Venezuela

Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza responded forcefully to the latest round of US sanctions, which follow hard on the heels of socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro’s electoral victory on May 20.

“There is no unilateral measure, no pressure from any foreign power that can intimidate the Venezuelan people,” the top diplomat stated.

Even before Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote had taken place, the United States —headed by a president who lost the popular vote in an electoral system that systematically disenfranchises millions of poor and non-white voters — rejected the elections as “neither free nor fair”.

The Lima Group, a coalition of 13 right-wing Latin American countries plus Canada, also refused to recognise the results. Among its members are:

More than 300 international representatives from organisations such as the African Union, the Caribbean Community and the Electoral Experts Council of Latin America, as well as former heads of states, parliamentarians, trade unionists and solidarity activists, were present for Venezuela’s May 20 presidential vote. Among them was Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, a Venezuelan-born activist with the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections on May 20, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that night.

With 92.6 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, while his closest rival, former governor Henri Falcón getting 1.8 million votes, said CNE President Tibisay Lucena who added that in total, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, out of an electoral registry of 20.5 million people.

Voices from across South America have denounced Israel’s massacre of more than 50 Palestinians on May 14 and its ongoing repression of protesters participating in the Great March of Return that began in Gaza on March 30.

They have also condemned the United States’ decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem and pledged support to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid.

An international group of intellectuals and activists are demanding media corporations report on the May 20 Venezuelan elections in a more balanced and honest way, instead of reproducing the single narrative that is being spread by most media outlets.

A new round of United States sanctions against Venezuela, this time directed against three individuals and their businesses, was rebuffed on May 7 by Samuel Moncada, the Bolivarian Republic’s Vice Minister for Foreign Relations.

Campaigning is well underway for Venezuela’s May 20 national vote to elect the nation’s president and representatives to municipal councils and state legislatures. To get a sense of the campaign and situation in the South American country today, Federico Fuentes spoke to Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) Brisbane co-convenor Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, who has been back in her home country for the past several months.

Incumbent presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro prioritised visits to dissatisfied campesino communities over April 28-29 as part of a campaign strategy aimed at shoring up support in rural communities that have traditionally voted overwhelmingly for both ex-president Hugo Chavez and Maduro.

The countryside represents a critical constituency for the government in the upcoming May 20 election.

While the voices of Venezuela's right-wing opposition are continuously amplified by the corporate media, rarely are the voices of grassroots activists heard. Green Left Weekly’s Federico Fuentes spoke to Pacha Catalina Guzman, a leading activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), to get her view on the current economic crisis and how rural communities are organising to deal with the situation.

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