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.
The world's most famous "secret annex" is tucked behind a bookcase where 13-year-old Anne Frank hid out during the Nazi occupation.
Lesser known is the secret annex to a report describing the U.S. government's Cuba strategy in the post-Castro era.
We are happy to report that president Hugo Chavez has today returned to Venezuela following his surgery in Cuba. We publish below a letter from Fidel Castro and send our solidarity wishes for his continued recovery.
I am extremely satisfied that you have been able to return to that piece of American land which you love so much, and to our brother people who support you so much.
A long and agonising wait, as well as your astonishing capacity for physical resistance and the total dedication of a team of doctors, as has been the case over the last 10 years, were necessary to achieve this objective.
It would be totally unfair not to mention the insurmountable dedication of your closest family members, your colleagues in the revolutionary leadership, the Bolivarian Armed Forces, who were re-armed and re-equipped by you, and the honest people of the world who have shown their support.
First published on 4 Feburary 2013 by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
On 7 December 2012 a 5-month consultation about a proposed highway to be built through Bolivia’s Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) came to an end. Of the territory’s 69 indigenous communities, 55 approved the highway, three communities rejected the proposal and 11 refused to participate in the consultation.
TIPNIS is an area of more than 1 million hectares of forest in the centre of Bolivia. It is home to 12,000 people living in 69 separate communities. In 2009 Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government designated it ‘indigenous territory’.
The proposed highway will cross north-south through TIPNIS for 32 miles of its 182-mile route. It will be the first paved road linking northwest Bolivia with the economic centre, Santa Cruz. It will mean greater access to health and education for the TIPNIS population and reduced barriers to economic development. In particular it will undermine the monopoly of Santa Cruz-based businesses in terms of access to processing goods and distributing them to the rest of the country. It is no coincidence that the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB), which supported protests against the highway, has strong links with the right-wing governor of Santa Cruz and signed an agreement guaranteeing CIDOB a place on the governership.
First published on www.politicker.com
Rising Republican star and Florida Senator Marco Rubio might have made up a dramatic story about his family immigrating to the U.S. to flee Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Documents indicate Mr. Rubio fabricated a compelling personal narrative to go with the other unique qualities that have earned him status as a top potential White House contender and prime Vice Presidential pick..
Documents obtained by the Washington Post show Mr. Rubio’s parents arrived in the United States on May 27, 1956. At the time, Mr. Castro was in Mexico plotting his revolutionary return to Cuba. Mr. Rubio has always said his parents arrived here after escaping Mr. Castro’s Communist revolution that took place in 1959. As the Washington Post notes, “the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site … says that Mario and Oriales Rubio ‘came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.’” Mr. Rubio has often referred to the story of his parent’s departure from Cuba in speeches.
First published 11 February 2013 the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five
The Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law has initiated several requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking access to records that may show (1) what the U.S. Government knew about the likelihood for a confrontation between Cuba and Brothers to the Rescue (BTTR) planes that were routinely taking off from Florida after filing false flight plans and penetrating Cuban airspace in 1995-96, and (2) what the U.S. Government could have done to prevent the February 24, 1996 incident in which a Cuban MiG shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes that had illegally penetrated Cuban airspace.
This interview was conducted on February 8, 2013 by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 with Peter Schey, President of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and lead counsel in the FOIA cases.
www.peoplesworld.org 23 January 2013
Continuing with U.S. efforts to undermine Cuba's government from within, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2008 contracted with Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) of Maryland to send Alan Gross to Cuba.
Now in prison there with a 15-year sentence for espionage-type actions, Gross is widely viewed as the ideal candidate for an exchange that would return four Cuban anti-terrorists jailed in the United States to their homes. They, the "Cuban Five," include the paroled Rene Gonzalez.
In court proceedings January 15, DAI introduced documents outlining USAID objectives and describing Alan Gross's activities during five trips to Cuba between late 2008 and December 3, 2009, when he was arrested. The company seeks dismissal of Alan and wife Judy Gross' lawsuit alleging that DAI and USAID failed in preparing Alan Gross for dangers a foreign agent would face in Cuba.