Nicolas Maduro, candidate of the Bolivarian Revolution, has won the 14 April snap presidential election with 50.66 percent of the vote against 49.07 percent for his neoliberal challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski. With the turn out at nearly 79 percent of the electorate, the results were announced with 99.12 percent of the votes totalled and were considered an irreversible trend.
Carrying out the premeditated plan exposed by the Bolivarian government, Capriles and the opposition have refused to recognise the result declaring to Nicolas Maduro, ‘The one who has been defeated is you and everything you represent’. The national electoral body, the CNE, will now conduct a citizens’ audit of 100 percent of the ballot boxes, with the backing of both candidates. Maduro stated: ‘Let’s do it! No problem. Perhaps they will find that my victory will be larger’.
'Arnold August’s 'Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motio'n is an exceptional work that will succeed in the objective of educating its audience. It will assist toward broadening the outlook of all those who read it.
The chapter on democracy in the United States is among the best critical analyses I have read of the American nation’s formation, ideology and political system. The documents linked to the book in the website www.democracyintheus.com have struck me as being very interesting and educational. The commentaries are brief but they go to the very essence of each of the themes, clarifying the reasons for which the political elite in this country operate the way that they do. Everything related to the Puritans and their thought, as well as other idiosyncrasies of the ideology that gave birth to the genesis of this nation, is of great interest, seeing that throughout history they are reflected in domestic and international policy.
Oakland, CA April 8th(IC)
Yesterday another incident of injustice against one of the Cuban 5 took place at the Victorville Penitentiary in the high Mojave desert of California.
In a planned visit well known actor and social activist Danny Glover was prohibited from visiting Gerardo Hernandez. Glover, who has visited Gerardo on 9 different occasions since 2010, was told that he would not be admitted because they did not know he was coming. This is an arbitrary decision; any person who is on a prisoner's list has a right to visitation. Glover had flown yesterday morning from Northern California and then rented a car to reach the remote location of the prison 10 miles outside of Victorville only to have to turn around and go back without having seeing his friend. Undaunted Danny Glover has made it clear that he will return to Victorville soon.
Published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! April/May 2013
International prize-winning Cuban opposition ‘blogger’, Yoani Sanchez, is touring 12 countries over three continents in 80 days. She plays the lead in a grotesque circus performance which sees a handful of counter-revolutionaries jet-set to high-profile platforms, mainly in the US and Europe, to call for ‘regime change’ in Cuba. Others include Berta Soler, from the Ladies in White, and fellow ‘blogger’ Eliecer Avila. This follows the relaxation of Cuban migration legislation earlier this year (see FRFI 230). The tours are exposing the hypocrisy of these so-called champions of human rights and their links to imperialist interests. Helen Yaffe reports.*
Sanchez’s blogging activity was evidently conceived as part of a renewed strategy by US imperialism and its allies to generate a viable opposition in Cuba. The socialist Revolution had survived the economic crisis of the Special Period and was forging new anti-imperialist alliances in Latin America. The existing opposition in Cuba had no relevance to ordinary Cubans. In March 2013, 75 so-called ‘dissidents’ had been arrested and were subsequently tried and imprisoned for breaking Cuban laws and assisting the US programme of ‘regime change’. Sanchez spearheaded the formation of a new group of mercenaries to be seen as politically less crude, technologically more modern and financially less overtly linked to US imperialism.
25.03.13 Ewan Robertson Venezuelanalysis.com
Uruguay has requested to join the regional SUCRE currency, a move that will bring it into greater cooperation with the leftist ALBA alliance of Latin American nations.
The SUCRE is the regional currency used by the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to allow for international transactions between member states without having to use the US dollar.
In effect since 2010, transactions in the virtual currency are conducted between central banks, while exporters are paid and importers charged in local currency. The system is used by Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
'Dear loved ones of Comandante Chávez:
The anticipated fear of losing this great Bolivarian has not tempered the grief we feel at his loss. We always carried the hope that with his indomitable spirit he would return to us to say firmly “for now”, and then, rising above the wounds of his body, the soldier would become whole in order to continue guiding an entire continent toward the just future that so many times has been taken away from us.
It hasn’t been possible. It would seem that the price of being so Bolivarian is that of being extinguished, not unlike the Liberator, or like the volcano that erupts with full force only to suddenly fall silent. But the mountain remains, that material which was once burning lava, and after the flames are quieted becomes a guiding light pointing out unequivocally towards that horizon we’ll reach one day, only to humble ourselves at its feet in perpetual homage, our chains broken and Jose Marti’s handful of free nations as our offering.
‘Hay hombres que luchan un día y son buenos, otros luchan un año y son mejores, hay quienes luchan muchos años y son muy buenos, pero están los que luchan toda la vida, y esos son los imprescindibles’
'There are men who struggle for a day and they are good. There are men who struggle for a year and they are better.There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still. But there are those who struggle all their lives: These are the indispensable ones.'
