Venezuela

We have just finished a very successful May Day brigade to Venezuela, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN). The majority of the 14 participants were from Australia, with two Canadians and one from the US also taking part. May Day was, of course, a highlight of the 10-day tour: more than 1 million marchers, all in red t-shirts. Brigadistas were greeted with cheers of welcome — we were easily identified by our Australian solidarity activists shirts and banner.
Venezuelans staged a big demonstration in Caracas on May one to mark the international workers’ day, Venezuelanalysis.com said. President Hugo Chavez also announced a 15% wage increase and broader social security entitlements. “While there were no official or police estimates, various participants in the march told Venezuelanalysis they estimated that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people turned out, celebrating the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution and its promotion of ... better life conditions for the poor majority.”
Venezuela’s principal trade union federation, the National Union of Workers (Unete), held the second session of its extraordinary congress on April 24, in a push to re-launch the federation. Hundreds of trade union delegates from around the country gathered in Union House in El Paraiso to discuss and vote on new set of statutes for the federation and a plan to organise nationwide elections scheduled for July.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) concluded its five-month extraordinary congress on April 25 with the approval of highly anticipated party principles and statutes. This was just in time for primaries on May 2, in which millions of PSUV members will choose parliamentary candidates to run against a newly united opposition platform called the “Democratic Alternative” in September.

CARACAS — Following nation-wide assemblies involving more than 10,000 electricity workers to collectively discuss solutions to the sector’s problems, 600 delegates gathered in Caracas on April 8-9.

Caracas will play host to one of the most important international gatherings of left parties in years, when delegates from across the world meet for the First International Meeting of Left Parties over October 7-9.
The ninth Australian solidarity brigade to Venezuela, sponsored by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), visited Venezuela from April 16 to 24. Participants saw first-hand the reality of the Bolivarian revolution, led by socialist president Hugo Chavez.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez released a statement congratulating US president-elect Barack Obama, declaring that, “We are convinced that the time has come to establish new relations between our two countries and in our region, based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and true co-operation”, according to a November 6 Ultimas Noticias article.
On September 18, Human Rights Watch released a report titled “Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chavez”. The report contains biases and inaccuracies, and wrongly purports that human rights guarantees are lacking or not properly enforced in Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans to nationalise one of the countries largest banks, the Bank of Venezuela, according to a July21 Xinhua.com report.

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