Venezuela

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Continuing Fallout from Venezuelan Election

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As indicated before the elections, the right-wing opposition are engaging in activities similar to those that laid the ground for the short-lived coup in 2002. In brief the main points are:

  1. Venezuela’s right-wing groups engage in extreme violence after rejecting official election results
  2. Leaders from across Latin America congratulate President Maduro & call for official results to be respected
  3. Venezuelan Embassy in the UK Statement on the Election
  4. Union of South American Nations & Election Observers Calls for Respect for Venezuela Election Results
  5. National Electoral Council (CNE) explains that 54% of votes have been audited & the result is valid, as Nicolas Maduro becomes President

1. Venezuela’s right-wing groups engage in extreme violence after rejecting official election results

Groups linked to the Venezuelan right-wing opposition have unleashed a wave of violence across Venezuela following their loss at Sunday’s presidential elections and their refusal to accept the official results, again (as in many times in the past) alleging fraud without providing any proof, in order to undermine the will of the people.

Henrique Capriles, the losing candidate, called his supporters onto the streets and this was quickly followed on Monday by violence.

The situation has particularly worsened after right-wing national newspapers published a doctored photo claiming to show the government burning ballot papers and an opposition-aligned journalist falsely claimed that ballot boxes were being held by Cuban doctors – the first false accusation leading to attacks on buildings of the country’s independent national electoral council, the second on widespread attacks on the nation’s health services.

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“It does matter to us.” – Hugo Chávez responds to Rory Carroll

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What follows further down is a transcript of an exchange between Guardian reporter Rory Carroll and the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, from Chávez’s TV programme Aló Presidente, broadcast 26th August 2007.

I was prompted to look up the transcript when it was referred to by Carroll himself, who has a new book out titled Comandante: Inside The Revolutionary Court of Hugo Chávez, in an interview on Today with Pat Kenny on Friday March 1st 2013. First of all, here is the excerpt from the Pat Kenny show.

Transcript: Excerpt from Today with Pat Kenny on Friday March 1st 2013

PAT KENNY: Now, the kind of weapons that he did use, besides the occasional imprisonment of somebody – humiliation. Heaping humiliation upon people’s heads. I mean, denouncing them on television. And I suggested to you when you came in, like what would it be like if you had Enda Kenny or Bertie Ahern on television for three hours, just mouthing away, commandeering the airwaves, and you said, what are you talking about, three hours? Nine hours. Non-stop.

RORY CARROLL: Yes, yeah. And em, well, speaking of humiliation, my own, I can give you a personal anecdote about that. I was on his TV show, he has a weekly TV show called Aló Presidente, Hello President, and I think I was on episode no. 294. I went in as a journalist, I had lobbied them to let me attend, and he invited me to ask a question. And I did, I asked him about the centralisation of power and risk of creeping authoritarianism, and boy did he let me have it. He proceeded to denounce me and it seemed eternal to me, this was all on live television.

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Progressive Film Club: Venezuelan Stories: In honour of Hugo Chávez, Sat, 13th April @2.30, New Theatre, Temple Bar

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Progressive Film Club at the New Theatre · 43 East Essex Street · Dublin 2

Presents

Venezuelan Stories: In honour of Hugo Chávez

Saturday 13th of April

2:30 p.m.

Admission free. (Donations welcome.)

Tocar y Luchar [To Play and to Struggle] (2006)

The captivating story of the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra System—an incredible network of hundreds of orchestras formed in most of Venezuela’s towns and villages. Designed to bring the wonders of music to rural children, the system has become one of the most important, and most beautiful, social phenomena in modern history. To Play and to Struggle is an inspirational story of courage, determination, ambition, and love—a fitting tribute to the memory of Hugo Chávez.

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Condolences and Solidarity with the Family of Comandante Hugo Chávez

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The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its condolences and solidarity with the family of Comandante Hugo Chávez, with the people and government of Venezuela.

Hugo Chávez has left an indelible mark on the history of the Venezuelan people and of Latin America. Through his policies of distributing wealth in the interests of the poor and working people he has transformed the lives of millions.

His Bolivarian Revolution has inspired millions of Venezuelans and has given hope and inspiration to millions of working people throughout Latin America, greatly contributing to the changes now under way in that continent. His revolution broke the spell of “TINA” (“there is no alternative”), so cleverly woven by western imperial interests.

