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Venezuelan students fight police, ‘Chavistas’ rally

Does anyone know any more about what is going on in Venezuela? I know US embargo and pressure created difficult economic conditions in Cuba for decades so Maduro’s assertions sound reasonable to me. With corruption and hidden insanity endemic to most governments on Earth these days I would love to hear from Venezuelan people about the situation there.

From my limited knowledge in tbe US, I have long felt very inspired by the Bolivarian movement in South America. Evo Morales election in Bolivia and Chavez work to elevate the situation of indigenous peoples in Venezuela felt like the first steps of the new world to me.

Seeing what Western imperialism is still capable of in Libya and Syria is chilling when thinking of South America. ūüė¶

Venezuelan students fight police, ‘Chavistas’ rally

By Andrew Cawthorne and Girish Gupta

CARACAS | Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:25pm EST

By Andrew Cawthorne and Girish Gupta

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan police fired teargas and turned water cannons on stone-throwing protesters on Saturday to stop them blocking a Caracas highway in a fourth day of sporadic unrest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

The latest trouble flared as night fell, after thousands of Maduro supporters had earlier flooded the center of the capital to call for peace and make a show of political strength after this week’s deadly violence during street protests.

Three people were shot dead on Wednesday in the worst violence since Maduro’s disputed election last year.

The 51-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez has faced two weeks of mainly small protests led by students and hardline opposition leaders complaining about Venezuela’s rampant crime, shortages of basic products, and alleged repression of political rivals.

“We’ll be here day-after-day, night-after-night, until something changes,” vowed Javier Sanchez, 20, picking up stones to hurl at police while other students shouted at him “Stop! No violence!” in the upscale Altamira district of Caracas.

After about 2,000 students had gathered peacefully in Altamira Square, debating strategy and chanting slogans in the afternoon sun, a few hundred set off to try and block a major highway. Police halted them before they could get there.

In a repeat of daily confrontations this week, the students threw objects and taunted the police, who responded with volleys of teargas and a water cannon truck, or “whale” as Venezuelans call it.

“People are asleep. It’s time for action,” said student Michael Paredes, 26, carrying vinegar and putting on a bandana to protect against teargas.

Staking his presidency on maintaining his mentor’s socialist legacy, Maduro accuses his rivals of trying to create conditions for a coup like the one 12 years ago that briefly ousted Chavez.

“I’M NOT GIVING UP”

There are, however, no indications the current turmoil could lead to his ouster. The military, whose role swung both Chavez’s 36-hour toppling and return, appears solidly behind Maduro.

Addressing his supporters in Caracas from a pastel-colored stage displaying the slogan “People of Peace,” Maduro mocked the demands of protesters who want him to step down.

“You want to see people in the streets? We’ll give you people in the streets,” he said to cheers from thousands of supporters.

“I’m not going to give up one millimeter of the power the Venezuelan people have given me … nothing will stop me from building this revolution which commandant Chavez left us!”

Maduro said in his speech he had ordered the temporary closure of Metro station and the suspension of bus services in the east of the city, where the protests are centered.

Student leaders are vowing to stay out until Maduro falls, raising the prospect of a protracted crisis. But most rallies are attracting just a few hundred people, and the opposition’s political leaders are divided as to whether or not street demonstrations are the way forward.

The protests could, in fact, play into Maduro’s hands by helping him unite factions in the ruling Socialist Party and distract people from economic problems like shortages of goods.

He says Venezuela faces an “economic war” waged by the opposition, backed by U.S. financiers and made worse by speculators. Supporters say he is a victim of Western “imperial” propaganda and saboteurs seeking to discredit Chavez’s legacy.

“We have to celebrate the revolution, which is love and peace,” said Kaina Lovera, 16, wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with the late Chavez’s face.

“FACE OF FASCISM”

Maduro’s critics say he is wrecking the economy by sticking with failed Chavez-era policies such as currency and price controls, which many local economists blame for the shortages.

Among those critics is hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whom the government calls the “face of fascism” and the intellectual author of the violence.

The 42-year-old U.S.-educated economist says peaceful marches organized by his Popular Will party have been infiltrated by provocateurs and attacked by militant pro-government gangs known locally as “colectivos.”

Lopez remains in his home in the Chacao district of eastern Caracas where he was once mayor, colleagues said, despite a judge’s arrest warrant. It was not clear why police had not acted on that, though such a move could fuel further protests.

Maduro demanded on Saturday that Lopez surrender himself.

“The opposition organize these violent groups, and then they hide and cry,” the president said. “You fugitive from justice, trembling with fear, you fascist coward! Hand yourself in!”

Of 99 people arrested nationwide since Wednesday, most have been released pending trial with 13 still behind bars, Venezuelan judicial authorities say.

While Latin American leftist allies have sent messages of solidarity to Maduro and condemned the “coup” intentions against him, Western nations have called for calm and dialogue.

The United States, whose government has constantly crossed swords with Venezuela’s socialist administration since Chavez came to power in 1999, expressed concern over the detentions and arrest warrant for Lopez.

