Venezuela

The International Labor Organization (ILO) denounced the Venezuelan government on Thursday, accusing it of abusing the rights of business owners to freely organise. At the same time, Colombia was praised for its progress in the protection of labour leaders. Venezuelan authorities rejected the statements, accusing the ILO of manipulating the truth for political reasons.

student protests two weeks ago against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms, more than 50,000 students marched in favour of the reforms in Caracas on November 22. The reforms aim to facilitate the massive deepening of the revolutionary process lead by the Chavez government that has already made significant inroads into reducing poverty, in order to open the transition to a ‘socialism of the 21st Century”. The reforms, which have been widely debated throughout society and have been adopted by the National Assembly, will be put to a referendum on December 2.

The US-backed right-wing campaign to destabilise the democratic revolution in Venezuela, lead by socialist President Hugo Chavez, is escalating again. The upcoming December 2 referendum on proposed amendments to the constitution is prompting a new drive from US-backed capitalist elite to undermine the elected Chavez government. Crucially, the international corporate-owned media’s distortion of events is reaching new heights, with false allegations of government repression of opposition protesters a key component of the campaign to demonise Chavez and the process of change his government is leading.

Local battalions of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) have been meeting every weekend since August, aiming to organise the 5.7 million aspiring members who enrolled between April and June to join the party-in-formation. Spokespeople and heads of commissions elected by the more than 14,000 battalions have gone on to form socialist circumscriptions, grouping 10 battalions in a given local area, to elect delegates to the party’s founding congress.

Following Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s call to not “leave the streets for one single day” of the campaign to approve the proposed constitutional reforms in a referendum on December 2 that would significantly deepen Venezuela’s transformation towards socialism, the “Yes” campaign has kicked into gear.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on November 4, in a massive sea of red, to support the proposed constitutional reforms adopted by the National Assembly that will be put to a referendum on December 2. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has explained that the reforms aim to deepen the Bolivarian revolution that his government is leading, which has already achieved significant gains in redistributing wealth and power to the poor majority.

The following statement was issued by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) on November 8.

Venezuela’s vice-minister of foreign affairs for Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, Vladimir Villegas, lead the Venezuelan delegation to the 38th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF — formerly the South Pacific Forum) meeting in Tonga on October 16-17.

The PIF is the coordinated annual meeting, organised along a concensus model, of the heads of states of the 16 PIF members — Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, NZ, Tonga, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, PNG, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, with New Caledonia and French Polynesia being associated members, and Tokelau, Wallis, Futuna, the Commonwealth and the Asia Development Bank having official observor status. East Timor has had “special observer” status since 2002. With 33% of the world’s total surface and 46% of its ocean area, the 25000 Pacific Islands comprise 17 independent nations – all of whom have a vote and representation in the United Nations (11 have achieved this status only since 1960). Green Left Weekly’s Lara Pullin spoke with Villegas during the forum about Venezuela’s plans to increase cooperation, on the basis of solidarity, with the region.

Venezuela has initiated plans to extend its solidarity-based oil deals to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as signalled by Venezuela’s deputy foreign minister Vladimir Villegas, at the 38th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders meeting in Tonga, held October 16-17.

We are on the brink of celebrating the 90th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution, that beautiful, cherished uprising which asked for nobody’s permission to turn the hopes that the world might one day belong to those who work on it into a reality.

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