicinity of the Israeli consulate, from Thursday the 24 until Saturday 26 9 AM. Similarly, there were demonstrations held in front of the Israeli consulate in the previous two weeks. More massive demonstrations are being planned in the days ahead, the mobilizations will continue denouncing the atrocities committed by Israel Zionist leaders against Palestine and achieve peace with justice long denied.
On July 25th, Canadian students, activist and members of the Latin community, gathered at the Palestinian solidarity house ‘Beit Zatoun’, in Toronto, to celebrate the birthday and legacy of Liberator Simon Bolivar (born on July 24, 1783) and Comandante Hugo Chavez (born on July 28, 1954) who fought against colonialism and imperialism in order to achieve a real independence with social justice and equal rights and opportunities for all.
The event was full of joy, comradely and solidarity, and there was no space for sadness even though Chavez is no longer with us physically, his ideas and the Bolivarian revolution are present in Venezuela and across the world. The evening was a mix of music, theater play, revolutionary exclamations and great snacks.
“Great revolutionary leaders never die. They are immortalized in the hearts of the people they have served, how right are these words. Right now, across Nuestramerica, governments, and Social Movements are mobilized in order to celebrate the Revolutionary legacy of these giants, and here in North America we do so as well”, said Santiago Escobar, coordinator of HCPDF – Toronto.
Hugo Chavez emerged in the political scene of Venezuela and Latin America to implement the Socialist Bolivarian project which has affected the history of the world, specially the lives of those who didn’t have a voice and of the most vulnerable.
President Chavez created “missions”, in all spheres of social life, demonstrating how much one could do in favor of those who had been deprived of: Houses, schools, lands, education, health. Chavez dignified the life of those who had no hope of a better future and were suffering poverty.
President Chávez traced a path for Venezuela and for all the peoples of Latin America, with the foundation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), PetroCaribe, as a first step towards the Union of South American Nations UNASUR, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
“Chavez created the base for an economic, political and social project, far from the influences of the monopolies and the Consensus of Washington that have submitted Latin America into poverty and hopelessness” said Martha Pardo, Consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Toronto.
The legacy of Chavez and Bolivar is tangible, across Latin America; a new society is emerging based on its own interests and not on the interest of US imperialism. This wouldn’t be possible without the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution, and of course, without the heroic Cuban Revolution, an example of resistance and dignity.
While the Western archaic democracies keep invading, bombing and looting the natural resources of sovereign states, progressive governments and social movements are debating XXI Century Socialism and other paradigms of rupture with the capitalist system.
The Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front is working to support the people of Venezuela and their President Nicolas Maduro which have been resisting systematic imperialist attacks, especially in recent months.
The presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia have decried the IDF’s incursion into Gaza as genocide and called for the UN to condemn Israel. President Nicolas Maduro likened the latest operation, which has claimed over 350 lives, to an “extermination.”
Venezuela called for an emergency session of the UN’s Human Rights Council to address Israel’s ongoing military incursion in Gaza, on Saturday. The South American nation’s government reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and warned the Israel had “initiated a higher phase of its policy of genocide and extermination with the ground invasion of Palestinian territory, killing innocent men, women, girls and boys.”
“President Nicolas Maduro has instructed the Ambassador to the UN Jorge Valera to call for an emergency session of the Human Rights Council,” said an official statement on Saturday, adding the UN should address the “systematic violation of the Human Rights of the Palestinian population in Gaza by the State of Israel and adopt the necessary measures to halt those violations.”
Venezuela has been a staunch supporter of Palestinian statehood, with the previous president, the late Hugo Chavez, severing relations with Israel after he compared its 2009 military incursion into Gaza to the Holocaust.
“Venezuela also rejects the cynical campaigns trying to condemn both parties equally, when it is clear you cannot morally compare occupied and massacred Palestine with the occupying state, Israel, which also possesses military superiority and acts on the margins of international law.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales joined with the Venezuelan leader in condemnation of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. During a visit to Brazil, the Andean leader said it was high time something was done “to end the genocide that Israel is carrying out on Palestine.”
“There is no UN High Commission on Human Rights, there is no Human Rights Council. When an empire attacks a country with a view to dominating it, unfortunately there is no one who can defend the people,” said Morales in a statement.
Israel has ‘surpassed Hitler in barbarism’
Turkish Prime Minister also rounded on Israel for its Gaza offensive on Saturday, alleging the Jewish state had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”
“[Israelis] have no conscience, no honor, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” Erdogan told supporters at a political rally in the Black Sea city of Ordu.
He accused the US government of taking a “disproportionate” approach to the conflict and said the Muslim world had not reacted strongly enough to the offensive. Israel has discouraged its citizens from traveling to Turkey, citing the current public mood and the underlying cause.
Israel’s military Operation Protective Edge has entered its twelth day on Sunday, with a death toll of over350 people, according to UN estimates.
The BRICS summit in northeast Brazil has already made history for one key reason; the creation of the New Development Bank.
Call it the Global South antidote to that structural adjustment racket, the IMF. Over and over again, BRICS member nations and others have insisted on an institutional IMF reform that would recognize the economic weight of the Global South. Reform packages have been languishing in the US Congress since 2010. And once again they were blocked last April.
The New Development Bank will be way more democratic than the US/EU-controlled IMF. Look at the funding; a flat $10 billion contribution by each member country. This means, sooner or later, that other developing nations will also join. I have called it casino capitalism versus a productive capitalism model.
The summit agenda was humongous; the BRICS discussed trade, sustainable development strategies, macroeconomic policy, energy, finance, terrorism, climate change, regional security, drug smuggling, transnational crime, the industrialization of Africa. The BRICS are already advancing a slew of strategic multilateral projects in terms of setting up an alternative network infrastructure; for instance, the BRICS cable, currently being laid from Vladivostok to Shantou, Chennai, Cape Town and Fortaleza (where the summit took place). The BRICS cable is all about IT security, technology transfer, commodity turnover – and facilitating financial operations. Crucially, the cable bypasses the US.
