Venezuela

Statement on the attempted coup in Venezuela

The self-declared “president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, announced yesterday that he proceeds to the final phase of overthrowing the democratically elected President of the country, Nicolas Maduro. The United States and the “allied” EU countries were quick to offer their support, with rather provocative statements, declaring that in this way they “protect the Constitution” and the people of Venezuela. The mainstream Western media keep parroting the propaganda dictated by the embassies and the ministries of foreign affairs of the great powers.

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Statement-Denunciation of the US intervention in Venezuela

The recognition by the USA of the largely defeated candidate in Venezuela’s Presidential elections, as “interim President” of the country is a blatant interference of the Americans in the internal affairs of an independent, sovereign state. Venezuela is experiencing an unprecedented situation, where the defeated in the elections presidential candidate, declares himself president and the “World President” rushes to recognize him. Close behind the sidekick countries of Latin America (the so-called “Lima group” declare that they recognize the leader of the Opposition as President, and, backed up by the OAS, exert pressure for the “restoration of democratic order” (change of regime, that is) in Venezuela. (more…)

Post-Election Sabotage: Washington Seeks to Destabilize Venezuela

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Longstanding US plans prioritize regime change. It’s the oil, stupid! Venezuela has the world’s largest reserves. It’s a prize Washington covets. More on that below.

Post-election US-orchestrated destabilization continues. Venezuelans elected Nicolas Maduro president. The electoral process was scrupulously open, free and fair. The result is indisputable.

World leaders congratulated Maduro on his victory. Obama remains silent. On April 16, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventell alleged “outstanding voting irregularities.”

“So the CNE’s decision to declare Mr. Maduro the victor before completing a full recount is difficult to understand, and they did not explain their haste in taking this decision,” he said.

“(W)e continue to believe that resolving the voting irregularities and the calls for a recount would do much to ensure that the Venezuelan people feel included in the process and that their democratic aspirations are being met.”

Asked if Washington intends to congratulate Maduro on his victory, he added:

“We’re not there?”

A follow-up question asked why not? The vote’s been certified. It’s accurate. Maduro’s been elected. Audit results verify it. Washington doesn’t recognize it. It’s no surprise. (more…)

50 Truths about Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution

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President Hugo Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013 of cancer at age 58, marked forever the history of Venezuela and Latin America.

1. Never in the history of Latin America, has a political leader had such incontestable democratic legitimacy. Since coming to power in 1999, there were 16 elections in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez won 15, the last on October 7, 2012. He defeated his rivals with a margin of 10-20 percentage points.

2. All international bodies, from the European Union to the Organization of American States, to the Union of South American Nations and the Carter Center, were unanimous in recognizing the transparency of the vote counts.

3. James Carter, former U.S. President, declared that Venezuela’s electoral system was “the best in the world.”

4. Universal access to education introduced in 1998 had exceptional results. About 1.5 million Venezuelans learned to read and write thanks to the literacy campaign called Mission Robinson I.

5. In December 2005, UNESCO said that Venezuela had eradicated illiteracy.

6. The number of children attending school increased from 6 million in 1998 to 13 million in 2011 and the enrollment rate is now 93.2%.

7. Mission Robinson II was launched to bring the entire population up to secondary level. Thus, the rate of secondary school enrollment rose from 53.6% in 2000 to 73.3% in 2011.

8. Missions Ribas and Sucre allowed tens of thousands of young adults to undertake university studies. Thus, the number of tertiary students increased from 895,000 in 2000 to 2.3 million in 2011, assisted by the creation of new universities.

9. With regard to health, they created the National Public System to ensure free access to health care for all Venezuelans. Between 2005 and 2012, 7873 new medical centers were created in Venezuela.

10. The number of doctors increased from 20 per 100,000 population in 1999 to 80 per 100,000 in 2010, or an increase of 400%.