“These actions have a chilling effect on citizens’ rights to express their grievances peacefully,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

“We call on the Venezuelan government to provide the political space necessary for meaningful dialogue with the Venezuelan people and to release detained protesters. We urge all parties to work to restore calm and refrain from violence.”

(Additional reporting by Efrain Otero, Diego Ore and Eyanir Chinea, Will Dunham)

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA1E0W320140216?irpc=932


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Hugo Ch√°vez Kept His Promise to the People of Venezuela | Common Dreams

Published on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by The Guardian/UK

Hugo Ch√°vez Kept His Promise to the People of Venezuela

The late Venezuelan president’s Bol√≠varian revolution has been crucial to a wider Latin American philosophy

by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera

He wrote, he read, and mostly he spoke. Hugo Ch√°vez, whose death has been announced, was devoted to the word. He spoke publicly an average of 40 hours per week. As president, he didn’t hold regular cabinet meetings; he’d bring the many to a weekly meeting, broadcast live on radio and television. Al√≥, Presidente, the program in which policies were outlined and discussed, had no time limits, no script and no teleprompter. One session included an open discussion of healthcare in the slums of Caracas, rap, a self-critical examination of Venezuelans being accustomed to the politics of oil money and expecting the president to be a magician, a friendly exchange with a delegation from Nicaragua and a less friendly one with a foreign journalist.

Nicaragua is one of Venezuela’s allies in Alba, the organization constituted at Ch√°vez’s initiative to counter neoliberalism in the region, alongside Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has now acquired a life of its own having invited a number of Caribbean countries and Mexico to join, with Vietnam as an observer. It will be a most enduring legacy, a concrete embodiment of Ch√°vez’s words and historical vision. The Bol√≠varian revolution has been crucial to the wider philosophy shared and applied by many Latin American governments. Its aim is to overcome global problems through local and regional interventions by engaging with democracy and the state in order to transform the relation between these and the people, rather than withdrawing from the state or trying to destroy it.

Because of this shared view Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentinians perceived Ch√°vez as an ally, not an anomaly, and supported the inclusion of Venezuela in their Mercosur alliance. Ch√°vez’s Social Missions, providing healthcare and literacy to formerly excluded people while changing their life and political outlook, have proven the extent of such a transformative view. It could be compared to the levelling spirit of a kind of new New Deal combined with a model of social change based on popular and communal organization.

The facts speak for themselves: the percentage of households in poverty fell from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. When Ch√°vez was sworn into office unemployment was 15%, in June 2009 it was 7.8%. Compare that to current unemployment figures in Europe.

The facts speak for themselves: the percentage of households in poverty fell from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. When Ch√°vez was sworn into office unemployment was 15%, in June 2009 it was 7.8%. Compare that to current unemployment figures in Europe. In that period Ch√°vez won 56% of the vote in 1998, 60% in 2000, survived a coup d’√©tat in 2002, got over 7m votes in 2006 and secured 54.4% of the vote last October. He was a rare thing, almost incomprehensible to those in the US and Europe who continue to see the world through the Manichean prism of the cold war: an avowed Marxist who was also an avowed democrat. To those who think the expression of the masses should have limited or no place in the serious business of politics all the talking and goings on in Ch√°vez’s meetings were anathema, proof that he was both fake and a populist. But to the people who tuned in and participated en masse, it was politics and true democracy not only for the sophisticated, the propertied or the lettered.

All this talking and direct contact meant the constant reaffirmation of a promise between Ch√°vez and the people of Venezuela. Ch√°vez had discovered himself not by looking within, but by looking outside into the shameful conditions of Latin Americans and their past. He discovered himself in the promise of liberation made by Bol√≠var. “On August 1805,” wrote Ch√°vez, Bol√≠var “climbed the Monte Sacro near Rome and made a solemn oath.” Like Bol√≠var, Ch√°vez swore to break the chains binding Latin Americans to the will of the mighty. Within his lifetime, the ties of dependency and indirect empire have loosened. From the river Plate to the mouths of the Orinoco river, Latin America is no longer somebody else’s backyard. That project of liberation has involved thousands of men and women pitched into one dramatic battle after another, like the coup d’√©tat in 2002 or the confrontation with the US-proposed Free Trade Zone of the Americas. These were won, others were lost.

Like Bolívar, Chávez swore to break the chains binding Latin Americans to the will of the mighty. Within his lifetime, the ties of dependency and indirect empire have loosened.

The project remains incomplete. It may be eternal and thus the struggle will continue after Ch√°vez is gone. But whatever the future may hold, the peoples of the Americas will fight to salvage the present in which they have regained a voice. In Venezuela, they put Ch√°vez back into the presidency after the coup. This was the key event in Ch√°vez’s political life, not the military rebellion or the first electoral victory. Something changed within him at that point: his discipline became ironclad, his patience invincible and his politics clearer. For all the attention paid to the relation between Ch√°vez and Castro, the lesser known fact is that Ch√°vez’s political education owes more to another Marxist president who was also an avowed democrat: Chile’s Salvador Allende. “Like Allende, we’re pacifists and democrats,” he once said. “Unlike Allende, we’re armed.”