On the second day of the summit, the five BRICS leaders spent four and a half hours at a round table with leaders of Unasur, the Union of South American Nations. There they were – Argentina’s Kirchner, Chile’s Bachelet, Colombia’s Santos, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s Correa, Uruguay’s Pepe Mujica, Venezuela’s Maduro, Peru’s Umala, among others. That was the Global South in action; a substantial chunk of the real “international community” discussing production, investment, integration – not sanctions and bombs.
They talked myriad possibilities of BRICS investment in infrastructure – and integration – projects all across Latin America. For instance, as Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested, the perennially dreamed railway from the Pacific Ocean in Peru to the Atlantic in Brazil. A trilateral Brazil-Peru-China working group was set to plan, design, build and operate the transcontinental rail.
Russia shared its experience on dealing with money laundering and transnational cross-border crime. On security, Russia and China shared the synergy between the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which binds Russia and China into a common security policy with Central Asia.
They talked about multiple strategies to bypass the Orwellian/Panopticon complex. And they talked about slowly implementing a multilateral, multipolar world.
From Brasilia to Brussels
In a nutshell, Putin and Xi played chess in Obama’s “backyard”, while the Yes We Can cipher was too busy playing with – what else – more sanctions.
Here is the common BRICS voice on sanctions; “We condemn unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions in violation of international law and universally recognized norms of international relations. Bearing this in mind, we emphasize the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others.”
As the BRICS and Unasur talked cooperation and integration in Brasilia, in Brussels, France, Germany and Italy were the key EU members who refused to follow Washington and impose “sectorial trade and economic sanctions” on Russia. Still, the divided EU could not but end up singing to His Master’s Voice (US sanctions do wonders to promote the Transatlantic Trade Partnership, the multibillion dollar “free”trade still resisted by many within the EU.)
Thus the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will block new projects in Russia, and the European Commission will also suspend most of the grants and loans it set aside for Russia.
The White House, of course, remains in a mean and vindictive class all by itself. So here are more sanctions on Rosneft, Gazprombank, Novatek, and state economic development bank VEB, plus a rash of others on eight state-owned defense firms, Russian government officials, an oil shipping facility in Crimea, and federalists in Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. The proverbially anonymous “US officials” were on hand to pronounce these sanctions would “restrict” Russia’s access to “US debt markets.”
Now compare it to the BRICS’s unified voice on Ukraine, pushing for “a comprehensive dialogue, the de-escalation of the conflict and restraint from all the actors involved, with a view to finding a peaceful political solution, in full compliance with the UN Charter.”
Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs, had pretty well defined, even before the summit, what the BRICS are for; “When it is said in the West that there is a kind of world community, which condemns us, they mean 28 NATO member states and the EU. However, this is not the world, but the West, the Euro-Atlantic community. And it is, with all its weight, not all of the world community, but only part of it.”
So not only this is the BRICS against the Washington consensus; it’s also the BRICS against the Western sanctions “model”. And the superimposed messages coming out from Fortaleza are crystal clear; the West’s monopoly on setting the global agenda is over.
Take also the BRICS’s unified voice on Israel/Palestine; they support “a contiguous and economically viable Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel, within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital”. They also “oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-State solution.”
Israel, of course, is not listening. They’d rather go on with their slow motion ethnic cleansing of Gaza.
After all, former bouncer turned truculent Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Knesset, “the operation must end with the IDF controlling the entire Gaza strip.”
The BRICS, at the insistence of Russia and China, even introduced an updated draft treaty on the need to prevent the weaponization of outer space – as in Star Wars, an essential part of the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine. Guess who has always voted against it at the UN; Tel Aviv and Washington.
So the choice presented to the Global South is very simple, really. Pick your model; one is characterized by integration, cooperation, mutual respect. The other orders you to bow to His Master’s Voice; if you disobey, the model sanctions you to death, targets your energy industry, your access to financial markets, your wellbeing and, pushed to the limit, bombs you back to medieval times.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
On their Birthday join us to celebrate the legacy and memory of the Libertadores Simon Bolivar and Comandante Hugo Chavez, and to support the Bolivarian Revolution and President Nicolas Maduro
When: FRIDAY, July 25, 2014, at 6PM / FREE
Where: Beitzatoun, 612 Markham St, Toronto, (corner of Bloor St W and Marham).
This July 25 we will celebrate and honor the revolutionary legacy of two of the most influential leaders of Nuestramerica, who fought against colonialism and imperialism in order to achieve a real independence with social justice and equal rights and opportunities for all.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) said in a statement that Tel Aviv’s offensive violates even the most minimum standards of international humanitarian law by attacking civilians indiscriminately.
In addition, the Latin American and Cariibbean bloc reaffirmed “its unconditional solidarity, support and sympathy to the people of Palestine against the new wave of violence.”
Based on the idea of the social, political and economic integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, ALBA’s nine member countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.
Israeli warplanes have bombed some 1,300 targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 165 Palestinians since July 8. According to a UN report, nearly 80 per cent of the victims have been civilians.
In response, Palestinian resistance fighters fired retaliatory rockets into the occupied territories.
People in Iran, the United States, Canada, England, Jordan, Tunisia, Turkey, France, Indonesia, and several other countries have taken to the streets, calling for a halt to the Israeli attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the Tel Aviv regime will not stop its attacks on the Gaza Strip and that “no international pressure will prevent us” from attacking the besieged territory.
Meanwhile the Arab League calls for an “urgent” session after six days of Israeli bombardment that has mainly targeted and killed civilians while “humanely” giving warnings before destroying the homes of the “lucky ones” in front of their eyes.
Santa Cruz, June 25 (MC) -. The “Declaration of Santa Cruz de la Sierra” from the G77 Summit “Towards a New World Order to Live Well” stated as a priority of its member countries to eradicate poverty as main objective of the post-2015 development agenda, said President of Bolivia Evo Morales.
Delegates from 133 members worked previously on the proposal at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York (USA) during about 30 sessions of work, as informed by the ambassador of Bolivia to the UN, Sacha Llorenti.
The declaration emphasizes the problem of inequality, a situation exacerbated by unsustainable patterns of consumption and production in developed countries.
