The collection of signatures for the recall referendum has been postponed by the National Electoral Council in response to injunctions from several State-level courts. Also, the opposition-held National Assembly, in an extraordinary session on Sunday October 23rd, declared themselves in open rebellion against the government, the Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council.
by Duncan McFarland, US-Venezuela Solidarity Committee
These are difficult times for Venezuela economically and politically. The socialist government of Maduro is in a crisis situation; the US government is trying to take advantage by applying pressure to support the right wing opposition. The goal is regime change to a neoliberal government or other US friendly regime. Transnational capitalist corporations are also involved in this effort. This is the reason that Obama ordered emergency sanctions against Venezuelan officials in 2015, which were subsequently supported by Congress on the basis of a national security threat. Travel and financial restrictions are in place against a number of leaders; but the actual impact involving a few people is not very significant. However, by labelling Venezuela a danger to national security, the US hegemonists create a cover in public opinion for US intervention, which is possible in different ways — covertly as well as militarily. The sanctions are also a way of legitimizing the right wing in Venezuela as global neoliberalism signals approval of their political program which includes violent confrontations. By having Congress sign on to the sanctions with a large majority, Obama has got commitments and support from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The US attempt to isolate Venezuela in the Organization of American States is another example of attacking and pressuring the Maduro government.
Boston, MA – Confronted with a food distribution emergency, working people of Venezuela have opted to confront the emergency with action. A growing community-based movement has emerged with the goal to achieve food sovereignty. In that process many farmer organizations and urban agricultural collectives are growing organic products, using non GMO seeds. This effort has been supported by the enactment of public policies, such as the Seeds Law, a legal framework that promotes the use of traditional non GMO seeds, and the creation of the Department of Urban Agriculture.
At the initiative of former President Chavez, Venezuela has provided support to economically disadvantaged communities in the US through the years. Since 2005, Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum Corporation has provided millions of gallons of heating oil to the homes of thousands of families (1.8 million people) to keep warm during the cold winter months, in 25 states, the District of Columbia and many Indigenous reservations and homeless shelters. CITGO has also supported environmental initiatives and coastal restoration efforts in the communities affected by hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, leading volunteers in restoring 81 acres of coastline and wetlands; planting more than 70,000 trees. CITGO has funded numerous social projects in the Bronx, New York, from worker-run and food cooperatives to environmental justice, youth cultural programs, ESL classes and women of color collectives. Continue reading
Report back and report from the trenches
At Encuentro 5 – 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, MA (Park Street T station)
Saturday, July 30, 2016 – 4PM – 6PM
Americans have been trained by decades of Cold War propaganda to look for any confirmation that ‘socialism means poverty.’ But in the case of Venezuela and other states not governed by the free market, this cliche simply doesn’t ring true.
By Caleb T. Maupin | July 12, 2016
WASHINGTON — (ANALYSIS) The political and economic crisis facing Venezuela is being endlessly pointed to as proof of the superiority of the free market.
Images and portrayals of Venezuelans rioting in the streets over high food costs, empty grocery stores, medicine shortages, and overflowing garbage bins are the headlines, and the reporting points to socialism as the cause.
by Lisa Sullivan
For 32 years I have called Venezuela home. Its mountains have given me beauty, its barrios have given me music, its struggles have given me purpose, and its people have given me love.
Its Bolivarian Revolution gave me hope. How could I not feel hope when most of my neighbors -ages 2 to 70, were studying, right in our little potato-growing town in the mountains of western Venezuela. How could I not be hopeful when 18 neighbor families received new homes to replace their unhealthy, crowded living spaces?
by Carlos Aznarez
(Originally published in Spanish at “Resúmen Latinoamericano”, Argentina. 24 June 2016. Translated by VSC.)
It has been a long time, ever since those years when Cuba was still participating in the OAS, that we had not heard words so clear and emphatic as those spoken these days by Bolivarian Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez. It was a real hurricane of fresh air blowing in that tribune, which has always officiated as a tentacle of US foreign policy in Latin America.
by Frederick B. Mills
The atmosphere at the special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on June 23 to hear Secretary General Luis Almagro’s report on the situation in Venezuela was tense, with both pro-Chavista and pro-opposition demonstrators outside the building and a formidable media presence inside. The President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup, was watching the proceedings on a monitor elsewhere in the building while the Venezuelan mission and its allies inside the Simon Bolivar Room were indignant that the meeting was even taking place. There was a great deal at stake for the future of the OAS as well for Venezuela.
On June 4, 2016, members of the Venezuela Solidarity Committee of Boston, had the opportunity to hear a report from Venezuelan Congressman Vivas (PSUV), about the delicate situation the Venezuelan people confront at this moment. The video conference lasted for about an hour and a half and people in the audience had an opportunity to ask questions and share views about the subject matter.
Congressman Vivas explained the constitutional mechanisms of referendums in Venezuela, and in particular about what the right-wing is seeking, a presidential recall referendum. Vivas indicated that there will be no chance of such referendum this year, since the legal procedure for it has not been fulfilled by the right-wing opposition.