VENEZUELA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN - URGENT ACTION ALERT:
News & Reports
Addressing the fact that the CNE is Venezuela has carried out an audit of 54% of the votes cast in Sunday's elections, more than any other audit of this nature in the world, and that this has confirmed Nicolas Maduro's victory, a spokesperson for the Venezuelan Embassy said, “Venezuela enjoys a solid democratic system and rule of law, with a long electoral tradition. According to our Constitution, it is the National Electoral Council (CNE) alone that oversees elections and issues results. The CNE, which is recognised worldwide, has declared Nicolas Maduro the winner of the presidential election with 7, 563,747 votes and a lead of 262,000 votes. This is the second highest number of votes obtained by a presidential candidate in Venezuelan history. The CNE has carried out an audit of 54% of the vote, as is stipulated in Venezuelan law, and this has confirmed this result. In the past, the Venezuelan opposition has ignored the electoral authority and in doing so has faced rejection both in Venezuela and the wider international community. The opposition is once again doing this."
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.
The houses of the families of prominent politicians and of the head of the electoral council , as well as locals headquarters of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and the electoral councils have all been subjected to violence, including examples of arson.
Likewise public health workers and buildings, state supermarkets, community media buildings and other social services built the Chavez government were attacked. Anti-chavista groups also blocked some important avenues and highways.
There are press reports that this violence has resulted in the loss of life of some Chavez supporters. Luis Garcia Polanco, 24, a youth activist in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela was reported to have been shot dead in front of the National Electoral Council (CNE) building in Zulia after a group of arrived people demanding a recount of votes. Reuters is now reporting that four people have died due to the right-wing opposition's post-election violence. Addiionally, there are reports that a government supporter has been set on fire alive.
The opposition has organised protests against local headquarters of the National Electoral Council across the county for Tuesday and there are fears that the violence could be stepped up as the opposition seek to overturn illegitimately overturn the narrower than expected victory.
“Nothing I have seen suggests anything other than a Nicolas Maduro win. The ballot was free and fair. The count was equally transparent and signed off by party witnesses including those of the Caprile’s coalition, the M.U.D. I’ve witnessed a robust system”
Andy de La Tour, actor and screenwriter, said:
“The international observers are satisfied that the election has been free, fair and transparent. Voting went smoothly and the opposition witnesses in the polling stations told us they that they were satisfied that the voting had been fair.”
the death of Hugo Chavez was a sad blow but the many tributes from around the world revealed how widely respected he was; how wide was recognition of his achievements despite the attempts by his enemies to smear him and his memory.
If you did not see them at the time, a number of tributes and comments can be found on the website and the Facebook page of the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign – www.scottishvenezuelasolidarity.org.uk. See for example the words of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon posted there.
Updates on Venezuela's presidential elections this weekend can be found on www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk.
Fringe Meeting at STUC 17 April - Hugo Chavez: showing another world is possible
Alvaro Sanchez, Counsellor at the Venezuelan Embassy in London, will speak at a fringe meeting at 5.30 on Wednesday 17 April at the STUC Congress in Perth. See attached flyer. This is organised jointly with the Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Meet Alvaro Sanchez in Edinburgh, lunchtime on Thursday 18 April
There will be an informal meeting with Alvaro Sanchez, Counsellor at the Venezuelan Embassy in London, in the back room of the White Horse bar, 226 Canongate (Royal Mile), Edinburgh - 12.30 to 13.30. Drop in to meet Alvaro and hear reports from Venezuela; we expect to be celebrating the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the Presidential elections and discussing future prospects. Please try to let me know if you might come to this.
Quilapayun - legendary Chilean band
The band will be in Glasgow and Edinburgh on 18th and 19th April for their only UK gigs. Please find attached flyer for the concerts which have been co-ordinated by Valentina and Voces del Sur who are also supporting this world famous band from Chile in concert.
Legacy of Hugo Chavez - event in June
Some of us are making plans for an event in Edinburgh to celebrate the legacy of Hugo Chavez, probably in June. As well as talks and speeches we hope this will be a lively event with music and films. If interested in helping organise this, let me know
Learning from Latin America - report
if you could not attend the conference in December a report was published in Scottish Left Review - see http://www.scottishleftreview.org/article/lessons-from-latin-america/
Article on THE IMPORTANCE OF HUGO CHAVEZ by Matthew Crighton, to be published in forthcoming Citizen magazine
It has taken his death to show us how many friends Hugo Chavez had. The regular drip, drip of hostile lies about Venezuela in the media gave way to a torrent of praise for the remarkable changes he brought to his country; and in doing that, to the world. Governments and leaders across the world, in particular Africa as well as of course Latin America, lined up to praise him.