“The declaration states that an excessive profit orientation does not respect Mother Earth and it is alarming the way big businesses can influence in the global economy with negative effects on development,” said Morales.
The main points agreed upon are: the ratification of the principles of unity, solidarity and complementarity; building a new world order that intends to restore a more just and democratic system that benefits the people.
At the suggestion of Argentina, the importance of allowing “vulture funds” to stop restructuring of the external debt of the countries was reiterated, the need for a more transparent rating was stressed; espionage was condemned.
Bolivian president also pointed out that the countries [members of G77] have adopted the concept of Living Well proposed by Bolivia as a development model.
The recovery of natural resources, consideration of basic services as human rights and the rights of Mother Earth are other substantive proposals that have been taken into account by members of the G77.
Another concept included in the document is the Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, Ama Quella (do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy) as a guide for ethical behavior of governments.
Any subsidiary form of agriculture must be ruled out immediately.
Among other matters mentioned by Morales are climate change, addressing the needs of small island countries, rejection of laws and regulations with extraterritorial effect, rejection of lists and certifications by developed countries regarding terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking.
Finally, another aspect of the declaration is its solidarity regarding the problems of the Falklands, Cuba and Palestine.
By G77+China in Bolivia
un 17th 2014, by Z.C. Dutka
San Francisco, June 17th 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- On March 14th, the London Evening Standard published an article in which it claimed “28 demonstrators were killed in the past month” in Venezuela. The figure referred to the anti-government protests that had broken out in the South American nation, in February.
However, as some readers and Venezuelan diplomats in London were quick to point out, the fatalities included 3 police officers at that time and, according to information gathered by official and independent reports, at least 10 of the 28 deaths had been of civilians, caused by the barricades and street traps set up by some rightwing protestors.
Alvaro Sanchez, charge d’affairs at the Venezuelan Embassy in London, stressed that the government has condemned the small minority of deaths which relate directly to an excess use of force by security forces when dealing with protestors.
About two dozen policemen have been arrested since the start of the protests. The head of military police was also removed from his post as part of measures taken by the government to impress the graveness of the offenses.
On June 5th the Evening Standard clarified; “A report of 14 March said 28 “demonstrators” had been killed in Venezuela during anti-government protests. We now understand that the number includes security forces as well as protesters.”
In a response released by the Venezuelan embassy, Sanchez wrote, “Violence from extremists in the opposition has left, to date, nine police officers dead. Even more innocent civilians have been shot dead while trying to clear opposition street barricades or have been killed in fatal crashes with these deliberately dangerous barricades.”
“It is important that due care is taken when reporting these tragic events to avoid giving the impression that state security forces are responsible for all or the majority of fatalities – as that is very far from the case.”
People gathered today in solidarity for International #AntiChevron Day in Dundas Square at 5pm. This event was done in coordination with at least 25 cities around the world in support of the declaration of International Anti-Chevron Day by groups in Ecuador, Romania, Argentina, Nigeria, Canada, and the Unites States. In each of these 6 countries, Chevron has committed atrocities leading to health problems, birth defects, higher cancer rates, and/or direct injuries caused by malpractices. The event today was a huge success with Ecuadorians, Romanians, and Canadians showing their support through chants, signs, and a petition to be sent to the Minister of The Environment, Leona Aglukkaq.
During the event, a mock trial was held with Chevron represented by a suited lawyer with a skeleton mask and different people taking turns denouncing Chevrons international criminal actions. This was followed by a branded black hand paint campaign being used internationally as part of the #ChevronsDirtyHand campaign. Numerous participants dipped their hand in black paint and placed it on a communal banner showing solidarity against Chevron. This black paint not only symbolizes the oil contamination Chevron has left in Ecuador but is also a metaphor for the dirty legal tricks Chevron has been playing to run away from its responsibilities in cleaning up the contamination they left and compensating the victims and survivors.
This event was organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the Affected Communities by Chevron in Ecuador. The Ecuadorian people have successfully won a $9.5 billion lawsuit against Chevron and Chevron has been running away from it across the globe. Recently, the Ontario Supreme Court has granted access to the Ecuadorian people to pursue Chevron’s assets in Canada and now the case will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada. [More pictures here]
With the support of Canadians, Chevron can run away no longer!
Join the Canadian Solidarity Committee with the affected communities by Chevron in Ecuador.
This is the reason why 30’000 affected people represented by the Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia, sued Chevron in a court in New York, USA. However Chevron fought to have the trial moved to Ecuador.
Chevron has retracted their assets in Ecuador so as a result, the indigenous plaintiffs are now trying to gain justice in several Courts across the globe, including Canada. On December 17, 2013, the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that the Ecuadorian indigenous communities indeed have the right to pursue all of Chevron’s assets in Canada to enforce the $9.5 billion Ecuador judgment (Chevron’s assets in Canada are estimated to be worth $15 billion). Thus, the entirety of the Ecuador judgment can be collected in Canada if our communities prevail on their enforcement action. More Information related here.
The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa has also exposed Chevron’s pollution and corruption which they are eagerly trying to hide. Further, presidents, activist, political parties and social movements from across the world have shown their support for Correa’s calling for justice.
Join the Canadian Solidarity Committee with the affected communities by Chevron in Ecuador.
by Fernando Arce/basicsnews.ca
On May 8, 2014, one of Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leaders, Maria Corina Machado, was hosted at an event in Toronto at which she thanked Harper’s right-wing government and Canadian-Venezuelans for their ongoing support.
The event, organized by the Canadian Council for the Americas, was presided by boardroom chair and event moderator, Kenneth N. Frankel and it purported to want to bring stability to the country. Machado spoke to about 60 staunch opposition supporters at the offices of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, a law firm in Scotia Plaza, on the corner of King and Bay, in Toronto.
So the few critics who were willing to pay the $60 fee to get in were not exactly amongst welcoming company.
This was particularly true for Julian Ichim, who stuck out like a sore thumb wearing jeans, a white t-shirt, black leather jacket and green army cap. When he rose to demand accountability from Machado, Ichim, who had a limp and walked with a cane, was quickly escorted out by five big guards.