His contribution was to put socialism back on the agenda, with renewed vigour, as the only real alternative to the bankrupt and moribund system that is inflicting great hardship on working people.

His revolution touched not only the lives of the Venezuelan people but also the poor of the United States, to whom the nationalised Venezuelan oil company distributed free fuel for a decade or more. He did more than any president of the United States, from Clinton to Obama, did for the poor of the United States itself.

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Book of Condolences Opened for President Hugo Chavez in Connolly Book, Essex St, Temple Bar

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A public book of condolences has been open in Connolly Books, Essex Street, Temple Bar, to allow the Irish public to express their condolences and solidarity with the family of Comandante Hugo Chavez and the revolutionary working people of Venezuela.

It will be an opportunity to show our solidarity with the Venezuelan Revolution and to honour the passing of a great internationalists and anti-imperialist.

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The Atheists Pray for Chávez

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This is a translation of a piece published by John Brown, Friday 11th January 2013.

“Le Prince étant défini uniquement, exclusivement, par la fonction qu'il doit accomplir, c'est à dire par le vide historique qu'il doit remplir, est une forme vide, un pur possible-impossible aléatoire”

(Trans: Being uniquely and exclusively defined by the function he must perform – that is to say, by the historical vacuum he must fill- the Prince is a pure aleatory possibility-impossibility)

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in a rather emotional event. It was a gathering organised by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in solidarity with its president Hugo Chávez who was unable to swear in to his role as re-elected president due to the state of his health. Solidarity with the person who is president spread throughout the entire Bolivarian revolutionary process.

The gathering was made up of members of the Latin American community in Brussels and of other people who support the Bolivarian process and, in general, the transformative wave that is radically changing a large part of Latin America. The attendees, including the members of the ALBA diplomatic corps, were all everyday people, politicised and concerned. Live images appeared on screen of the huge demonstration in Caracas, where the population itself, in Hugo Chávez’s absence, took up the role of president. It was a thrilling scene: against an ‘opposition’ which was letting off fireworks weeks ago when it thought the president was dead, and which even today relies more on cancer than on its own electoral power to put an end to the Bolivarian process, there was a colourful –but also very red- tide, made up of people of all kinds and ages, surrounding the Miraflores palace to defend democracy, their democracy. Against putschism. Against death. Today, even we atheists pray for Chávez to that God whom we know does not exist.

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Venezuela, Politics and the Art of the Possible

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Adrian Kane, Sector Organiser with SIPTU travelled to Venezuela as an observer during the recent Presidential Election. Here is his report:

The Chavistas started gathering in central Caracas from mid-afternoon on polling day, Sunday Oct 7. The polling stations were not due to close until after 6pm, but the largely young, red-clad supporters of Hugo Chavez were confident that their ‘commandante’ would be returned.  Above the blaring of the Latino rhythms, the cry from the streets that greeted the 2002 coup, ‘Chavez no se Va!, (Chavez isn’t going anywhere) could be heard. I was at a polling station in down-town Caracas as part of an international group of observers, monitoring the Presidential Election. The votes were breaking heavily in favour of Henrique Capriles Rodanski, (the United Opposition candidate) in the boxes from the middle class areas of Caracas but Chavez was ahead in the poorer parts, however, Capriles appeared to have made some in-roads in these areas as well. The key to who would ultimately win the presidency was the degree to which Capriles could eat into Chavez support amongst the urban and rural poor of Venezuela.

The Campaigns

The campaign run by Capriles was a much smarter campaign than that of the previous opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales, in 2006. Rosales campaign was viciously anti-Chavez; one newspaper I had witnessed on that occasion had a split page advertisement purporting to show the choice facing Venezuelan electors under the respective candidates; on the left was a picture of a family under a Chavez-led administration, dressed in military fatigues touting Kalashnikovs, on the right was a family sitting looking studiously at the monitor of a lap-top, a virtual picture of familial bliss. In this election Capriles ran on a centre-left platform. He acknowledged some of the successes under the Chavez presidency, such as poverty been cut by half and extreme poverty by 70%, huge increases in access to health and education for the poor. He promised, however, to integrate ‘the mission model’ for the delivery of social services into the mainstream public service. He promised more industrial development and the end of the oil-for-doctors programme with Cuba, advocating the training of Venezuelan doctors instead. His campaign slogans were more subtle also; Hay un Camino (There is a Way) and ‘14 years is enough’ were prominent on most of his posters and political advertisements.

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