Progressive Latin America, Climate Change & Climate Justice
Jamie Peters from UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC)
Paul Dobson, from Edinburgh, lives and writes in Venezuela
The issue of human rightsare frequently used in attemptsto delegitimize the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela.This month, Caracas tackled the issue, speaking at the UN and inviting the entire country to contribute ideas to strengthening ongoing efforts at protecting human rights.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz affirmed “in Venezuela the right to life is inviolable, it’s sacred”.
“There is very real freedom of expression, access to information, the right to peaceful protest, and the continual holding of elections”, she added.
Following last year’s violent uprising which looked to overthrow the democratically- elected government, Diaz explained that “it’s very serious that in the international arena people say that the 43 deaths from the violent deeds of 2014 were due to police actions. Only 6 of these 43 are due to this and there are 14 policemen behind bars for them”, she explained.
Diaz also explained that “the right to protest and meet is sacred in the judicial ordering of the country as long as it is pacific and unarmed… if these conditions are absent then, simply, it is no longer a right”. In relation to prisons, Diaz assured the UN Council that Venezuela has “eradicated torture” and has “special legislation which prohibits it”.
“If there were a policeman or military who incurred in this practice, we would process them immediately” she reassured. The state is also making advances in “attending to prisoners whilst guaranteeing their rights” such as recreation and education.
Finally, Diaz reiterated the political rights and freedom of expression in the country. “Since 1999, the people have participated in 19 electoral processes, demonstrating their democratic vocation and the reaffirmation of sovereignty and self-determination through secret, free, and universal voting”.
“This”, she explained, contrasts sharply with “our cruel past”, which the state is investigating “with the objective of sanctioning the human rights violations which happened between 1958 and 1998”. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez summarized that Venezuela is “writing a new history in human rights. The Bolivarian Revolution gave a constitutional dimension to them, guaranteeing, promoting and protecting them”.
Venezuelan Executive Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, presented a National Plan for Human Rights 2015-2019 to the nation this month, inviting civil society and social movements to participate in a consultative process to enrich it.
The proposed plan addresses five areas: the construction of a liberating culture; institutional strengthening; the leading participation of the people; relationships with international human rights organisms; and human rights focus in legislation, politics, and state actions.
The proposals include a series of measures in the commune movement, including creating “areas which promote human rights to the rest of the community”, and in the international arena they look to “take steps forward in the understanding, respect, and guaranteeing of Venezuela’s human rights which are often misunderstood”.
Also, the proposal suggests “the promoting of a human rights system within the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)”
Correo del Orinoco (the Orinoco Post) is a progressive Venezuelan newspaper launched in 2009, with an English edition since 2010.
Articles in this issue include:
Download for free here http://scottishvenezuelasolidarity.org.uk/attachments/article/68/2015_august_COI220.pdf
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By Lucas Koerner, for Venezuelanalysis.com
On Friday, thousands took to the streets of the Venezuelan capital to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the toppling of the Pérez Jiménez dictatorship as well as to voice their support for the government of President Nicolás Maduro in the face of economic war and political destabilization.
Setting out in the morning from Plaza Fabricio Ojeda in the historic 23 de Enero neighborhood, a combative barrio itself named after the date of Pérez Jiménez’s ousting, the march concluded in the Plaza O’Leary in El Calvario, where the President spoke and led a spirited rally, amidst a sea of red banners.
Friday’s march comes in the midst of severe inflation and widespread shortages of basic goods, which President Maduro has termed an “economic war” that is reportedly being waged against the Bolivarian government by elements of the opposition. The President accused distributors of hoarding everyday products and presented them with an ultimatum to cooperate or face “tough measures.”
In the face of this economic war, to which many attribute the reported drop in President Maduro’s approval ratings to 22%, Yulixa Jiménez, like thousands of others at Friday’s march, remains defiant.
“We as a revolutionary people are conscious of what the Right is doing to us, because it’s part of their fascist plan,” says the 20-year old student at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela. “We have to be conscious of what is happening, and we have to advance in the struggle to produce our own products and not depend so much on income from oil.”
Carlos Martínez, 30, of La Parroquía Sucre, similarly notes the gravity of the current political and economic situation: “The economic war is affecting us. This is a small group of bourgeois who control the economic market of the country. It’s a real monster we’re fighting. we want to make it so the people can produce our own resources and we don’t depend on the monopolies.”
Despite these immense challenges, many like Francine Montorola are nevertheless optimistic: “We are conscious that we are at war, but we’re going to come out victorious,” she said. “We know who our enemies are, and we are organizing ourselves and struggling to come out of this. These are difficult moments, but no one said people’s struggle was easy.”
These responses to the economic war are met by freshly uncovered evidence of its depth and scope. While thousands marched through the streets on Friday, Caracas police discovered in Catia a cache of 33 tons of household products, including rice, diapers, dishwash soap, mayonnaise, tooth paste, deodorant, among other everyday items.