“Over 40 people have died as a result of the actions of the opposition,” he said as he held up a cardboard that read “MARIA CORINA IS A LIAR” in big, bold letters.
“You refuse to sit down in peace…You refuse to negotiate. What you are doing is illegal, you have blood on your hands…” he was saying as he was dragged away.
Most booed him, hissed and yelled at him to leave, even Machado, asserted “This is only what they have, they don’t have nothing…”, in a manner as If she was enjoying seeing Ichim was dragged violently away. Not surprising, as Julian probably recognized he was behind enemy lines.
The accountability Ichim demanded referred to the fact that Machado recently lost her seat in the National Assembly for accepting a position, without the National Assembly’s authorization, as alternate envoy for Panama in the Organization of American States. Not to mention that she’s been at the forefront of advocating on behalf of and stoking the violent protests in Venezuela, and prior to that she was one of the signatories of the Carmona Decree, signed by supporters of the U.S.-backed coup against Chavez’ government in 2002.
Ignoring Ichim, Machado regained her composure and continued her speech amid cheers and applause from the crowd.
In fact, this crowd, which filled up on champagne, Heineken and expensive wine, could have cared less about Machado’s record of inciting violence. Or the fact she violated the Venezuelan Constitution after accepting the position with Panama without consent of the National Assembly or of the president, as stipulated by articles 149 and 191, respectively.
Or about her work with Súmate, a “civil society” organization that passed itself as an election-monitoring organization, and which was charged with treason and conspiracy for receiving funds from the US-backed National Endowment for Democracy.
During question period, the only two other people who were critical of her and the opposition were interrupted, booed and ultimately not allowed to ask everything they wanted to.
Maria Paez Victor, a prominent sociologist, was quickly interrupted.
“An attempt to represent the government of Panama in the Organization of American States is an example of your lack of loyalty to the constitution of Venezuela,” said Paez Victor, adding that no one in the Canadian parliament would, or even could, act in such a disloyal way.
The hissing and booing resumed, and Frankel demanded she get to the question or “we’ll have to go on.”
Victor continued with her explanation, but Frankel interrupted again and instead just gave her the question. “So why did she join Panama is your question,” said Frankel in an annoyed tone.
When Victor protested, Frankel protested back. “No, no, that is your question, thank you,” he said.
Another critic, Raul Burbano, who said he had been an international observer in the 2010 Venezuelan parliamentary elections, noted that many international observers have praised Venezuela’s electoral system.
“So it is…ridiculous that you would complain of corruption in the (election process),” Barbano said. He, too, was abruptly cut off and his question was deflected by Frankel once again.
Aside from sidelining the critics, the rest of the event unfolded with much fanfare amongst the corporate crowd. Despite Machado being an hour late, her half-hour speech riled up the troops, many of whom by now, probably half-drunk, cheered on loudly. Yet, none of what she said was original.
It was more of the same uncorroborated and inflammatory facts peddled in the media about inflation rates, violence, shortages, censorship in Venezuela, without an ounce of scrutiny to the violence and deaths attributable to the rightwing protests in Venezuela.
But this attitude is, at least, consistent.
At a similar event on Wednesday in Ottawa, a group of peaceful anti-Machado protesters outside another Machado event were violently pushed from the auditorium and assaulted by Machado supporters.
In the past, these same type of opposition supporters have threatened if not assaulted Toronto Anglican priest Father Hernan Astudillo, who expressed support for the Chavez and Maduro governments in the past.
By the end of the event, no concrete suggestions toward stability, dialogue or even semblance of peace were put forward. Just photo ops with one of the Venezuelan right wing’s leading figure.
TORONTO, May 7, 2014 /CNW/ – Maria Corina Machado, a controversial and polarizing figure involved in the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, is scheduled to speak in Ottawa and Toronto this week. She is a former opposition member of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and has been at the forefront of the current crisis; inciting street riots and rejecting dialogue with the Government.
Concerned Canadian organizations are calling on members of parliament to pressure Machado to participate in dialogue with the democratically elected Government and stop ongoing violence.
“Maria Corina Machado has been travelling the world for several months advocating for intervention in Venezuelan politics but has disingenuously failed to mention her role in promoting the violence that has taken place sinceFebruary 12,” said journalist Pablo Vivanco. “Given her questionable history and her active encouragement of violence, we caution decision-makers and others in Canada from associating with her and to contextualize her message.”
Machado calls for a boycott of the government-sponsored “Dialogue Table,” which looks to address grievances and political differences openly in a televised space. Those coming to the table include government politicians, the Catholic Church, business leaders and opposition politicians including Henrique Capriles Radonski (the runner-up in the 2012 and 2013 Presidential elections). Machado’s call for a boycott stands in the way of peace.
“Machado portrays herself as a persecuted pro-democracy leader but her track record is one of anti-democratic efforts seeking to oust an elected government” said Raul Burbano from Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network. “Canadians support the right of Venezuelans to live in peace and stability. Encouraging Machado to cease her disruptive measures and advance genuine peace is key to advancing a reconciliation agenda.”
The violence and rioting in Venezuela has claimed the lives of over 40 people, including six police officers and several public servants.
SOURCE BASICS News
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The Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front also joined the march to denounce and condemn the US imperialist intervention in Venezuela which is currently trying to destroy the social gains brought by the Bolivarian revolution, in collusion with local anti democratic right sector. “We support President Nicolas Maduro for continuing the revolutionary legacy of Hugo Chavez and keep building a real and participatory democratic society “, said Elmer Perez, an emigrant from El Salvador living in Toronto.
Santiago Escobar, on behalf of the Canadian Solidarity Committee with the communities affected by Chevron in Ecuador, joined the march in order to raise awareness about the $9.5 Billion lawsuit that the Indigenous Ecuadorian people have won against Chevron, and to invite participants to join the International #AntiChevron Day in Toronto to be held on May 21st, 2014 at Dundas Sq, 5PM, to make Chevron accountable!
By Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front
Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and the support of the coordination
The first meeting of delegates of the continental coordination of ALBA’s social movements commenced this Friday 4th April in Caracas.
At mid-day a press conference was held where the main axes of the conference were presented, which will be developed between the 4th and 8th of April. The discussions will take place in the Hotel ALBA Caracas, in the center of the capital. In the activity there are 38 delegates from 21 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as four members of the operational secretariat of the coordinating body. On Saturday 5th there will be a meeting with the Venezuelan Chancellor, Elias Jaua and it is hoped that on Monday 7 they will meet with President Nicolas Maduro. In the closing of the meeting there will be a broad meeting with the social movements of Venezuela, which will include visits to community councils.
Early in the morning on the first day the representative of MST Brazil, Joao Pedro Stedile gave a analysis of the political situation, analyzing the political projects which are occurring now on the continent. Later the vice-president of the National Assembly, Blanca Eekhout, welcomed the movements on behalf of the Bolivarian government in the name of the Bolivarian government and then a debate was opened on the situation in Venezuela and Latin America.
In the afternoon there were reports from the chapters which are the groups from each country.
The Objectives of the meeting of ALBA Movimientos
The call to the coordinating meeting of ALBA Movimientos proposed the analysis of the social, political and economic reality of Latin America; to follow up on the accords taken in the continental assembly, which took place in May 2013 in San Pablo and to make a work plan for 2014.
As well the selection of the place gives the sense of support to the people and government of Venezuela in the face of attacks which sectors of the far right -under the auspices of the USA- have been carrying out for the last two months, with the indulgence of the private media at an international level, in spite of the violent acts which left a terrible outcome of assassinations and heavy damage in universities, Health Centres, Food Depots, electricity and transport networks, party offices and other institutions.
Within this framework, analyses were made of initiatives in self managed economies, political training and of the struggle against the extractive industries which attack Mother Earth, as well as the possibility of having a World Meeting of Social Movements.
As well they will be debating specific solidarity campaigns, amongst them with the people of Haiti, facing the occupation of the MINUSTAH; for the peace in Colombia, for the freedom of the 3 cubans who remain in prison in the USA, and the boost to the solidarity brigades which various organizations keep up in different parts of the continent. Within the framework of the solidarity amongst peoples a key space will be kept for the campaign of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution.
Source: Communication team of ALBA Movimientos.
TORONTO – A packed room gathered in the Larkin building of the University of Toronto to discuss the process of Latin American integration, the role of social movements and in particular the place of Venezuela.
Under the leadership of former President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela and Cuba initiated the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Treaty of Peoples Commerce (ALBA -TCP), which looked to provide a new paradigm for regional integration and trade based on solidarity and social development. Since its founding in 2004, the ALBA -TCP has grown to include 9 countries as well as numerous socio-economic intiatives with municipalities in the hemisphere.
Dr. Roberta Rice, Professor in the department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, addressed the crowd stating that ALBA “reflects the return of the development agenda, the return of the state, the quest to achieve autonomy away from the market towards an agenda for South-South cooperation on issues such as energy security, financial security, cooperation in infrastructure development, as well as in social and human development”, said Professor Rice.
Importantly, ALBA-TCP is the only multi-lateral agreement that has included space for social movements and civil society to actively participate.
Ruben Pereira, Coordinator of Social Movements of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Treaty of Peoples Commerce (ALBA -TCP) addressed the gathering to speak about the role of social movements in ALBA, which today also includes a continental initiative by social movements themselves independent of but in solidarity with ALBA.
Pereira also took to opportunity to speak about the reality occurring in Venezuela today.
“What is happening in Venezuela is similar to what they did in Chile. In Venezuela there is no economic crisis – in Venezuela there is an economic war, which is different. An economic war with shortages and artificial inflation caused by hoarders, speculators, usurers and those looking to starve the the people, all assembled under an agenda for a coup d’etat”, said Pereira referring to the campaign of economic sabotage by sectors of the Venezuelan business class. “The rancid ultra-right, in partnership with the U.S. State Department, oligopolies and monopolies, know that they will never be able to come to power through a vote”.
Since February 12th, violent demonstrations have resulted in hundreds injured and claimed the lives of 31 people, including 6 members of the Bolivarian Guard.
The afternoon session focused on providing participants with some tools and tips to engage in social media in order to counter the misinformation being spread about what is taking place in Venezuela. Co-organizers of the event, the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Front, plan on organizing further workshops in order to build a large, participatory ‘media team’ to counter the share factual information about the processes of social transformation happening in Latin America and elsewhere.
Mass protest against right-wing violence in Caracas. Government of President Maduro criticized U.S. policy.
Tens of thousands of people protested on Saturday in the Venezuelan capital Caracas against the violence of opposition groups. The participants of the mass demonstration at the same time declared themselves in solidarity with the security forces of the South American country, especially the National Guard, from whose ranks in recent weeks, three soldiers were deliberately shot…
According to eyewitness reports from Venezuela, however, the increasingly violent actions by government opponents are locally restricted. “In Caracas, there is generally a calm environment,” the Venezuelan geologist and pro-government activist Luiraima Salazar told amerika21.de on Saturday. The young woman, who studied at the University of Jena is currently in the Venezuelan capital. There, people go about their business as usual, affirmed Salazar. “The dramatic images of protest seem to be specifically created for abroad coverage,” she added.
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Elías Jaua stressed on Friday the support of Latin American States for the government of President Nicolás Maduro. Attacks by both the US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations were fended off by this support said Jaua. At the UN, 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement voted in the debate on the current situation in Venezuela, while 29 of 31 states voted for the government of Maduro in the OAS. The U.S. had tried to reach a condemnation of the left-wing government for alleged human rights violations.
After repeated threats of sanctions from the U.S. government, Venezuela however, has sharpened the tone towards the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. Maduro accused Washington in a press conference from the Miraflores presidential palace, of fuelling the protest movement and of seeking his overthrow. Foreign Minister Jaua called his U.S. counterpart John Kerry a “murderer of the Venezuelan people,” because he stoked the violent protests. “Whenever we are able to hold the perpetrators of violence at bay and isolate them, there are statements of Kerry”. Thereafter the violence gains stength every time again.”
