Venezuela

On November 1, Venezuela and Guatemala announced they would both support Panama as the Latin American country to fill the vacant position on the United Nations Security Council, according to a November 2 Venezuelanalysis.com article. The two nations had been competing for the seat, with Washington campaigning strongly for Guatemala, which has one of the worst human rights records in the region.
Venezuela has alleged there is a new plot backed by the US to destabilise the left-wing government of President Hugo Chavez in the lead-up to the December 3 presidential elections. According to independent polls, Chavez has a huge lead over opposition candidate Manuel Rosales.
Six miners were killed by the Special Operations Unit of the Venezuelan Armed Forces (TO5) on September 22 in the remote jungle area of La Paragua, 200km south-east of Ciudud Bolivar in the eastern state of Bolivar. Fourteen soldiers landed their helicopter at the El Papelon de Turumban mine, destroyed the miners’ heavy machinery and shot them in the back, according to a report in the October 8 Ultimas Noticias.
“We’re showing the world that no multinational company can just come here to humiliate Venezuelan employees”, Nixon Lopez, a Venezuelan workers’ leader, told BBC News on October 24. Lopez was referring to the actions of over 10,000 former employees at the Coca-Cola Femsa bottling company, the second-largest soft drink bottling company in the world.
Thousands of people flocked to the La Rinconada area, south of Caracas, on October 15, to hear socialist President Hugo Chavez inaugurate the new “Ezequiel Zamora” train line from Caracas to Cua, in the Valles del Tuy — the first new above-ground train line constructed in Venezuela for more than 70 years.
“We guarantee that all Venezuelans will receive free education, to the highest level, as a promise of the revolutionary government. This [event] demonstrates the importance that the [Bolivarian] revolution gives to education”, Hugo Chavez declared on October 8. The Venezuelan president was officially re-opening the Andres Bello high school, situated in the metropolitan centre of the Caracas. The high school has been extensively renovated and upgraded to provide for a student population of 1700, the October 9 Ultimas Noticias reported.
October 12 was marked in Venezuela as the “Day of Indigenous Resistance” to the arrival of Spanish colonisers. On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus first landed in South America, beginning more than 500 years of genocide and oppression of the continent’s indigenous inhabitants. The day is a national public holiday in Venezuela and was previously designated Christopher Columbus Day.
To judge by the coverage in the corporate media, the main opposition candidate in the December 3 presidential elections, Zulia state governor Manuel Rosales, is on the march and making ground against socialist President Hugo Chavez. This is despite pro-Chavez forces winning every national election since 1998, and most polls suggesting Chavez is certain to win the presidential vote.
On September 12 Venezuela’s left-wing President Hugo Chavez announced the expansion of the Development Bank for Women — Banmujer — during a meeting in the Teresa Carreno Theatre to celebrate five years since the bank’s founding. Chavez offered another 100 billion bolivares (A$65 million) in resources to the bank.
Last year the Chilean polling firm Latinobarometro published results from 20,000 face-to-face interviews in 18 Latin American countries. Venezuelans, more than any other nationality polled, described their government as “totally democratic” and expressed an optimism in their country’s future that outpaced any other. This response sits in stark contrast to what would have been found just a decade earlier if a similar poll had been conducted. To understand this phenomenon we must take a look at Venezuelan politics before President Hugo Chavez came on the scene.

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