The 23rd of January is an historic date in which Venezuelans annually take to the streets to honor those fallen in the struggle against the Péres Jiménez dictatorship. However, for the thousands assembled in El Calvario on Friday, the 23rd of January is also a date which commemorates the more than 5000 revolutionaries assassinated by the governments that succeeded Pérez Jiménez during Venezuela’s 40-year long era of “pacted democracy,” known as the Fourth Republic, which only came to a close with Hugo Chávez’s election in 1998. A significant proportion of these political killings occurred during the 1989 rebellion by the popular classes against neoliberal austerity measures, known as the Caracazo, in which as many as 3,000 people were gunned down by the Venezuelan army.
Nonetheless, for those attending Friday’s march, this commemoration is anything but merely historical, but, on the contrary, has real implications for the present conjuncture. For Antonia Díaz, 40, the stakes are high: “If we allow this revolution to be lost, the same people [in power] during those years [of dictatorship] will come after us, the people, of Chávez…We will defend this process to the death.”
According to PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) youth leader Brian Mirandés, 21, the danger of returning to this not-so-distant past of brutal state repression is hardly abstract:
“In the past, many comrades died as a consequence of the repression of the Fourth Republic, comrades disappeared, one of the closest [fallen comrades], that we have now is Robert Serra, with whom I had the opportunity to work alongside, who was assassinated by the Right, by Imperialism.”
In the eyes of the thousands attending Friday’s rally, Robert Serra, the youngest ever National Assembly deputy who was assassinated by Colombian paramilitaries in October at the age of 27, is a symbol both of hope and of what is at stake in the Bolivarian Revolution. President Maduro himself underscored Serra’s inspirational legacy when he proposed that the slain deputy’s mother, Zulay Aguirre, run for her son’s National Assembly seat in the elections this coming December.
In his speech at Friday’s rally, President Nicolás Maduro denounced the visit by Sebastián Piñera, Andrés Pastrana, and Felipe Calderón, the ex-presidents of Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, respectively, who will be attending a forum organized by the Venezuelan opposition on Monday. The Venezuelan leader stated that these ex-presidents’ hands would be “forever stained in blood” in the event of a coup d’état in Venezuela.
The President underscored that the guests of the forum revealed the extreme rightwing character of the Venezuelan opposition, referencing Piñera’s role in the privatization of Chilean education and repression of the struggles by the indigenous Mapuche people as well as Calderón’s responsibility for the disastrous Mexican drug war and links to the drug cartels.
As Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warns that the opposition’s economic war is part of the overall attempt to oust his government, teleSUR English interviews Dr Franciso Dominguez to look at the how this strategy has been previously used against progressive governments in Latin Ameirca in the past.
Show: From The South
Published 14 January 2015
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on Venezuelans to protest, as President Nicolas Maduro warns the right-wing is organizing a coup attempt
Venezuelan right-wing opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles went on national television Wednesday calling on the population to take to the streets to demand a change of government.
Capriles, in an incendiary tone, claimed Venezuela had reached a moment “in which we have to change the government, the perfect moment to change the government, the perfect storm. That is the reality we are facing today.”
Capriles' remarks came after President Nicolas Maduro went on a tour to oil-producing countries last week in a bid to raise global oil prices which have fallen below US$40 per barrel. In Algeria, Maduro warned the opposition was planning a coup.
“The strategy that they are carrying out aims to disrupt civilians and cause extreme situations, that is the key part of their efforts to destabilize the country … an economic coup is also underway in Venezuela,” he told reporters.
“The strategy that they are carrying out aims to disrupt civilians and cause extreme situations, that is the key part of their efforts to destabilize the country … an economic coup is also underway in Venezuela,”
Capriles called for people to protest in the streets earlier this week, and several incidents of violence have already been reported throughout the country.
In his closing statements, Capriles again called on the ousting of President Maduro.
“The ideal scenario would be to change the government, that would be the ideal situation,” he said.
President Maduro warned Tuesday from Algeria that the opposition was organizing an economic coup.
“This is designed to unsettle the people and take them to extreme situations, that's the main aim to destabilize the country,” he warned.
Right-wing opposition sectors are intentionally creating shortages in certain consumer products.
Right-wing opposition sectors are intentionally creating shortages in certain consumer products. Recent raids on distributing companies have confirmed that many of them are hoarding products. Their motives seems to be political and with the intention of destabilizing the government, as many of the owners of the companies are linked to, or active members of, opposition parties
Capriles insisted at the end of the press conference that the only way to change the situation was through organized action.
“This model is unsustainable, it's over. It's time to take action,” he added.
The right-wing former presidential candidate announced he was going to regroup the main opposition alliance, which recently called off a national strike due to miniscule support.
“The Unity (referring to Democratic Unity Table, the main right-wing opposition alliance) will renovate, it will be re-organized … I have a series of actions planned that I will propose to all the parties and leaderships in the next hours … here, whoever plays alone is ruined,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jorge Arreaza explained that the new economic coup attempt would be an alternative to the violent opposition events launched in February 2014.