(Article from amerika21.de translated by HCPDF)
A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE FEMINIST STUDENTS COLLECTIVE: “AQUELARRE CARIBEÑO” DE MÉRIDA
Confronting the murder and harassment of revolutionary women in the city of Merida, Venezuela
A year after the physical departure of our eternal Comandante, the fascist right wing, that defends patriarchy and the rule of imperial capitalism, has launched a new attack against the Bolivarian Revolution, that has cost us many lives, much struggle and work.
The first fatalities in the city of Mérida were two women: Mrs. Delia Wolf, who fell victim to a “guaya” (steel cable,) placed by an assassin from the opposition with the express intention of killing people driving motorcycles. This trap destroyed Delia’s vehicle and killed her, and her son who was traveling with her.
The second death was that of Chilean comrade Giselle Rubilar. She was a committed activist, an artisan, a mother and a woman who gave her life confronting the fascists who had kept her family besieged by the barricades that the right call “guarimbas”(a slang term meaning disorder but are violent disruptions.)
The death of this woman, a comrade, reminds us that our Nuestramérica (Motherland) is not divided by countries but by social classes. The Chile of Piñera (last right wing president of Chile), the “Pinochetista” (Pinochet supporter) that openly supported the Venezuelan right, is different from the Chile of Allende and the Chile of Violeta that brought Giselle to Venezuela.
The feminist struggle against patriarchy and capitalism should be the fight of all, but it is not.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, while we, the revolutionaries, the Chavistas, congregated to celebrate with flowers, optimism and love, women from the right came out to defend their own class interests. Never willing to losing their privileges, they usurped the commemoration with their “first world appearances,” with their stainless steel pots, expensive perfumes and various aids aimed at winning a fight that is not theirs. In this class struggle, these women, with Maria Corina Machado at its head, are not victims but are the victimizers of the exploited majority.
Symbolically, that same day, March 8, the fascist right mortally wounded Comrade Giselle Rubilar. Days earlier, they also doused comrade, and law student, Genesis Perozo with gasoline, threatening to set her on fire for the “crime of being Chavista.” Professor Rosa Amelia Azuaje from the University of the Andes (Universidad de los Andes) was also attacked via social media for speaking in favor of the Bolivarian Government through a newspaper article.
Revolutionary women know that we are always the first victims of war, the empire of patriarchy, and of imperialism. Historically women have been considered theirs to plunder.
It is our pain to carry, with each child that dies defending our people. Our love is wounded by their desire to take away free healthcare for our children, our public education and our quality food programs, social missions, culture, sports and everything that we have achieved over these 15 years; accomplishments that are the historical product of over 500 years of resistance.
“Knowing” does not imply resignation.
We know we are the first targets because years of misogyny have been forged into the consciousness of these fascist bourgeoisie and NO we will not remain seated and watch their barbarism.
They are wrong to think that we revolutionary women will hide behind our male comrades. They are wrong to think that their terrorism will prevent our daughters and sons from leading a normal life. They are wrong to think that by violating their rights to study, to play and to eat, that we will lock ourselves into a corner.
They are wrong to think that because we are lovers of peace and life, we are cowards. Our Commander well knew that you cannot have a revolution without us women, we are the protagonists of this revolutionary story, its players and we were its first advocates.
The Colombian paramilitaries, who have denounced the revolutionaries over the years, have now infiltrated Mérida and Táchira and are hiding behind the “student” groups. The Nazi-fascist bourgeois rhetoric does not even merit repetition, but it does manage to confuse those that are unsuspecting or unwary.
The Colombian people can tell the Venezuelan right what will happen. These paramilitaries, that they are today “importing,” will tomorrow be the same criminals they will be defending themselves against. Peace will be over for everyone, without making the distinction of class.
The psychological operation that they are conducting on our families is intended to “normalize” these political crimes, particularly the murder of revolutionaries. They aspire for us to resign to numbering our dead, without shock. But in this they are also wrong, we will NOT let them take our voices.
Our love of life and peace is the ultimate strength that puts us on the front line. Paradoxically, we are willing to die to defend this opportunity built by the history of our people; by the guiding light of Bolívar, Chávez and the blood of our heroines.
To the revolutionary women of the world we say: DO NOT BE MANIPULATED BY THE MEDIA. WE POOR WOMEN ARE THE MAJORITY IN VENEZUELA AND WE ARE CONFRONTING THESE FIERCE ATTACKS BY THE IMPERIALIST BOURGEOISIE. WE ARE KILLED, WE ARE ATTACKED AND THEY TRY TO TERRORIZE US. BUT WE ARE STILL STANDING AND WE NEED YOUR SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT IN THE FIGHT!
To the women of the Motherland (Nuestramérica) we say: THEY WILL NOT SUCEED! COMPAÑERAS, VENEZUELA IS THE MOTHERLAND AND FATHERLAND OF THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION! RAISE YOUR VOICES AND JOIN OURS!
TO THE WOMEN OF VENEZUELA WE SAY: CAMARADAS, CHAVEZ LIVES AND THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES! THE FIGHT IS BETWEEN SOCIALISM AND BARBARISM! WE WILL NOT SHY AWAY FROM THIS. ONLY THE REVOLUTION WILL MAKE US FREE! ONLY UNITED AND ORGANIZED WILL WE BE ABLE TO RESIST THE FASCIST ATTACKS!
IN THE NAME OF DELIA LOBO AND GISELLE RUBILAR: NOT ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE… BUT A LIFETIME OF FIGHTING!
VIVA LA REVOLUCION BOLIVARIANA
VIVA CHÁVEZ EL COMANDANTE ETERNO!
INDEPENDENCE AND SOCIALISM! WE WILL LIVE AND WE WILL WIN!
