Venezuela

On our third full day of activity on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) 2012 Presidential Elections Brigade we visited Sala de la Batalla Sociales, LA Communa. This is a grouping of 35 Community Councils in the barrio of Petare. We visited the community medical centre (where free health care is provided by Cuban and Venezuelan doctors), a community radio station and had an exchange with community council members. The commune of Petare is building a chocolate factory which will sit alongside a community university. Photos by Pip Hinman.
In Venezuela's October 7 presidential elections, the candidate leading the polls — President Hugo Chavez — is standing on a platform of pushing a socialist transformation. Leaked documents show his main opponent, Henri Capriles Radonski, has a neoliberal agenda. But publicly he presents himself as a social democrat who supports pro-poor policies such as the Chavez government's health and education social programs.
As Venezuela's October 7 presidential elections approach, polls are showing a clear, large victory for President Hugo Chavez, with a 13%-28% lead. The socialist incumbent — who has survived a US coup and other attempts to overthrow his government — is campaigning on a detailed platform to deepen the social changes that are redistributing wealth and political power to the poor majority. His right-wing opponent, Henri Capriles Radonski, supports privatising state industry and cutting social spending.
As the final weeks of the Venezuelan presidential election campaign unfold, an intense battle of ideas is under way. The poll on October 7 is looming as one of the most important elections in the country´s history.
“My plan is to demolish the ultra-right so that a true opposition arises, because I am ready to work with them,” Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez told a mass rally of supporters of his re-election campaign in the Caracas neighbourhood of Charallave on September 9.
In May 2008, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez endorsed Plan Socialist Guyana (PGS), drawn up by elected representatives from workers in Venezuela's heavy industry sector in Guyana. This plan calls for the introduction of workers' control across the state-owned industries grouped in the Guyana Venezuela Corporation(CGV), as well as a shift away from producing raw materials for multinationals towards Venezuela's development needs and taking the needs of communities and the environment into consideration.
The 34,000 employees who work at the Polar Business food production conglomerate in Venezuela have denounced what they describe as a violation of their labour and social rights. The workers accused the company of trying to destabilise the country in the run up to the presidential elections on October 7. Polls show that President Hugo Chavez is far ahead of his right-wing rival, Henrique Capriles Radonski. Chavez is campaigning on a platform of deepening the socialist transformation of Venezuela.
Venezuelan revolutionary Carolus Wimmer speaking in Perth on August 16 as part of a national tour organised by the Communist Party of Australia.
Venezuela and the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) have backed Ecuador against “threats” from Britain, after Ecuador granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on August 16. ALBA is an anti-imperialist bloc of eight nations that includes Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia. Swedish authorities want to extradite Assange from Britain to investigate allegations against him of sexual assault.
The article below was abridged from Correo Del Orinoco International. See also Venezuela: Chavez set for win as campaign pushes socialist transformation * * * Internationally-acclaimed author, activist, and intellectual Tariq Ali highlighted the importance of Venezuela´s Bolivarian Revolution and socialist President Hugo Chavez at a conference at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela in Caracas over July 27-28.

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