The achievements are hard to ignore in any but the most biased assessments. He and his governments halved poverty; introduced universal healthcare systems, eliminated illiteracy. He had a practical commitment to improving the lives of Venezuela’s people and in particular the millions who had been left to a life of poverty by previous regimes. The sheer scope of the imaginative programmes he led forward is extraordinary - for health, education, food sovereignty, land reform, electoral democracy, environmental protection, employment laws, racial and gender equality, the rights of indigenous people and industrial democracy, for example.
Venezuela has done more than any other country in the last decade to reduce inequality and bring welfare services to its people. In doing that it has shown that, whatever is said in Washington and London, there is an alternative to the cuts, austerity and privatisations we are suffering.
It is surprising to me how often people say 'I like all that but I don't like his methods' and go on to assert that he controlled the media and was some kind of totalitarian or demagogue – an echo of the efforts of US spokespeople to taint him by referring to him alongside Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi and 'other tyrants'. We can expec that from the USA. Yet even left of centre papers like the Guardian and the Independent found people to slur him - like Martin Kettle saying that he was a ‘human rights abuser’ and Rory Carroll suggesting he had ‘ruined Venezuela’.
So, it is still necessary to nail a few of the more persistent lies ...... (for the full article go to the Resources page)
President Hugo Chavez's lengthy absence from the public spotlight continues to be exploited by right-wing opponents in Venezuela and abroad to create a political crisis.
A few dozen anti-Chavez students decked out in chains gathered outside a legal tribunal building in the opulent Chacao area of the capital Caracas on Tuesday and tried to blockade the street.
They and local opposition media have complained of "repression" in response to police efforts to clear the thoroughfare.
The students claimed to have organised their stunt to force the government to provide more information on the president's recovery from surgery for cancer, following which he has undergone both radiation and chemotherapy.
Similar numbers demonstrated outside the Cuban embassy before the president's return demanding that he come home and accusing Cuba of unspecified interference in Venezuelan affairs.
Incredibly, the students proclaimed their mini-demo a success after Chavez flew in as though at their command.
Government ministers have explained that Chavez remains in the Caracas military hospital to which he was brought from the airport after flying in from Havana, where he had spent two months undergoing medical treatment.
His respiratory difficulties mean that he is currently breathing through a tracheal cannula and therefore cannot broadcast to the people, although Vice-President Nicolas Maduro says that he participated in a Cabinet meeting around his bed last Friday, contributing his thoughts in written notes.
Maduro confirmed on Thursday that the president "is battling there for his health, for his life, and we're accompanying him."
Not good enough, say the students identified as supporters of the far-right and often violent Movement 13 based in the University of The Andes and of the Venezuela United Active Youth "clean hands" organisation.
They will persist with their protests until the truth is told about Chavez's health, they say.
The gilded youth of Venezuela's bourgeoisie are not alone in their efforts to destabilise the situation.
Their elders, headed by twice-unsuccessful presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, held a protest in Caracas last weekend demanding more information and denouncing government devaluation of the country's currency, the bolivar.
"If up to now it has seemed like we have been passive, that is over," Capriles blustered, pledging further activity.
Opposition politicians spoke from a stage dominated by a huge backdrop depicting empty supermarket shelves and trolleys full of packets resembling Venezuela's most famous brand of corn flour, Polar's Harina Pan, with the word "Pan" amended to "Paq," which is an abbreviation for "paquetazo," as IMF structural adjustment programmes (SAP) are often called.
The desired effect was that citizens should view devaluation as the equivalent of an SAP or a "red" adjustment package, as they termed it.
"The government talks about change and about revolution, but what they did here was take money away from the poor," said legislator Ismael Garcia of the For Social Democracy opposition party.
However, the previous week's publication by WikiLeaks of over 40,000 secret documents outlining US efforts, through intelligence company Stratfor, to subvert Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution threw light on murky goings-on.