-Feminist Student Collective “Aquelarre Caribeño”
The second death was that of a Chilean comrade Giselle Rubilar. She was a committed activist, an artisan, a mother and a woman who gave her life confronting the fascists who had kept her family besieged by the barricades that the right call “guarimbas”(a slang term meaning disorder but are violent disruptions.) A few days ago, she was recorded on camera before she was murdered for cleaning the barricades left by the opposition.
What is happening in Venezuela: myths and facts
When: Wednesday, February 5th at 6:30pm
Where: Beit Zatoun 612 Markham St, Toronto, Ontario M6G 2L8
The Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign, the Hugo Chavez Peoples Defense Front (HCPDF)￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼ and Common Frontiers
By Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front
According to almost all media reports, Jimmy Vargas, the 34-year-old who died accidentally after falling from a roof, was killed by Venezuelan security forces. CNN and NTN24 (Colombia), the two channels that are most immersed in the international media attack against the Bolivarian Revolution, continue to propagate these lies.
Videos of Vargas’ mother blaming President Nicolás Maduro and an interview of his sister broadcast by NTN24 were deemed by media as conclusive evidence that Vargas’ death was murder by the government.
A newer video, released by CNN, shows a different picture; that such a murder never occurred. Around the world, however, people still don’t know it was an accident. Why? Because the media outlets that first told these versions of the story, the New York Times and others, never corrected their error. This shows fundamentally how media operates.
Following the reports, a slew of actors, singers and famous people asked for “peace” in Venezuela in a campaign that was openly carried out by the so called “opposition”. This included a Venezuelan Hollywood actor who wrote about his sorrow at hearing about the death of Vargas.
Even though the video released by CNN clearly shows what happened in the moment Vargas fell, the CNN anchor insists that the National Guard was launching tear gas and firing shots, though none are heard in the video. This is an obvious attempt to back the version of the story in which Vargas lost his balance after being hit by a tear gas canister or shot in one eye with a birdshot.
In spite of such transparent evidence, the anchor still maintains that it could have been an accident, while emphasizing that Vargas’ mother says the government killed her son.
To commemorate the Canadian Day for Peace in Venezuela, which took place between February 20-24, various activities were organized in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener and Montreal. These events showed support for both the people of Venezuela and their president Nicolás Maduro.
The Day served to show the rejection of and denounce the misinformation and media wars against the Bolivarian government. This was displayed through activities such as support rallies, forums, screenings and cultural events.
It’s not the first time that CNN is aligned with Venezuela and worldwide right wing against the Bolivarian process. Nor is it surprising that now it’s part of the communicative vanguard at this time attacking the South American country.
In the coup d’état in April 2002 against President Hugo Chávez, a CNN reporter was present at the place where a small part of the Venezuelan military high command planned the death of some of those who participated in the march to use it as an excuse to ask for the resignation of the leader of the Revolution.
Otto Neustadtl, CNN correspondent said at a conference that he offered in Venezuela a while after the events of April 11 that he had received a call on April 10th (one day before the coup) where he was explained that the demonstration would be diverted to Miraflores (presidential house), that several people would be killed and then there was going to be a statement from a group of military high command.
According to Neustadtl, on April 11th, he witnessed how the militaries rehearsed their statement against Chávez. They even mentioned snipers killing six people two hours before the first death occurred in Llaguno Bridge, close to Miraflores or among people marching.
In fact, he made a recording of the military’s statement. He never said anything about it. CNN never reported it. It only echoed the accusations against President Chávez that he was a murderer.
Of course, before the coup d’état CNN was always there, supporting Venezuelan private media in the coup.
In fact, one of the high military officers that asked for Chávez’s resignation, told reporters that the fall of Chávez’s government had been thanks to the media and not the army.
In sight of such a statement by the military commander and the attitude of CNN isn’t it allowed wondering if CNN was at the time, and is still aligned to a coup in Venezuela?
By attacking the Bolivarian Revolution openly CNN has attacked for years the Venezuelan people who elected democratically this political project, but for sure now it’s a scandal for the mainstream that the President Nicolás Maduro has recently said CNN could leave the cable companies of that country if they do not rectify their behavior.
To watch the video click here.
The undersigned, condemn the violence perpetuated by a small sector of the fascist right-wing in different cities across Venezuela in the last days, in an attempt to destabilize the country in a similar fashion as it was done with President Hugo Chávez, on April 2002.
We express our solidarity with the families of the victims and the wounded as well as with our Venezuelan brothers and sisters who struggle for peace, sovereignty and social justice.
We strongly denounce the plan to undermine and overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, the legacy of President Hugo Chavez, and the legitimate and constitutional government under President Nicolás Maduro.
We support the Venezuelan government’s right to stop violent protestors and to defend the revolution as elected by the people. The Bolivarian process has won more elections than any other government in the world, having won 17 out of the last 18 elections.
This is just part of the indisputable democratic and participatory nature of the Bolivarian Revolution that it is supported by the majority of the Venezuelan people.
We condemn the well-documented bias in the corporate media that looks to generate support for the most violent and undemocratic elements of Venezuela’s opposition by distorting the reality in in the country. This is part of a larger campaign, funded by imperialist governments, mainly by the U.S. and other agents of capital in and outside of Venezuela, who reject the self-determination of Venezuela’s people to construct socialism in their country. These sectors are the enemies of Venezuela’s people and they seek to exploit and profit from the natural resources of Latin America at any cost, including bloodshed.
From Canada we declare our unconditional support for the self-determination of the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian revolution.
Venezuela´s people deserve peace!
(Names by alphabetical order)
Organizations and collectives:
Alliance for Peoples Health and Red Sparks Union
Anti Colonialist Working Group Barrio Nuevo
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
Casa Salvador Allende
Cuba-Canada Friendship Association. Vancouver, B.C.
ILPS Canadian and Quebec
Colombian Alliance Solidarity Action
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism
Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice
Hugo Chavez People’s Defense Front
KW Basics News Kitchner Spot Collective
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Mining Justice Alliance – Vancouver
Movimiento Todxs a La Moneda-Ontario
Red de Amigos de la Revolución Ciudadana
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
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Call out for peace and respect for the democratically elected Government of Venezuela.
