Venezuela

No sooner had information come out that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was undergoing surgery in Cuba than the international media was full of speculation and rumours regarding his imminent demise. Projecting their hopes that an illness could succeed in removing Chavez where military coups and assassination attempts had failed, the right-wing Venezuelan opposition went into overdrive. They demanded the president step down and hand over power to the vice president.
The Venezuelan News Agency published the article below on June 5. The decision to freeze relations with the US government came after the US imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA, over economic ties with Iran. * * * Relations between Venezuela and the US are frozen, said Venezuela's foreign minster Nicolas Maduro. Maduro said the government of President Hugo Chavez has tried to restore respectful dialogue with Washington. Maduro said the Venezuelan government aspired to have relations of respect and open communication.
The statement below was released on May 28 by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. For more information on the AVSN, visit www.venezuelasolidarity.org . * * * On May 24, the United States’ State Department unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). The State Department accused PDVSA of undermining the US sanctions against Iran by sending two cargo ships delivering US$50 million worth of reformate ― a gasoline blending component used to improve the quality of gasoline.
Having arrived back in Caracas after more than two weeks visiting various rural communities, leaders from the National Campesino Front Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ) told us that the bodies of two of their comrades, missing since April 12, had been found. Jose Joel Torres Leves and Agustin Gamboa Duran were leading land reform activists in the Comunal City Antonio Jose de Sucre, in Barinas state.
When I asked Alfredo, a dairy farmer and president of the Prolesa milk processing co-operative in Tachira state, what food sovereignty meant to him, he said: “Food sovereignty is not only about being able to produce enough food to feed ourselves, it also means getting to a point where we can export food to other countries. “There’s a global food crisis, and each day more and more people are going hungry. As Venezuelan campesinos [peasants] we need to realise that we have an obligation to the people of the world.” See also:
No sooner had the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) released its dossier The FARC Files: Venezuela, Ecuador and the Secret Archive of Raul Reyes on May 10, that the international media was once again claiming more proof that Venezuelan government links to terrorism had been uncovered. Almost none mention that the entire basis of the document were files that Interpol and US and Colombian officials have admitted are dubious at best.
The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance in Australia on May 14. See also: Venezuela: Dodgy dossier’s terror links claims questioned * * * The Socialist Alliance calls on the Colombian government to immediately release independent media activist Joaquin Perez Becerra, who is now facing charges of “terrorism”.
A number of left groups in Venezuela and solidarity groups internationally have expressed concern over the April 23 decision by Venezuelan authorities to arrest well-known Colombian journalist and supporter of the Venezuelan revolution, Joaquin Perez Becerra. Perez Becerra was arrested when he tried to enter the country through Caracas Airport. He was deported two days later to neighbouring Colombia to face trial for supposed “terrorism” charges in Colombia.
The Venezuelan government has repeated its request to the United States government for the extradition of terrorist and ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Posada Carriles was found not guilty by a Texas court on April 8 of charges of violating US immigration law. Posada Carriles is wanted by Venezuela for his role in blowing up a Cuban plane in 1976. The plane’s 73 passengers, all civilians, were killed. Posada Carriles escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985. Venezuela’s foreign ministry issued the statement abridged below on April 8. * * *
The Venezuelan government will begin a process of recovering 300,000 hectares of land during April that have been in the hands of an unnamed English company, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in an interview during his trip to Uruguay. Chavez said the process of taking back or “recovering” land had been fundamental to the revolutionary process led by his government. He said this especially so that “worker control” could “prevent companies from exploiting the land and workers, and getting rich and taking the earnings overseas”.

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