WikiLeaks commented that the emails "show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods."
Many meetings with opposition politicians are recorded and one document is headed "a how-to guide for revolution."
However, the overall impression is of a wish list, advising the right wing to exploit government problems and comforting them that "the US networks are definitely involved," while lamenting that popular and military support for the revolution is firm.
That backing was confirmed on Wednesday when tens of thousands of red-shirted Chavistas, in a number of towns and cities, commemorated the 24th anniversary of the Caracazo mass civilian slaughter perpetrated in the streets of the capital at the behest of president Carlos Andres Perez.
Perez had been re-elected the previous year after running a campaign ostensibly opposed to demands from the IMF to impose neoliberal market-based "reforms."
He railed against the IMF as "a neutron bomb that killed people, but left buildings standing," adding that World Bank economists were "genocide workers in the pay of economic totalitarianism."
But, once elected, he swallowed the IMF line, privatising state industry, reducing taxation on the rich, slashing customs duties and removing petrol price subsidies which sent the cost of public transport soaring.
Thousands of poor people were shot dead in 1989 after they rioted, looting shops in response to their impoverishment.
Three years later, Chavez led an unsuccessful coup against Perez, which cemented the conviction among Venezuela's dispossessed that he was their man.
Maduro told the Caracazo commemoration rally last weekend that the imprint of February 27 1989 was still fresh, "it was a collective awakening."
The vice-president said that victims' families are still being identified to offer them financial compensation, declaring: "It's the same right wing now. It doesn't matter how they want to dress themselves up."
He dismissed opposition efforts to spread rumours of splits between United Socialist Party leaders or between political activists and the military.
"We call on our people and our armed forces to raise the banner of unity, to guarantee political stability and to guarantee the defeat of this parasitic bourgeoisie," Maduro concluded.
*S4M-04451 Elaine Smith: Victory for Socialism—That the Parliament congratulates Hugo Chavez on his re-election as President of Venezuela following the recent election; understands that President Chavez received 54% of the vote in a historic 80% turnout and that the election process was deemed the best in the world by the former US President, Jimmy Carter; considers this a victory for the people of Venezuela and for socialism; applauds Mr Chavez for his hard work and commitment to Venezuela over the last 14 years, particularly throughout his battle with cancer last year; urges countries throughout the world to take note of Chavez’s socialist policies in this time of hardship, and wishes him success in his next presidential term.
Supported by: Bill Kidd*, Jackie Baillie*, Mike MacKenzie*, David Torrance*, Anne McTaggart*, Patricia Ferguson*, Angus MacDonald*, Iain Gray*, John Finnie*, Richard Lyle*, Rhoda Grant*, Sandra White*
Motion S4M-04292: Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/09/2012
Venezuelan Presidential Election
That the Parliament notes that 7 October 2012 will be the 15th national election in Venezuela since President Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998; understands that a substantial increase in turnout has occurred in recent years, with millions more people being registered to vote, resulting in increased voter turnout; believes that government policies such as free healthcare for all, poverty reduction measures and the eradication of illiteracy have all contributed to more people engaging in the political process; notes that the elections are carried out by the Independent National Electoral Council and have been certified free and fair by what are considered respected international bodies, and wishes the people of Venezuela every success for the future.
Supported by: Gordon MacDonald, Iain Gray, Bill Kidd, Elaine Smith, David Torrance, Neil Findlay, Adam Ingram, Richard Lyle, Hugh Henry, Mike MacKenzie, Jamie Hepburn, Mark McDonald, Colin Beattie, Dave Thompson, Gil Paterson
*S4M-04422 Neil Findlay: Hugo Chavez, Victory in Venezuela—That the Parliament congratulates Hugo Chavez on his victory in the presidential election in Venezuela; notes that the reported turnout in the elections was 81% and understands that President Chavez secured 54.66% of the vote compared with his opponent, Mr Capriles, at 44.73%, and welcomes the commitment to further social change in that country and the president’s stated view that Venezuela “will continue its march toward the democratic socialism of the 21st century".
The Venezuelan electoral system is the most reliable in the world, because it can be audited and verified at every stage, said Jennifer McCoy, director of the Americas Program at the Carter Center, when visiting PANORAMA where she was welcomed by the president of this Publishing House, Patricia Pineda.