Family peaceful and creative activity:
Saturday February 22, 2014
From 3:00 to 4:00 pm.
Dundas Square (South-East corner of Dundas & Yonge)
Concert for Peace in Venezuela / Music, poetry and more!
Saturday February 22, 2014
Clave Social – 1345 St. Clair Ave West, Toronto
Join the Facebook group:
Join the picture solidarity campaign as part of the actions we are taking to support the Venezuelan people against violence and destabilization attempts.
Please post on Social Media a picture of yourself, your family, your friends holding your self made poster (see example picture http://tiny.cc/a2ufbx) with this slogan: For Peace and democracy #WeAreMaduro #HandsOffVenezuela Solidarity from #Canada
The polarized politics of Venezuela are again in the news as demonstrations by pro- (see above) and anti-government forces are taking place, with, at this point, four deaths: a government supporter; an opposition demonstrator; a police officer; and one of uncertain provenance. But the foreign press is portraying these as evidence of bloody government repression.
Not to go over old ground, at least too much, but this manufactured crisis is a re-run. Anyone remember the massive demo/counter-demo at the Miraflores palace in 2002, the lead-up to a short-lived coup against Hugo Chávez?
[T]here were 19 fatalities that day. Seven of the dead had participated in the pro-Chávez demonstration, seven in the anti-Chávez demonstration, and five were non-partisan bystanders. Also, there were a total of 69 wounded that day. 38 in the pro-Chávez demonstration, 17 in the opposition demonstration, and 14 were reporters or unaffiliated passers-by.
That was all blamed on Chávez at the time, by the opposition and by much of the international press. Supposedly he ordered the military, and unidentified pro-Chávez thugs, to fire into the crowds of opposition demonstrators. As with the current unrest, it seems that the government side had remarkably poor aim.
There is no flabby pretense of “objectivity” on the part of the international media when it comes to Venezuela. That country poses a stark threat to the hegemonic order, characterized these days by tame Latin American states, emerging from US-backed military dictatorships, now gamely accepting neoliberal economic policies like good little boys and girls. Having enough oil wealth to say No to all that, Venezuela created its own counter-hegemonic partnership, ALBA-TCP. And domestically, while all we hear about is toilet-paper shortages and inflation, there has been substantial progress on a number of fronts for years now—a sharp reduction of dire poverty, major advances in education, reduced child mortality, and rapid steps taken towards gender equality, maternal health, and environmental protection.
You won’t read much about that in the mainstream foreign media.
Instead, we’ll hear about opposition grievances of all kinds, and we’ll get photographs, too, circulated on Twitter and sometimes picked up by big news outlets like CNN. Here are some brutal cops, with nice woolly caps and fur collars to guard against the 24°C Caracas weather, I assume.
And visiting police officers from Bulgaria:
And a casualty:
But the victim here was a pro-Chavez demonstrator: and the picture was taken last year.
Here’s a re-purposed photo actually taken in Argentina:
And here’s a photo from Chile:
Here’s an unfortunate fellow, shot in April and then again in the exact-same way during the current protests:
This one is so iconic! But CNN had to admit that the graphic photo was actually taken in Singapore:
Here’s one from Greece:
And here’s an absolutely shameless steal from Egypt: this photo became known world-wide during the Arab Spring:
Here’s a heart-wrenching picture of babies in laundry-baskets, with the question, What kind of revolution is this? The photo is from Honduras:
Here’s my personal fave: a religious procession, reincarnated as an anti-government protest:
The social media that make this stuff go viral, and even attract mainstream media like CNN, are also the means by which fakers are quickly unmasked. Readers are invited to contribute more links to this international cavalcade of anti-government protest and government brutality in the make-believe land called “Venezuela.”
[MASSIVE h/t to @occbaystreet]
UPDATED: [February 17]
The protests in the magical country of “Venezuela” have spread.
And to Syria:
By Venezuela Analysis
Fifth Extraordinary Meeting of ALBA-TCP Political Council
Caracas, June 8, 2016
On the occasion of the Fifth Extraordinary Meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – People’s Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) Political Council, held in Caracas, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, June 8, 2016, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ALBA-TCP member states,
Considering the commitment of the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, to the unconditional defense of peace and democratic constitutional institutionality of the Republic and his assurance to guarantee the human rights of the people of Venezuela,
Reiterating the need for full respect of the inalienable right of all states to choose their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence between nations and consolidate Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, as was formally proclaimed in the Second CELAC Summit, held in Havana, January 2014,
Recognizing dialogue as a conciliatory method, and a legitimate, appropriate instrument to resolve the internal conflicts of member states,
Bearing in mind the illegitimate attempt by the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter, seeking intervention against the constitutional government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
We state that:
We demand absolute respect for Venezuelan sovereignty, stressing the principles of non-intervention, self-determination and the right to exercise the constitutional, political, economic and social system chosen by the people.
We support the constitutional government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros in his concerted efforts to preserve the peace and guarantee democratic institutionality in his country.
We support the national dialogue initiative proposed by President Nicolás Maduro with the support of UNASUR, and the participation of former presidents José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic, and Martín Torrijos of Panama, at the request of the Bolivarian government of Venezuela.
We reject the conduct of Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), who acting in violation of the OAS Charter, which demands independence, impartiality and transparency, has taken on an interventionist role in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with the potential to generate instability in the country and motivate sectors of the Venezuelan opposition to assume non-democratic and violent positions.
We urge countries represented in the OAS, to ensure that the Secretary General of the organization, fulfils his duties as outlined in the General Norms of the Functioning of the Secretary General according to norms established in Article 113 of the OAS Charter, and therefore call on the Secretary General to strictly adhere to Article 137 of the aforementioned regulations.
We condemn the interventionist resolution, adopted on June 8, 2016, by the European Parliament against Venezuela, and its disregard for the country’s institutions and rule of law.
We will remain alert to any initiative which might threaten the constitutional stability of the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and act accordingly in defense of peace and tranquillity in our region.
We request the Executive Secretary of ALBA-TCP to ensure that this Declaration is sent to regional and sub-regional integration organizations and circulated as an official document.