Venezuela

Like the rest of Latin America, Venezuela’s history is scarred by colonialism’s racist legacy — Venezuela’s people were dispossessed in 1520 following Spanish settlement. In the following centuries, they were systematically killed and their land exploited. Slavery, which allowed the colonisers to plunder Venezuela, existed until 1854, and at the time of the 1830 constitution neither indigenous people nor those descended from Africa were recognised as Venezuelans.

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.

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.

The latest attempt by the US to isolate the revolutionary government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez failed when the Organisation of American States general assembly meeting in Panama on June 4 refused the US demand to criticise and “investigate” Venezuela for supposed attacks on freedom of expression.

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