The lesson drawn by Ch√°vez from the defeat of Allende in 1973 is crucial. Some, like the far right and the state-linked paramilitary of Colombia would love to see Chavismo implode, and wouldn’t hesitate to sow chaos across borders. The support of the army and the masses of Venezuela will decide the fate of the Bol√≠varian revolution, and the solidarity of powerful and sympathetic neighbors like Brazil. Nobody wants instability now that Latin America is finally standing up for itself. In his final days Ch√°vez emphasised the need to build communal power and promoted some of his former critics associated with the journal Comuna. The revolution will not be rolled back. Unlike his admired Bol√≠var, Ch√°vez did not plough the seas.

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is a senior lecturer in law at Birkbeck, University of London and author of What If Latin America Ruled the World?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/05-8


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Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez dies of cancer-Press TV

As mentioned in the article below, this was not a natural occurrence. If you look up the facts of what was done to Bob Marley, this case is disturbingly similar.

Those who stand up for the poor, for the people, for peace, and coming together to make the world better for ALL whave for so long been attacked, villified, hounded, and indeed even murdered. Despite those who have been programmed to equate Socialism with Fascism(which it is not) and oppression, this is a very, very sad day.

Socialism to my mind simply does not go FAR ENOUGH. Capitalism was built on slavery and imperialism, on the oppression of the many for the enrichment of the few. Not a good background, and it’s not showing any signs of improvement. (If it was really so great why do they have to murder everyone who successfully disagrees????)

I believe in Indigenism, and decolonization. Mr Chavez, unlike his critics, was a force for these things in the world. As one of the only leaders on the entire planet who enacted policies to actually HELP and protect the indigenous people oin his nation, and support the indigenous peoples across Latin America, both the man and his helpful influence will be sorely missed by many.

It is up to those who are left to remember those who have been murdered for trying to make our world better and help the truly oppressed. It is up to us to carry on the Bolivarian Revolution not only in Venezuela, and Latin America, but across our entire world.

His compatriot in the Bolivarian Revolution, President Evo Morales passed the first law recognizing the rights of Mother Earth. Let us move this Revolution forward in every country until there is no more oppression and suffering anywhere on Earth, until the Earth is more protected than the MONEY, until the waters are clean and the children are all fed.

And let us give thanks to Creator for sending us such a spirit as Hugo Chavez to stand against the powerful and bring this to the awareness of so many. I am praying for the spirit of Mr Chavez to pass in Love and Beauty, forgetting all pain and suffering, and knowing the gratitude of so many for all that he gave while here with us. May he be blessed for his good works, and forgiven his sins.

Venezuelas Hugo Chavez dies of cancer

LAST UPDATE

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 00:18:32 GMT

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, Vice President Nicolas Maduro has announced.

Maduro, flanked by political and military leaders, made the announcement on Tuesday evening on national television.

“We have just received the most tragic and awful information. At 4:25 p.m. (2055 GMT) today March the 5th, President Hugo Chavez died,” a tearful Maduro said, directly from a Caracas military hospital.

“Long live Chavez,” the officials surrounding Maduro chanted.

“It’s a moment of deep pain,” he said in the address.

Hours before Chavezs death, the Venezuelan vice president stated that someday there will be “scientific proof” that the socialist leader was infected with cancer by “imperialist” enemies.

“We have no doubt that commander Chavez was attacked with this illness,” Maduro said.

“The old enemies of our fatherland looked for a way to harm his health,” he noted.

On February 18, the 58-year-old Venezuelan leader returned to Caracas from Cuba, where he had cancer surgery.

Chavez traveled to Havana on December 10 for a fourth operation after his cancer reappeared, despite a year and a half of treatment.

In late March 2012, Chavez began radiation treatment in Cuba after an operation in February 2012 that removed a second cancerous tumor from his pelvic region. Chavezs first tumor, which was baseball-sized, was removed in June 2011, and then he received chemotherapy.

Chavez was born in a poor family on July 28, 1954 in Sabaneta, Barinas state, Venezuela.

He graduated from the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in 1975.

Chavez became involved in revolutionary movements within the armed forces in 1977.

In 1992, he led a failed attempt to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andres Perez and was jailed for two years. Despite that fact that the coup failed, the incident launched his political career.

Chavez toured the country, electrified Venezuelans with his speeches, and won his first presidential election in 1998. He also won presidential elections in 2000, 2006, and 2012.

In 2002, a group of opposition politicians and troops backed by the United States staged a coup against Chavez. He was arrested and sent to a military base on a Caribbean island.

However, just two days later, the efforts of loyal military officers and massive demonstrations by Venezuelans swept him back to power.

Chavez founded the Bolivarian Revolution to establish popular democracy and economic independence and equitably distribute wealth in Latin America.

He was one of the key players in the progressive movement that has swept across Latin America over the past few years.

http://edition.presstv.ir/TextOnly/detail.aspx?id=292105