This past Saturday, Fr. Roy Bourgeois and I accompanied President Manuel Zelaya back to his native Honduras, almost two years after a military coup led by SOA graduates removed him from his country at gunpoint. The short flight
we took with him, from Managua to Tegucigalpa, was a journey packed with laughter, tears, songs, nerves, hugs, and decades of history.
Above all, this was an epic Latin American journey, a brief Latin American freedom ride of sorts. It was a moment to display to a world that does not often look this way, a loosely woven cloth of Latin American sovereignty and integration. As the only U.S. citizens invited to be part of a small group of international accompaniment, Roy and I felt extraordinarily privileged to be sharing this moment with our Latin American sisters and brothers.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was formed February 2010 to exclude the US and Canada which control the OAS (Organization of American States), and will be formally launched on July 5, 2011. ~Ed.
“Nobody messes with Venezuela. Venezuela must be respected.”
Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy Minister
I am in Caracas, Vz today (May 29th–Casey’s birthday)—a country I love and a people that I support with all my heart in their struggle against US imperialism and corporate interests so they can make their own lives better.
Nine of us came from the US to support the people of Venezuela in rejecting the US economic sanctions that were imposed by the State Departments because, apparently, Venezuela sent two shipments of oil product to Iran.
On Thursday, the United States expelled the ambassador from Ecuador, in retaliation for Wednesday’s expulsion of the US ambassador from Ecuador. This now leaves the United States without ambassadorial relations in three South American countries – Bolivia and Venezuela being the other two – thus surpassing the Bush administration in its diplomatic problems in the region.
US Ambassador Heather Hodges was declared “persona non grata” and asked to leave Ecuador “as soon as possible”, after a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks showed her saying some disparaging things about Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa. In the cable, she alleges that President Correa had knowledge of corruption by a former head of the national police.
Although the Bush administration intervened in the internal affairs of countries such as Bolivia and even Brazil, it was somewhat better at keeping its “eyes on the prize” and avoiding fights that would distract from its main goal. The prize, of course, is Venezuela – home to the largest oil reserves in the world, estimated by the US Geological Survey at 500bn barrels. Washington’s goal there for the last decade has been regime change. The Bush team understood that the more they fought with other countries in the region, the less credible would be their public relations story that Venezuela was the problem.
As US President Obama visits neighboring Chile, Bolivian president Morales has called on the Nobel committee to strip him of his peace prize and has called for the United Nations (ONU in Spanish) to be renamed “ONI,” The United Nations of Invaders.
“If the Nobel Peace Prize committee was to dignify this prize, they should revoke it from the US President,” said Morales at a press conference. Morales himself received the $50,000 “Gaddadi Human Rights Prize” before becoming the Bolivian president and said that the world should ask itself if Obama is defending peace or provoking massacres.
Morales said that the United Nations was bombing hospitals and schools on the pretext of savings lives. He said that the Libya invasion was just a pretext to invade and take Libya’s natural resources.
“How is it that a Nobel Peace Prize winner heads a groups of gangsters to assault and invade? This is not part of the defense of human rights, nor the rights of self determination of peoples.”
Venezuela's National Assembly in December passed the Ley Habilitante, or Enabling Law, granting the President the authority to decree laws for the benefit of torrential rain victims (Agencies)
Venezuela ranks fifth among countries with the lowest level of malnutrition in Latin America and is among the world’s top 10. Still, the world’s media, owned by neoliberal capitalists who support a corporate global dictatorship, continues to paint Hugo Chavez as a devil, especially since Venezuela passed the “enabling law.” But, the US also has such a law; it’s called a signing statement. Further, the US presidency (first under Bush and continued under Obama) has usurped complete dictatorial control thru various unconstitutional laws passed, with several more now under consideration.
Global elites hate Chavez because he is taking back land and natural resources formerly owned by multinational corporations and giving it to Venezuela’s peasants and state-run companies. As to direct defense of what he is doing, below is this 5-point response by Correo del Orinoco International:
State Department documents published by Wikileaks evidence Washington’s plans to “contain” Venezuela’s influence in the region and increase efforts to provoke regime change
A substantial portion of the more than 1600 State Department documents Wikileaks has published during the past two weeks refer to the ongoing efforts of US diplomacy to isolate and counter the Venezuelan government.
