Venezuela

Photo: Albaciudad.org. The Venezuelan Supreme Court unanimously ruled on April 11 that a controversial “amnesty law” passed by the country's right-wing opposition-controlled parliament is unconstitutional, Venezuela Analysis said the next day.
Members of Commune Alberto Lovera in Anzoategui state taking part in their communal fishing enterprise. Photo from Venezuela Analaysis.
A recent poll conducted by Hinterlaces, a well-known and usually reliable Venezuelan pollster, showed that Venezuelans, by a substantial majority, oppose neoliberal solutions to their country’s crisis. The poll was based on 1200 interviews in the country as a whole between January 11 and 17. The poll has a 95% level of accuracy and a 2.7% margin of error.
United States President Barack Obama renewed an executive order, first issued a year ago, on March 3 that declares Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”, TeleSUR English said the next day. The order allows the US government to impose sanctions on Venezuela. In protest, Venezuela has withdrawn its charge d'affaires, Maximilian Arvelaez, from the United States, TeleSUR English said on March 9.
TeleSUR English: Peace, unity and prosperity was the message on March 5, which marked the third anniversary of the death of Venezuela's late socialist president Hugo Chavez.
A 100-day Plan for urban agriculture started on February 28 in eight Venezuelan cities in a bid to provide about 1300 people with vegetables and fruits. Urban agriculture minister Lorena Freitez said one of the plan's objectives consists of teaching people how to cultivate and stir their interest for agriculture. In the long term, the products should be able to supply about 20% of the total food consumption of the residents living in the eight participating cities: Barcelona, Barquisimeto, Caracas, Los Teques, Maracaibo, Maracay, Mérida y Valencia.
On February 27, 1989, the poorest Venezuelans took over the streets in protest against price rises. Thousands of Venezuelans took the streets in February 1989 in a wave of protests that highlighted the right-wing misrule in the South American country. The protests came to be known as the Caracazo — an uprising that began in the capital Caracas — and ultimately shaped the country's future.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a National Productive Corporation on February 22, as part of a new socialist enterprise system aimed at coordinating efforts among existing state, communal and mixed firms. Speaking from the Ana Maria Campo Petrochemical Complex in Zulia state, the socialist leader said the new entity would be tasked with unifying the more than 1000 public enterprises in a “single vision of planning, management, productivity, and maximum efficiency”.
Protesters in working-class western Caracas hijacked trucks belonging to Venezuela’s number one private food chain, Polar, on February 18, demanding the company cease hoarding essential goods. The Polar food and beverage conglomerate is Venezuela’s largest private food provider, selling a range of products from beer to corn flour. But its owner, millionaire businessman Lorenzo Mendoza, has been consistently embroiled in scandal.
A whole packet of new economic initiatives are set to take effect in Venezuela after socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced a series of far-reaching measures in response to the country’s economic crisis on February 17. In a televised five hour address to the nation, Maduro explained the extent of the economic crisis afflicting the country as well as his government’s plan to tackle it. Economic initiatives include changes to the country’s multi-tiered exchange rate, an increase in domestic petrol prices, a new tax system and expansion of community control over food distribution.
The 2016 summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) began on January 26 with the meeting of foreign ministers and chancellors of the Latin American nations at the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Mitad del Mundo, Quito, Ecuador. CELAC, a regional body involving all nations in the Americas except for the United States and Canada, was officially created in Caracas in 2011 under the leadership of then-Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has announced the establishment of a committee to oversee the creation of a revolutionary assembly on January 23. The assembly will bring together the country's progressive social movements and socialist politicians to reinvigorate the Bolivarian revolution, Maduro said. Maduro oversaw the first meeting of an interim committee, which will lead to the creation of the broader people's congress, being called the Congress of the Homeland. About 100 people were sworn-in to the committee.
Two recent events — the victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina's presidential election in November and the win by Venezuela's right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable in the December National Assembly elections — have radically altered South America's political map.
Venezuela's rate of extreme poverty has continued to decline despite what the government has described as an “economic war” by right-wing opposition-aligned business sectors. TeleSUR English said on January 17 that the latest official figures showed about 4.78% of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty. That figure is slightly lower than those reported in November, which put the extreme poverty rate at 4.9%.
Facing possible austerity and a return to neoliberalism at the hands of a right-wing parliament, will the millions involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution that has cut poverty and empowered the poor radicalise further and protect their 15 years of gains? Or will this be the blow that finally dampens their revolutionary joy and collective ambition?
In the aftermath of Venezuela's right-wing US-backed opposition securing its electoral win over President Nicolas Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the December 6 National Assembly elections, the South American country is heading for two confrontations, each reinforcing the other — a political and an economic one. The future is very uncertain.

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