Venezuela

According to a June 25 Venezuelanalysis.com report, the formation of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has entered a new phase. Officials and party militants had met in Caracas the previous weekend at the “National Meeting of Candidates for PSUV Militants in Caracas”. According to the report, “Record numbers of Venezuelans have registered to be members of the new party” and the grassroots process of forming the PSUV “continues with wide participation”.

In the wake of widely covered opposition protests against the Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew Radio Caracas Televison’s (RCTV) broadcasting licence following its countless violations of the law and its role in the 2002 coup attempt against the democratically elected government, Green Left Weekly’s Sam King spoke with lawyer and writer Eva Golinger in Caracas. Golinger is the author of The Chavez Code and Bush Versus Chavez, which expose US intervention into Venezuela aiming to overthrow Chavez.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB). The name, modelled on that of humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), conjures the idea of an organisation that monitors global standards of press freedom, offers insightful and hard-hitting investigative reports on world conflict and defends the safety of courageous journalists in war-torn countries. One would imagine that such an organisation would lend its support to one of the few countries in the world that is taking major leaps in democratising the media by breaking the existing monopoly of corporate domination.

As Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution continues to deepen and accelerate, President Hugo Chavez has announced a spate of pro-worker changes, which mark a continuation of the Chavez government’s orientation toward the country’s oppressed, and a victory against the right-wing offensive that has heightened since Chavez’s re-election in December.

The latest campaign to destablise the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, by groups who receive funds from the US government, appears to have largely failed. The attempts of a minority of students based on the old elite universities — who have held often violent protests in recent weeks — to present themselves as a “new” movement fighting for democracy have been exposed.

Cuban newspaper Granma reported on June 6 that Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, had called for an expansion of ALBA — the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a solidarity-based alternative to US-backed bilateral “free trade” agreements and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Chavez made the call during the closing of the first meeting of ALBA’s Council of Ministers in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.

The corporate owned- and controlled-media’s accounts of recent events in Venezuela give the impression that a new student movement is fighting for their democratic rights against an increasingly autocratic government. This is testimony to the way the corporate media turns reality on its head — making the victim look like the aggressor and vice versa.

Under the banner of “For freedom of speech and against imperialism”, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on June 2 in defence of their revolution, and as a direct response to the domestic and international campaign being whipped up by Washington in the wake of the non-renewal of Radio Caracas TV’s (RCTV) broadcasting concession, dwarfing all of the opposition marches that had occurred in preceding days. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced: “If the Venezuelan oligarchy believe that they will stop us with their threats, with their manipulations or with their destabilisation plans, forget it!”

On June 2, masses of people from different parts of the country descended on the streets of Caracas to march in support of the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez, and the new TV channel Venezuelan Social Television (TVes). TVes is broadcasting on Channel 2, previously used by RCTV — owned by multi-millionaire Marcel Granier — whose 20-year concession ran out on May 27. RCTV will continue on cable, but many Venezuelans feel that after helping organise the April 2002 coup against the elected government, RCTV is lucky to remain on air at all.

The Venezuelan government’s decision not to renew the expired free-to-air broadcasting licence of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), while still allowing it to broadcast online or via cable, has created a sharp debate in Venezuela about democracy and freedom of speech.

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