Rock Around The Blockade, which campaigns in solidarity with socialist Cuba and revolutionary Latin America, sends condolences to the people and government of Venezuela, and to the friends and comrades of Commandante Chavez. This death is a loss for the international anti-imperialist movement and for those who struggle for economic, social, political, cultural and environmental justice.
28 July 1954-5 March 2013
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from complications following surgery for cancer, is a huge loss to the revolutionary movement worldwide, and the Revolutionary Communist group joins with the people of Venezuela in mourning the loss of a great socialist leader.
Hugo Chavez was first elected to power in 1998, following a military coup in 1992; elected again in 2000 under the new, progressive constitution of the Bolivarian Revolution. In 2002 a US-backed coup against him was defeated as working class Venezuelans poured out of the barrios in their hundreds of thousands to defend their president. He was re-elected as president with sweeping majorities in 2006 and again in 2013.
Hugo Chavez was a political giant, under whose leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution and vision of ‘socialism for the 21st century’ the lives of ordinary working class Venezuelans were transformed. In the last ten years, Venezuela has achieved the lowest levels of inequality in the region (excluding Cuba); it has wiped out illiteracy, brought infant mortality down from 25 per 1,000 to 13 per 1,000 live births, slashed levels of extreme poverty, provided free health care and education for all, built hundreds of thousands of units of social housing and ensured that – unlike in Britain – no child goes to school hungry in the morning. Chavez built anti-imperialist alliances, first with Cuba and then, through ALBA and other trade and cooperation treaties, more widely across Latin America and the Caribbean, to challenge the hegemony of the United States and begin to create a new anti-imperialist bloc on the world stage. On the international stage, he challenged the hypocrisy and brutality of a world dominated by the interests of imperialism.
Inevitably, he has attracted the unswerving hatred of Venezuela’s middle classes and their backers in the US and Europe; the vitriol of the international bourgeois press has been relentless. The vultures of reaction have been circling ever since the seriousness of President Chavez’s condition was made public, with counter-revolutionary forces attempting to foment the destabilisation of the Bolivarian Revolution. They perpetrate the big lie - that without Hugo Chavez there can be no Bolivarian Revolution – that it lives or dies with him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the mass popular support, admiration and indeed love Chavez enjoyed as the living embodiment of the aspirations of the Venezuelan people, the Bolivarian Revolution has never been about just one man. It is a revolution being built from below, by the conscious organisation of the Venezuelan working class to transform society from one of neoliberal exploitation, hunger, sickness and poverty for the majority, to one moving towards collective, socialist organisation and production.
The Venezuelan people will not allow these vital gains to be lost. The tremendous popularity of the governing PSUV was demonstrated again in December’s regional elections, where the party won 20 out of 23 states. Under the stewardship of vice-president Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello, Bolivarian revolutionaries in their own right, the Venezuelan government has begun to implement the Programa Patria manifesto on which Chavez was elected, ‘developing socialism beyond the point of no return’. The battle lines are drawn as the Venezuelan people prepare to fight tooth and nail to defend and develop that revolutionary process. We stand with all those defending the Bolivarian Revolution, mourn with them the loss of a great socialist and revolutionary, and defend the continuing struggle for socialism.
On 17 February, the Ecuadorian people overwhelmingly re-elected Rafael Correa as their president. Correa’s governing PAIS alliance took some 70% the 137 seats in the National Assembly, including six for overseas workers and three of the country’s five Andean Parliament seats Correa received 51.17% of the total vote for president, 6% more than in 2009. It was more than twice that of the runner-up, banker Guillermo Lasso (23.3%), a neo-liberal figure deeply involved in the chaos and corruption of previous governments.
It is important to understand that Correa heads an alliance that took 52.24% of the votes for the National Assembly seats (with 98% returns counted). This makes his decisions more closely tied to social movements themselves than would be the case if he were heading a traditional political party. Since first taking office in early 2007, he has directed an energetic and radical reform process. He led the rewriting of the constitution and replaced the old corrupt Congress through a Constitutional Assembly. 64% of the voters endorsed the 2008 constitution. This created new rights for women, and indigenous and disabled people. The law now requires women to account for 50% of the party lists in national legislative elections. Subsequently, women took 40 of 124 National Assembly seats in the 2009 elections (32%). Correa’s political project is the ‘Citizens Revolution’ with five axes that are: Political revolution, Economic Revolution, Ethical Revolution, Social, and finally the Sovereignty Revolution and Latin American Integration. With these postulates PAIS seeks to direct Ecuador towards 21st century socialism.
