Member countries of Latin America’s alternative integration bloc, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), met for its 11th summit in Caracas on February 4 and 5 to discuss advancing the organisation. ALBA is made up of the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. Formed in 2004, ALBA seeks to develop trade on the basis of solidarity and cooperation.
Cutting the working day to a maximum of seven hours, eliminating subcontracted work and raising maternity leave to a period of five months were some of the proposals put forward by thousands of workers across Venezuela for the country's new Labour Law, Socialist Bolivarian Workers’ Central president Will Rangel said on January 31. Venezuelan workers have been mobilising across the country since President Hugo Chavez announced his government would overhaul the country’s Labour Law (LOT). This came after a sustained campaign by workers to have the law changed.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has criticised the US State Department’s “absurd” decision to threaten Latin American countries with sanctions should they engage in trade with Iran. Chavez made the comments on the state VTV channel after State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland warned Latin American countries they would be liable to US sanctions if they were to use Iranian banks or purchase Iranian oil.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned the United States’ decision to expel the Venezuelan consul general in Miami as “arbitrary and unjustified” on January 9. Chavez derided the move as “another demonstration of the arrogance of ridiculous imperialism”. Venezuelan diplomat Livia Acosta Noguera had reportedly been working in the US since March when she was ordered to leave on January 8 amid claims that she had discussed the possibility of orchestrating cyber attacks against the US government whilst serving as vice-secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico.
Seven years after being launched by the Venezuelan and Cuban governments, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) has become an important voice on the global stage willing to stand up and denounce capitalism. ALBA has grown to include eight Latin American and Caribbean countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the expropriation of the British agricultural company Agroflora. The company is a subsidiary of Britain’s Vestey Group that focuses on the commercial production of beef. Chavez said the company’s 290,000 hectares of farmland would be expropriated and brought under direct “operational and administrative control” of the state through the country’s Food Security and Sovereignty Law. This law allows the government to forcefully expropriate land in “exceptional circumstances” relating to issues of national food security and the public good.
“The crisis of the capitalist system has provoked the indignados movement [the ‘outraged’, as they are known in Spain] that has arisen in one country after another across the globe,” Elisa Osori, a national directorate member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) said. The PSUV is a mass party headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. A revolutionary process in Venezuela is redistributing the nation’s oil wealth, bring industries and resources under public ownership and promoting direct, participatory democracy.
The Venezuelan government returned more than 15,800 hectares of ancestral lands to the indigenous Yukpa people on October 12, as Venezuela celebrated “Indigenous Resistance Day” with public events and marches across the country. Originally designated by then-US president Franklin Roosevelt as “Columbus Day” in 1937, October 12 is the date that Christopher Columbus first “discovered” the Americas. The anniversary was re-named “Day of Indigenous Resistance” by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002 to commemorate indigenous struggle against European invasion and colonisation.
Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez has likened the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States to Venezuela’s February 1989 Caracazo riots against neoliberal policies that are widely seen as the start of Venezuela's revolutionary process. Chavez made the comments by phone on the television program Dando y Dando on October 5.
“The process of building socialism, as shown in Venezuela, is very complex. It is often a matter of two steps forward, one step back,” said John Cleary, coordinator of the May Day 2011 solidarity brigade to Venezuela, at a forum at the Brisbane Activist Centre on September 17. The Brisbane forum, sponsored by the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), heard a report from Cleary about his recent trip to Venezuela, and to Bolivia on the brigade that followed.
Voters should expect to see “a new Chavez, a rejuvenated Chavez, touring the country as a candidate, touring the streets at a rhythm set by the circumstances”, said Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez after the date for Venezuela’s presidential elections was announced as October 7, 2012. The Venezuelan Electoral Commission’s (CNE) president Tibisay Lucena also announced that judicial, regional and local elections would take place on separate dates.
On August 23, military chief Henry Rangel Silva revealed that over 40,000 hectares of land had been recovered and 15,000 people freed from conditions of “slavery” as part of Plan Caura, the Venezuelan government’s anti-illegal mining project. Silva, chief of Venezuela’s Operational Strategic Command, is head of the anti-illegal mining initiative, formed in 2010 when the Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) were given the task of stemming Venezuela’s growing problem with illegal mining activities in the south eastern part of Bolivar state.