Venezuela

The Argentine Senate’s rejection of a bill to legalise abortion did not stop a Latin American-wide movement, writes Fabiana Frayssinet. The movement is on the streets and expanding in an increasingly coordinated manner among women’s organisations in the region with the most restrictive laws and policies against pregnant women’s right to choose.

Venezuelans braced themselves as a series of long-anticipated economic measures came into effect on August 20, including the launch of a new paper currency called the Sovereign Bolivar.

The new currency brings with it a revaluation of all prices, wages and pensions, which will be cut by five zeros. Both the old Strong Bolivar and Sovereign Bolivar will co-exist for a period of time yet to be announced by the government.

Venezuelanlaysis.com has been a widely acclaimed source of news and analysis of Venezuelan politics since 2003. It provides a critical look at the nation’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution and the mainstream media’s often highly distorted reporting of it. The site’s collective released slightly abridged the statement below about the temporary suspension of its Facebook page on August 16.

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Venezuela was rocked on August 5 by an attempt to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro during a public event, using drones armed with explosives.

Venezuela’s campesino marchers achieved their immediate objective on August 2 by holding a public meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas that was nationally televised. They presented proposals for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

The fourth national congress of Venezuela’s largest political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), wound up on July 30 following three days of intense activities. The congress was inaugurated on July 28, on the 64th birthday of the party’s late founder, Hugo Chavez.

The PSUV congress took place in an increasingly complicated context, amidst a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, international financial sanctions and an upcoming monetary reconversion.

A large contingent of Venezuelan campesinos marched across the country for almost three weeks in what they called the “Admirable Campesino March” to raise awareness about the many problems faced by small farmers, including evictions, harassment and general neglect at the hands of government institutions.

The marchers, who first set off on July 12 from the city of Guanare, Portuguesa state, arrived in Caracas on August 1 with the plan to deliver a collective document that presents both their complaints and proposals to President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community held their annual pride march in Caracas on July 1.

This year’s march was larger than last year’s event and formed part of continental gay pride activities with large demonstrations held in Colombia, Argentina and Brazil.

Women’s and LGBTI rights activists presented Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) with a series of proposals to legalise abortion and expand sexual and reproductive rights on June 20. This comes in the wake of the vote in Argentina’s Congress to legalise abortion, and at a time when the issue of abortion has gained added importance given the impact Venezuela’s economic crisis has had on women.

The refusal by presidential candidate Henri Falcón to recognise the results bodes poorly for Nicolas Maduro’s new term as president. The consolidation of a moderate bloc within the opposition that Falcón represented — which recognises the government’s legitimacy — would have significantly cut into the strength of the more intransigent or radical parties on the right and provided Venezuelan politics with much needed stability.

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