Documents posted on the US National Security Archive website on 18 January 2013 reveal that the government has ‘between five to seven different transition plans’ for Cuba, and that USAID-funded ‘democracy’ programmes designed to promote regime change are ‘an operational activity’ requiring ‘continuous discretion’. The documents were filed in a US court in response to a $60 million lawsuit filed by the family of Alan Gross, a US citizen serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for ‘subversion against the state and the revolution’, against his employer Development Alternatives Inc (DAI).
Enrique Oltuski made an indelible contribution to the revolutionary struggle in 1950s Cuba, to the process of socialist transition and as member of government until his death, aged 83, on 16 December 2012. Oltuski led the urban wing of the Movement of the 26th July (M26J) in central Cuba in the final year before the Revolution toppled the Batista dictatorship in January 1959. The English publication of his memoirs, Vida Clandestina, was politically important in undermining the lie that Cuba’s urban population was not active in the revolutionary struggle.
Born in Cuba in 1930 to a family of Polish Jewish immigrants, his family lived in Santa Clara in central Cuba, where his parents’ business prospered. Oltuski wanted for nothing, bothered only by the grinding daily poverty around him: ‘I saw barefoot children my own age begging, elderly people dressed in rags. At night women with children in their arms slept in the doorways of public buildings and in parks…we concluded that this had to be changed.’*
First published by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 231 February-March 2013
‘All of us here are Chávez, the people in the street are Chávez, the lady who cooks is Chávez, the soldier is Chávez…the farmer is Chávez, the worker is Chávez; we’re all Chávez.’
Elias Jaua, Minister of Foreign Relations, 10 January 2013
On 10 January, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez still recovering in Cuba from post-operative complications following surgery for cancer and unable to attend his inauguration ceremony, tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in his place. With their symbolic tri-colour presidential sashes and rallying cries of ‘Yo soy Chavez!’ – ‘I am Chavez!’ and ‘Chavez is the people’, the vast crowd was proof once again that the power of the Bolivarian Revolution lies not in the hands of a single revolutionary but in the vast mass of that same Venezuelan working class which swept Chavez to a fourth presidential term in the elections of October 2012. SAM MCGILL reports.
Background information on this situation can be found here: Rene Gonzalez to be released
STATEMENT BY CUBA’S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
René González Sehwerert, Hero of the Republic of Cuba, has been the subject of new arbitrary measures by the Government of the United States that is toughening the conditions of his supervised release, making it seem even more as prison conditions, with the aim of continuing to punish him after so many years of unfair and cruel treatment.
On 17 February, the Ecuadorian people re-elected Rafael Correa as their president with 56.7% of the vote and more than twice that of the runner-up banker Guillermo Lasso (23.3%). Correa’s governing PAIS alliance took 70% the 137 seats in the National Assembly. Rock around the Blockade here republish this interview with the re-elected president conducted by New Left Review
First published by Xinhua HAVANA, 26 February
Cuba is geared up to expand the application of biogas as part of a campaign to promote sustainable development, especially in the agricultural sector.
Experts with the Cuban Society for Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources and Environmental Protection (Cubasolar) convened on Tuesday to analyze the viability of some biogas projects presented at a national forum on biogas last week.
Interview with Aleida Guevara:
Despite the propaganda surrounding Che Guevara, the Latin leader was a true revolutionary, and modern-day circumstances would have made him even more zealous to unite Latin Americans against their common foe, daughter Aleida Guevara told RT.
by Pedro Martínez Pírez
25 February translated by Walter Lippmann
Photo: An election official gives a man ballot papers at a special polling station set up in Havana's main train station February 3, 2013. Cubans go to polls to elect National Assembly representatives.
Cuba on Monday woke up with a new Parliament, renewed by 67 percent and made up of 612 national deputies, which include workers, farmers, teachers, doctors, scientists, writers, artists, religious leaders, students, political leaders, businessmen, sportsmen and military, with an average of 48 years old.
About half of the deputies in the National Assembly of People's Power are women, more than 82 percent have college educations and 37 percent are black, among the latter the new Parliament President Esteban Lazo Hernandez, who replaced as president of the top legislature to Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, who held office for twenty years, and hereafter who will continue his talented work dedicated to the defense of the five Cuban prisoners of the empire.
Published in English on Palgrave blog: Helen Yaffe
These questions are addressed to international prize-winning Cuban 'blogger' Yoani Sanchez, who recently began a three-month international tour of the Americas and Europe. They were formulated by Salim Lamrani, a lecturer in France and specialist on relations between Cuba and the US, who, in early 2010 interviewed Yoani Sanchez in a hotel in central Havana. That important and sweeping interview can be found here
The questions were originally posted on Opera Mundi in French, then reposted in Spanish and translated from Spanish into English by Colin Brayton.
Yoani Sanchez is greeting by supporters of Cuba's revolutionary government in Brazil, first destination after leaving Cuba on 18 February 2013.