Latin America

Although the media spends a lot of time portraying Cuba as a “dictatorship”, it has barely covered the fact that Cubans have once again begun a process of electing officials, starting from the local and going all the way up to the national parliament.

Cuba has rejected outright new US restrictions that took effect on November 8, describing them as confirming an "upsurge" of the blockade imposed by Washington since 1962.

Cuba's top diplomat for the Americas, Josefina Vidal, said during a press conference on November 7 that the new measures to prevent US trade with and travel to the Caribbean island were "arbitrary."

It is important to understand the context and the intended (as well as likely) effects of the US administration's actions. With encouragement from Florida Senator Marco Rubio and other Republicans, US President Donald Trump has been trying to help topple the elected government of Venezuela.

Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza met with diplomatic representatives from the European Union and rejected the sanctions imposed by the EU against the South American country, on November 14.

"EU sanctions seek to intervene in Venezuela," Arreaza said during the meeting.

A high profile member of the ultra right-wing Popular Will (VP) party, Yon Goicoechea, was freed by Venezuelan authorities on November 4 after more than a year behind bars.

Goicoechea was arrested last August by national security forces for the alleged possession of explosive devices, just two days before an opposition march. 

Since being granted conditional release, Goicoechea has confirmed his candidacy for the mayoralty of the wealthy municipality of El Hatillo, despite his party calling for a boycott of upcoming elections. 

Speaking to a huge march on November 7, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that, during the Russian Revolution, the workers took political power into their hands for the first time. "In Revolution, all times are a battle and they are a struggle!", Maduro told the popular celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik-led revolution on the outskirts of the Miraflores Palace Caracas.

The president recalled that the Revolution showed for the first time that workers could take political power in their hands to build a state.

The second vice-president of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has been removed after he publicly criticised the body’s inaction in the face of the country’s deepening economic crisis.

Former Attorney- General Isaias Rodriguez penned an op-ed in Venezuela’s centre-left newspaper Ultimas Noticias on October 23 in which he warned Chavismo could lose next year’s presidential elections, “if the government and the National Constituent Assembly do not offer timely responses to this problem [of inflation]”.

The Canaima Industries factory in Caracas is the assembly point for computers that are given to students for free across Venezuela. Its name comes from the huge Canaima National Park in the south of Venezuela, home to extraordinary landscapes and the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls.

We visited the small computer factory, located in the middle of a military base in the east of the capital, as part of the international solidarity delegation organised by Venezuela Analysis in August.

When the time came for Miss Peru 2018 contestants to reveal their most intimate measurements on stage, the 23 beauty pageant hopefuls elected instead to deliver statistics of an altogether more shocking nature.

“I represent the constitutional province of Callaomy and my measurements are 3114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014,” declared Romina Lozano, later crowned Miss Peru on October 29.

Camila Canicoba, Miss Peru Lima, told the judges: “My measurements are 2202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.”

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) victory in the October 15 elections for state governors is a major blow to the country’s right-wing opposition, as well as to its backers in Washington and Europe.

The victory also marks a significant step forward in the struggle to defend the gains of the almost two decade-long pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution, spearheaded by late former President Hugo Chavez.

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