“What we are seeing coming from the right during the beginning of this year is an economic coup which we will defeat"
“What we are seeing coming from the right during the beginning of this year is an economic coup which we will defeat, just as we defeated the violent coup attempt the beginning of last year,” said Arreaza, speaking on public television.
He was referring to a wave of right-wing political violence in 2014 that left 43 people dead. The overwhelming majority were killed by clashes at deliberately-deadly opposition barricades, and as a result of opposition violence.
Capriles told supporters “to vent your anger”
Capriles himself faced accusations of links to a separate wave of violence in 2013 after his unsuccessful presidential bid. That violence left 13 government supporters dead after Capriles told supporters “to vent your anger” at his loss.
2015 marks 10 years of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and with elections approaching at the end of the year in Venezuela - plus the U.S stepping up sanctions and hostility - we will be making it our most active yet.
Below you can find details of our two major national events this year including the Second Annual Hugo Chávez Memorial Lecture on February 26 and other events coming up.
As well as attending events, you can show your solidarity with Venezuela by making a donation to our Special Appeal, joining the VSC and lobbying your MP to speak out against proposed U.S sanctions on Venezuela .
Matt Willgress, VSC National Co-ordinator.
1.) Richard Gott Presents The Second Annual Hugo Chávez Memorial Lecture
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 7:00pm.
Bolívar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, W1T 5DL (nearest tube: Warren Street)
We are absolutely delighted to announce that writer Richard Gott, author of Hugo Chavez & The Bolivarian Revolution, will give this lecture. More details will be announced in due course.
Please register in advance here
Please invite your friends & share here
2.) Rally for Venezuela - Yes to Social Progress, No to U.S. Intervention! Celebrating 10 Years of VSC
Thursday, June 4, 2015, 6:30pm.
Hamilton House (NUT Headquarters), London, WC1H
An evening for Venezuela & celebrating 10 years of solidarity, with guests to include: Tariq Ali, Jeremy Corbyn MP, H.E Alicia Castro (Argentinian Ambassador,) Professor Doreen Massey, Neil Findlay MSP, Bethan Jenkins AM (Plaid Cymru), Grahame Morris MP (Labour Friends of Venezuela,) Andy De La Tour (former election observer in Venezuela,) Sandra White MSP (SNP) Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Colin Burgon (VSC,) Derek Wall (Green Party,) Chris Williamson MP & more.
Please register in advance here
Please invite your friends & share here
Special report by Telesur TV English: On 13 December 1994 two men with justice & vision at their hearts met and embraced each other in a hug - those men were the leader of Venezuela Hugo Chavez and the Revolutionary leader of Cuba Fidel Castro.
Find out more about this special meeting, and the renewed hope for social justice & and the prospects for a better life that it has given millions, not just in Latin America but across the world.
Read more here:
The Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign and the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign jointly welcome the release of the three remaining Miami Five prisoners unjustly held by the United States for the past sixteen years. This act demonstrates the effectiveness of the world-wide campaign for their release and the efforts of the Cuban government, with the assistance of Pope Francis, to restore diplomatic relations with the US. At the same time the illegal US trade embargo against Cuba continues. Despite repeated condemnation by the United Nations, this penalises all countries and companies that seek to trade with Cuba.
We also note and condemn the Bill passed by the US Congress this week placing new sanctions on Venezuela in addition to those imposed earlier in the year. Like the trade blockade on Cuba, these sanctions seek use economic warfare against people – in this case worsening the already serious impact of the fall in oil prices on Venezuela’s main export. We call on Scottish MSPs and MPs and all trade union and progressive organisations to call on the British government to oppose these sanctions and to step up the demand for an end to the US trade embargo on Cuba.
Cuba and Venezuela have demonstrated that another world is possible. Health and education are universal free benefits for all. Highly trained workers freely offer their skills and resources to countries in need including Pakistan, Haiti, and currently during the Ebola crisis.
Our Scottish solidarity work is enormously heartened by the good news but given a clear mandate to continue our efforts by the ongoing challenges.
Please ensure that your membership of both vital organisations is current and that all your networks are linked to our campaigns and updates. If not, please sign up as soon as possible and contact us for any assistance.
Our solidarity work has made a difference, with motions debated in Scottish Parliament, our welcome to speakers from Cuba and Venezuela including family of Miami 5, our support for brigades and delegations, our stalls at conferences and events, and our joint work with all sectors of Scottish civic society including the Arts, Students, Faith Groups, and more.
The struggle continues, and whilst we celebrate the reunion of the Miami 5 with their loved ones in Cuba, we deplore the ongoing sanctions and hostilities towards the working people of two sovereign nations that are not USA's backyard.
Phil McGarry - Chair, Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Vicky Grandon - Chair, Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign
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