11. Mission Barrio Adentro I provided 534 million medical consultations. About 17 million people were attended, while in 1998 less than 3 million people had regular access to health. 1.7 million lives were saved, between 2003 and 2011. (more…)

Hugo Chavez was a democrat, not a dictator, and showed a progressive alternative to neo-liberalism is both possible and popular

If you want to learn about human rights in Venezuela before Hugo Chavez, type “Caracazo” into Google, and do so with a strong stomach. Back in 1989, then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez won an election on a fiery platform of resisting free-market dogma: the IMF was “a neutron bomb that killed people, but left buildings standing,” he proclaimed.

But after safely making it to the presidential palace, he dramatically u-turned, unleashing a programme of privatisation and neo-liberal shock therapy. With gas subsidies removed, petrol prices soared, and impoverished Venezuelans took to the streets. Soldiers mowed protesters down with gunfire. Up to 3,000 perished, a horrifying death toll up there with the Tienanmen Square Massacre – in a country with a population 43 times smaller.

It was his abortive coup attempt against Pérez’s murderous, rampantly corrupt government in 1992 that launched Chavez to prominence. Though locked away, Chavez became an icon for Venezuela’s long-suffering poor. By the time he won a landslide victory in 1998 on a promise to use the country’s vast oil wealth to help the poor, Venezuela was a mess. Per capita income had collapsed to where it had been in the early 1960s. One in three Venezuelans lived on less than $2 a day. Oil revenues were squandered.

Over the coming days, you will be repeatedly told that Hugo Chavez was a dictator. A funny sort of dictator: there have been 17 elections and referenda since 1998. Perhaps you think they were rigged. When he won by a huge margin in 2006, former US President Jimmy Carter was among those declaring he had won “fairly and squarely”. (more…)

Mafia State: The US is the Don Corleone of International Politics

South America – Venezuela in particular – has been the target of a coordinated campaign by the US government and private industry over the past few years. But those of us who have been paying attention know this is nothing new.

WikiLeaks recently published new documents showing that US global intelligence corporations like Stratfor and its foreign offshoot CANVAS worked hard over the past decade (aided and abetted by US Government agencies) in a failed attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected president Hugo Chavez.

Meddling in the ‘Backyard’

The US corporate over-world has always worked closely with the CIA, the State Department and the Pentagon promoting the overthrow – known as “regime change in rogue states” – of governments that do not automatically align to US interests; or, better said, of governments that do not automatically align with the interests of the supra-national global power elite that is deeply embedded inside private and public power structures in the US.

A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hangs a pair of shoes at the front of the US embassy in Caracas. (AFP Photo / Juan Baretto)

 A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hangs a pair of shoes at the front of the US embassy in Caracas. (AFP Photo / Juan Baretto) (more…)

Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela

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February 2009 marked 10 years since Hugo Chavez took office, following a landslide election victory, and launched his revolution to bring radical change to Venezuela. While wildly popular with many in the country, Chavez’s policies and his strongly-worded criticisms of the U.S. government have also made him powerful enemies, both at home and abroad, especially in the media.

Filmed in Caracas in November 2008, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Chavez’s controversial presidency, this feature-length documentary takes a journey into the heart of Venezuela’s revolution to listen to the voices of the people driving the process forward.

The film traces the recent history of Venezuela, before and after the election of Hugo Chavez to the presidency, using archive material and interviews with Venezuelans living in the barrios of Caracas who are involved in community and social movements. The achievements and challenges facing the Bolivarian process are put into context by means of interviews with leading Venezuelan social scientists Edgardo Lander and Javier Biardeau, as well as the Canadian economist Michael Lebowitz, who currently lives in Venezuela.

“This is a rare film about Venezuela, a country in extraordinary transition. Watch this film because it is honest and fair and respectful of those who want to be told the truth about an epic attempt, flaws and all, to claim back the humanity of ordinary people.”

– John Pilger (Journalist, author and documentary filmmaker)

“A lively, well-researched documentary which pulls off that most difficult of tasks – an honest account of the achievements and the weaknesses of the Chavez government.”

– Sue Branford (Journalist, former Latin American analyst for the BBC World Service)