President Hugo Chavez on Sunday vowed to move forward on the nationalization of land owned by a subsidiary of British meat products company Vestey, as he called for “acceleration of the agrarian revolution.”
Paul Jay interviews Gregory Wilpert, founder of Venezuela Analysis, who explains how last week’s elections will impact the future of the Bolivarian Revolution. Rural representation still dominates over urban centers.
Colombia’s constitutional court Tuesday declared a US-Colombian accord that gave the US military access to at least seven Colombian bases to be unconstitutional. The court ordered the government to submit the agreement to the Colombian Congress, arguing that it should be executed in the form of an international treaty that would be subject to congressional approval in order to comply with constitutional norms. The court did not address whether the agreement itself was appropriate.
The Internet war is heating up in Venezuela. Just weeks after its launch, President Chavez’ Twitter account is the country’s most popular with 240,000 followers. But his opponents aren’t just standing by idly.
The Internet war erupted against a background of severe economic problems in Venezuela. Inflation has hit an annual rate of 30 percent and the country’s currency, the Venezuelan Bolivar, lost almost half its value against the US dollar. Opponents argue that Hugo Chavez is mismanaging the economy and cracking down on critics. Supporters of the president say right-wing businessmen are engaging in illegal currency speculation, and using the media to spread propaganda.
Those sharp differences are reflected in how both sides use the Internet. So far even Chavez supporters concede that the opposition has produced more sophisticated websites. For example, El Chiguirre Bipolar, named after an indigenous Venezuelan rodent, regularly satirizes President Chavez.
Interview of Eva Golinger on the US military buildup in Latin America, universal healthcare in Venezuala, education, judicial corruption, and the difference between trade agreements that benefit a few multinational corporations and those that benefit a nation’s populace; plus more.
By Mike Whitney
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama Is Preparing for War in South America; Interview with Eva Golinger
An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week
An article published in the December 12th edition of the New York Times revealed the detention of a US government contract employee in Havana this past December 5th. The employee, whose name has not yet been disclosed, works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), one of the largest US government contractors providing services to the State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The employee was detained while distributing cellular telephones, computers and other communications equipment to Cuban dissident and counterrevolutionary groups that work to promote US agenda on the Caribbean island.
President Hugo Chavez has ordered Venezuela’s military to prepare for a possible armed conflict with Colombia, saying his country’s soldiers should be ready if the United States attempts to provoke a war between the South American neighbours.
Mr. Robert Morgenthau has revealed himself as the new American super-hero. He exerted his penetrating insight powers to foresee hidden facilities in Venezuela’s remote places where the still non-existant Iranian weapons of mass destruction are going to be stored. No probe, no evidences, but, does anybody doubt he knows what he is talking about?
After ten and a half years in office, Hugo Chavez is very savvy about America’s intentions. On January 17, even before Obama’s inauguration, he said “Barack Obama has the ‘stench’ of his predecessor as US president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American ’empire.'” He added that frayed ties with Washington were unlikely to improve despite the departure of Bush, the man he called the ‘devil.’ Continue reading →
An interview with Roberto Hernandez Montoya, president of the Romulo Gallegos Foundation Center for Latin American Studies (CELARG) in Venezuela.
“Media totalitarianism produces capitalist ideology, but also dangerous, even criminal, phenomena. The United States lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Media totalitarianism took up those lies to justify the invasion of the country, becoming in its turn a weapon of mass destruction. That invasion cost over a million Iraqis their lives.”
Caracas– The head of Venezuela’s telecommunications agency (CONATEL), and minister of housing and infrastructure, Diosdado Cabello, announced on Saturday the immediate closure of 32 privately owned radio stations and 2 regional television stations, as their broadcast licenses had expired or they had violated regulations. Cabello said the recuperated licenses would be handed over to community media.
In Venezuela today a grass-roots movement of community and alternative media is challenging the domination of private commercial media. Community oriented, non profit, non commercial, citizen and volunteer run media outlets are a crucial part of the democratic transformation of society that is occurring throughout Venezuela. Part of this transformation is the understanding of freedom of speech as a positive and basic right. This right includes universal access to a meaningful space for communication in addition to freedom from censorship. Freedom of expression as a positive right provides universal access to the means of communication. Political Analyst Diana Raby reiterates; “the technology of modern communications has to be made accessible to all, not merely as consumers but as participants and creators.” Community media is beginning to fill this role in Venezuela.